US consolidator CBIZ, a Kreston International member firm, has
outlined ambitious plans to grow its financial services business
through M&A during the next two years.

CBIZ reported growth of nearly 10 percent and revenues of $643.9
million in the financial year end December 2007.

CBIZ east region managing director Saul Reibstein said the
firm’s financial services line, which includes the accounting
business, represents about 50 percent of the company’s
revenue. The remaining revenue is split between employee
services, including benefits and insurance business, technology
services and a medical management business.

CBIZ’s financial services line grew at about 10 percent over the
past year solely due to organic growth. Reibstein said this is
about to change. “We believe that the accounting industry is poised
for its most significant consolidation in the last 15 years and we
intend to be a major factor in that area,” he explained. “For the
last year, we have been planting seeds in all of our existing
markets as well as new markets for expansion and we expect 2008 and
2009 to result in significant acquisition activity.”

CBIZ’s goal for 2008 is to add $100 million in new revenue by
acquisition. A similar goal has been set for 2009. A growth
opportunity the group identified is consulting work generated by
the instability of the financial markets. “It will create special
consulting needs for companies in those industries… Our clients
will require assistance in their financing needs, in their
reorganisation consulting, and dealing with the slow down in the
growth rate that US businesses have been accustomed to for the last
five years,” Reibstein said.

On the international front, Reibstein said the network definition
debate will continue to burn. Kreston International has currently
positioned itself as an association, however it is still looking at
how it wishes to be defined. “[CBIZ] think that to be competitive
in the world platform [being defined as a network] is the direction
that we need to go,” Reibstein remarked.

Carolyn Canham