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April 30, 2008

CBIZ plots ambitious growth plan

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

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