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April 30, 2008

Latvian firm joins Baker Tilly International

By Nicholas Moody

Latvian firm joins Baker Tilly International

The addition of top ten Latvian firm MRI Revision SIA to Baker Tilly International (BTI) is a big piece of the European jigsaw, according to the network’s chief executive, Geoff Barnes.

The network admitted the former Moores Rowland International member after a three-year search for a suitable Latvian firm. A two-partner firm operating from Riga, MRI Revision provides audit, accountancy, taxation and management consultancy services.

Barnes said finding a good firm of auditors in Latvia was very hard and came after a number of potential recruits were interviewed. “The firm we have found has two partners – formerly from the Big Four – 25 staff, and has very Western thinking. They have excellent, professionally structured offices and are very well respected by the auditing community in Latvia,” he said.

The firm has clients in the real estate, retail, manufacturing and engineering industries. MRI Revision had a fee income last year of $600,000, which is forecast to grow to $800,000 this year.

Barnes said Baker Tilly International was attracted by the ambitious, international attitude of the firm. “This is an internationally focused firm. It may be small in UK and American terms but in Latvia it is quite big. The big attraction to us was its perception of where it wanted to be internationally and that is what we want. We do not want blinkered firms, because [having a global focus] is the way we will be moving,” he said.

He said there is potential for enormous growth in all the former Soviet republics.

“[MRI] are looking after clients that have never had an audit and also require financial advice on structuring and legitimate tax implications. Companies that never really had audits now require capital for expansion either from your existing shareholders, or more likely in the short term from banks and other institutions. Banks and other institutions want to see financial statements that make sense,” Barnes said.

BTI also sees Latvia as a beachhead into other Baltic states. “Finding Latvia is a big piece of the jigsaw, so we are excited by Latvia. MRI Revision is now going to help us identify calibre firms since they have connections in Estonia and Lithuania. Because for people like me to go into an unfamiliar country and think they are going to find quality people is frankly pie-in-the-sky,” said Barnes.

Nicholas Moody

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