As the ink dries on a merger between BDO
Numerica and Grant Thornton’s former Polish member firm, one of the
proponents of the combination would like to see further mergers
between the two rival networks in order to provide better
competition to the Big Four.

BDO Numerica managing partner Kristoff Zorde told the
International Accounting Bulletin the merger of two high
profile accountancy networks with strong international links will
raise the profile of Poland’s fifth largest firm, which now has 350
professionals and combined fee income of PLN67.3 million ($31
million).

“I think it would be the best thing that could happen for
everybody because the international business community is looking
for the next large firm to emerge,” Zorde said. “[A] global merger
of BDO and Grant Thornton would be welcomed by the businesses
community, by law makers and also by the Big Four, because they
would like to see versatility in the market and this would deny the
claims that they are having an oligopoly. I want this very much and
this is what I often repeat to my colleagues in BDO ‘the best thing
that would happen would be that Grant Thornton and BDO globally
merged’.”

sZorde said his feelings are purely personal and not
a sign of any other merger murmurs between BDO and Grant Thornton
firms. He stressed that consolidation of firms in Poland and other
parts of the world is a trend that is likely to continue.

“We are only two small firms on the outskirts of the mainstream
but you see other tendencies with the firms, such as the members of
the Ernst & Young network and you see the same with KPMG UK and
Germany merging together. Everybody is talking about merging and
consolidating [in Poland] but nobody is doing it.”

BDO Numerica was the largest accounting firm outside the Big
Four in the International Accounting Bulletin’s inaugural
survey of the Polish profession this year. The merger added 65
staff, offices in Warsaw and Poznan and PLN13.5 million in revenue.
The firm will continue to operate as BDO Numerica and be managed by
the three founding partners: Zorde, Andre Helin and Andrzej
Kinast.

Zorde said the two parties entered into negotiations several
months before a deal was struck. He added that it is difficult to
find merger partners in Poland due to firms lacking international
capabilities, something which made Grant Thornton attractive.

Grant Thornton International told the International
Accounting Bulletin
the network has been looking at ways to
expand its Polish footprint for some time.

The network stated: “Consistent with our global strategy to
strengthen our presence in key markets, we have spent several
months investigating ways of developing our member firm in Poland.
As a result, the Polish member firm has parted company with Grant
Thornton International. We will shortly announce arrangements
regarding our new member firm in Poland.”

The Polish merger is not the first time discussions have been
held between Grant Thornton and BDO firms. In April 2007, Grant
Thornton Canada and BDO Dunwoody were optimistic about combining
forces but negotiations broke down a month later. Globally, if the
two networks combined it would form an entity with a combined fee
income of $8.2 billion, about half the size of the fourth largest
accountancy network KPMG.

Arvind Hickman