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October 30, 2008

RSM forms German network

RSM International has established a new network of firms in Germany. The group consists of 11 firms with a combined fee income of $150 million and a workforce of more than 1,000.


The network is comprised of RSM Altavis, Audit Wirtschafts-Treuhand (AWT), Dr Popkes Industrietreuhand and eight former Moores Rowland Deutschland (MRD) firms.

Although these firms will continue to operate as individual entities, they will each become shareholders in RSM Germany, share the same audit methodology and quality control systems, and embrace a network-wide strategy.

RSM International chief executive Jean Stephens told the International Accounting Bulletin that the network’s Germany-wide coverage is nearly complete with Frankfurt being the only notable exception.

“With Germany being such a substantial economy and having so many business areas throughout the country, it was critical that we had that full coverage. Moores Rowland had a change with Praxity so that opened the opportunity and about a year ago we began discussing with them how we would bring it together,” she said.

Firm foundation

The former MRD firms, which include the strong regional firms MDS Möhrle in Hamburg, and Verhülsdonk and Partner in Düsseldorf, Köln and Koblenz, comprise 75 partners and nearly 900 staff. This group provides expertise in audit and assurance, tax consulting, risk advisory and compliance, as well as corporate finance, transaction services, legal and management consulting services. These firms cover most of western Germany, from the northern capital of Hamburg, down through Bremen, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Dortmund, Wuppertal, Koblenz, Krefeld, Dresden, Stuttgart, Kempten and the southern Bavarian city of Munich.

MDS Möhrle senior tax partner Ulrich Möhrle said the MRD firms left Praxity to join RSM because the network had similar values and work standards, and close international relationships between firms.

“We need an international presence all over the world and this is what we can achieve with RSM best. We need good people with a high standard and quality. They must have the same value as we have in our firms because if they don’t share the same values we can’t serve our clients needs.”

Möhrle said there are currently no plans for the firms in RSM Germany to combine but did not rule out closer integration in the future if the market demanded it.

RSM Altavis was established in late 2007 and has offices in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Munich. The firm has more than 100 employees, including 25 partners, and its main service lines are assurance, tax consulting and compliance, transaction services, corporate finance, corporate recovery and risk assurance.

Growth opportunities

RSM Altavis Munich office managing partner Christian Roller told the International Accounting Bulletin he expects both inbound and outbound work to grow as a result of joining RSM International.

“Quality, real international coverage, integration, one audit methodology, those are the key aspects for us to join RSM,” he said. “The German middle-sized companies, which are our typical clients, are really international and up to 90 percent of their revenues are export revenues.

“Since we serve those clients we have to be international because they expect us to have good colleagues overseas where we can work together.”

Both Roller and Möhrle point to RSM’s centres of excellence and the ability to share global best practices as important benefits of RSM membership.

Of the other RSM Germany members, AWT provides assurance, tax advisory, corporate finance, accounting and consulting services to medium-sized businesses, as well as audit services for listed clients. The firm has been a correspondent member of RSM since 1984 and has six partners with offices in Bamberg, Stuttgart, Munich, Berlin and Nuremberg.

Dr Popkes Industrietreuhand is located in north-west Germany with offices in Leer and Papenburg and major activities in Magdeburg. It is primarily an audit firm with some tax and accounting services and has three partners and 35 staff.

The International Accounting Bulletin understands that RSM International is in negotiations with firms in Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic in a bid to spread coverage across Eastern Europe. Stephens said the coverage in Germany should help solidify plans for this rapidly growing region.

Arvind Hickman

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