HLB network signs up financial data analytics software firm

Mid-tier international accounting network HLB agrees strategic partnership with Inflo, a supplier of accounting data analytics, to provide improved and consistent service for clients around the world

HLB, currently ranked 18th in Accountancy Daily’s survey of international networks and associations, said the partnership would help its independent member firms ‘provide an enhanced and consistent service experience for its people and clients worldwide’.

The network, whose UK firms include Menzies, Lovewell Blake and French Duncan, saw its combined fee income grow 15% in 2018 to hit $2.73bn (£2.23bn). The partnership will form a central part of its stated aim to hit $3bn in fee income by 2020.

Inflo, founded by former PwC chartered accountant Mark Edmondson in 2016, is a UK-based independent cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) provider of accounting data analytics. Its software uses financial data from an organisation’s accounting system to automate and enhance compliance and advisory accounting services, using techniques such as process mining, advanced visualisations, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Marco Donzelli, HLB global chief executive, said: ‘HLB is one of the mid-tier networks with technology firmly at the heart of its development strategy. Partnering with Inflo allows HLB firms across the world to enhance traditional accounting services and provide new offerings to clients by embracing emerging technologies.’

The move follows a period of significant investment by the Big Four international networks in data analytics and the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence in the audit process. Inflo’s services are used by a number of other mid-tier firms, including MHA MacIntyre Hudson, James Cowper Kreston and BHP.

The software provider has also recently agreed a deal with ICAEW to enhance the data analysis elements of the institute’s professional education.

Inflo’s chief commercial officer Mike Bowman, said: ‘Strategically evaluating and implementing emerging technologies is a key priority for accounting firms across the world. Networks can play a key role in this process, helping member firms to quickly get started and creating broader value from collaboration and knowledge sharing.’

By Philip Smith

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