In a bid to compete with mid-tier accounting firms, 100-plus smaller multi-disciplinary accounting practices have consolidated into a single entity known as Xeinadin Group and will share services and technology, while retaining their independent identities
The Group aims to bring together up to 120 accountancy practices across the UK and Ireland, and founding members include Hallidays, Lewis Ballard, O’Connor Pyne & Co, Murray Associates, O’Brien & Partners, Bartax, Centurion and Cobham Murphy, and was registered at Companies House in May 2018. Xeinadin has eight directors, including Nigel Bennett, managing director of Hallidays Group Limited, which has replaced the old group vehicle, Hallidays LLP.
Xeinadin will be an umbrella organisation and there are no plans to rebrand firms under the group name as yet, but they will share resources. ‘All firms will keep their original names and will benefit greatly from the support of hundreds of directors, pooled resources, cost efficiencies, economies of scale and a network of specialist service providers,’ the group said in a statement at the launch.
Accountancy practices within the group range from small, local offices to larger, regional, multi-office practices with several directors.
‘It’s not a network but operates like that from a cultural perspective. It is a real community and many of us know each other from added value learning and training programmes,’ a spokesperson told Accountancy Daily. ‘The size is substantial however we do not wish to make announcement of that yet, but assume substantially more than the turnover in position 12 [of top accounting firms]. We have plans to grow and compete as a top firm practice but specialising in SME and owner managed businesses. There’s some large firms we are not mentioning as of yet as they need time to communicate with more staff and clients.’
Currently the number 12 spot is held by consolidator CogitalGroup with estimated revenue of £117m, according to the Accountancy Daily Top 75 Firms Survey 2019. This group has grown rapidly since it was first launched in August 2016, and now includes the highly acquisitive Baldwins Accountants, Blick Rothenberg and Wilkins Kennedy, and in Scotland, Campbell Dallas and Scott-Moncrieff under the CogitalGroup brand.
There has been a spate of mergers and acquisitions in recent years as accounting practices as part of wider succession planning due to an ageing demographic across the accounting profession.
Xeinadin said that ‘the group aims to proactively tackle challenges facing the industry head on and turn those challenges into solid, marketable business opportunities. By placing technology and best practice at the heart of its client offering, the group’s member firms will ensure that they continue to deliver the very best service possible to their vast, diversified and extremely loyal client base. With technological change comes huge business opportunity for those willing to go the extra mile. The group plans to lead that endeavour.’
‘With so many disruptive but exciting “fintech” solutions emerging, only the most open-minded and determined of accountancy practices will succeed where others fall. The opportunity to embrace and support further firms wishing to enter the group will only serve to make the group stronger, increasing its market share and pooled expertise.’
One of the latest members acquired by Xeinadin is Liverpool-based Cobham Murphy, a tax investigation specialist with eight professional staff, which has rebranded as CM Chartered Accountants. Managing director Phil Harrison said: ‘Our firm has been following Xeinadin with caution over the last year. What has materialised is nothing short of exceptional. Promises were made but they were delivered and more. For a year we have been courting with the idea and meeting several North West practices regularly. It is definitely a community and a real belief we can all work closely together sharing opportunities and supporting each other.
‘Firms in the North West range in size but there are three or four sizeable firms that offer forensic-based services too. Together we have a real expertise to best serve clients. Our firm becomes a specialist for the group overnight and we are delighted that our record and expertise has been recognised. As a group Xeinadin can definitely compete with the top six [firms] in this type of high-level tax service.’