Accounting and consulting firm Grant Thornton the Netherlands and ESJ Accountants & Tax Consultants have announced their intent to form one organisation. The shareholders of the two firms, which are situated in the west and southwest of the Netherlands, have approved the merger agreement. Both parties wish to effectuate the merger in an economic sense as of 1 January 2012. The planned merger creates a much bigger player in the middle segment of the accounting and consulting sector, with 14 offices, 70 partners, and around 700 employees, plus a combined annual turnover of around 72 million Euros. Over time, the entire organisation will become known as Grant Thornton.
The merger forms part of Grant Thornton’s plans to build a substantial market share in the Netherlands, parallel to its international ambitions. The merger with ESJ is a first step in this process. Besides, the intent to merge follows the general trend within the Dutch accounting sector, with increasing numbers of organisations choosing to scale up in order to better cope with the current developments. These developments, which include shifting client requirements (customisation), increased competition, consistently high investments in ICT, pricing pressure for compliance work, and more stringent legislation and regulations, require a different approach by conventional accounting firms. Grant Thornton and ESJ therefore opted for being in the forefront of its branch. This means a more proactive and strategic approach in the shape of consolidation combined with a stronger consulting division, more efficient business operations, more sector specialisation and a unique level of service. For the two merging companies the focus lies mainly on dynamic organisations that need integrated services and experienced specialists both on a national and international level.
Match between the merging companies
The two merging firms not only made sure that their corporate culture matched and their service package and international networks complemented each other; they also checked that the shareholders clicked personally. Gerard Mulder, CEO Grant Thornton: "The merger results in expanding the work area of Grant Thornton to an economically very strong region. With the merger, we also tie in with the considerable growth ambitions of our international network Grant Thornton International Ltd, which is represented in more than 100 countries. The expansion also gives us a stronger position with regard to the ‘war on talent’ on the labour market. There is a reason after all why the main theme of our image campaign in 2012 will be ‘growth’." Wilbert Koreman, CEO ESJ, totally agrees: "Joining Grant Thornton provides our clients with an internationally powerful network. In this way we can serve our clients even better than before. At the same time, the merger provides Grant Thornton’s clients with access to a huge experience in high-quality fiscal consulting."
The merger between the two firms will not affect the number of existing jobs. ESJ will gradually implement Grant Thornton’s name and house style. The various internal departments of the two organisations will also be integrated gradually.
Chairman ESJ Wilbert Koreman (left), chairman Grant Thornton Gerard Mulder (right).