Date01 Mar 2023
CategoryAudit & Advisory
Azets, the international audit, accounting, tax, outsourcing, compliance and advisory group, specialising in supporting SME businesses, has entered the Irish market for the first time following its acquisition of Baker Tilly Ireland, which will rebrand as Azets Ireland with immediate effect.
Azets, which also operates across the Nordics and UK, has chosen Ireland for its strong trading ties and business connections with the UK, Europe and North America, buoyant SME community, and resilient economy.
Azets Ireland is one of the country’s fastest growing professional services firms, providing a range of services, including audit and advisory, corporate finance, tax, restructuring, corporate governance and fund management, with a focus on mid-market, entrepreneurial, owner-managed, and family-owned businesses.
Azets aims to grow the firm in Ireland significantly in the next three years. As part of its growth plans, Azets Ireland is embarking on a recruitment drive and will enhance its presence in key regional locations throughout Ireland.
Its focus will remain on supporting the needs of local and international SMEs, enabling them to take advantage of growth opportunities in the Irish market and beyond. The international footprint of Azets will also facilitate further growth for the firm in Ireland as the country becomes an increasingly strategic location for firms expanding in the EU and beyond to the US.
Azets’ investment in Ireland marks the company’s tenth deal in 12 months, with more M&A activity planned across all regions as the group continues to deliver against its ambitious growth strategy.
With a heritage stretching back to 1923, Azets Ireland is now in its 100th year and will continue to drive the strong legacy of advising Irish SMEs and family-owned businesses, operating out of Dublin and Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford in the Southeast.
Azets Ireland is led by Neil Hughes, supported by a team of 100 people, including 11 partners, serving a portfolio of 2,000 clients.
Aidan Kearney is Head of Audit and Advisory; Alma O'Brien is Head of Tax; Greg Hogan leads Corporate Finance; Ossie Houghton, Corporate Governance and Compliance; and Mark Richardson, Fund Management Services; while Linda Doran heads the Enniscorthy office.
In recognition of the importance of emerging talent to the future of the firm, Dessie Morrow, Kate Prendiville, Rory O’Shea and Ivan McCormick have all been promoted to Partner with immediate effect.
As part of Azets Group, Azets Ireland will become a member of Allinial Global. With 26,000 professionals in 90 countries, Allinial Global is the second largest member-based accountancy association in the world, generating more than $4.53 billion in revenues, with over 250 member firms worldwide.
Membership of Allinial Global allows firms to provide dedicated and first-class solutions to clients through a global association working collaboratively to support firms with an international reach.
Neil Hughes, CEO of Azets Ireland said: “We have enjoyed strong organic growth over the past five years as we continue to deepen our areas of expertise and build a team of specialists to support the evolving and changing needs of our client base. Our focus on the needs of owner managed and entrepreneurial led SMEs is unique and allows us to provide a broad range of professional services to the companies that are at the heart of the Irish economy.
“The SME sector is neglected by the big 6 accountancy firms yet the needs and opportunities of those businesses are as valid as the needs of the multinational enterprise community. With the investment from Azets and the connection to this growing international services company, Azets Ireland is well positioned to advise our clients and to take advantage of the growth opportunities that this presents for our firm.
“The SME sector is the backbone of the Irish economy, representing 99% of all corporates and employing more than two thirds of all private sector employees. SMEs and family-owned businesses were hit hardest by the pandemic and the economic shock of the crisis left them crying out for services that they had never needed previously.
“With growing wage costs, high levels of inflation and rising interest rates, Irish SMEs are entering a period of economic uncertainty that will impact their operating margins over the coming years. This is when SMEs in Ireland will need the advice that a national firm of scale can bring.
“Advice on succession planning, restructuring, crisis management, turnaround, grant aid assistance, M&A, and strategic planning is now an acute need of SMEs and family-owned businesses to successfully navigate a rapidly evolving environment.
“Some of the most successful businesses in Ireland are family-owned – and decisions in family businesses are often driven by emotion as well as commercial considerations. To properly meet their demands, there is a requirement to understand both.
“We pride ourselves on a deep understanding of the dynamics of successful entrepreneurial, owner-managed and family-owned businesses. We will be relentless in supporting their growth, as well as creating meaningful job opportunities in the accounting and professional services sector.”
Chris Horne, Group CEO at Azets, describes Ireland as the ‘natural choice’ for international expansion, as the group accelerates its acquisitive growth strategy.
He said: “With its membership of the EU Single Market, strong commercial ties to the UK and transatlantic links, Ireland is the main gateway to Europe in a post-Brexit environment. There are clear synergies for Azets’ people and our clients from building a strong partnership with our new Irish team – and we’re delighted to welcome them into the group.
“As a multinational organisation from inception, Azets has considerable experience working with different people, cultures, and regulatory and technological regimes. However, we have not expanded beyond our seven countries of operation in several years. This is an important new chapter in our growth.
“Ireland has a buoyant SME market as well as being the investment location for North American firms accessing the European markets, making it the natural choice to complement Azets’ near-term expansion plans. We are excited to be partnering with Neil and the team to build a strong domestic and international advisory practice of scale.
“Azets’ investment in people, talent development, and technology enables group-wide, cross-border collaboration and will create opportunities for our new Azets Ireland colleagues to develop skills and work in new sectors and geographies on innovative and strategic projects.
“We have a clear pathway to deliver new jobs in Ireland and enable career progression for people at all levels.”