JOIN THE NETWORK There is more than one good reason

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1 JOIN THE NETWORK There is more than one good reason Accounting Tax Legal Audit

2 Content 3 Foreword CEO ETL International AG 4 The market Big changes and chances 6 Our business line Highly competitive environment 8 Practice success Start to make your path 9 SWOT How can you match your market s demand? 10 Why ETL? Our pros for your business 11 A group of firms with one commitment 12 Why ETL International? Mutually beneficial 14 Unique partnership concept Added value from day one 15 Benefit from many opportunities

3 Walter K. Schmidt Attorney at Law, Tax Advisor CEO ETL International AG, Berlin Managing Director ETL SteuerRecht GmbH, Berlin We firmly believe that being close to our clients business is the key to providing the best possible service. So, when ETL clients first started moving abroad, we decided to move with them. We are convinced that our foreign partners and clients can significantly benefit from ETL s extensive experience and huge network whether they are foreign clients operating within their own countries, or those seeking to do business in Germany or other European countries. Today, ETL maintains a presence in all major countries. As our clients increase their cross-border activities, ETL will continue to expand its international presence. 3

4 The market Big changes and chances The market for both tax and audit consultants has seen significant growth in recent years but is still dominated by the Big Four, benefitting, in contrast to mid-sized firms, from this development. In order to reduce this market dominance, the EU regularly issues proposals for reforming the audit market. Also Barnier s Green Paper on Audit Policy advises inter-alia that audit firms be required to rotate after a certain engagement period. Germany: Levelling off but still growing 85,000 10,000 Number of tax advisers 80,000 75,000 70,000 65,000 60,000 55,000 50,000 9,500 9,000 8,500 8,000 7,500 7,000 6, Number of tax advisory companies Tax advisory companies Tax advisers Source: Bundessteuerberaterkammer annual report 2011 Year 4

5 Although the enormous changes open up many opportunities, the smaller firms struggle because of constantly increasing numbers of tax and audit professionals and rising client demands. Despite all actualities a clear trend of demand is visible: Market concentration towards highly professional companies rather than small firms and a higher demand for consultancy firms away from the sole practitioners. France: More tax experts than ever 20,000 Number of experts comptables 19,500 19,000 18,500 18,000 17,500 17, Year experts comptables Source: Observatoire des Métiers de l'expertise Comptable, du Commissariat aux Comptes et de l'audit (OMECA); Rapports du Conseil Supérieur de l'ordre des Experts Comptables (CSOEC) There is a clear increase in the number of tax and accounting professionals both in Germany and other European countries. This is even more apparent in tax advisory companies than in single practitioners. For many, the obvious solution is to offer more diversified services, which is much more practicable in a larger company. A wide array of services can mean more bureaucracy and also more complex reporting standards. However, the flip side is that the demand for consultancy services grows in proportion to the size of the company. To be a part of an umbrella company gives flexibility to change with the market and helps to react quickly to meet clients needs. United Kingdom: Constantly increasing number of professionals Number of ACCAs/ICAEWs 160, , , , , ,000 24,000 22,000 20,000 18,000 16,000 Number of CTAs ACCA ICAEW CTA Source: ,000 14, Year 5

6 Our business line Highly competitive environment Our business environment is becoming more and more complex. The sheer number of rules plus the soaring formal requests are putting tax professionals under pressure. VAT is increasingly becoming a challenge as many companies work across borders. Some clients activities require a deep understanding of their business; technology friendly clients expect technology friendly counterparts; web based solutions such as clouds or safe server services are about to become standard. Whether it is the scope of services or the way they are provided, clients expectations are constantly increasing. Independent of the location, clients obtain several quotes from diverse service providers until a final decision is made. The consensus among experts is that customer demands for tax and compliance work at the very least are not about to dry up. In this environment, clients are becoming increasingly sophisticated and forward-looking and have higher expectations. Business owners want advisers who can cover accounting, tax, finance and business issues. They want value-for-money services, value added services and accountants with business nous. The client of the future will have a sharper understanding of finances and be more demanding of quality service at value-for-money rates. (CPA Australia s Board Public Practice Committee, firm of the future ) 6

7 Significant price and quality competition is faced on international markets. In particular there is a strong price competition in Middle and Eastern Europe, where book-keeping services get offered by one-man firms for incredibly low rates. Despite the higher demands, total revenues in our business line(s) remain basically the same or are even growing slower (e. g. Germany +1.8 % in 2010) than the GDP. In whatever country we look, market concentration is noticeable. Some countries are in a later stage (UK, Germany) of the process, some in an earlier stage (countries in Middle and Eastern Europe). Increasing numbers of colleagues/professionals, liberalization of some professions and the additional competition through commercial services such as book-keeping or payroll are tightening the market situation for every single provider. A satisfying market share is hard to capture, but even harder for small firms that have never attached importance to something intangible called marketing. This fact is nothing special in this business line, due to its history and its code of marketing/advertising. 7

8 Practice success Start to make your path There are different reasons that trigger thoughts of joining a consulting network. Whatever it is, there are more than a few reasons and arguments to join. It is always easier to make it in today s competitive business environment with the experience of a worldwide network of experts. As a group of small and medium-sized firms, ETL attracts clients, particularly small and mediumsized companies and entrepreneurs, that are looking for more customized services and personalized advice. The integrated network enables clients to be flexible on location and service demand. This approach is the success factor of ETL. What is your success factor? Regardless of whether you are a good auditor or tax advisor, your company s success consists of multiple variables. A change of your current business situation requires an analysis, plan and execution. 8

9 SWOT How can you match your market s demand? Strengths Qualified staff Low operating expense Proprietary software with features Solid client base Weaknesses Availability for trained tax staff No contemporary marketing plan Limited market access Not a specialized qualification Opportunities Combine functions (tax and bookkeeping) Create new business lines Creation and sell of proprietary software Change of legal framework Technization of business Threats IT-based programs remove need for tax advisers Increase of competition Larger giants provide incentives Change in clients demands Brand recognition = trusted advisor MAKE YOUR PATH Essential steps to success Define your special practice Identify your target audience Analyze your strengths and weaknesses Survey the marketplace Develop a unique selling proposition CRITICAL QUESTIONS Clear and tick them off Are your staff, rent, IT, Marketing and PR costs higher or lower than those of your colleagues? Is your operating margin above or below 30 %? Do you think everything is good? We follow the saying of the best is the enemy of the good. PROGRESSIVE STRATEGIES TO GROW Specialize in a niche (Highly profitable through expensive industry expertise; high risk of becoming redundant) Focus on industries (Higher margin through customization: time/effort-consuming) Expand your business (Serve international clients, build new service lines, offer consultancy) Save costs (Outsource low margin services such as payroll, use high end IT solutions) Generate demand by quality (Earn from benchmarking; not a fast but sustainable way) When it comes to finding ideas, solutions and entrepreneurial guidance, there is no substitute for experience. There is no better advisor than a successful colleague or entrepreneur from the same industry, who knows the business environment, the clients, market opportunities and challenges. If this sounds plausible to you, then learn more about ETL. 9

10 Why ETL? Our pros for your business Entrepreneurial experiences are essential to guide clients in the right direction. Only an advisor with vast experience in the establishment of a company can understand what it takes to succeed. We offer far more than that. Besides our success on international markets for decades, we are also from the same business and know how to manage tax and audit firms and how to optimize their internal structures. ETL is a family-owned, European-cultured firm, with more than 40 years of history and a strong SME focus. An integrated consultancy approach that includes tax, legal, audit and consultancy is what ETL understands under modern tax- and accounting services. The company s growth and success are based on partnerships with the aim to build long-term relationships and a high commitment. This kind of concept differs from a franchise, loose co-operation or a logo license; ETL shares not only the name with its partners but also its risks and success. ETL = partnership + business model International and cross border clients of ETL already benefit from an extensive network of partners all over Europe and worldwide. 10

11 A group of firms with one commitment Committed to continuous improvement, our ambition is to identify needs, create concepts and develop exciting new projects. We constantly explore alternative approaches to find new opportunities that create value for our partners, clients and us. According to the complexity of our business, we have recognized the need for an integrated approach that combines our diverse knowledge to optimize our clients businesses. Just to name a few of them: ETL ADVISION is a network of more than 140 ETL consultancies that offer tax and legal advice to clients in the medical and dental professions. The full range of services is focused on the needs of medics, which makes ETL Advision a full qualified expert in its field. ETL ADHOGA provides advisory services to the hospitality and gastronomy industry. Clients get support in their documentary systems, human resources management and in the optimization of operational and tax structures. Of course technical tools and support are of paramount importance to ETL too. Together with own software houses, progressive tools get developed in order to ease the path of business. One of them is ETL PISA: ETL PISA is a safe-server solution that offers customized communication between the entrepreneur and ETL accountants. The program enables secure web-based and certified archiving of essential documents e. g. payroll, financial accounting, corporate tax, income tax, financial statements. ETL-Group in a nutshell (2014) Revenues > 550 million EUR (Germany) Clients > 140,000 (Germany) Staff > 7,500 Professionals > 1,700 Offices > 800 Countries Across Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America Know-how Cutting edge, versatile 11

12 Why ETL International? Mutually beneficial ETL International AG is the international business platform of ETL. Worldwide partners with diverse knowledge, skills and experiences meet within the network to exchange information, support each other and build an interdisciplinary network of professionals. With the aim to supporting companies and entrepreneurs nationally and internationally, ETL International constantly works to strengthen the global presence of its partner offices. The network, which includes more than a thousand tax, accounting, legal, audit and business consultants, offers enormous opportunities, chances, tools and a unique marketing platform to companies and entrepreneurs. However, a successful partnership requires active networking. And networking requires give and take. Although we believe that only a capitalistic relationship entails the necessary commitment of all partners, each practice remains independent but supported. ETL International respects the partners conduct of business, wants partners to keep their proven style of business and does not interfere in the daily work of the practice. 12

13 A partnership has to be mutually beneficial, add value to each partner s respective services and situation, and offer more than a few opportunities to both parties. ETL International s values are linked to the cumulative skills and experiences of all partners, which, together, create a partnership that is greater than the sum of its parts. A mutually beneficial partnership therefore requires an active involvement and implies contributing valuable input to the network. Characteristics of partnership models ETL s model Other networks models Common business interest/shared risks No share of any risks Shared ownership N/A Independent business style Limited independency No base fee Base fee No revenue based fee Revenue based fee Long term commitment Contract terminable at short notice Access to specialist knowledge Limited know-how transfer Interdisciplinary approach Depending 13

14 Unique partnership concept Added value from day one The unique partnership concept of ETL adds value to the partner s firm from day one without stepping out of the driving seat. Development of goodwill with/without ETL Value of goodwill (seller) Change value of goodwill to cash Sell to ETL Investment period with ETL without ETL Payback rest of career t Developing an office can be limited by resources. By joining ETL you can immediately realize a part of your company s value and look forward to growing gains in the future. The worth of your stake in the company will increase although it partly gets converted into cash when joining ETL. 14

15 Benefit from many opportunities and a unique partnership model that makes it possible to realize a part of the firm s value at day one of the partnership in cash. the know-how transfer. We share all our sophisticated solutions for individual business lines, IT solutions, professional tools and offer assistance or training. the access to state-of-the-art solutions and business practices by sharing experiences, sample solutions or manpower. We hold best practice solutions proven by us and local or international colleagues. access to outsourcing solutions that may allow you to work more efficiently. professional support either by the ETL headquarters in Berlin or other partners within the worldwide network on an attractive intra-company fee. Together with your national partners you will be able to offer a broader range of services to your clients. a renowned trademark that stands for reliability and trustworthiness. Being part of an international group and enjoying the advantage of higher awareness wins the attention of new clients. We foster our brand, so that you can foster your awareness. a huge marketing platform to present your firm to colleagues around the world. Whether it is via intranet (ETLnet), our regular international networking events, bilateral meetings, numerous publications or events that facilitate dialogue between the business and academic communities in different territories. We set up contacts between you and the prospects you are interested in. assistance in building a succession plan, which includes possible scenarios for company succession and a clear exit strategy. As planning the exit is as important as starting a business, we offer exit strategies for different scenarios suitable to your individual situation. client referrals that you may receive from partners within the worldwide network of ETL.

16 Interested in joining ETL? Our headquarters in Berlin provides centralized support for companies and entrepreneurs who are interested in more information about a potential partnership. Of course, we are able to deliver information in multiple languages. Learn more about us at or contact our main office in Berlin. ETL International AG Mauerstraße Berlin Germany Tel.: +49 (0) Fax: +49 (0) Member of the ETL-Group Contact Brochure Upload the information on your smartphone or tablet. We suggest you to use the free iphone App Qrafter. Social Commitment

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