Chief predicts slow growth ahead for Grant Thornton

Chief predicts slow growth ahead for Grant Thornton

Growth will come from acqusitions, not organically, says Scott Barnes

Scott Barnes

Continuing tough economic conditions will leave Grant Thornton looking to
grow through acquisitions rather than organically.

Grant Thornton CEO Scott Barnes predicts growth will come via acquisitions
and in its specialist advisory services division.

Barnes spoke as the
firm
announced a 40% jump
in pre-tax profits, following on from its 2007
merger with Robson Rhodes.

He told Accountancy Age the UK economy will experience a sluggish
recovery, but won’t slip into a double-dip recession.

“I don’t subscribe to the double dip theory… I think growth will be very slow
over the next six months,” he said.

GT would be in the market for acquisitions during the next year and believes
there will be growth in specialist advisory areas, including forensic
accounting.

“Where we are expecting is growth in our forensic business,” he said.

“The only way we can grow significantly would be by bolt-on acquisitions… Are
we going to grow in double digits over the next two years, probably not.”

He believes the controversial decision to remove 100 people from the firm in
February 2009 staved off further redundancies and contributed to the healthy
profit results this morning.

“We took a bit of flack for being the first firm to put on a redundancy
programme.”

He does not believe GT will be exposed to public sector cost cuts, but said
there might be some revenues to be made from government restructuring. GT’s
corporate finance department was also starting to see green shoots.

Profits jumped to £78m, with the biggest increase seen in the advisory sector
up 11% while assurance revenue was down 6.2% to £136m and tax dropped to 4.8% to
£93m.

The firm’s total revenues were £380m, an increase of 0.4%.

Further reading:

Partner
profits rocket at Grant Thornton

Profits
drop at Grant Thornton as restructure takes its toll

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