Practice Manager: Small firms must use size to their advantage

KPMG IS RIGHTLY PLEASED that it is the first Big Four firm to set up a base at Silicon Roundabout, or Tech City by its ‘official’ name.

The firm is looking to capitalise on the investment pouring into what was a particularly non-descript roundabout in Old St in the City of London. Now it is a hive of activity for the technology sector.

But what is more interesting for the wider practice community is that KPMG certainly isn’t the first firm on the block. Perhaps it was waiting for a certain mass and complexity of the business community before it felt it could provide potential clients with value.

In October 2011, Accountancy Age interviewed Blick Rothenberg partner Nilesh Shah about the opportunities afforded to the firm by setting up at Silicon Roundabout.

Shah and three other team members made the move just a month after bringing the proposal to the firm’s board.

High-growth companies will interest small firms and large alike. Smaller firms can win clients and see fees rise – if not in line with clients’ exponential growth – at a strong rate.

Bigger firms see small companies that are going to get big quickly, which will need consulting, audit, tax and ultimately transactional advice.

But small firms can be fleet of foot. While not necessarily backed up with sophisticated marketing and business development departments, they can be more entrepreneurial in their actions.

Inevitably, small clients that become big often change their advisor to suit their changing business requirements.

But I’m sure that Shah isn’t worrying about that. He and his team are too busy making contacts, and looking to win some exciting clients.

Kevin Reed is editor of Accountancy Age

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