PracticeAccounting FirmsBanks join consolidation predators

Banks join consolidation predators

Royal Bank of Scotland and Bank of Scotland eye up firms as first big external players move in on accountancy marketplace.

The Royal Bank of Scotland and Bank of Scotland have been engaged in discussions with management consultants with a view to becoming accountancy consolidators.

Industry insiders say the banks have revealed their interest in the consolidation frenzy over the last few months. Although firm decisions have not been taken, the fact they are involved in the talks suggest the accountancy sector may be on the brink of seeing major outside players enter the arena.

It is understood the banks are working to different consolidation models, with RBS likely to target Scottish firms, while BoS is thought to be interested in gaining market share in England.

Any such deals would provide banks with the opportunity to increase the number of clients it has access to, while accountancy firms may be used as a marketing distribution channel.

Consolidation experts suggest companies such as Sage, IBM and Microsoft may also be interested in acquiring firms.

Gordon Gilchrist of the Twenty Twenty Group, said: ‘We have been predicting banks will become involved in accountancy consolidation for some time. Once the banks wake up and see what influence accountants have and understand what makes them tick – this type of deal will really take off.’ The banks declined to comment.

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