Barnes aims to grow Grant Thornton network

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Scott Barnes, newly-appointed CEO of Grant Thornton, said that the firm won’t
be indiscriminately targetting the Big Four’s blue chip audit clients.

His comments are in contrast to those of his counterpart Simon Michaels, new
managing partner of BDO Stoy Hayward, who said he wanted to ‘knock down the
doors of the listed company market’.

‘We already take on the Big Four in many areas. We work for 25% of the
FTSE100 in advisory and tax services. We have to be clear strategically,’ Barnes
told Accountancy Age.

Barnes pointed to two areas where he wanted to focus his
energies and improve the firm ­ building on the strength of the company’s
international network
and strengthening its specialisms. ‘That’s what clients expect now whatever size
they are.’

The firm’s takeover of Robson Rhodes will also prove crucial to growing the
firm. Barnes said the ‘merger’ has created strength in areas like financial
services and among the listed market as well as significantly increasing the
firm’s staff numbers in London by around 600 people.

‘It has given us strength in the audit market and property and forensic.
Generally it’s been a positive move for us,’ Barnes said.

The prospect of a looming recession hasn’t dampened Barnes’ enthusiasm for
the new role he’ll take up in December. He added: ‘Great companies see
opportunities in difficult times.’

Accountancy Age revealed this month that Grant Thornton had made a
cash call on partners at Easter. The total was thought to be less than £10m and
the firm denied that it was intended to plug a hole created by the Robson Rhodes

A spokesman for the firm said the cash would be used as working capital to
fund wages and buildings.

Grant Thornton reported revenues of £389m for the year ending June 2007,
10.2% up on the previous year, with 38 UK offices and around 310 partners.

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