Crowe Horwath managing Partner speaks to the Irish Independent on welcoming Dublin accountancy firm Phelan Prescott + Co into the practice and the recovery within the SME sector.
The merger, the first such transaction the accountancy and business advisory firm has undertaken here since the early to mid-90s, is the latest plan in an ambitious growth strategy for the firm.
Naoise commented, “For us, it was a first in a number of years. In more recent times, a lot of the growth has been organic and we’re very conscious in making an acquisition in terms of what kind of firm that we would get involved with. It was certainly something that we spent quite a bit of time working on and making sure that the cultural fit was there and that the ethos was similar.”
With a focus is on small and medium enterprises, Crowe Horwath is seeing that firms are now coming out of a bruising number of years. SME debt is on the wane, but the consequences remain. “In general, the businesses that we’re working with have found the last two years have been better. They’ve come through and they’re seeing growth. They’re more positive in terms of outlook. But, equally, there’s a body coming through that need to repair their balance sheets, they need to repair the businesses.”
Cosgrove says he’s seen the personal impact takes its toll. “There’s an overhang with some of the personal aspects. For a lot of SME businesses, it gets intertwined and interwoven. The distinction between business and personal often isn’t as strong. In big corporate, there’s quite strong lines. In the SME sector, it’s much more intertwined. That has been a feature of the marketplace.”
However, he is keen to stress that things are on the up, and now the big issues for businesses include rising costs and pressures associated with wage inflation.