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Baker Tilly blooms in Ja - International network of accountancy and business advisory firm expands its footprint locally

Published:Tuesday | December 5, 2017 | 12:00 AM
The Baker Tilly team (from left) Wayne Strachan, Emile Lafayette, and Heston Hutton.

Backed by a team of experts, the United Kingdom-headquartered accountancy and business advisory network, Baker Tilly International, will be expanding its range of local offerings to provide in-depth advisory services.

Baker Tilly, one of the world's leading networks of independently owned and managed accountancy and business advisory firms, was first introduced to the Jamaican landscape in February 2014, when the local entity Strachan, Lafayette & Associates became an independent member.

The combined fee income of Baker Tilly International's independent members was US$3.23 billion (£2.6b) for the 2016 fiscal year, which made it the eighth largest accountancy and business advisory network in the world.

Strachan, Lafayette & Associates operates as a medium-sized firm providing accounting services to both local and overseas clients and manages a portfolio of more than 200 clients locally.

With lead partners Wayne Strachan and Emile Lafayette, the firm has access to resources in more than 147 countries with shared experiences, expertise and best practices.

"Since our firm became a member of Baker Tilly International ... we have experienced significant growth in our business and stronger confidence from corporate companies and financial institutions," said Strachan.

"Having spent the last four years focusing on the business assurance, it was now time to expand into advisory services, for which we have seen a strong demand from our existing clients," added Strachan, who along with Lafayette will be lead directors in the new entity, known as Baker Tilly Tax and Advisory Services Limited.

They have decided to expand the governance structure and skill sets of the company and have added former JaMobile Payment Services CEO Heston Hutton and Jamaica Olympic Association CEO Ryan Foster to the board of directors.

Associates Barry O'Brien and Ciaran Burke, managing partners of investment business at Williams Caribbean Capital, are also among the leadership team. Besides leveraging their extensive telecoms, ICT and financial backgrounds, they also plan to work with clients who may be considering taking on investment partners.




Collectively, the group boasts more than 50 years' leadership of start-ups and major businesses, they are past or present directors on more than 30 boards and have 20-plus years' experience as independent consultants across 20 countries.

"I am delighted to welcome Heston Hutton to the Baker Tilly team. Our member firms are committed to building valued client-adviser relationships," said Ted Verkade, chief executive officer and president of Baker Tilly International.

"The expansion to advisory services, in particular in the areas of growth strategies, logistics and relationship management, is testament to this commitment to ensuring that they build genuine long-term business partnerships with their clients and provide them with a holistic view of their business," added Verkade.

Hutton, the executive director for the advisory portfolio, said his focus will be strategic.

"We don't want to position ourselves like a consultancy company, we want to be very specific in terms of what we're going after," said Hutton.

"Our verticals are FinTech, which is using technology to deliver financial services, because that is the new way of delivering financial services. The traditional bank, brick and mortar model is dying.

"The other thing is the whole issue of process re-engineering and logistics. This is where we go into an organisation and we look at your business and say, 'listen, this can be tuned and this is why it needs to be tuned because you might be very profitable and doing very well in the last 20 years, but the fact is because of how the dynamics of the market is moving you need to adjust yourself and become more relevant and responsive'."

According to Hutton, the new entity will facilitate businesses which need to take organisation to another level, whether by preparing them for initial public offering, reinvestment, diversification or whatever.