Thoughts on ways to improve the management of professional services firms

Monday, April 23, 2007

Corporatisation (or corporatization if from the US) - Stocktale of Posts as at 23 April 07

One of the reasons why I do periodic topic based stocktake posts is the way it forces me to look back at past posts, to see what I have written and, more importantly, the things I have not written on.

Corporatisation is a case in point. Looking at the following list of posts, I can see a number of areas requiring follow up to fill gaps.

In only my second post (4 July2006) I looked briefly at the difference between self-employed professionals and business builders. The first group, the majority by number, focus on return from cash flow. The second focus on building a business looking for a return from the combination of cash flow and business sale. This leads to significant behavioural differences.

In the following post (also 4 July) Selling your practice: the self employed professional case I suggested that even self-employed professionals should take sale possibilities into account.

On 8 July I looked at the need for role clarification within partnerships in order to improve management and governance. This included the separation of returns on capital from payments for work. Once this was done, I suggested, the definition of roles and the remuneration to be attached to those roles could then be dealt with using conventional job analysis and remuneration principles.

On 11 July I introduced the topic of mergers, acquisitions and the abolition of goodwill.

I began by looking at the resistances and practical difficulties that would need to be overcome if returns from equity and capital were to be separated. I then suggested that separation of returns from equity and capital was linked to another issue, the increasing trend towards mergers and acquisitions within professional services, a trend associated with changes including demographic change placing pressures on both smaller and mid size practices to get bigger or get out. I then looked at the implications flowing from moves by some firms to abolish goodwill, suggesting that this created its own problems.

On 14 July I looked at the question of consolidation among accounting firms and especially the way that the WHK Group was using tuck-in acquisitions.

Then on 31 August in corporatisation in the Australian legal sector I foreshadowed a major series of posts looking at the Australian corporatisation experience across sectors. However, I then explained in on 6 September in corporatisation in the Australian professions - reasons for delay that I had met some practical problems including just how much to explain about the Australian system and that I had therefore put the matter on hold until I worked out the best way of handling it.

On 3o October I looked again at the question of the treatment of good will in the context of the proposed float of Integrated Legal Holdings. This was then followed on 3 November by a short note on corporatisation and structural change in the Canadian legal sector.

There was then a long gap until until 21 March 2007 when I looked again at the evolving corporatisation process in Australia, suggesting that law was now following accountancy down the corporatisation path.

In all, there is still an awful lot to write about!

Previous Stocktakes

23 October 2006. People Management in Professional Services - Consolidated list of Posts as at 23 October 06

12 October 2006. Blogs and Blogging - Stocktake of Posts as at 12 October 06

24 September 2006. Professional Mudmaps - Cultural Differences Across the Professions: Stocktake of Posts as at 24 September 06

12 April 2007. Common Management Problems in Professional Services - Stocktake of Posts as at 12 April 07.

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