Nexia Ebner Stolz

The Firm

Ebner Stolz Strengthens its Position as Market Leader in the Mittelstand

  • Re­ve­nues up by 7.7% to €180.7 mil­lion
  • Ac­coun­ting firms be­ne­fit from RFPs
  • Le­gal, cu­st­oms, com­pli­ance and IT au­dit de­part­ments strengt­he­ned
Stutt­gart, April 6, 2017 – Ger­man ac­coun­ting and con­sul­ting firm Eb­ner Stolz grew its re­ve­nues to €180.7 mil­lion in fis­cal year 2016 – a 7.7% in­crease over the prior year. In doing so, the firm has dou­bled its re­ve­nues since its mer­ger in 2009. Eb­ner Stolz at­tri­bu­tes this strong per­for­mance not only to the steady de­mand from Mit­tel­stand com­pa­nies, but also to the tar­ge­ted ex­pan­sion of its con­sul­ting fields and the suc­cess­ful start-up of its new of­fice in Karls­ruhe.

Ebner Stolz Strengthens its Position as Market Leader in the Mittelstand© Thinkstock

Ebner Stolz: Key Figures at a Glance

Consulting from a single source is in demand

The de­mand for se­am­lessly in­te­gra­ted ad­vice in the fields of ac­coun­ting, au­dit, tax con­sul­ting, le­gal con­sul­ting and busi­ness con­sul­ting re­mai­ned strong at Mit­tel­stand com­pa­nies in 2016.

For ex­am­ple, Eb­ner Stolz is ad­vi­sing ADAC in con­nec­tion with its le­gal re­or­ga­niza­tion. The chal­lenge is to bundle the in­te­rests of the 18 re­gio­nal clubs and to create the best ac­qui­si­tion struc­ture pos­si­ble. In ad­di­tion, a team from all four di­sci­plines at Eb­ner Stolz as­sis­ted Spain-ba­sed Te­lefónica with the carve-out of broad­cas­ting towers, im­ple­men­ting an in­ter­nal con­trol sys­tem, data mi­gra­tion, ac­coun­ting is­sues and in­ter­na­tio­nal ac­coun­ting.

Audit: new Mittelstand clients

Eb­ner Stolz was suc­cess­ful in win­ning new au­dit cli­ents in the past fis­cal year. These in­clude Con­Car­dis, EJOT, the Festool Group, Glas Trösch, Hi­molla, Kamax and the SA­MAG-Gruppe. The firm also won back the au­dit en­ga­ge­ment for the lis­ted com­pany Bas­tei-Lübbe AG from a big-four ac­coun­ting firm.

In the field of ban­king and fi­nan­cial ser­vices, Eb­ner Stolz was awar­ded the au­dit en­ga­ge­ment for Trumpf Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices GmbH and Bürg­schafts­bank Nord­rhein-West­fa­len GmbH af­ter ha­ving as­sis­ted them with se­veral one-off con­sul­ting pro­jects.

"We are plea­sed that we are in­clu­ded in more RFPs, where we are of­ten able to beat the com­pe­ti­tion and are awar­ded the en­ga­ge­ment," says Wolf­gang Russ, a part­ner in the Stutt­gart of­fice. Howe­ver, gai­ning new cli­ents has be­come much more com­pli­ca­ted and time-con­su­ming. Be­cause of the re­form of au­diting le­gis­la­tion, the award of an au­dit en­ga­ge­ment is now pre­ce­ded by a more in­ten­sive selec­tion pro­cess. "Su­per­vi­sory boards must be more in­vol­ved in the award of au­dit en­ga­ge­ments than they were be­fore, and they take this re­spon­si­bi­lity se­riously," Russ ex­plains.

A ma­jor is­sue for Mit­tel­stand com­pa­nies is IT se­cu­rity, as well as com­pli­ance with the EU Ge­ne­ral Data Pro­tec­tion Re­gu­la­tion. To meet the in­crea­sed de­mand, Eb­ner Stolz has ad­ded a 10-per­son team of spe­cia­lists to its IT au­dit de­part­ment.

Tax consulting dominated by BEPS requirements and inheritance tax reform

At 40%, tax con­sul­ting again ac­coun­ted for the lar­gest por­tion of the firm's re­ve­nues in 2016. The BEPS in­itia­tive by the OECD crea­tes a par­ti­cu­lar need for ad­vice among Mit­tel­stand com­pa­nies doing busi­ness in­ter­na­tio­nally. In par­ti­cu­lar, it has re­sul­ted in in­crea­sed do­cu­men­ta­tion re­qui­re­ments for these com­pa­nies. These re­qui­re­ments re­late pri­ma­rily to trans­fer pri­cing. As a re­sult, world­wide ac­cess to tax data in a group of com­pa­nies plays a con­side­ra­ble role. Eb­ner Stolz uses a soft­ware so­lu­tion for its cli­ents that is able to handle the in­crea­sed re­qui­re­ments.

Due to the re­cent re­form of in­heri­tance tax law, many fa­mily-ow­ned com­pa­nies have re­qui­red as­sis­tance with suc­ces­sion plan­ning. "This is­sue is of great con­cern to our core cli­en­tele, the clas­sic fa­mily-ow­ned busi­ness," says Russ. Along with the Bun­des­ver­band der Deut­schen In­dus­trie (BDI), Eb­ner Stolz was the first on the mar­ket to publish a prac­tical guide to busi­ness suc­ces­sion af­ter the in­heri­tance tax re­form.

Customs legislation increasingly important

With the de­ve­lop­ments in the US and the UK, cu­st­oms le­gis­la­tion and for­eign trade law have be­come more im­port­ant. Eb­ner Stolz has strengt­he­ned its ex­per­tise in this area with the ad­di­tion of a new part­ner and her team in our Ham­burg of­fice.

Expansion of legal consulting, primarily for transactions

We have made si­gni­fi­cant ad­di­ti­ons to our le­gal de­part­ment. "Our stra­tegy of being a one-stop-shop for all our cli­ents' con­sul­ting needs is bloss­om­ing, with le­gal is­sues be­com­ing in­cre­asin­gly im­port­ant. We have ex­pan­ded our ca­pa­ci­ties in con­nec­tion with tran­sac­tion con­sul­ting, la­bor law and IT law," Russ ex­plains.

Large pro­jects in­clu­ded the sale of the books­tore chain Tha­lia, ad­vi­sing Con­ti­nuum Ca­pi­tal in its ac­qui­si­tion of Es­prit and as­sis­ting Pro­Sie­ben­Sat1 Me­dia SE and Ge­ne­ral At­lan­tic with the ac­qui­si­tion of Käufer­Por­tal.

Restructuring and digitalization as drivers of growth in business consulting

The main is­sues hand­led by our busi­ness con­sul­ting de­part­ment in 2016 were the re­struc­tu­rings of lar­ger Mit­tel­stand com­pa­nies, tran­sac­tions and the es­ta­blish­ment of stra­te­gic al­li­an­ces. The de­mand for di­gi­tal so­lu­ti­ons is in­cre­asing si­gni­fi­cantly: mass data ana­ly­ses to ma­nage pro­duct port­fo­lio and dis­tri­bu­tion and struc­tu­ring the cu­st­omer jour­ney are the most im­port­ant is­sues. Pro­jects to im­prove the agi­lity of or­ga­niza­ti­ons and op­ti­mize busi­ness mo­dels are enjoy­ing a re­vi­val.

We suc­cess­fully enhan­ced the re­struc­tu­ring de­part­ment at our fast-gro­wing Mu­nich of­fice by ad­ding a new part­ner. Eb­ner Stolz will also con­ti­nue to ex­pand its busi­ness con­sul­ting prac­tice th­rough ex­ter­nal growth.

Compliance is important for Mittelstand companies

There is strong de­mand for pro­tec­tion from po­ten­tial busi­ness risks among Mit­tel­stand com­pa­nies. "Com­pli­ance vio­la­ti­ons by well-known com­pa­nies have made our cli­ents une­asy," Russ ex­plains. "Com­pli­ance vio­la­ti­ons can oc­cur anywhere in com­pa­nies and re­sult in con­side­ra­ble da­mage to their re­pu­ta­ti­ons. To avoid this, we ad­dress all as­pects of com­pli­ance."

Em­ployees in our new "Com­pli­ance and In­ves­ti­ga­ti­ons" de­part­ment iden­tify risks at our cli­ent com­pa­nies, un­co­ver any com­pli­ance vio­la­ti­ons and im­ple­ment com­pli­ance ma­nage­ment sys­tems.

International Players

Mit­tel­stand com­pa­nies are doing busi­ness far beyond the bor­ders of Ger­many. "And that's why in­ter­na­tio­nal con­sul­ting is in­cre­asin­gly im­port­ant for us. As a re­sult, we are par­ti­cu­larly ac­tive in the Ne­xia In­ter­na­tio­nal net­work," Russ ex­plains. "Busi­ness ties to the USA, the UK, China and the Ger­man-spea­king coun­tries (Ger­many, Aus­tria and Swit­zer­land) are es­pe­cially si­gni­fi­cant for us." With Ham­burg-ba­sed Eb­ner Stolz part­ner Mar­kus Emm­rich ta­king over the chair­manship of Ne­xia in the past year, Eb­ner Stolz has enhan­ced its po­si­tion in the net­work with over 560 of­fices in more than 115 coun­tries.

Press Contact

Dr. Ul­rike Höreth
Kro­nen­straße 30
70174 Stutt­gart
Tel.  +49 711 2049-1371

Business Contact

Dr. Wolf­gang Russ
Eb­ner Stolz
Kro­nen­straße 30
70174 Stutt­gart
Tel. +49 711 2049-1131

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