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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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