Next step: Ebner Stolz joins the international network RSM

Me­dium-si­zed com­pa­nies have grown and be­come in­ter­na­tio­nally, even glo­bally net­wor­ked. In this con­text, our cli­ents' re­qui­re­ments in terms of in­ter­na­tio­nal au­diting and con­sul­ting have in­crea­sed. Eb­ner Stolz has de­ve­lo­ped ac­cor­din­gly and for this has re­ad­jus­ted its in­ter­na­tio­nal po­si­tio­ning. As of 01.10.2023, Eb­ner Stolz will join the lea­ding in­ter­na­tio­nal au­dit and con­sul­ting net­work RSM. We talk to Chris­tian Fuchs, au­di­tor, tax ad­vi­sor and part­ner at Eb­ner Stolz, and Jean Ste­phens, Chief Exe­cu­tive Of­fi­cer of RSM In­ter­na­tio­nal, why this step is ne­cessary for our cli­ents and our em­ployees.

Eb­ner Stolz is ta­king a big step for­ward and is now fi­nally en­te­ring the in­ter­na­tio­nal arena. Why was this step ne­cessary?

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Chris­tian Fuchs: Eb­ner Stolz has grown con­ti­nuously over the years - even and es­pe­cially in dif­fi­cult ti­mes - and has been able to fur­ther ex­pand all four ser­vice areas. In doing so, we have al­ways ori­en­ted our­sel­ves to the needs of our cli­ents - and have ac­cor­din­gly de­ve­lo­ped fur­ther in line with de­mand in all di­sci­plines from au­diting to tax, le­gal and ma­nage­ment con­sul­ting. For ex­am­ple, we have cur­rently ex­pan­ded our range of ser­vices in the areas of sus­tai­na­bi­lity, in­ter­nal au­diting and di­gi­tiza­tion. Howe­ver, in­ter­na­tio­na­liza­tion is off par­ti­cu­lar im­port­ance for our fur­ther de­ve­lop­ment. Here, too, we want to take the next step - towards an in­ter­na­tio­nally po­si­tio­ned, high-per­for­mance and re­lia­ble net­work.

Eb­ner Stolz was pre­viously part of Ne­xia In­ter­na­tio­nal. Why was it now ne­cessary to look for a new net­work?

Chris­tian Fuchs: As I said, we have grown con­ti­nuously over the years and, ac­cor­ding to the so cal­led Lünen­donk ran­king, we are cur­rently the top 6 au­dit and con­sul­ting firm in Ger­many - trend up­ward. Now it was time to align our­sel­ves with the stra­te­gic re­qui­re­ments of our cli­ents for a more in­te­gra­ted net­work and uni­form qua­lity stan­dards. This align­ment was not pos­si­ble with our pre­vious part­ner Ne­xia In­ter­na­tio­nal. Ad­di­tio­nal, some im­port­ant net­work part­ners, es­pe­cially in the USA and UK, un­for­tuna­tely left the net­work. Thus, we had to look for al­ter­na­ti­ves.

Eb­ner Stolz will now be part of the RSM net­work from Oc­to­ber 2023. Why RSM?

Chris­tian Fuchs: We took a close look at the in­ter­na­tio­nal net­works and came up that the DNA of Eb­ner Stolz and RSM is al­most iden­ti­cal. Just like us, RSM has the claim to be the lea­ding pro­vi­der in the mid­mar­ket - that is com­ple­tely con­gru­ent with our cor­po­rate phi­lo­so­phy.

We are No. 6 in the Ger­man mar­ket - RSM also oc­cup­ies this po­si­tion in the in­ter­na­tio­nal ran­kings world­wide. The net­work’s growth has been si­mi­larly suc­cess­ful to ours. In ad­di­tion, im­port­ant na­tio­nal sub­si­dia­ries are lo­ca­ted in coun­tries that are im­port­ant for us, for ex­am­ple the USA, UK, Aus­tra­lia and China.

Does RSM of­fer the same ser­vice port­fo­lio world­wide as Eb­ner Stolz?

Jean Ste­phens: Eb­ner Stolz and RSM are both known for pro­vi­ding a wide mix of high-qua­lity as­surance, tax and con­sul­ting ser­vices. In or­der to be a Mem­ber of RSM, a Firm is re­qui­red to have strength across these core ser­vice areas, and for those Firms that ope­rate in lar­ger eco­no­mies such as Ger­many, this in­clu­des a num­ber of spe­cia­list ser­vices such as risk ad­vi­sory, in­ter­na­tio­nal tax, fi­nan­cial due di­li­gence, re­struc­tu­ring and le­gal ser­vices. As is na­tu­ral in glo­bal pro­fes­sio­nal ser­vices net­works, dif­fe­rent firms and teams around the world bring dif­fe­rent strengths. While Eb­ner Stolz brings a wealth of know­ledge and ca­pa­bi­li­ties to RSM across its ser­vice port­fo­lio, in par­ti­cu­lar, its le­gal con­sul­ting ser­vices will be a key ad­di­tion to the RSM net­work. RSM Mem­ber Firms cur­rently pro­vide le­gal ser­vices in 36 coun­tries, and the in­ten­tion is for RSM to learn from and use the suc­cess and in­sight of Eb­ner Stolz in this area to fur­ther ex­pand its le­gal con­sul­ting of­fe­ring in­ter­na­tio­nally.

What role will Eb­ner Stolz play wi­thin the RSM net­work in the fu­ture?

Jean Ste­phens: The ad­di­tion of Eb­ner Stolz to RSM will si­gni­fi­cantly ex­pand the Net­work’s po­si­tion in the Ger­man mar­ket - in size, so­phisti­ca­tion and ex­per­tise – in­clu­ding th­rough of­fe­ring a much de­eper and broa­der range of con­sul­ting ser­vices. Due to the im­port­ance of the Ger­man mar­ket as glo­bal eco­no­mic cen­tre, and with Eb­ner Stolz being one of the lar­gest Firms in the RSM Net­work, Eb­ner Stolz will un­doubta­bly have an im­port­ant role to play in the de­ve­lop­ment and on­go­ing suc­cess of the glo­bal or­ga­ni­sa­tion – whe­ther this be th­rough re­fer­ring or par­ti­ci­pa­ting in glo­bal cli­ent work, or in lea­ding or sup­por­ting cri­ti­cal glo­bal in­itia­ti­ves alig­ned with RSM’s 2030 Glo­bal Stra­tegy. RSM will be working with Eb­ner Stolz lea­ders to en­sure the Firm’s in­te­gra­tion and par­ti­ci­pa­tion th­roug­hout RSM’s glo­bal lea­dership teams, in­clu­ding RSM’s glo­bal ser­vice Cen­tres of Ex­cel­lence and RSM’s many ope­ra­tio­nally fo­cu­sed lea­dership teams across mar­ke­ting, HR, ESG and more. Eb­ner Stolz will also have a po­si­tion on the RSM In­ter­na­tio­nal Board, hel­ping to over­see the Net­work’s glo­bal go­ver­nance and stra­te­gic de­ve­lop­ment and im­ple­men­ta­tion.

What ad­ded va­lue will there be for cli­ents and em­ployees as a re­sult of joi­ning?

Chris­tian Fuchs: In the fu­ture, we will be able to of­fer our cli­ents a net­work of con­sul­ting com­pa­nies at 860 lo­ca­ti­ons in more than 120 coun­tries around the world, ope­ra­ting un­der a uni­form brand and with the same qua­lity stan­dards. We are main­tai­ning our con­sis­tent fo­cus on small and me­dium-si­zed en­ter­pri­ses and will be able to draw on glo­bally uni­form sys­tems and stan­dards. Our cli­ents will be­ne­fit from the ex­pe­ri­ence of ex­cel­lent au­di­tors and con­sul­tants world­wide.

We will also take a si­gni­fi­cant step for­ward in ex­pan­ding our in­ter­na­tio­nal net­work of la­wy­ers with RSM and will be able to con­ti­nue our suc­cess­ful work in pro­vi­ding ho­listic ser­vices to our cli­ents.

The fo­cus of RSM Glo­bal Stra­tegy 2030 is - as is our fo­cus - on the em­ployees. To­ge­ther, we can of­fer our em­ployees ex­ten­sive de­ve­lop­ment op­por­tu­nities, for ex­am­ple th­rough de­ploy­ment on in­ter­na­tio­nal pro­ject as­si­gn­ments and th­rough se­cond­ments.

For cli­ents, you em­pha­size the ad­ded va­lue of bet­ter in­ter­na­tio­nal sup­port. Does the coope­ra­tion af­fect cli­ents who ope­rate ex­clu­si­vely on a na­tio­nal le­vel?

Chris­tian Fuchs: No. Of course, not­hing will change for our cli­ents who do not re­quire an in­ter­na­tio­nal net­work. Neit­her our cor­po­rate phi­lo­so­phy nor our fre­elance ap­proach will change: we are and will re­main clo­ser to me­dium-si­zed busi­nes­ses.

The only ex­cep­tion that ma­kes us a little me­lan­cho­lic: In the long term, we will say good­bye to the Eb­ner Stolz brand by de­ve­lo­ping our brand into RSM Eb­ner Stolz and at least ap­pearing uni­formly un­der the RSM brand. Howe­ver, we do not see this as an aban­don­ment of our brand, but ra­ther as a fur­ther de­ve­lop­ment and con­ti­nua­tion of our part­nership on the in­ter­na­tio­nal stage.

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