Curtis McLean move under Deloitte Private's umbrella

JAZIAL CROSSLEY
Last updated 08:29 18/11/2013
Deloitte and Curtis McLean
KEVIN STENT/Fairfax NZ

GLOBAL REACH: Mike Curtis, left, of Curtis McLean, and Deloitte chief executive Thomas Pippos after their merger.

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Global professional services firm Deloitte has merged with a smaller Wellington company, Curtis McLean, to expand its reach in the local private market.

Curtis McLean co-founder Mike Curtis said the 25-year-old business offered advice to SME companies, individuals and family trusts across a range of industries.

Clients in the capital include film and TV company Gibson Group, Commonsense Organics specialist grocery stores, cafe Floriditas and the Mojo Coffee brand. Its offices on Wakefield St, where about 40 people are employed, will be rebranded Deloitte Private. Curtis said it decided to become part of Deloitte so it could help its clients expand globally - such as Mojo Coffee moving into Japan - because overseas expertise was needed to deal with different tax regulatory environments.

"We were seeing the growth and competition from firms like Deloitte in our market space.

"For clients at that next level, as a business we couldn't really fulfil their demands. This gives us global coverage for our clients while still retaining the personal service our firm has been known for, for 25 years."

Deloitte launched Deloitte Private in Australia in 2010 and brought the identity, focusing on smaller scale clients, to New Zealand in May this year.

Deloitte's New Zealand chief executive, Thomas Pippos, said chartered accountants Curtis McLean was the largest firm of its type in Wellington providing trusted business services.

"They work across professional sectors that are representative of Wellington. Because they have a large number of clients, their information about the marketplace is broad and not skewed by one or two big clients. They have a good ability see what's happening in the market," Pippos said. According to Curtis, some of the biggest issues Wellington SMEs have on their minds are the management of the city around things like parking - "We don't want to end up like Auckland, being a clogged city" - and access to capital.

The five principals at Curtis McLean will become equity partners at Deloitte.

Pippos said the merger allowed mixing and matching between their teams, so staff could be moved to work on projects where needed. Both Deloitte and Curtis McLean work in local firm Xero's cloud accounting software so amalgamating systems would be simple. "In our type of business we feel we're pretty progressive in terms of offerings by moving into the cloud.

"Traditional accounting services have changed quite materially and you're only successful in this sector if you are similarly progressive," said Pippos.

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- The Dominion Post

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