TAX accountant Mark Ceglinski has established his own specialist practice in West Perth after leaving Ernst & Young earlier this month.
Mr Ceglinksi will be hoping to emulate the success of two former colleagues, Keith Johns and Ian Crisp, who have also established boutique corporate tax practices.
He plans to target small and mid-sized companies, both public and privately owned, that he said he believed were deterred by the billing rates of the big firms.
“A lot of these businesses don’t get the best tax advice, because they can’t afford the billing rates of the big four,” he said.
Mr Ceglinski said he believed many companies would also be attracted by personalised service in a small firm.
“Reputation is everything and service is what builds reputation,” he said.
Mr Ceglinski, trading as Ceglinski & Co, aims to have about 15 staff by the end of 2004.
This would put his firm on a par with KD Johns & Co, established 18 months ago by former Andersen partner Keith Johns.
Mr Johns, who has recently recruited two new staff, said the business had expanded much faster than originally expected, with referrals from existing customers driving much of the growth.
Mr Crisp, who left Ernst & Young in March, said he had been inundated with work since establishing Crisp & Co and was looking to expand his business.
Ernst & Young managing partner Michael Minosora said the boutique firms had not affected the growth of his business.
He said the most rapid growth had been in the middle market segment, defined as businesses with turnover between $5 million and $70 million.
“The middle market has grown most over the past 12 months,” Mr Minosora said.
“It’s a sector we are actively re-engaging with.”
He believes the big four have been aided by the increasing complexity of tax and regulatory compliance issues.
“The middle market is turning its back on second tier and third tier firms towards firms like ours,” Mr Minosora said.
He said that staff turnover at EY had returned to the levels before its May 2002 merger with Andersen.
Ernst & Young recently received an award for best change management at the Australian 2003 Human Resources Awards for its management of the merger.
In WA, about 120 Andersen staff, including eight partners, joined EY.
Of that group, five partners remain with EY.
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