Last week, Jobtel, a mergers and acquisition specialist, wrote to managing partners of firms in the five to 35 partner bracket urging them to join forces and head off moves from US consolidators to buy up UK firms.
Kenneth Crofton Martin, chairman of the London Society of Chartered Accountants and a partner at Pannell Kerr Forster, said the call might make small firms focus on streamlining their practices. Effective use of software and electronic filing of tax returns, for instance, would make statutory work more cost effective, he said.
Small firms needed to identify profitable niche work, he said: 'The question for small firms is: are you willing to face the challenges of staying independent? If so, recognise your strengths; don't try to be all things to all men.'
Mike Burgess, managing director of Swat Ltd, which offers consultancy and training to small practices, said US consolidators had taken significant slices of gross revenue. 'The majority of firms which are not bought up are going to need support,' he said. 'Otherwise they will end up competing with high street players with huge financial muscle behind them.'
Michael Bailey, managing partner at Morison Stoneham a 17-partner firm, said the profession would see radical changes within months rather than years: 'From where I am sitting these moves seem quite sensible whether through flotation or consolidation.'
Some parts of Atacama have not received rainfall for 500 years - but a sudden deluge of water upset the Desert's delicate biological balance
Spitzer Space Telescope could not spot Oumuamua, suggesting that it is actually pretty small
Greenland crater one of the 25 largest impact craters on Earth
This long-sought progenitor star was identified in an image captured by Hubble in 2007