BeAligned, an advisory firm based in Belgium that serves clients mainly the Benelux market, has merged into the international network of Grant Thornton. Roughly 40 consultants will join Grant Thornton’s advisory practice, bringing its total headcount in Belgium to 180 professionals.
Founded in 2006 by Bruno D'Hulster, a former consultant of IBM BCS and PwC Consulting, BeAligned is a Belgium-based consulting firm that focuses on operational management. The consultancy specialises in strategy implementation along the lines of among other process management, Lean & Six Sigma, financial management and innovation. BeAligned currently has a team of roughly 40 consultants, as well as partnerships with several consulting firms to cover geographic regions outside the Benelux* and an associate network of more than 300 independent professionals.
Business consulting expansion
In line with its global ambition to grow its consulting practice, Grant Thornton’s management in Belgium recently agreed the objective to expand its advisory portfolio. To date the offerings centred around Business Risk Services (risk management, internal audit) and Transaction Advisory Services (M&A, restructuring, PMI), yet lacked a footprint in business and operational consultancy. Following a due diligence on a number of options, the professional services firm agreed to bolster its network with BeAligned. The team, which is based in Ghent, will be integrated into the Advisory business, and complement the existing office network in Antwerp, Brussels, Doornik, Hasselt and Turnhout.
According to Marc van de Gucht, Managing Director of BeAligned, the bundling of services will enable both firms to extend their offerings into new areas, leading to ‘integrated offerings’. “Joining Grant Thornton gives our clients a global connection to the international expertise provided by the 38,500 Grant Thornton member firm people in over 130 countries. They will now have access to audit, assurance, tax, accountancy, transaction support, business risk services, financial planning and legal services.”
“We are convinced the combined expertise will also create new opportunities to cater to the needs of growing organisations, where support in preparing for their future is required,” adds Paul De Weerdt, Managing Partner of Grant Thornton Belgium.
For Grant Thornton it is the second large addition to its Advisory unit in the Benelux. Last year the firm integrated ConQuaestor into its network, a leading Dutch consultancy firm that operates in the business and financial management consulting space. Following the integration, which was completed early this year, approximately 350 consultants joined Grant Thornton as a result of the deal.
Interestingly, ConQuaestor also has its roots in the former PwC Consulting / IBM BCS**. The firm was founded in April 2004 after a group of 21 partners and 300 consultants completed a management buy-out from IBM, following internal clashes with IBM executives on the strategy and positioning of the consulting department.
* Partners include BeNovate (Benelux), Amontis Network (Germany, EMEA), BOC Group (Eastern & Southern Europe), Drebble (Czech Republic), BOSS Consulting (Middle-East) and Real IRM (South-Africa).
** IBM bought PwC Consulting in October 2002 for a fee estimated to be $3.5 billion.