Baker Tilly Roelfs merges with TPW Todt & Partner

28 May 2015

German consulting firm Baker Tilly Roelfs and auditing firm TPW Todt & Partner have decided to merge. The deal will expand both firm’s market presence as well as their service offering, creating benefits for their clients. As a result of the merger, TPW will take on the name of Baker Tilly Roelfs and its 270 employees will be added to Baker Tilly’s headcount in Hamburg.

Baker Tilly Roelfs is an in 1979 founded German-based management consulting firm. The firm has 1,050 accountants, auditors, lawyers, tax advisers and management consultants working from its 12 locations in Germany and is seen as one of the largest partner-managed firms in the country. Baker Tilly Roelfs is a member of the global Baker Tilly International network, which consists of 154 partner companies with more than 27,000 employees in 133 countries.

Auditing company TPW Todt & Partner (TPW Group) was founded in 1948 and is, with its 270 employees, one of the largest auditing companies in Hamburg. The firm offers its clients auditing, tax, legal, corporate finance and consultancy services and focuses predominantly on the maritime sector and the real estate sector.

German merger

In line with their ambition to expand their business and service offering, in terms of both content and geographical location, Baker Tilly Roelfs and TPW Group decided to merge. The merger will strengthen Baker Tilly Roelfs’ presence and consulting services in Hamburg and the north of Germany, while TPW Group acquires a nationwide presence through Baker Tilly Roelfs’ German offices. In addition, the firm will be integrated into the global Baker Tilly International network, providing it with access to the 154 partner companies globally.

As a result of the merger, which is expected to be finalised in the coming weeks, TWP Group will take on the name of Baker Tilly Roelfs and its 20 TPW partners and 250 employees will join Baker Tilly Roelfs’ office in Hamburg.

Baker Tilly Roelfs merges with TPW Todt & Partner

Commenting on the merger, Ralf Gröning, Partner at Baker Tilly Roelfs, says: “For both Baker Tilly Roelfs and TPW this strategic merger will bring numerous advantages, from which particularly our clients will benefit. On the one hand, our consulting sectors complement each other ideally. […] On the other hand, the merger also offers clear geographical advantages: TPW is entering into a long-established corporate environment with twelve branches located throughout Germany. And importantly, thanks to our global network TPW is gaining access to the world's leading maritime cities. At the same time, Baker Tilly Roelfs will be in a position to immediately expand its presence in Hamburg and northern Germany.”

German expansion
Baker Tilly is not the only international network of firms expanding its market presence in Germany. Just recently, Mazars boosted its footprint in Germany by merging with Roever Broenner Susat.


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Accenture's push into the creative sector is an identity crisis

18 April 2019

In its latest push into the creative sector, Accenture Interactive acquired New York and London-based ad agency Droga5 earlier this month, adding illustrious clients such as HBO, Amazon and The New York Times to its roster of clients. With the latest in a long line of similar purchases, Accenture Interactive further demonstrated its ambition of becoming the globe’s leading trusted advisor to chief marketing officers. Yet according to Ben Langdon, Chairman of Class35, Accenture’s strategy may be heading in the wrong direction.

A press release on Accenture’s website announcing the acquisition sits next to a quote stating that “brands aren’t built through advertising” – a huge contradiction from a consultancy firm hell-bent on becoming the ‘CMO agency of choice’. It’s not alone of course. The entire consulting industry wants a piece of the creative pie right now. In addition to Accenture Interactive, recent acquisitions by PwC Digital, IBM iX, and Deloitte Digital meant that in 2017, for the first time ever, four of the world’s ten largest creative agencies were consultancies.

So just what it is that Accenture wants to achieve from this? For one thing, it’s clearly trying to be a digital transformation business. A one-stop creative shop rivalling more traditional models, it wants to lure CMOs in with the promise of lower ad spend and a “more impactful customer experience”. At the same time, though, it’s still in thrall to those same slinky, shiny branding and advertising agencies it’s attempting to disrupt. The Droga5 acquisition and that of Karmarama a few years before are both testament to this.

There’s a fundamental problem with this, though. Digital transformation businesses don’t sell to CMOs. These people have enough on their plates trying to transform their own marketing skills in order to keep up with an ever-changing market – they just don’t have the time or the energy to concern themselves with digitally transforming a whole business. If Accenture’s purpose is digital transformation, then going after creative agencies is barking up the wrong tree.Is Accenture's push into the creative sector an identity crisis?

Worlds apart

Perhaps more importantly, these two industries are worlds apart in terms of the way they think. Creative agencies are all about ideas, campaigns and consumers. Digital businesses, on the other hand, are customer-driven – they think in terms such as lifetime value, measurement, and efficiency. Customer-led thinking is an entirely different beast to consumer-led thinking.

The reality is that the arrival of digital and an all-encompassing obsession with technology, measurement and social has led to the death of agencies in a reductive, zero-sum, efficiency-focused battle with brands. Indeed, agencies have become so obsessed with the latest tech fads, they’re beginning to forget how brands work. Worse still, they’re beginning to forget how brands are built. And, by forgetting, they’re destroying their own values.

Killing creativity

All things considered, it really feels to me as though Accenture is a chip leader in a game it doesn’t understand. Expensive acquisitions like these show that they’ve got the big money, but they don’t appear to have any idea what they’re doing with it. Take talent, for example. The best talent in the creative industry right now is out in the market; it’s not tied to any one agency. Both agencies might well be at the top of their game, but why would a consulting firm waste so much money on buying them when they could hire high-quality creative talent on a contingent basis instead?

As their presence in the top 10 creative agencies shows, there is a growing trend in which Accenture, like many of the other big players, are buying up agencies as if they were nothing more than keywords. What they’re really buying, though, is a collection of credentials, clients and IP. Unfortunately, the talent that created those credentials aren’t going to stay at the business, the clients that hired the agency in the first place won’t be interested in buying what is basically just another part of Accenture, and the IP never really existed to begin with.

Droga5, for example, was one of the few agencies that did great brand work the old-fashioned way – undoubtedly something that made it attractive to Accenture in the first place. The irony, though, is that by leading it further away from the way of working that made it so special, the consulting giant will kill its creativity.

“Accenture Interactive has been dazzled by its ambitions to become the CMO agency of record…. But, in flashing its cash, it is spending millions on acquiring nothing of any value.”

If pressed, the recently acquired agency staff at Accenture will tell you just how dysfunctional the new arrangement is. They’re largely unfulfilled. Rarely do they feel their work has any sort of meaning or purpose. What’s more, the different disciplines have found little or no common ground, and find it hard to work together as a cohesive whole. It’s not surprising, then, to see talented people leaving in droves.

Beyond the window dressing 

It’s clear, then, that consulting firms and creative agencies are no easy bedfellows. But in his company’s defence, Accenture Interactive’s Senior Managing Director for North America, Glen Hartman, described its culture as being “far, far away from what a stereotypical consulting firm would look like. Our office and studios look a lot like Droga5’s.”

In demonstrating a belief that office design equates to workplace culture, this statement serves as an illustration of how confused Accenture is right now. It wants to justify its new strategy so badly, it’s started dressing like a creative agency. But if you look beyond the window dressing and see that you and your partners are speaking a different language with a different purpose, selling to different people in a different market, there’s no getting away from the fact that you’re different.

Accenture Interactive has been dazzled by its ambitions to become the CMO agency of record, and it wants to dazzle others with its new direction. But, in flashing its cash, it is spending millions on acquiring nothing of any value.

Related: Space between consulting firms and creative agencies is converging.