Bigger. Better. Both?
16 November, 2016
Specialist and boutique firms – bigger or better? How to grow an exit valuation.
Warren Riddell. Accounting. beatonlive. Consulting engineering. Engineering. Law. Management consulting. Other professional services. Strategy
Growth strategies for specialist and boutique firms can be fraught with contradictions and conflicts. The potential for growth and scale is a fundamental component of a firm’s exit valuation, but how to grow at the right pace whilst retaining a firm’s USP?
15 September, 2016
The who, what and why of strategy
Warren Riddell. Accounting. beatonlive. Consulting engineering. Law. Management consulting. Other professional services. Strategy
Most leaders don’t have time for complex strategies. So how can you reduce complexity to simplicity, or chaos to order in developing and presenting strategy? Here’s how – focus on the who, what and why.
8 September, 2016
Engineering leaders need to think about the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
“Engineering leaders need to think about the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The associated changes are set to transform the engineering profession as we know it, so the time to act is now” writes Dr Marlene Kanga, President-Elect, World Federation of Engineering Organisations. Read why.
23 August, 2016
Strategy Playbook for professional services firms – video introduction
Warren Riddell. Accounting. beatonlive. Consulting engineering. Engineering. Law. Management consulting. Mergers & Acquisitions. Other professional services. Strategy
The first evidenced-based guide to developing strategy for professional services firms A Strategy Playbook for professional services firms has had over 200 unique downloads. Follow the link below to see a 2 minute introduction by the author and access the download here.
22 August, 2016
Specialist and boutique firms – what is my firm worth?
Warren Riddell. Accounting. beatonlive. Consulting engineering. Law. Management consulting. Mergers & Acquisitions. Strategy
Succession and exit remains one of the leading issues we are asked to advise on at Beaton Capital. What is my firm worth, my staff can’t afford to buy me out, how do I prepare for a third party sale are just some of the questions that follow this common theme. Here’s where to start…
19 July, 2016
First NewLaw firm in New Zealand
lexvoco is the first NewLaw firm in New Zealand, entering by crossing the Tasman. While this might not necessarily be regarded as noteworthy, the speed with which lexvoco is spreading is truly remarkable.
1 July, 2016
A Strategy Playbook for professional services firms
Developing and implementing strategy for a professional services firm can be a tough call for leadership. How can a big picture strategy be effectively developed, deployed and measured at the practitioner level? Here’s the answer.
Warren Riddell. Accounting. beatonlive. Consulting engineering. Engineering. Law. Management consulting. Other professional services. Strategy
Developing and implementing strategy for a professional services firm, indeed for any personal exertion services enterprise, can be a tough call for leadership.
16 June, 2016
6 April, 2016
Tales from a sell-side mandate
Warren Riddell. beatonlive. Consulting engineering. Engineering. Management consulting. Mergers & Acquisitions. Strategy
I never thought I’d be quoting Carl Jung in describing a sell-side mandate. But I will. Selling a firm is all about synchronicity, which Jung described as “meaningful coincidences”. Three years ago I wrote a post entitled “How hunger and hygiene drive valuations”, what I should have addressed is how do you create synchronicity in a […]
29 March, 2016
Tales from a buy-side mandate
Warren Riddell. Consulting engineering. Engineering. Law. Management consulting. Mergers & Acquisitions. Strategy
It never ceases to amaze me when sell-side targets fail to respond to buy-side approaches. Yes, it can be a distraction, but if the leadership of a sell-side target has time and curiosity they can learn much.
15 March, 2016
The third major NewLaw announcement in three months: Clients win
Over night from Toronto comes the news of a joint venture between Deloitte and Conduit Law. This is the third major NewLaw announcement in three months of strategic global significance.
24 February, 2016
16 February, 2016
Reading between the lines: 2016 International Accounting Rankings
Beaton is delighted to publish ‘Reading between the lines: 2016 International Accounting Rankings’, the first post from Tony Schiffmann on our blog. Since 1999 Tony has been a leader in BDO, rising from Queensland to the world. Our readers and Beaton are privileged to have access to Tony’s insightful interpretation of the global accounting industry, including the role of scale […]
15 January, 2016
1 January, 2016
What law firms and taxis have in common
‘What law firms and taxis have in common’ is my rhetorical way of capturing the relevance to BigLaw firms of a truly insightful article titled What is Disruptive Innovation? by Clayton Christensen and colleagues in Harvard Business Review, December 2015.
6 December, 2015
Resolving the prioritisation crisis in BigLaw firms
In some ways I wish I had read Zone to Win: Organizing to Compete in an Age of Disruption, Geoffrey Moore’s most recent book (2015) while researching the content for Remaking Law Firms (1). On the other hand it’s pleasing to have come to much the same conclusions as Moore about the urgency in resolving the prioritisation crisis, in my case the […]
4 December, 2015
Thinking of selling your firm in 2016? Here are 12 lessons from 2015
Warren Riddell. Accounting. Consulting engineering. Engineering. Law. Management consulting. Mergers & Acquisitions. Other professional services. Strategy
The end of the calendar year is typically a time to contemplate the future, so if you are thinking of selling your firm in 2016, here are 12 lessons from 2015. For many owners this is the time of year when they contemplate their exit.
30 November, 2015
BigLaw can emulate Private Equity to achieve greater growth
The current destinies of the private equity and BigLaw industries have several similarities that are useful provide useful insights for the leadership of BigLaw firms in their efforts to find new areas of growth.
25 November, 2015
Growth won’t solve your firm’s problems
‘Growth won’t solve your firm’s problems’ is a powerful article in The Am Law Daily on which Ed Reeser has written an equally compelling commentary. We are pleased to publish extracts of Ed’s comments on Growth won’t solve your firm’s problems because of their deep implications and insights for BigLaw business model law firms everywhere.
12 November, 2015
Ecosystems – get wise to the new language of business strategy
Warren Riddell. Accounting. beatonlive. Consulting engineering. Disruption. Engineering. Law. Management consulting. Other professional services. Strategy
Those of us brought up on value chain business models need to open our minds to major change. Value chain analysis was identified as core to formulating business strategy by Michael Porter in the 1980s. Now ecosystems thinking is replacing value chain doctrine.
11 November, 2015
Case study: How professional salespeople succeed in law firms
DLA Piper – whose revenue grew 14.6% in 2011 as the firm rose to become the second highest grossing law firm in America – maintains a dedicated sales division – and so can yours. Formed in 2005 by a merger between three firms: San Diego-based Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich LLP, Chicago-based Piper Rudnick LLP and London-based DLA […]
19 October, 2015
Generational change is slow in law firms
A recent study reveals the dangers of being slow to in making generational changes in law firms. Leadership in AmLaw100 firms is concentrated in the hands of older baby-boomers and members of the Silent Generation, born before the end of World War II. But while there is clear evidence of generational change occurring in the […]
15 October, 2015
13 October, 2015
Profit, delusion and the BigLaw obsession
His K&L Gates provenance and the way our guest contributor began his recent article in Legal Business caught my eye. Tony Griffiths’ piece was titled “…on profit, delusion and how Big Law became obsessed with the wrong things”. With his permission, we quote Tony and reinvigorate debate on the dangerous obsession with law firm league tables.
11 October, 2015
New Susskind book: The Future of the Professions
The Future of the Professions is a much-anticipated new book from Richard Susskind and his son Daniel Susskind. It is now available from Oxford University Press. On first reading it lives up to my highest expectations; I warmly commend The Future of the Professions to all who practise and value and benefit from professional life.
16 September, 2015
M&A in consulting engineering remains hot, but is it burning shareholder value?
Warren Riddell. Architecture. beaton Indices. Consulting engineering. Engineering. Mergers & Acquisitions. Strategy
Currently, there is one M&A transaction a day in the consulting engineering, environmental and ‘built’ consultancy sector. Since two Canadian pension funds bought out private equity firm Charterhouse Capital’s 55% stake in ERM in June this year, there have been some 90 transactions globally.
30 August, 2015
Ides of Maturity reflected in State of Legal Market Report
In March 2014 my colleague George Beaton posted The Ides of Maturity for professional services firms marks a modern-day turning point, an article based on his keynote address to the 2014 Client Choice Awards. George’s view of the future has recently been reinforced by a report on the state of the Australian legal market. This […]
15 August, 2015
10 reasons BigLaw managing partners are not sleeping very well
We have heard at least 10 reasons why BigLaw managing partners are not sleeping very well in recent one-on-one conversations and our beatonlive conferences. Some are deeply worried. Others are truly excited. Here’s a summary of why this dichotomy exists.
8 July, 2015
When is a partner not a partner?
‘When is a partner not a partner?’ is an apt question with which to introduce this post from Ed Reeser and Patrick McKenna, two leading north American experts and commentators on law firm compensation. These U.S. trends and their consequences are increasingly apparent in Australia. Every law firm partner should be fully informed and take their own […]
7 July, 2015
Pricing and analytics: Houston, we have a problem!
The refrain; “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there”, is essentially a paraphrase of an exchange between Alice and the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Unfortunately, there are some strong parallels between Alice’s aimless wanderings and the approach that many firms apply to the pricing function. […]
16 June, 2015
So, you want to list your law firm on the stock market?
The headlines sound marvellous to hard-pressed law firm partners (don’t all weep tears of sympathy into your beer): “Gateley partners to share £25m”. Wow. An exit route and, what’s more, a means of realising a goodwill value for your practice, as well as the return of your capital. What law firm partner could want more? […]
3 June, 2015
Four reasons why pricing legal services is not black or white
There at least four reasons why pricing legal services is not black or white. Like brewing coffee, there’s art and science involved in pricing legal services. Richard Burcher, the world’s leading authority on pricing legal services, will be in Australia to lead beatonlive‘s conference The Last Frontier: Profitable Pricing for Law Firms on 6 August 2015 in Sydney.
1 June, 2015
State of the MBB, Next Four and Big Four strategy consulting empires
“Some theories of the business are so powerful that they last for a long time. But eventually every one becomes obsolete” Peter Drucker, The Theory of the Business, September 1994 In October 2013 Clayton Christensen, Dina Wang and Derek van Bever wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review in which they posited consulting is […]
11 May, 2015
21 April, 2015
Listed law firms – any lessons for future wannabes?
Warren Riddell. Architecture. beatonlive. Consulting engineering. Engineering. IP & Patents. Law. Mergers & Acquisitions. Other professional services. Strategy
The announcement on 12 March 2015 that publicly listed law firm Slater + Gordon was to make a AUS$1.2billion acquisition in the UK has debunked the myth that law firms can’t be successfully listed – or has it?
20 April, 2015
Why NewLaw in Asia should seek to define itself
NewLaw in Asia is an emerging phenomenon and one to watch closely. This post by John Grimley first appeared on Asia Law Portal and is re-published with John’s kind permission. In April of 2013, Richard Granat (@rgranat) asked: Is Axiom Law a Law Firm? in a blogpost which appeared on his widely-read eLawering Blog. And Granat is well qualified […]
10 April, 2015
Employee shareholders – the pain and the gain
Warren Riddell. Architecture. beatonlive. Consulting. Consulting engineering. Engineering. Mergers & Acquisitions. Other professional services. Strategy
Expanding shareholdings beyond the founders of a firm can be fraught with difficulties, be it setting a price, the governance or the fundamental issue of the founders sharing the pie with others.
8 April, 2015
Grow your firm by helping clients to switch to you
Dr George Beaton. Accounting. Architecture. beatonbenchmarks. beatonlive. Consulting. Consulting engineering. Law. Management consulting. Strategy
‘Grow your firm by helping clients to switch to you’ may sound like a simple statement of obvious advice. It’s not because, as the research amongst clients of professional services firms summarised in this post shows, you need to know how to do this to maximise the probability of winning.
8 April, 2015
#LegalLean… coming to the legal services ecosystem near you?
This is a time when early adopters of legal services innovation are experimenting with cognitive computing, design thinking, artificial intelligence, process improvement, offshoring key aspects of service delivery, and applying technology to drive efficiency and new business models. Many questions arise: What exactly is the nature of legal work? Is a law degree or a […]
7 April, 2015
Selling the firm: What acquirers seek – do you make the cut?
Warren Riddell. Accounting. Architecture. beatonlive. Consulting. Consulting engineering. Engineering. Law. Management consulting. Mergers & Acquisitions. Other professional services. Strategy
Deals are cut pretty quickly; it’s that first impression thing. It’s the due diligence and the legals that take the time. So here are the few basics that you need to get right before you seek a buyer – how do you stack up?
30 March, 2015
Earn-outs – you want me to do what!
Warren Riddell. Accounting. beatonlive. Consulting. Consulting engineering. Engineering. Law. Management consulting. Mergers & Acquisitions. Other professional services. Strategy
In planning the sale of your firm be ready to accept that around 40% of the purchase price will not be paid on sale. Typically you could wait for between one and three years to collect all your proceeds – and even then you may be disappointed. So how to be prepared? This is how.
30 March, 2015
One sure way to grow organically in a stagnant market
Dr George Beaton. Accounting. Architecture. beatonlive. Consulting engineering. Law. Other professional services. Strategy
Helping clients cross-buy is one sure way to grow organically in a stagnant market. Yet so few firms recognise the opportunity. The chart in this post provides empirical evidence that clients actually value using multiple service lines from a single firm. In other words, clients want to cross-buy. So all firms have to do to grow organically is […]
26 March, 2015
Valuation and price are not equal
Recently Beaton Capital has advised four private company sales where experienced buyers, keen to close a deal differed by over 50% of the final price – how can this be so, and what does it mean for a vendor?
18 March, 2015
Who is buying Australia’s Consulting and Environmental Engineering firms? – The facts & figures
As a leading M&A adviser to consulting and environmental engineering (CEE) firms we track M&A activity both in Australia and globally. Over the last three years we have seen a continuation of global aggregation and consolidation, which has had a direct impact on the Australian market.
3 March, 2015
Whose interests are served by M&A in consulting?
In this post David Singleton asks whose interests are served by M&A in consulting and explores some of the broader, often unthought-of, impacts of the current merger and acquisition in the consulting sector, and asks how often they are a success. He also explores whether smaller firms can remain successful.
2 March, 2015
The time to start planning succession in Australian law firms is now
Based on the current profile of partner ages, succession in Australian law firms seems to be heading towards a crisis. In Australia’s 50 largest law firms 43% of partners are over the age of 49 (1). This points to a looming succession challenge, not only for the firms themselves, but also for their clients. The […]
25 February, 2015
Ross Dawson and George Beaton talking about Clients and Firms of the Future
Marc Ewen. Accounting. beatonlive. Consulting engineering. Disruption. Law. Management consulting. Strategy
In this video Ross Dawson and George Beaton talk about the Forum on Clients and Firms of the Future, how competing in the future is going to be very different to today, why this Forum is vital interest to every professional services firm, and what delegates can expect during the day-long interactive sessions. Clients and Firms of the Future: How to […]
17 February, 2015
Do you want me to feel like a box of corn flakes?
Many years ago in a marketing workshop, a sparky young law firm partner asked “Do you want me to feel like a box of corn flakes?”. The room murmured; all agreed but remained silent in discomfort, even disbelief. Back then marketing was a novel, and for most, a distasteful concept on which the profession frowned, and […]
16 February, 2015
Clash of the Titans: Big Four vs MBB vs BigLaw
“What’s past is prologue” William Shakespeare The professions are like evolving organisms, each continuously evolving to thrive in its environment. As my colleague, Dr George Beaton pointed out, each profession – accountancy, law and management consulting – started and grew in a profession-specific silo. But now these silos are breaking down, fast. So to understand […]
12 February, 2015
The Power of No
Warren Riddell. Accounting. Consulting engineering. Engineering. Law. Management consulting. Other professional services. Pricing and Procurement. Strategy
“The difference between successful people and very successful people…..” so wrote Warren Buffett. His answer (below) provides a lesson in pricing, strategy and differentiation for professional services firms. “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” How many professional services firms can say they […]
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