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Yearly Archives: 2011


Comment on ALB Fast 10 in Australia

December 21st, 2011 |


Beaton's recent 'Bigger. Better. Or Both?' First Movers seminar analysed the merits of size and growth (Bigger) versus focusing on clients' needs (Better) and being rewarded for success. In this context it's interesting to note that of the 10 firms recognised by ALB only half are conventional (ABL, H&W, MO, WH, WK). The others are incorporated consolidators (M+K), listed (ILH, S&G) or so-called non-firm firms (AL, BL).

Industry watchers will no doubt latch on to this as yet another harbinger of change. Nimbleness in the market, access to capital and innovation are, on average, more likely in new structures. So, well done the conventional five. And let's all take note of the five playing by new rules. They are the game-changers and disruptors – dismiss or ignore them at your peril.

ALB Fast 10 - 2011

By George Beatonis a director of Beaton Capital and Beaton Research + Consulting. You can find George on Google+ at +George Beaton.

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Posted in Legal, Professional Services, Strategy | No Comments »

Why lawyers outperform consulting engineers

November 3rd, 2011 |


Since 2003 when we starting benchmarking client-rated performance, the consulting engineering firms have always lagged the law and accounting firms pretty much across the board. And it's been this way for the 9 years of data we have. What is it about the engineering profession that leads to this lower performance? And what is it that the other professions - particularly lawyers - do so well? There are the obvious things:

  • Engineers think "projects" not "clients". Professional kudos comes from being involved in big projects.
  • Power in law and accounting firms comes from your client relationships and their willingness to follow you if you leave the firm. Not so in engineering.
  • Personality-wise, engineers are more introverted and conflict-avoiding than accountants and lawyers.
  • Engineers have been giving away margin for years – and understanding your clients' needs, and delivering on them, takes an investment of time.

However, a recent conversation with a client got me thinking about another possible cause, particularly in large, generalist firms. (more…)

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Posted in beatonbenchmarks, Engineering, Professional Services | No Comments »

The good old days are over: business conditions for law firms volatile

October 28th, 2011 |


The Commonwealth Bank - Beaton Market Pulse for Q1 FY2012 shows that large and middle-sized law firms are experiencing much tougher conditions than at the end of FY2011. Full coverage is available in today's Legal Affairs section of The Australian newspaper. (Print and online: online requires subscription – free for the first 3 months.) While this decline is being felt across the profession, it is particularly driven by the top-tier firms, whose perceptions of business conditions fell from net 50% positive in Q4 FY2011 to net 14% negative. How are firms reacting? (more…)

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Posted in beatonbenchmarks, Legal | No Comments »

BRW’s Accounting 100 confirms brand as a major battle ground

October 13th, 2011 |


Today's analysis by BRW's Nassim Khadem (13 October 2011) of Australia's accountancy sector confirms the intense battle for market share in the advisory and private client spaces. Given the major differences amongst the four strategic groups: Big 4, mid-size, restructing specialists and the rest, Beaton predicts brand permission as a key competitive dynamic. With Beaton Benchmarks as the only source of robust comparative brand and performance data we continue to provide our insights and interpretation to all contestants.

By George Beatonis a director of Beaton Capital and Beaton Research + Consulting. You can find George on Google+ at +George Beaton.

Posted in Accounting, beatonbenchmarks, Strategy | No Comments »

Too Big to Last?

October 3rd, 2011 |


Late last month the Financial Times (September 26) reported [free registration required] that the European Commission has launched draft regulation to address what many have long considered inevitable. The Big 4 are under inexorable pressure to choose between consultancy and audit. As the end-game approaches we predict ever-greater efforts by all the Big 4 to diversify into all manner of advisory services, so that come the day of complete separation their massive scale will be intact and their transformation into diversified professional service firms, in a sense, complete.

For the clients, the corollary is that audit fees will rise to enable the now 'pure' auditors to generate profits commensurate with the skills and responsibility involved.

Any bets how long the battle between the world's regulators and the profession will last? And who will 'win'?

By George Beatonis a director of Beaton Capital and Beaton Research + Consulting. You can find George on Google+ at +George Beaton.

Posted in Accounting, Strategy | No Comments »

Your views on “Surviving the legal jungle”?

September 22nd, 2011 |


In Georgina Dent's comprehensive article on Australia's top 30 law firms (BRW 15-21 September 2011) I am quoted correctly (save for an important preposition: in tip 2 the first sentence should read "by 5 per cent of revenue" not "to 5 per cent" – unless the whole firm plans to move to Bangalore!) as suggesting our major firms need to down-size, become much more profitable and find ways being much bigger players in Asia.

I am interested in how others view the strategic options facing the biggest and some of our finest law firms in Australia?

If you have a BRW online subscription, you can read Georgina's article here. If not, let us know and we can email you a PDF.

By George Beatonis a director of Beaton Capital and Beaton Research + Consulting. You can find George on Google+ at +George Beaton.

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Posted in Legal | No Comments »

Another day, another local firm goes global

August 12th, 2011 |


My article in today’s Australian Legal Affairs highlights the attractiveness of the Australian economy to globalising law firms.

Beaton Benchmarks provides factual evidence on where some of the gems are to be found.

By George Beatonis a director of Beaton Capital and Beaton Research + Consulting. You can find George on Google+ at +George Beaton.

Posted in Legal | No Comments »

Mid-year question: Wait, watch, or act?

July 1st, 2011 |


With consequences of the internationalisation of the Australian legal profession being felt every day, hear George Beaton in conversation with Chris Merritt on the shape of the future: http://video.theaustralian.com.au/2033134455/The-future-of-the-legal-profession

By George Beatonis a director of Beaton Capital and Beaton Research + Consulting. You can find George on Google+ at +George Beaton.

Posted in Legal, Professional Services | No Comments »

A fitting tribute to all the managing partners we know…

June 29th, 2011 |


By George Beatonis a director of Beaton Capital and Beaton Research + Consulting. You can find George on Google+ at +George Beaton.

Posted in Professional Services | No Comments »

Interest in Australian law firms hots up

June 24th, 2011 |


Grist was added to the rumour mill by this piece in Legal Week yesterday: http://www.legalweek.com/legal-week/news/2080885/ashurst-sets-sights-strategic-deal-australia. Beaton's market intelligence and benchmarks data are in hot demand by US and UK firms investigating whether and how to enter Australia.

By George Beatonis a director of Beaton Capital and Beaton Research + Consulting. You can find George on Google+ at +George Beaton.

Posted in Legal, Professional Services | No Comments »

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