After striking deals with consultancy firms Black Dot and Cadence in April, Ernst & Young (EY) has continued to strengthen its internal capabilities with the acquisition of Sydney-based boutique forensic accounting firm Axiom Forensics for an undisclosed price.
According to EY Oceania forensic and integrity services leader Rob Locke, the acquisition will help the department become a pre-eminent provider of dispute and claims services in Australia and New Zealand, able to better serve clients, particularly legal firms.
Founded in 2004, Axiom Forensics offers independent expert forensic accounting, valuation and dispute consulting services for pharmaceutical, mining, telecommunications and financial services clients.
“Over recent years, we have encountered a number of instances in which we have had to rely on external experts to assist on our engagements,” Axiom Forensics founding director Michael Potter said.
“By joining forces with EY, we will be able to complement our existing skills with industry expertise and other in-house skills, such as economics and statistics. It’s a great next step for us – I am looking forward to being part of a big team where we can bounce ideas around and hear different perspectives.”
“This means we will be able to offer our clients expanded services by drawing on the broader EY team. We realised we needed to join a large firm in order to grow our business to the next level,” he added.
Potter and fellow director David Mullins have become partners in Sydney's EY forensics and integrity services team as part of the agreement. A further seven staff from the business have also joined EY.
“We have known and observed Axiom Forensics for many years and have been great, albeit begrudging admirers of their work,” Locke said.
“In our opinion, they are the best in Sydney at what they do, so the decision to ask them to join EY was an obvious one. Their vision and growth plans align perfectly with ours, and they will be a big part of this continued growth.
“We are experiencing unprecedented growth, and our disputes offering has played a key role. The opportunity to significantly enhance our footprint in Sydney through the acquisition of a highly successful disputes firm made strategic sense,” he added.
EY is banking that Axiom Forensics will help better serve its clients, particularly legal firms, by providing specialist expert witnesses, consulting, valuations, data and analytics services.
“Axiom Forensics have great relationships with the major law firms, particularly in Sydney, and this will benefit our clients as well as EY,” Locke said.
“For Axiom Forensics, the strength of the EY brand and the access to the resources, skills and talent we have globally, will enable them to take their services to the next level.”
EY CEO and regional managing partner Oceania David Larocca said he was excited to welcome Axiom Forensics to the growing EY forensics team.
“This will significantly enhance our footprint in the region. I’ve watched our team grow year on year, and this is a significant step to enhance forensic services that will change the market both in Sydney and in the region,” Larocca said.
“Our strategic ambition is to grow the practice across Oceania, and the calibre of the team at Axiom Forensics will assist us in achieving this ambition.
“They were already well known to our team and are a great cultural fit with EY as we work together to build a better working world.”
Axiom Forensics director David Mullins confirmed the business wasn’t actively looking to join another firm but had received multiple offers in the past few years.
“In recent years we have found that, on larger matters (notably class actions), there has been a call for specialist industry expertise along with technical skills (such as economics and statistics) that we didn’t have in-house,” he said.
“The ability to leverage the resources of EY, to supplement our skills and our offering to clients, is something that we are quite excited about.”
Mullins noted that although Axiom Forensics was only a small accounting firm, the business acted on many large scale commercial and regulatory disputes.
“Building up the skill set of our staff over the years to act on these matters – and to be entrusted with some of the largest and most complex pieces of litigation in Australia – has been a testament to the work that the whole team has done in building and maintaining our reputation,” he said.
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