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Squeezed middle: What law firms can learn from accountancy firms

Steve Billot reflects on what law firms in the squeezed mid-market can learn from the consolidation of the accountancy sector

29 October 2015

When I started working over 35 years ago, the makeup of the accountancy market was markedly different from today. We had the 'Big 8' accountancy firms and a plethora of mid-market firms competing for clients. They tried to differentiate from each other by saying they were all 'partner led' and really interested in delivering superb performance to clients. In reality, the services they delivered for audit or other routine accountancy services were identical and their real skills were often around personal marketing, historic relationships and, increasingly, price.

The old-fashioned client, who appreciated you for your skills, your firm for its brand and paid you accordingly, was increasingly replaced by 'consumers'. You could tell the difference as they started each discussion with the question "How much
will this cost me?" So, the value of the
audit was suppressed each ...

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