The areas of highest demand and growth in our core management consulting business have been those in the organisational development space – recruitment, retention, cultural change, performance management and development, people strategies, organisational restructuring to support growth and the development of additional organisational capability.
We believe that this is indicative of the fact that Irish businesses are increasingly conscious of the need to develop their people in order to retain talent and to grow their businesses. It also perhaps shows a tightening in the labour market, increased competition for good people and a recognition that it is more expensive to find and bring in new talent than it is to develop existing resources.
In recent months, there has been a very large increase in demand for our GDPR readiness and compliance services.
Our Corporate Finance team has been very active over the last 18 months and deal flow is positive. Ireland has never had as much funding available for transactions, which is allowing management teams to finance MBOs, business owners to fund acquisitions and shareholders exit through a sale process if that is part of the plan.
We expect Irish private equity to be the biggest investors in Irish business in 2018. The pillar banking landscape is also improving, with corporate banking and business banking actively looking to fund deals at sensible leverage. There is also a mix of non-bank lending providers in the market and all this is positive for Irish business owners.
Entrepreneurs may struggle to find the time to step back from dayto- day operational challenges to really focus on medium- to long-term planning for the future of the business, to drive business performance and grow long-term capital value. The Mazars Optimize programme offers a structured analysis of the five big drivers of value, and our experience with the programme has highlighted key actions across entrepreneurial businesses regardless of their business model or sector.
Almost three out of four businesses do not have adequate business planning in place when compared with their corporate or private equity-led competitors. The goals and ambitions of the shareholders are often not clearly expressed through a business plan that the management team can deliver on, or aligned to meaningful KPIs and incentive plans.
Sales channel management is also a common area of concern, where the business must evolve multiple sales channels through continual analysis and innovation to identify and effectively communicate with customers and targets. Other common themes are addressing skill gaps in the senior management team, putting appropriate funding strategies in place, and having a robust investment appraisal process.
Our merger with Maguire Caulfield Browne in October 2017 arose from our focus on enhancing our footprint and client offering in the Mid-West. Limerick is the main economic driver for the Mid-West region, which has experienced a remarkable resurgence in recent years, and which will continue with renewed investment in the region.
We were lucky to find partners who fit so well with the culture of Mazars and the merger has been a great success. We have significant confidence in business in the Mid-West of Ireland and we wish to play our part in accelerating growth in this region in the years to come.
This article first appeared in Business Plus Magazine March 2018.