When one business agrees to buy another business, beyond the obvious fit that the parties have decided upon, the reality is that there is a lot of work that needs to be done to make sure the deal is done on the right terms – this is usually hammered out by the buyer and the seller; and they are supported by their respective accountants (do the numbers add up?) and lawyers (are the terms right, the documentation rock-solid, the IP and data in place?). There is a great deal of complexity involved, beyond the spirit of what was agreed between the parties.

For more complexity still, place the buyer and the seller at opposite ends of the earth. That’s where MSI Global Alliance comes in, as does the trust factor that exists between co-members.

This was highlighted to me in the short video that accompanies this post, which we captured in Singapore in March 2016. In it, Alec Blacklaw of Blacklaw Advisory in Melbourne talks about the work that McKinley Plowman did to support MSI Global Alliance’s London accounting firm member, Hays MacIntyre, in an important takeover of an Australian business by a UK business. Hays MacIntyre’s client was looking to purchase a publicly listed company in Australia – and needed local knowledge and support on the ground to understand local data before completing the deal. Being a transactional matter, time was of the essence and the close relationship between Alec and his UK counterparts meant that there was no time lost in building understanding and rapport; that was already in place.
Trust and rapport are key

This brings to mind one of the critical elements that sets MSI Global Alliance apart, especially important in a ‘UK business buys Australian public company’ type of situation. For that matter, it also applies from the smallest tax matter to the largest audit – namely that trust be developed and fostered between the co-professionals. It is interesting to note that at time of writing (and talking about Alec because this article is related to a deal he has assisted on), he is not currently sitting at his desk in Melbourne – he is in a conference room in the UK with north-of-England MSI member Armstrong Watson, working on joint client files – and with it, building a level of rapport.

Alec’s firm – and most other MSI members – are not the largest firms, and they are absolutely not the most expensive. However, they all have international work and they know that the best way to look after their clients is to build relationships with the co-members within MSI in various parts of the world. For most, that means starting with the parts of the world where their own clients have the greatest interests. From there onwards, their own international links develop at the various MSI members meetings and conferences throughout the world each year.
MSI – rapport, trust and response

For me, the essence of what MSI is all about can come down to a few choice words – in this instance, i think of ‘rapport’, ‘trust’ and ‘response’ being key. When one member refers to another they do so because of the trust that exists between members, because in so many instances there is a strong ‘rapport’ and because (as a fundamental tenet of MSI’s reason for being) they will receive a fast ‘response’, all the way through.

Businesses wanting to know more about the local members of MSI in Australia and New Zealand can contact me anytime.