William Buck buys Andersen BPO ops in Melbourne

Australian accountancy and consultancy firm William Buck has acquired some of the Melbourne operations of Andersen.

William Buck, one of Australia's top 10 accountancy firms, has acquired Andersen's business process outsourcing division and business consulting division.

William Buck will inherit BPO and business consulting clients including Australia Post, the Australian Wheat Board, several Melbourne-based hospitals and Victorian Government agencies and telcos, according to William Buck partner, consulting, Phil Bradley.

He said the firm had no concerns about conflict of interest issues among its new outsourcing clients, saying none were in both the auditing and IT consulting books at Andersen.

William Buck will add 57 additional employees after the acquisition, including the director of the business process outsourcing operations Ian Herman, and Rob Hughes, the director of business consulting.

Four of those employees are IT staffers, according to Bradley. The rest of Andersen Australia's IT consulting staff remain in the firm's business consulting services unit (which provides IT and business management services), due to a proposed merger with KPMG Consulting Australia in this year's third quarter.

The acquisition takes William Buck's Melbourne employee numbers to 220, while nationally the headcount will approach 450, said William Buck managing partner Ian Lee.

"We are delighted that at a time when some of the major firms are shedding people nationally, we are adding substantially to our workforce and capacity," he said.

One 'fat four' accounting firm and another mid-sized outsourcing specialist competed for Andersen's BPO business, Bradley said, declining to name the competitors.

Bradley said his firm competes with large outsourcing operatives like PricewaterhouseCooper and KAZ, but was not trying to take on any BPO bigwigs.

"Our [services] will be aimed more at people and process-oriented mid-market enterprises, as opposed to high-end organisations with a strong focus on ERP systems.

"Large implementations like SAP for ERP will be embedded in our [outsourcing], but our focus is on payroll, HR and financial services solutions."

Lee said while the firm was disappointed to see the demise of Andersen's, it was also "excited about the opportunity this has given William Buck".

"By adding some outstanding people into the William Buck team this will enable us to enhance and extend the quality of service and capabilities our clients already enjoy and to offer these value-added services to new mid-market clients."

"We are confident that this acquisition, coupled with the strong growth William Buck has experienced in recent years, will position us immediately to be able to capitalise on this reality," he said.

The acquisition will add $9 million in annual revenue to William Buck nationally, growing the firm's annual turnover by 20 per cent in Australia and by 35 per cent in Melbourne, Bradley said.

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