Executive Message

Ted Verkade

Baker Tilly International is a network of exceptional member firms that believe in delivering more and making a difference for our clients, our people and our communities.

Our position as a leading professional services network creates expectations about how we run our business and how we behave as individuals. Setting – and meeting – high standards is integral to maintaining the trust and confidence of all our stakeholders.

This year, we recorded combined revenues of US$3.2bn, up 6% year-on-year, and for the first time in our history we have more than 30,000 people working across the network. This is a great reflection of our members' ongoing commitment to being recognised as employers of choice in their local markets. We are also the first network to be awarded the ACCA Approved Employer status award in professional development. The ACCA Approved Employer programme recognises employers’ high standards of staff training and development.

We welcomed to the network new member firms in ten locations this year: Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Honduras, Ireland, Paraguay, Seychelles, Slovenia, Somalia and Tunisia. These appointments not only broaden our geographic coverage, but, more importantly, deepen our industry and service capabilities and give us exciting new opportunities for collaboration.

I believe this is a critical time for the industry and for Baker Tilly International. We operate in a dynamic and competitive market, against a backdrop of changes in the geo-political landscape, tax and regulatory reforms and rapid technological advances that are changing the business models of many of our clients as well as our own member firms. Cloud and mobile technologies are redefining how people work. The once simple relationship between advisor and client has transformed into one that is complex and fluid.

In the 14 years that I have been directly involved with Baker Tilly International I have come to recognise its unique strengths: deep interpersonal relationships; skilled and committed firms and employees; and a strong brand. Above all, we have great collaborative spirit. We will continue to build on these strengths, which form the DNA of our network

This year, we continued to enhance our ability to deliver superior client service to an increasingly international client base through a number of key initiatives.

  • We expanded our leadership team to support the continuous improvement and integration of quality practices across the network. The combined role of Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Technical Director has been separated into two full time roles: COO and Chief Quality Officer (CQO). The CQO is responsible for overseeing the expansion of our extensive quality assurance programme (see Governance for more information), developing and implementing the network's common audit methodology and further enhancing our leadership role within the industry.
  • We view audit quality as an essential element of our business. To that end, global resources are provided to assist member firm in maintaining audit quality. This year saw the first release of Global Focus, our new global audit methodology with supporting state-ofthe-art software. We are confident that this new technology will further enhance our member firms' capabilities in respect of delivering high-quality audits to both national and multi-national clients. The methodology will continue to be rolled out across the network over the coming years.
  • Tax continues to be a core part of our business. During 2016, Baker Tilly Global Tax Solutions continued to help clients leverage our extensive tax capabilities globally whilst providing them with one single point of contact, one single contract and one collection system for invoicing – no matter how many locations an assignment covers. The team is working side-by-side with clients on some of their most complex, geographically diverse and business critical matters.
  • We adopted the Net Promoter Score (NPS) system as our global methodology for measuring client satisfaction, allowing us to measure our progress and continuously improve the service levels we deliver to clients.
  • In 2015 we turned to cloud collaboration technology to improve connections between our member firms worldwide and to provide a state of the art, highly secure portal for them and their clients. The tool continues to give us an increased level of accountability, transparency and visibility as we work together on international assignments. Last year we continued the integration of this technology into our other tools, including Global Focus, ensuring that the technology we use supports seamless client service.

I am also extremely proud that we were named winner of the prestigious Network of the Year Award at The Accountant and International Accounting Bulletin (IAB) Awards 2016. Awarded to networks that have executed profitable growth strategies and have excelled in several key strategic and operational areas, the award also recognises reputable brands that consistently deliver high quality professional services.

As we look ahead, working ever more closely with clients forms part of our continuing strategy. The clients we are closest to, and the ones we do the best work for, are those that have us as part of their trusted inner circle. With 126 high quality member firms covering 147 locations we are in an excellent position to extend this approach still further. We have a number of exciting new initiatives in the pipeline designed to unlock the capabilities of the whole of the network to support clients across the complete breadth of their businesses.

It is a privilege to lead this network as we work together to build on our success and take the network forward.

 

Ted Verkade Signature

 

Ted Verkade
CEO and President