Collins Barrow launching growth strategy

Feb 26, 2013, 10:00 ET from Collins Barrow National Cooperative Incorporated

TORONTO, Feb. 26, 2013 /CNW/ - Collins Barrow National Cooperative (CBN) is embarking on a growth strategy to increase its national footprint. While the effort has been quietly building momentum for months, Collins Barrow is poised for a period of unsurpassed growth, both organically and through regional firm recruitment.

The recruitment campaign focuses on full-service audit and tax firms that have achieved Top 10 status within their local marketplace. Over and above these criteria, candidates are considered based on their service differentiators.

"Last year, Collins Barrow posted an 11% increase in revenues and this speaks to the types of firms we are looking to attract," says Harry Blum, National Chair of Member Firm Recruitment. "Our partners and professionals take a spread the wealth approach to business, working together to maximize expertise on hand at each of our member firms. This being the case, we are interested in firms with entrepreneurial cultures and mindsets much like our own, which stand to gain from Collins Barrow's national presence."

By virtue of joining the network, member firms tap into a vast array of expertise and industry knowledge that is shared nationwide. The added capacity avails member firms a broader range of integrated advisory services and dramatically enhances their competitive advantage.

"Each of our members has access to Collins Barrow firms across Canada and other independent members of Baker Tilly International, which constitutes a level of know-how that is impressive even for national firms," adds Blum, who is also Managing Partner at Collins Barrow Toronto. "By leveraging national resources, we are continuously building new business streams and honing expertise. Essentially, we are delivering a one stop solution for the mid-market that can address the most complex business concerns in virtually every industry."

Unlike other national firms, Collins Barrow members are not hindered by red tape and bureaucracy. Each retains its legal independence and autonomy, while adhering to a standardized policy and compliance framework.

"Being independently owned, each of us is able to respond nimbly to the needs of our market," says Daniel Longlade, Chair of the Collins Barrow National Cooperative. "As entrepreneurs, we value our decision making authority above all else, no one knows our clients better than we do. It is exciting to be engaged in a network that recognizes action and experience. In doing so, Collins Barrow has established a framework that enables firms like ours to excel."

Member firms realize numerous economies of scale, benefitting from national marketing campaigns and professional practice support that come part and parcel with CBN's turnkey approach.

"Our advertising campaign, for example, is a bold departure from those of traditional CA firms. We see it as a reflection of Collins Barrow's position as the true national alternative," says Rob Kolton, National Marketing Chair and Partner at Collins Barrow Red Deer. "People are noticing our messaging because it pushes the envelope on what an accounting firm should be. Our professionals are their clients' most trusted advisors, as entrepreneurs ourselves we can certainly relate to their business concerns, and the market is getting the message. While this scope of promotion is rarely available to small to mid-sized accounting firms based on costs alone, Collins Barrow pools resources to deliver greater bang for our members' buck."

Aside from receiving nominations for a number of marketing awards, Collins Barrow's materials have been turning heads at recruitment events and online. The network's CB Life campaign, featuring team members sharing their stories in their own words, has been especially well-received.

"The success we have experienced in attracting and recruiting top talent to Collins Barrow stems from both the brand as well as our firm culture," Kolton continues. "People want to fuel their passion for accounting with opportunities for advancement and this is an important part of Collins Barrow's proposition. We call it the CB Life and it is a stand out experience."

Most recently, Durham Region's largest accounting firm joined CBN. Having been Collins Barrow Durham since November 2012, the firm reports that its centres of influence are responding favourably to the change.

"By joining Collins Barrow, we have significantly enhanced our reputation within the banking industry," says Peter Hobb, Founding Partner. "The network has a powerful reputation built on the quality and range of expertise it offers. Now that we are backed by the Collins Barrow brand, our centres of influence are more likely to recommend us to their major interprovincial and international clients."

"The decision to join is definitely paying off," adds Hobb. "Our firm wanted to reach the next phase of growth, and we fast tracked in a way that frankly couldn't be achieved as a local firm. Importantly, Collins Barrow enabled us to engage in the market as part of a larger collective and opened us to greater opportunities, without compromising our autonomy."

Comprised of 22 member firms and growing, Collins Barrow invites discussion with regional firms that are ready to exceed business as usual by joining a national network.

"We want to align with firms that are as aggressive and ambitious in their approach to growth as we are," says Blum. "The road ahead will be an exciting one for Collins Barrow. This push for new member firms will lead to breakthroughs that propel the network further by deepening our reach throughout Canada's vast geography and increasing our share of the market."

Blum and his Member Firm Recruitment Committee have roadshows scheduled throughout the coming months in major city centres across Canada. Firms wishing to learn more about growing with Collins Barrow should contact the team directly.

SOURCE Collins Barrow National Cooperative Incorporated