The Big Four have been on the acquisition trail for some years, led by Deloitte. Not buying up accounting firms but building out their advisory/consulting offerings. Grant Thornton has also been active recently, as evidenced by the recent purchase of digital advisory business ConsultPoint, although few of the federated mid-tier firms have the balance sheet to grow via acquisition.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg as the major accounting firms adapt to digital disruption and the likely drop off in compliance work, focussing on a broader advisory offering to their existing client bases. For GT it's all about building the capability to become the growth adviser to mid-sized business - becoming integral to our clients' growth through being able to help them in areas such as customer experience, leadership & talent advisory, technology, profit improvement and also international expansion into Asia.

The attached article is interesting, as it looks at this from the perspective of the targets and how to make themselves attractive to the accounting firms...