After full consideration by the DFK and AGN International Boards of Directors, a ground-breaking strategic alliance has been formed between two top-ten international associations of independent accounting, tax and business advisory firms. This will be announced to the media in a Press Release this week and is therefore under embargo until 10:00 UK time on Monday, January 8, 2018. This means that you can share it internally within your group/firm, but it should not be shared externally before then.
DFK International and AGN International have launched Global Connect as a new collaboration to give each other increased depth of resource and coverage to enhance client service.
DFK and AGN will continue as independent associations with no intention to merge and have established the link to ensure they are best placed to meet the international business needs of clients of their members.
DFK International has 214 member firms in over 400 offices in more than 90 countries. AGN International is represented in 89 countries with 200 member firms and 478 offices. Both associations have their global headquarters in London, UK.
We are delighted to establish this strategic alliance which we believe to be the first of its kind between two international associations of independent accounting, tax and business advisory firms. DFK and AGN will continue as fully autonomous organisations and this collaboration will ensure we both remain strong and competitive in a changing market, and above all are effective in delivering the best possible service to clients of our respective members. We believe it will strengthen our global coverage and penetration of various industry sectors and specialisms by extending our access to geographic and specialist areas that occasionally may not be covered by our own respective memberships.
DFK and AGN are both substantial global associations in their own right and will remain genuinely independent. Global Connect will enable us to exploit strategic opportunities to collaborate for the benefit of our members and their clients. The backbone of this collaboration is high technical standards and great customer service, where DFK and AGN already have similar approaches. We also share a good deal of symmetry with similar types of members and cultural outlooks.
In due course we expect to take advantage of opportunities to share and develop jointly valuable member services such as technical training and business development programmes.
In time, it is our intention to consider the careful expansion of Global Connect membership to other organisations that share our outlook and priorities, possibly in other professional disciplines such as the law, technology and human capital.
We have developed the following responses to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), which you might find useful in explaining to your partners, staff, clients and local media what Global Connect is all about:
Global Connect – Frequently asked questions
DFK International and AGN International have agreed to enter an alliance aimed at providing outstanding service to clients with international business needs. The groups will remain separate entities with their own membership, but will share access to the following:
- technical resources and expertise
- training, education and leadership development programmes and other conferences
- each other’s global firm members technical expertise and resources to service the needs of clients
The following gives answers to some questions that you may have about this alliance. If you need more information or have questions not addressed below, please contact your DFK Regional or National Group Executive Officer or the London Executive Office, and we will make sure you get the information you want.
WHAT IS GOING ON AND WHY?
Is this a merger?
No. Both AGN and DFK will continue as fully autonomous organisations. Whilst we will look for areas of cooperation and synergy, there are no plans to merge the organisations. We believe that we can strengthen each other in various ways, without combining our interests and still preserving the separate nature and character of our organisations, which our members value.
Why are you doing this?
To ensure that both organisations remain strong and competitive in a changing market, and above all are as effective as possible in delivering the best possible international solutions to the clients of our respective members.
What benefit is this to DFK members?
We believe it will strengthen both our global coverage and our penetration of various industry sectors and specialisms, to support the best possible solutions for members’ clients. Thus, we will have access to AGN members in areas where DFK does not have coverage, or to AGN members with specialisms that DFK members may not have.
We also believe that in the medium term it will be possible to achieve organisational synergies and efficiencies.
Will Global Connect have other members in the future?
It is anticipated that DFK and AGN will operate Global Connect for at several months before considering other memberships. However, it is likely that Global Connect membership might expand in the future, subject to the approval of both Boards. It is possible that future Global Connect membership might be with non-accounting organisations, such as legal networks.
MEMBER PROGRAMS & RELATIONSHIPS WITH DFK MEMBERS
Will we contact AGN members locally, and if so how?
There is nothing to stop you making local contact if you wish, but it is expected that contact with DFK will usually be introduced via the DFK International Executive Office.
Who do we contact at DFK to ask for advice concerning AGN members?
Please contact your DFK regional or National Group Executive Officer in the usual way, or the DFK Executive Office in London if you prefer.
Will AGN have access to DFK Members Site?
Not initially. The programs of both organisations will continue as before, being available to the members of that organisation only. It may be that joint member initiatives could be developed in the future, but only if the Boards of both organisations decided that there was benefit to their members.
What happens if I don’t get on with the AGN member locally or I have concerns about them?
Both organisations are similar in outlook, and we sincerely doubt that this should be a significant issue. However, you should contact your DFK regional or National Group Executive Officer to make known and discuss any concerns you may have. There is no compulsion for you to contact or have a relationship with your local AGN member if you prefer not to.
WEBSITE & MEMBERS DIRECTORIES
Will we have access to AGN website members’ area?
No. DFK members will have access to the AGN public website only.
Will we be combining member directors?
No. Each organisation will continue to have member directories as at present. Other than what is already in the public domain, information will be shared at a head office levels only.
How will client work referrals be dealt with?
In most cases, nothing will change. Both organisations require that work is preferentially referred within its own membership. Global Connect is intended to address situations where DFK does not have a member or situations requiring a specially skill or sector in which the DFK member does not have capability. In such cases, you should contact your DFK Regional or National Group Executive Officer or London Executive Office for further guidance.
Will DFK still favour their members in a given location or will the referral go to a member who responds to the email sooner?
As noted above, in most cases members of both DFK and AGN will continue to refer work to fellow members of their own association, exactly as at present.
If we need to make a referral that cannot be covered by DFK, can we contact DFK members directly?
We ask you please to contact your DFK Regional or National Group Executive Officer or DFK London Executive Office, so that we can ensure that any matters are connected appropriately. However, the is no prohibition on direct contact if you know the people or prefer this approach.
Will I be held responsible if I refer work to AGN and it goes wrong for my client?
The situation will be exactly as for referring to a fellow DFK member. It will depend on engagement terms, but it is likely that the firm performing the work will be responsible for its delivery.
DUES/FEES & COSTS
Will this affect our membership dues/fees?
No. There are no plans for either organisation to change its dues/fees structure because of this initiative.
What will be the cost of running Global Connect?
The costs will be minimal as Global Connect will not employ its own staff or acquire its own facilities. A small investment in an expertise database will be expected, but for the most part it is likely that the assets of one of its member associations can be employed.
Will DFK staff work for AGN too?
In the short term, it is unlikely that DFK and AGN will share staff, and things will continue as at present. However, efficiencies and synergies will be investigated for the future.
Are AGN members monitored to ensure high standards as in DFK?
DFK and AGN have similar approaches to ensuring and maintaining high standards of membership. Both organisations require a pre-admission review, both monitor annually the continued good standing and “fit and proper” status of members, and both follow up on any instances of non-compliance or poor client service.
Will you be sharing members confidential information held by DFK?
No. Any data shared will be that which is publicly available from our websites, or otherwise will be specifically given by members for the purposes of such sharing, which will be made clear at the time.
What is the legal structure of Global Connect?
It will be a UK corporation limited by guarantee, operating on a not-for-profit basis. Members will be Global Connect’s participating associations, who will give a guarantee of £1.
Will Global Connect be publicly promoted and, for example, have a website or its own logo?
Global Connect will have its own logo, but its promotion will be “low key” and any website will be basic. Certainly, the promotion of the DFK and AGN brands will be a clear priority. It is anticipated that Global Connect might be referenced where members are using its capabilities in a client service situation. A protocol will be developed for this to ensure that Global Connect is correctly described in such cases and risk management is appropriate.
I have other questions – how do I get more information?
If you need more information or have questions not addressed below, please contact your DFK Regional or National Group Executive Officer or London Executive Office, and we will make sure you get the information you want.
Executive Director| DFK International
Suite 120/121, Temple Chambers, 3-7 Temple Avenue,
London EC4Y 0HP, United Kingdom
Tel: +44(0) 20 7436 6722| Mob/Cell: +44 (0) 7554 015737