Mazars, the Rouen, France-based accounting firm, is expanding its presence in the U.S. through an alliance with five of the top 20 firms in the U.S. and Canada.
Mazars announced that the Mazars North America Alliance would include the following firms: Springfield, Mo.-based BKD (FY19 net revenue of $662.9 million), Seattle-based Moss Adams (FY18 net revenue of $691 million), Southfield, Mich.-based Plante Moran (FY18 net revenue of $542.1 million), Charlotte, N.C.-based Dixon Hughes Goodman (FY19 net revenue of $462.5 million) and Calgary, Alberta-based MNP, with net revenue of roughly $760 million.
Mazar’s CEO, in an interview with Reuters July 11, said the move will almost double its size as a way to challenge the market dominance of the Big 4. “Our ambition is to become a European champion with an international scope,” Mazars’s CEO Herve Helias told Reuters. “When they call me the fifth big, I like it.”
Mazars would not take any stake in the firms, but will expand services to its existing international clients through professionals from some of largest firms in North America. Mazars, with about 24,000 professionals worldwide, will increase that number to about 40,000 under the alliance.
According to the Financial Times, the alliance formation may be related to a belief that the U.K. will begin to require two auditors for the 350 largest companies as part of a reform effort following prominent audit failures among the Big 4. The Times says the firm is familiar with the joint-auditor system, as top companies in France has worked under the requirement for many years.
Mazars has also been in the news for another reason: The U.S. House of Representatives oversight committee has issued a subpoena to its U.S. branch, New York-based Mazars USA (FY18 net revenue of $205million), to obtain President Donald Trump’s tax records.
And on July 12, in a hearing in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Trump’s lawyer faced more than an hour of tough questions over his arguments that lawmakers don’t have the power to investigate the president. “President Donald Trump appeared to be facing an uphill battle to keep Congress from obtaining his financial records,” USA Today reported. The oversight committee’s attorneys have argued that it has broad and inherent power to investigate possible conflicts of interest.