Unique Forvis Mazars Network Generates Enthusiastic Response from Staff, Clients

Tom Watson                         Hervé Hélias

When the new Forvis Mazars-branded shirts became available last week, staff were told to hold off getting theirs until the global network became official, but once the boxes were opened it was like a holiday or birthday celebration, said Forvis Mazars CEO Tom Watson.

“I think they see that what our board and our partners are doing is helping build something that will serve them in the future, and that’s really gratifying,” he said, referring to the launch of the new, $5 billion, top 10 global network that is made up of two entities with equal control – Mazars, a Paris-based international partnership operating in over 100 locations, and IPA 100 firm FORVIS (FY23 net revenue of $1.7 billion), the eighth largest public accounting firm in the United States.

Clients have also reacted positively, Watson, former FORVIS CEO, said in an interview with INSIDE Public Accounting. When there’s a change, clients are always concerned that their current relationships won’t change as well, and Watson said the network will remain focused on what he calls foundational clients who have been served for many years.

PE Considerations

Private equity’s investments in the profession have been the biggest news over the last few years, and Watson said the concept was carefully considered but ultimately rejected because “continuing to invest in the partnership model was important for the long-term legacy of our firm.”

“A lot of people are doing a lot of things right now to continue to enhance their relevance.
We felt like we could best enhance our relevance by first creating FORVIS (the result of the 2022 merger of BKD and Dixon Hughes Goodman) and then moving to this global network. And so from our perspective, we’ve accomplished literally decades of work with just this one decision to create Forvis Mazars.” Watson added, “Whether it was Mazars growing their presence in the U.S. to the level they needed it or FORVIS growing globally, it would have taken years and years. We were able to do that overnight almost by working together to create this solution.”


The global network can invest in acquisitions, technology and expanded, deeper services to clients, such as creating a global solution for ESG, financial services, private equity or technology. “When it comes to AI or any of the other trends that we’re going to face now, we have a $5 billion network to invest together versus having to do it on our own.”

Watson also believes that during a time of staff shortages, the Forvis Mazars’ global network will be attractive to recruits. “We haven’t seen any negative headwinds from not doing private equity when it comes to recruiting. Frankly, we’re hiring more people than ever.”


FORVIS acquired the U.S. unit of Mazars as part of the new international partnership, allowing Mazars to build its presence in the U.S. while FORVIS can expand globally. Mazars’s U.S. workforce of about 1,000 people, including 100 partners, joined FORVIS. The Forvis Mazars global network’s workforce will total more than 40,000 people. Hervé Hélias, who has served as Mazars’s global chair, will lead a new Global Network Board. Matt Snow, chairman of Forvis Mazars (formerly FORVIS) will serve as vice chair.

How can two massive organizations transition to one culturally? “While we do have an aligned culture, we’re able to maintain in each member the unique attributes that we each have created over time,” Watson said, adding that the union will bring even more diversity of thought to the organization.

The intention to form the network was announced in November, but now that it’s official, Watson says it feels surreal. “I think the way that we have been able to progress just over the last three or four years is just unbelievably exciting and I think those of us as leaders feel the excitement because we’re in the middle of it.” Staff feel it too, as the “mad dash” for Forvis Mazars swag indicates.

“We believe what we have done is really created a unique solution that is very agile when it comes to serving clients with global needs while maintaining our ability to provide an unmatched client experience to all of our clients, be they domestic or international.”


Recent Posts


Sign up for the IPA INSIDER: a bi-weekly news round up sent directly to your inbox.

Related Stories