From Local to Global: Auckland Accounting Partnerships
CITY OF ENTERPRISE: PERSPECTIVES ON AUCKLAND BUSINESS HISTORY, Ian Hunter, Diana Morrow, eds., Auckland University Press, 2006
14 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2008 Last revised: 10 Aug 2008
Date Written: 2006
The expansion of manufacturing and retail activities in Auckland, New Zealand, in the years following World War II was accompanied by development and growth of accounting partnerships in a manner distinctive from legal, medical or other professional service firms. Accounting partnerships more closely mimicked characteristics of their clients than other professional service firms, growing from local offices to nation-wide groupings, and then adopting international affiliations. In particular, the last forty years in the history of accounting partnerships in Auckland has shown a loss of local identifiers, the adoption of international firm names, and then partners having to fight to survive in partnerships with dwindling partner numbers and rationalization of branches. During this period, partnerships have also shifted from organizations based on principles of collectivism and collegiality to firms that have all the characteristics of corporations, usually described as managed professional bureaucracies. In this chapter from the book 'City of Enterprise: Perspectives on Auckland Business History' the focus is on accounting firms in Auckland, which moved from the traditional professional partnership to a global corporate professional network. To illustrate this transformation, two particular case studies are provided. The first was the merger between the Auckland firms of Clark Menzies and McCulloch Butler and Spence; the second, when the Auckland partners in the firm of Lawrence Anderson Buddle joined Deloittes. These two cases illustrate the fierce competition between accounting partnerships to gain dominance and reputation in the Auckland business sphere whilst at the same time strengthening international affiliations with naming rights. One outcome from the adoption of international names was that firms in New Zealand were then subject to mergers dictated by their transatlantic offices. These mergers were a major cost to New Zealand partners, both in business clients and the personal costs of partnership redundancies. It is not a claim of this study that accounting partnerships demonstrated any fundamental characteristics unique to Auckland. However, Auckland business history has seen the rise of the service industries and retail sectors, relative to the manufacturing and primary industries, as an important contributor to its growth and development, and accounting firms are one of these service industries.
Keywords: Accounting partnerships, Auckland, Clark Menzies, McCulloch Butler and Spence, Lawrence Anderson Buddle, Deloittes
JEL Classification: M21, M51, NOO, M49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation