Thursday, October 29, 2009

High Turnout at International Conference Demonstrates Growing Appeal of Mid-Sized Professional Firms

135 delegates from 23 countries turn out in force for MSI Global Alliance's 20th International Conference in Toronto. MSI's mid-sized law and accounting firm members reported increased interest in their services from companies that, prior to the recession, may not have given them the opportunity.

(PRWEB) October 29, 2009 -- Despite the recent economic troubles that have slowed global business and brought numerous professional services firms to their knees, mid-sized law and accounting firms from all four corners of the world are sending what may seem, at least to the average observer, a large number of delegates to the annual meeting of the world's leading association of independent firms, MSI Global Alliance (www.msiglobal.org).

"We are not overly surprised that delegates have decided to come to Toronto despite the economic situation," comments MSI Global Alliance's Chief Executive James Mendelssohn. "The smaller, mid-sized professional firms within our association have seen increased interest in their services from companies that, prior to the recession, may not have given them the opportunity. We have seen signs that the recession has caused a permanent change in buying patterns among in-house counsel and chief financial officers who are thinking more critically about where they source their professional advisors. This has certainly helped our member firms who, despite their lower profile compared to the big firms, are able to compete based on service, price and the broad range of services they offer."

Ed Scheck of Hogg, Shain & Scheck (www.hss-ca.com), Chartered Accountants notes that his firm was one of the first North American members. He recalls: "What began as a way to help provide referrals, has become an invaluable tool in assisting clients with their international expansion plans and attracting new clients in need of local market expertise."        

Brian Wynn, a partner of Toronto's Gardiner Roberts LLP (www.gardiner-roberts.com) says "Our membership creates a global presence of 250 firms in over 100 countries. Calls go out from our office three or four times a week to locate experts, request court appearances or arrange local representation for our clients in far-off venues. This association, coupled with today's technologies, makes 24-hour, worldwide service a reality."

"Our choice of Toronto as the host city of our 20th International Conference has undoubtedly helped attract a large turnout, with many choosing to visit a prestigious setting for a meeting of this scale," Mendelssohn observes. "But the main reason for this high attendance is the realization among the member firms that their international association membership has been a very important factor in helping them to weather the recent economic storm, and more importantly, that it puts them in a strong position to capitalize once the economy turns the corner. Doing nothing is always a risk during a recession; our member firms take a different view, believing that it is important to be visible and to be networking at this time in order to get business flowing again."

In 2009, over 20 independent, mid-sized professional firms from countries as diverse as Malawi, the USA and Luxembourg have joined MSI Global Alliance, and a stream of new membership enquiries indicate that 2010 could be a busy year as companies revitalize their levels of cross-border activity. MSI representatives, staying at Toronto's Park Hyatt Hotel over the coming weekend until Tuesday, will meet up with their international counterparts, hear from leading speakers, discuss legal, tax and accounting issues affecting their clients and share information on best practices in firm management.

Delegates at the meeting will hear from keynote speakers including economist Alan Beaulieu of the Institute for Trend Research (www.ecotrends.org), and a leading consultant to the accounting profession, Gale Crossley CPA (www.crosleycompany.com), as well as explore the Hockey Hall of Fame and celebrate the 20th anniversary with a formal dinner at the Royal Ontario Museum.

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[Via Legal / Law]

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