ASFA is the Australian Superannuation Funds Association. It’s the peak industry body for the superannuation sector, representing all types of superannuation funds, service providers and fund members. It’s members manage hundreds of billions of dollars for their clients. It’s a big deal! See

Matt Haes is the CFO of ASFA. Here is his response to the question,  “When looking at engaging a new accountant, how important is their firm’s brand to you?”

For me, if I was to step outside my current role and work for a small-to-medium business I would more than likely use a mid tier to 2nd tier. In my last role, working in a small financial services company, using a 2nd tier accounting firm just made more sense. At the time we had a big 4 firm auditing one of our funds. The fund was very small and they wouldn’t do an audit for under $10,000 – it would have taken them literally half a day to do it and sign off.  Their fixed cost structures prohibited them from going any lower but the 2nd tier firm we used came in and were happy to take a longer term view and make an investment in their relationship with us.

So to answer your question, brand is important up to a point. For an SME client I would imagine the brand difference between the say top 15 firms in Australia isn’t that important. However, in my current role, given our profile & function within the financial services sector and the fact that we have “big end of town” CEOs sitting on our board, I would tend to use a big brand (i.e. one of the big four) so as to send the right signal to our board, members and other stakeholders.

Tune in next time for another extract from the upcoming book “What do Accounting Clients Really Want?” published by Thomson Reuters in August.

All my best,

James E