ETL/GINALL & ROBINSON General Partner Penati Slovak Open
Milan Kúdela, GINALL & ROBINSON: “There is no logic or justice in taxation.” “There is no logic or justice in taxation.”
What is the story behind the business name ETL/GINALL & ROBINSON?
- “I knew that a company name must be catchy and be able to reflect its business strategy. GINALL is a modified shortening of the word ‘original’, showing that business takes novelty in the way you approach your clients, distribution channels or a type of consultancy services. ROBINSON defines the philosophy behind the company formation, I have created it from scratch using my ideas and skills. That’s how the collocation GINALL & ROBINSON was brought to life.”
GINALL & ROBINSON has become a member of ETL GLOBAL. What is the meaning of such partnership? How will that affect the real life in the company and what changes will it bring to its clients?
- The sale of 60% of the company shares made us a part of a network of consultancy companies as well as a Slovak Master Partner of ETL GLOBAL. We now belong to a large international family of advisors, auditors and accountants and, at the same time, very nice and amiable people, which is currently the fifteenth largest company in the world. We have acquired an international background that is represented by other partners all over the world and a possibility to share the experience and know-how of the company that has been active in the market for more than 45 years and provides services to more than 320,000 clients all over the world. On the other hand, the ETL GLOBAL network has enriched its portfolio with another interesting country with a high growth potential, partially affected by the strong representation of ETL GLOBAL in the Czech Republic. Our goal is to get among the top 7 largest consultancy companies in Slovakia in three years.
Why did you decide to join ETL GLOBAL?
- After a period of time every founder of a company has to face the question about its future, where you would like to see your company in a few years. To stimulate its healthy growth, to give it an ambitious business vision. I had found myself in the same situation and I decided to find a partner that could help me with these efforts as I had felt I could not do it by myself, it had been a large vicious circle for me. I had known the situation from the stories of my clients, but if you don’t experience it yourself, it is hard to describe. I established a small company in 2007 and employed the first employee in 2011. Today, we have 60 employees, a clear business vision and new partners I am proud of. They are the result of our latest Slovak acquisitions and that is exactly what I couldn’t do by myself. Of course, I knew our weaknesses, but the character of consultancy business is so comprehensive that it requires several managers. One for IT, one for CRM and the third for business and in-house training.
ETL GLOBAL connects professionals from the fields of law, taxation, consultancy or accountancy. It creates a network of professionals from more than 50 countries. The history of ETL GLOBAL is 45 years long. How did the idea of connection of professionals arise?
- It was a natural development. ETL was established as a consultancy company at the beginning of the 1970s. But sooner or later you realise that the extent of your job is much wider and frequently exceeds the framework of your original field. It’s because taxes, law and finance are incredibly interconnected. Moreover, the globalisation of digitisation and specialisation has also entered the field.
What does it mean? What is the mission or vision of such interconnected professionals?
- The advantage is that we can solve tax issues all over the world relatively easily and quickly. There are a lot of tax systems based on various settings. You can see the benefits of such connection and integration in the field of law, audit and tax, for example, when you represent clients that do business abroad or vice-verse, when you represent foreign clients in Slovakia. It is an advantage if you can rely on experience, especially when solving particular cases.
ETL GLOBAL has widened its scope of business with another European country thanks to your partnership. Did they approach you or was it your initiative?
- Mutually. ELT GLOBAL was seeking Master Partner in Slovakia and they approached my company based on references available. By that time they had known that I was looking for a partner. The Czech branch of ETL Global is larger and stronger than the Slovak one – at the moment (laugh). ETL GLOBAL was interested in Slovakia due to the strong connection between our states that results from the similarity of languages, legislation and very strong and developed economic relationships.
What are the plans of ETL GLOBAL in Slovakia?
- The role of Master Partner is to build a strong, developing and well-working network of partners, which ETL GLOBAL provides with a background in the field of IT, customer care, international training as well as in the distribution of foreign clients. One of the pleasant duties of a Master Partner is acquisition search in the field of consultancy, accounting and audit firms. The main goal is the provision of high quality and smart services as well as the development of the portfolio of services which we could not provide before due to a missing adequate professional and international background under ETL GLOBAL.
What makes you different to other consulting firms offering similar services?
- Our concentration is on small and medium-sized businesses, and it is our ambition to be the largest company providing services to small and medium-sized businesses. We can offer these clients individual solutions, often on an international level, and deliver our very own management software with an accounting extension that can analyse, evaluate, and do reporting and controlling according to the client’s exact needs.
Globalisation is ongoing and international collaboration is a necessity. Has ETL Global been able to reinforce its market position with these types of development activities in particular — globally or here in Europe?
- Despite the pandemic situation, it is prospering. According to the latest International Accounting Bulletin (IAB), ETL GLOBAL moved up from 9th to 7th place in Europe and from 16th to 15th place worldwide. That probably best illustrates the efforts and outcomes of the company.
How did the idea of a network of consultancies catch on in Slovakia?
It is not a new concept. It has worked successfully for several decades. The model of cooperation between consultancies who share their capital was implemented in Slovakia in 2020 through the first acquisition. Cooperation within the network allows new forms of communication and ways of doing business between the partners that are part of the network. It also introduces, and this is my personal challenge, an endless number of variations for both the creation of business activities as well as the plans of the partners.
How did the idea of synergies resonate among the Slovak owners of consultancies?
Considering the progress we have made, I must say that it resonated very well. At the same time, I do not want to and cannot underrate the impact of the economic situation, energy crisis and change of generation in the ownership of consultancies. However, the major driving force behind the investment was the concept of joint ventures, the exchange of business data and experience, and collective planning for the future.
How do the synergies affect the financial results?
The organic growth of our network in 2022 was almost 20 %. That is approximately € 520,000. More than a half of this growth comes from shared services and clients within the network. Although, this year has only just started we are already fine-tuning three new and important investments which will provide additional turnover of approximately €2million. In my opinion, a very interesting future awaits us.
Where are the boundaries of your expansion?
We have not fixed any boundaries but our longterm goal is to become the number one consultancy for small and medium-sized businesses. And globally we wish to be right behind the big four consultancies. So we are talking about an annual turnover of between €35 and €45million. From today’s perspective it is hard to say when that will happen but we expect it will be within the next seven – ten years. Until then we are going to focus on the improvement of internal processes within the common services used by the partners, the benefits from the investment into employee development and a search forfurther joint ventures to expand the ETL SLOVAKIA network.
Where do you see your Slovak network in 20 years?
I believe that we will continue to succeed and continue to spread the good name of ETL SLOVAKIA. Previously I outlined some time and value goals, but the organisational plan is to have a partner in every Slovak city with a population greater than 30,000. So in total we are talking about at least 40 – 50 partners. Of course, the five biggest cities with the largest populations are in a special position, as it might be necessary to have more partners in these cities. This can also be seen in the structure of our current partners.
Why is there a connection between golf and ETL/GINALL&ROBINSON s.r.o.
I consider golf to be a very gentlemanly sport and its sporting rules are very close to the business rules and principles that I try to follow. The field will not forgive you anything and any sporting pride is immediately “rewarded” by the current result of the game. You always play for yourself and nobody plays anything for you. It is exactly the “ROBINSON” principle that I described above when I answered the creation of the company’s business name, so the sports-business bond is really strong.
ETL Global is an international consultancy network based in Essen (Germany) with a 45-year-long history. The company integrates 13,000 consultants, tax advisors, lawyers and business advisors in more than 50 countries all over the world. Based on the latest World Survey published by the International Accounting Bulletin (IAB) it is the fifteenth largest company in the world in the given field. It focuses on taxation, law and audit.