Grant Thornton launches CFO advisory service in Australia

14 July 2021 2 min. read
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In the footsteps of other large Grant Thornton members firms globally, the Australian division has launched a dedicated CFO Advisory service.

The domestic wing of the global accountancy and consultancy cites both the increasing responsibilities and pressures faced by contemporary chief financial officers along with the current dearth of accountants and auditors in the country as two of the motivating factors behind the launch.

“We are delighted to announce that Peter Barnikel has joined Grant Thornton to lead our new CFO Advisory services practice,” stated the firm. “For the last decade Peter has held a split role – part advisor unpacking complexity and addressing CFO headaches and part independent auditor. He’s a safe pair of hands and genuinely understands the pain points experienced by CFOs.”

Grant Thornton launches CFO advisory service in Australia

Kicking off his career with EY in London in 1999, Barnikel six years later relocated to the Big Four firm’s Sydney office, where he steadily rose the ranks before being promoted to partner in 2016. Over that time, Barnikel has amassed extensive experience in various aspects of financial reporting, together with assurance support in areas such as due diligence, equity and debt raising, and IPOs.

“We are certain that our clients will find Peter’s business acumen and technical expertise extremely useful as they continue to respond to regulatory change and variable market conditions. We look forward to directly addressing short-, medium and long-term challenges faced by our clients,” said Andrew Rigele, National Managing Partner for Audit & Assurance.

Among those short- and long-term challenges are the current shortage of skilled finance experts in Australia due to ongoing border closures – an issue grant Thornton points out doesn’t just affect the professional services firms but also in-house teams – as well as the increasing responsibilities being handed to modern-day CFOs, which have also been exacerbated by Covid-19.

Along with having to keep abreast of the barrage of new regulation and reporting obligations, contemporary CFOs commonly have to be across digital transformations efforts within the finance function, and then on top of those new volumes of data too. In addition, there’s a growing requirement for strategic acumen, to balance immediate operating needs with future growth goals.

Barnikel adds another point; “Auditors are becoming less forgiving of poor documentation. And due to independence constraints, auditors aren’t providing the hands-on support they once did, so having a trusted advisor who can step in to assist is invaluable. Tax teams have tax advisors. Legal teams have legal counsel. Accounting teams should have access to technical accounting expertise as well.”