From humble beginnings to a leading firm: Vincents marks 35 years

22 April 2024 Consultancy.com.au 4 min. read
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When Paul Vincent first established the Brisbane-born professional services firm in 1989, the goal was simple: build a firm with 100 staff, ten partners, occupy one floor of a city building. A firm where everyone knows everyone, enjoys what they do, and actually like working together.

Fast forward to 2024, this dream has become a reality for Paul. In fact, Vincents has now grown well beyond its humble origins with 250 staff including 50 partners, all working across seven offices.

consulting firm with expertise in forensic, tax and advisory, Vincents assist clients in the areas of assurance and risk advisory, business advisory, corporate advisory, economics and data analytics, financial advisory, forensic services, restructuring and human capital.

Jonathan Dooley and Paul Vincent

Jonathan Dooley (left) and Paul Vincent (right)

Vincents was born after its namesake founder, Paul Vincent, wrapped up a 10-year career at one of the big four accounting firms and decided to pursue a career on his own. Paul saw an opportunity to work with the legal profession on untapped areas of accounting that the big four were not pursuing at the time, including forensic accounting – a field Vincents is now synonymous with.

“I could quite easily still be in Clayfield with seven staff, but it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as exciting. I quite like the challenge of doing something different and always being pushed. It makes your heartbeat faster,” Paul said.

The opportunity to build the business came from an unlikely partnership with Jonathan Dooley, who was only 23 years old at the time and had worked under Paul during the eighties.

“In early 1990’s Jon was trying to save some money for an overseas trip, so he was working for me at night preparing economic loss reports. He saw the commercial opportunity of what we were doing and with a handshake, we solidified a long-term partnership which I believe has been one of my greatest business decisions.”

The early days

Together they formed Vincents Litigation Support which focused solely on forensic accounting.

“Jon ran the forensic personal injury practice and, initially I continued to run my tax practice which sat outside the partnership but after about 18 months the forensic work was double the size of the traditional accounting practice. Jon needed more support, so I decided to sell the majority of my accounting practice and moved fulltime into the forensic accounting partnership with Jon.”

Once established, Vincents quickly gained a significant market share, completing the majority of personal injury economic loss reports in the state, and went on to trailblaze best practise forensic accounting.

Over the years, Paul’s achievements have included developing guidance rules for chartered accountants practicing in forensic accounting, as well as representing the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and its members on the Family Court of Australia’s Steering Committee. Here he developed the Rules for Expert Evidence in the Family Court – all in a bid to raise the standards of professional practice.

Paul and Jon knew they had reached expertise status when they started to support on issues in the High Court which helped to determine the Law in Australia.

The growth era

As part of its growth, the firm made a strategic decision to move from Clayfield to an office in Brisbane CBD. This relocation brought them closer to the courts and law firms they worked with, and allowed them to grow the business into new areas as they started bringing in more partners.

“For me, growth has always been about choosing the right team. We’ve built the business around people, instead of deciding we were going to add a new service line, we’ve come across good people who do good work and built a service around them. This approach has not only meant our team can pursue their unique interest areas, just as I did 35 years ago, but it’s also allowed us to expand into a wide range of non-accounting offerings – like economics, data analytics and workforce advisory.”

With this year marking a significant anniversary for the firm, Paul has reflected on the importance of the relationships he has developed over the years from fellow Queensland founders to the hundreds of team members who have passed through the Vincents doors over the past three decades.

“I can feel quite confident that if I run into someone who I knew twenty years ago they would have only positive things to say; maintaining respectful long-term relationships is important to me and central to how I approach my business.”

As for what is next, Paul believes the future of the firm is bright and looks forward to seeing what is instore for the business for years to come.

“I don’t think the retirement age makes much sense anymore, as long as I have value to add and can help support the company’s growth, I want to stay involved.”

Vincents have offices in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, Gold Coast, and the Sunshine Coast.