RSM Global makes move on Big Four in Argentina

01 October 2018 4 min. read

One of the world’s largest professional services firms, RSM Global have announced their newest strategic partnership in Latin America. Branching out into Cordoba, Argentina, RSM Global have incorporated Argentinian audit and consulting leaders Bagur, Viano & Scalerandi – locally known as OCAR – into their international network.

After half a century of operating in Argentina, RSM Global will extend its network with a strategic partnership with OCAR. The growth trajectory puts RSM in Argentina on a collision path with the traditional rulers of the roost – the Big Four accounting and consulting firms. OCAR will operate under the RSM Global brand and will now be known as RSM Cordoba. Headed by OCAR Director Ricardo Viano, the firm will leverage RSM Global’s scale for its local clients during a time of economic turbulence in Argentina. 

The partnership showcases RSM’s belief in Argentina’s economic potential and is a strategic move to solidify itself in the country for the long term. However, looking towards the future in Argentina is tricky business, according to Viano, who rather suggests making long-term strategic decisions based on market potential. 

"If you limit yourself to the crossroads of long-term strategic decision making, then you do nothing. You do not buy a house, you do not invest, nothing. Here [in Argentina], the challenge is to plan in the long term,” he says.

RSM Global makes move on Big Four in Argentina

As for Cordoba itself, Viano believes the region is withstanding the economic crisis. “Among the companies in Córdoba, although there are difficulties, there are not so many that have fallen. They can still stand the bump in growth, and the needs are there.” In the face of a rapidly declining Argentinian peso – recently reaching $41 pesos to $1USD – and an unpredictable business environment, Viano believes that businesses should hold out selling.

"We work in due diligence processes and believe that it is a bit early to determine if the change in the exchange rate will facilitate the acquisition of Argentine companies. It is probable that the attractiveness of selling due to the variation of the exchange rate is still not felt, it is all very fast and recent. It has to stabilize,” said Viano.

“At this juncture the medium company has to be more creative and try to take advantage of and change the idiosyncrasy and look for other goals that will require advice. Reducing expectations will surely mean slower growth. Many will have to reconvert. Even service companies have to change and look for new market niches. In the crisis you have to build what you have and try to differentiate yourself from the rest,” proposes Viano.

Expansion driven by local demand

That being said, the promise of international mergers and acquisitions attracted RSM Global to expand further into the country. According to Brendan Quirk, the President of RSM for Latin America, even after decades of insular policy, the region’s needs continue to grow in terms of internationalisation across the board.

"We see that there is a lot of demand from local companies to go out to foreign markets. Today the need to be global has affected many markets. We are supporting that leap for medium-sized family businesses. And there are many changes in the markets, new rules that demand to be agile in the market,” said Quirk.

He gives an example: “When we talk about planning for the long term, it is necessary to understand that we reach markets rich in human and natural resources. Fifteen years ago, when China started buying soy, mining and meat, it created a change in the region and made it participate in international trade forever. It is true that there are development challenges, changes in the Government, but it is the way it is,” he said. 

RSM Global have been heavily involved in business development in the region recently and have offices spread throughout 16 countries in Latin America. The consulting firm’s vision and knowledge of the Latin American market will bring OCAR a stepping stone into the international marketplace whilst maintaining an important local consulting style. 

“The vision and the personal style of advice of those of us who are part of RSM Córdoba allows us to locate ourselves in a very relevant segment: that of companies that need to grow, that require international standards in matters of auditing, taxes and consulting and do not make the jump to an international consultancy because they think that it is an inaccessible service. We come to break that paradigm. We come to offer international levels without losing the proximity,” concludes Ricardo Viano.