- Michael Burne
Multi-Disciplinary Practices: Bringing financial and legal services together
What is an MDP?
MDP means something different in every industry. However, in the consultancy sector, it generally stands for multi-disciplinary practice. A multi-disciplinary practice is a company that acts as a one stop shop for consulting services, such as financial advice and legal support. In the past couple of years, a number of large accountancy firms have made the move to become MDPs with the addition of legal services. KPMG added KPMG Law, Deloitte launched Deloitte Legal and EY opted for EY Law.
So, why are these leading accountancy firms offering legal services under their brands and what’s stopping small to mid-size firms from doing the same?
What are the benefits of becoming an MDP?
Increases your client offering
Accountancy firms are not allowed to offer legal advice without being regulated to do so by the ICAEW or another regulator, like the SRA. However, by acquiring or starting a law firm and achieving the correct regulation, large accountancy firms can expand their client offering to include legal services. But, that’s not all. Once an accountancy firm becomes an MDP, they can continue to explore new service offerings, becoming a powerhouse of consultancy.
Removes the referral process
One of the biggest issues that accountancy firms face is having to refer their clients to lawyers. Not only do they lose control of the services their clients receive, but there is no guarantee their clients will be referred back to them. However, by becoming a law firm using their established brands to offer legal services, accountancy firms can remove the referral process completely by covering all of their clients’ needs under one roof.
Improves your brand presence
The referral process can have a huge impact on brand presence, with clients being passed from one consultant to another. By becoming a multi-disciplinary practice, accountancy firms can position themselves as authority figures in the consultancy sector, who their clients can approach with any legal or financial matter. This will help to significantly improve their brand presence and client trust, as they become known for their holistic expertise.
What are the challenges of becoming an MDP?
It’s clear to see why large accountancy firms are acquiring law firms as part of their brand, adding more value to their client offering and brand. But, why are so few small to mid-size accountancy firms going down the same route?
Unfortunately, there are a number of challenges to becoming an MDP, starting with the setup costs. After all, adding a new channel to a business will require website development, system configuration and regulatory audits, which can quickly drain resources and finances. On top of this, regulation and insurance will need to be separately managed for both sides of the business, which brings with it ongoing risks.
For larger accountancy firms, these challenges are small obstacles which they can easily overcome. However, for smaller accountancy firms, these challenges and risks can stop them in their tracks to becoming a multi-disciplinary practice.
How to become an MDP without the risks
Fortunately for small to mid-size accountancy firms that do want to become MDPs, there is now a way of avoiding these challenges altogether.
The Bamboo Platform is a law firm operating system, which supports accountancy firms and financial services businesses through the process of starting a legal channel. When an accountancy firm joins the Bamboo Platform, we provide the regulation, insurance and compliance required to operate a legal practice, saving you time, money and hassle. We will even provide you with a specifically designed system, ready to use out of the box, allowing you to quickly and efficiently get your MDP up and running. Should you require it, we have an in-house marketing team who can help you develop and promote your new market offering to clients, growing your brand presence in the legal industry.
With Bamboo, small to mid-size accountancy firms have the opportunity to become multi-disciplinary practices, without the associated costs and risks. If you are an accountancy firm that regularly makes referrals to law firms, start your own legal channel and get in touch with the Bamboo Platform.