Thomson Reuters’ Tax & Accounting business plans to acquire Deloitte LLP’s Abacus Enterprise suite of tax software products.

The acquisition will expand the company’s set of tax solutions in the U.K. The Web-based software helps corporations and their advisors plan, comply and remit income taxes and value-added taxes.

“Abacus fills a big gap for us in the U.K.,” said Tax & Accounting president and chief executive Roy Martin. In 2008, the company acquired U.K.-based Digita, which provides a lineup of tax compliance and accounting software similar to the product mix sold in the U.S. by its Professional Software & Services unit, which was formerly known as Creative Solutions.

London-based Abacus also offers corporate tax software products for customers in Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Hong Kong, as well as VAT software for 20 countries in the European Union. The company has more than 400 multinational corporations as clients. Approximately 40 employees will be transferred with the business, but the business will continue to be based in London. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Thomson Reuters plans to integrate Abacus’ offerings with its other international tax products. “We have global products in these areas, such as transfer pricing,” Martin said, in addition to a variety of local products. “We’ll use our global products to knit all those together.”

“Over the course of the past year, we’ve rolled out our OneSource brand, and we’ve renamed individual products with it,” he explained, envisioning an overarching global structure where multinational customers can find solutions both for issues related to international operations, like transfer pricing, and for tax compliance in the individual foreign countries where the customer operates. It will also give the company a way to market new products in the future: “For corporate [tax products], OneSource will be the brand, so in the future, [those products] will likely be branded OneSource Abacus, or whatever the name of the product is.”

Despite the current worldwide economic slowdown, Martin foresees a future of ever-increasing globalization – and a concurrent need for Tax & Accounting’s products. “Globalization has picked up steam,” he said. “It’s here to stay.”

With that in mind, he expects his company to further expand its offerings in new markets. “Our strategy is to follow our customers,” he said. “If they go there, we’ll follow them. We won’t enter [a market] just because it sounds good or looks good on paper.”

That expansion will be driven by both acquisitions and organic growth and development, depending on the local circumstances. “In Switzerland, where a lot of multinationals have legal entities and business operations, the tax system is fairly simple, and preparing and filing is straightforward,” he said, so it might make sense for Tax & Accounting to develop its own product there. In countries with more complicated tax regimes, the company might look to acquire locally developed products.


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