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Romain Bontemps, pictured, joined the company when Weber & Bontemps, a firm he co-founded in 1988, merged with Grant Thornton in 2013
Photo: Matic Zorman
Audit and advisory firm Grant Thornton is on the move, and on Friday it inaugurates its new offices in Luxembourg-Hamm.
The firm signed a nine-year lease on the 6,000m2 of office space at 13 rue Bitbourg where its 280 staff will work, and which will eventually be able to accommodate up to 400 employees.
With high demand for office space in the capital, managing partner of Grant Thornton Luxembourg Romain Bontemps said in an interview that he had originally hesitated between moving to Gasperich (Cloche d’Or) and Kirchberg. He concluded that the Cloche d’Or had not yet “stabilised” due to the ongoing construction projects, and that Kirchberg was too isolated until the tram network is fully completed.
The firm has invested approximately €3 million in interior design incorporating "living spaces" that encourage exchange between teams. A “social room” with table tennis and table football has been planned for the top floor.
“The new building symbolises our agility. I like the stairwell very much: it is very atypical for an office building, where stairs are generally used as an emergency exit. This shows the entrails of our firm and is a guarantee of transparency,” Bontemps explained.
The space is designed in such a way to “create vertical and horizontal contacts between the teams,” he added. Expertise is mixed across floors in a multidisciplinary approach, in a bid to strengthen the sense of belonging.
Photo: Matic Zorman
“We are moving away from an organisation based on business silos, with very marked hierarchical layers, and we are moving towards more transversality, while keeping everyone's specialties, which allows for better responsiveness.”
If the boxes have yet to be unpacked, the firm is already thinking of the next step. The workforce is growing at a rate of 10% annually and the firm is focusing on different growth drivers, taking advantage of regulatory inflation to offer its services.
“The wave of regulation is so great that there is no longer equality before the law if you are not advised. An actor without an advisor will no longer be on an equal playing field, he will be at a competitive disadvantage,” Bontemps said.
The firm also positions itself on topics related to sustainable development, by making its territory more prominent in the field of certification (gender equality, green bonds, etc.).
On Friday 7 June, it will also launch a new “tech hub” desk, which will bring together its specialists in blockchain, cybersecurity and mobile payment, and will include a “space” branch to advise companies that operate in this ecosystem.
Photo: Matic Zorman
Competition from the Big Four (PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG) does not worry Bontemps too much. “We respect the Big Four, but we don't fear them. Everyone is struggling to be seen as a leader and the Big Four have a competitive advantage, especially with multinationals. When you have a leadership deficit, you have to go the extra mile: so we try to be more reactive, cheaper, more empathetic with customers,” he explained.
The firm first gained a clientele among SMEs, which remained in its DNA. It will now focus more on mid-cap companies. “In the middle market segment, the Big Four are not perceived as leaders. That is why we will accelerate our growth in this type of company worldwide.”
Meanwhile, the firm will continue its chapter without Bontemps, who joined it when Weber & Bontemps, a firm he co-founded in 1988, merged with Grant Thornton in 2013. Bontemps will leave later this year and be succeeded by Thierry Remacle, the firm's current audit managing partner.