2019 People PKFI 50Th Anniversary

Our story

becoming PKF in Australia – a pioneer in our industry

Our story
becoming PKF in Australia – a pioneer in our industry

The identity of PKF in Australia has been shaped and defined over more than a century of providing business advisory, accounting and assurance services. You can trace our rich history back to the earliest antecedents of PKF Australia – Wilson Bishop & Henderson, which was founded in Melbourne in the 1890s.

Over the years, Wilson Bishop & Henderson expanded its firm nationally, with offices in Melbourne, Adelaide, Alice Springs, Brisbane and Darwin. In 1968 the firm, then known as Wilson Bishop Bowes & Craig, became one of four founding members of the International Association of Pannell Kerr Forster.

On 1 January 1980, the firm merged with a Sydney and Perth based business that shared its same client-focused and solutions driven approach. Together the two firms formed the national accounting firm Pannell Kerr Forster. It was the first member firm of the International Association to take, as its sole name, the name of the Association.

In 1991, Sydney firm Bowie Wilson Miles joined the Pannell Kerr Forster partnership. From 1994 each Australian office became legally independent and PKF in Australia now operates as a national association of firms.

As a result of recognition in the industry for its leadership and forward-thinking approach during the 1990s, Pannell Kerr Forster was joined by firms based in Adelaide, the Gold Coast and Mount Barker. In January 2000, the name Pannell Kerr Forster was replaced by PKF, and since then we have really defined ourselves as pioneers in business advisory, accounting and assurance. Since the transition, we’ve been joined by firms from Canberra and Tasmania.

In 2007 and 2008 the Brisbane, Melbourne and New South Wales firms merged to form one East Coast Practice, which left PKF Australia in 2012.

The Lawler Alliance

Meanwhile, in June 2009, Newcastle and Sydney based Lawler Partners together with Melbourne-based firm Draper Dillon, announced plans to build a national alliance of like-minded independent accounting firms focused on delivering superior quality service to its clients.

Spurred on by the success of this relationship, the Lawler Alliance welcomed Queensland firm Hacketts Chartered Accountants to the fold in May 2010 thereby adding representation in Brisbane and Rockhampton.

Within 12 months, the Lawler Alliance further extended its reach and service offering with the addition of Warburton Chartered Accountants based in Tamworth (and Walcha) and in late 2012 welcomed Perth firm McGillivray, marking an important milestone in the Alliance’s dedication to offer clients additional value and depth of services beyond the eastern seaboard.

The Lawler Alliance has won a number of BRW Client Choice Awards, including 2011 Best National Professional Services Firm (less than $50M), 2011 Best National Accountancy Firm revenue under $50M, 2012 and 2014 Best Firm as rated by CEOs, CFOs and COOs, and 2014 Best Client Relationship Management.

Lawler joins PKF

In March 2014, the five Lawler firms (in eight locations) joined four existing PKF firms to represent PKF in Australia. 

In a relatively short period of time, PKF in Australia had emerged as a top-10 accounting and advisory group, winning a number of national awards for client service excellence.

Today, the name PKF is synonymous of a global brand that is at the forefront of revolutionising the way that businesses, people and communities operate, thrive and succeed through tailored solutions and advice.