When the firm started aiming for a million dollars, the search for an international partner began. Nõmmiste explains: “We realised there was no point in reinventing the wheel, because the knowledge of how to organise and do the work of auditors and accountants better was already out there. We started looking for foreign partners, and at the same time there was interest in us as well.” For example, Deloitte came to visit the company, but the contact did not develop into anything more serious.
However, it was a different story with the next interested party. In early 1995, Rimess was contacted by the European unit of Moores Rowland International (MRI), one of the world’s ten largest international accounting firms. The idea of working together appealed, and in May 1995 Rimess became a correspondent member of MRI, graduating to full membership four years later.
Signing the membership agreement between Rimess and MRI in May 1995: seated (from left) Mati Nõmmiste and Head of MRI Charles Maynard. In the back row, Eva Veinberg and MRI representatives Victor Clements and Poul Erik Vennekilde.
The acronym MRI, which was added to the name of Rimess in 1999, signalled to the market that Estonia’s largest locally owned accounting and audit firm was also a member of a trusted international association of audit firms. In addition to raising awareness and building trust, membership offered much more. Nõmmiste explains: “It gave us the opportunity to interact with colleagues internationally and to participate in international training, which meant we got a foot in the door in the information field. That developed and broadened our mindset on how things could and should be done.”
MRI also meant benefits in practical day-to-day work: Rimess clients had businesses outside of Estonia, so with the help of colleagues in the network, they could be served more smoothly. In the end, MRI membership paved the way for expansion into Latvia and Lithuania in the first decade of the new century.