Allan Koltin, Koltin Consulting Group – Most Recommended Consultant

Koltin Consulting Group
Allan Koltin

What has surprised you most in the client interactions / questions / engagements you’ve had this past year?

Allan Koltin

Allan Koltin

I’m not sure I would call it a surprise, but rather more of a reaction to the changing landscape within the profession, as it relates to the audit side of the practice. All of the discussion over artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the fact that both audit fees and college recruitment of talent could decline by as much as 30%-50% over the next three to five years, has clearly generated a lot of concern. I think once the dust settles on this issue and firms take a step back, many of them will realize that there is a great opportunity here, provided they can figure out the appropriate technology platform to serve audit clients going forward. I would not be surprised to see a couple of the very large firms license an audit methodology for smaller firms to help them reengineer as it relates to artificial intelligence and the use of robotics for the auditing side of their practice.

What do you think the biggest blind spot in firms regarding M&A is and how can that be rectified?

Safe to say, there are many blind spots that both the acquirer and acquiree deal with before and after the merger. Smart thinking is to put as many of those on the table as possible prior to the merger. I think one of the biggest blind spots that still remains is what I’ll refer to as the “human factor.” Some could call this the giving up of control or the loss of autonomy. Others might possibly call it an increase in accountability. I truly believe that the smaller firms overestimate how much their lives will change after the merger and the larger firms overestimate how quickly they can successfully integrate a firm into their practice. These, to me, would be the two biggest blind spots that I observe in working with both the larger and smaller firms.

What would you recommend firms do over the next two to three years to keep ahead of the game – other than M&A?

I think the silver bullet on this one is to create the best mousetrap in their market for recruiting experienced talent away from competing firms. Obviously this is easier said than done and requires that the firm first builds a very successful practice and then goes out and attracts great talent away from other firms. Too many firms are blind to the fact that their firm has issues and obstacles that first need to be dealt with before they can go about attracting “best in breed” talent into their firm. It’s almost as if they want to look the other way and pretend that certain problems or issues don’t exist.

Number 2 on my list would be going to the rainmakers of the firm and pulling away as much of their book of business and billable hours as possible to free up their time. That being said, we all know if these partners believe that book of business and billable hours equate to partner compensation, trying to take these things away is darn near impossible.