Platt’s Perspective: Times Are Tough, But Client Acceptance Rules Should Be Tough Too

Partners are intent upon attracting new clients, especially during tough economic times. The days of growing a book of business by simply picking up the phone and taking orders are long gone. Firm leaders are demanding an assertive approach to business development – as they should.

Based on my discussions with MPs around the country, it appears that intelligent business development has never been more important. The recession hit many clients hard, prompting them to seek fee reductions or take their business to firms with more competitive offers. Firms have risen to the challenge in many cases by focusing on the value they bring to their clients, and working on ways to improve that service. At the same time, the always-important hunt for new business has taken on even more urgency. But prudence is warranted.

At IPA’s PRIME Symposium in November, a couple of comments from MPs on this issue raised some concerns. One MP expressed worry that another Enron-like implosion may be coming within the next five years. Another said he’s concerned about the quality of the new clients coming in the door.

These worries are based in the realities of the business climate today. All partners are pressured to bring in new business, even if that’s not their forte. Managers are seeing fewer opportunities to move into partnership positions, as tough economic times are keeping partners in their jobs for longer periods.

Managers who want to prove themselves “partner-worthy” may become more aggressive about gaining new clients. In addition, consolidation throughout the industry may create a competitive environment in which up-and-coming professionals may feel the need to bring in new clients, no matter what.

Partners need the right resources and the right motivation to attract new business. Firm leaders should already adhere to a set of guidelines for accepting new clients. Has the business changed auditors frequently? Is the company involved in a somewhat questionable business offering, yet there’s an opportunity to make $20,000 in audit fees? The dollar signs might outweigh the danger signs in that scenario.

All firms need to grow to survive, but all professionals must also remain true to the core values that built the firm to where it is today. Remain vigilant. Don’t cut corners. Taking on questionable clients is not worth the risk; nor is it worthwhile to retain every client.

“Firing” risky clients or turning down potentially risky prospects, while initially appearing negative, will pay off in the long term. High-quality clients combined with high-quality service translates into a profitable long-standing relationship that benefits all. Another Enron, and another round of SOX-like legislation in response, benefits no one.

MBAF Earns The Second Annual Pyramid Award From INSIDE Public Accounting

Indianapolis, Ind. (Nov. 2012) – The Platt Group, publishers of INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA), is proud to present MBAF with the prestigious second annual Pyramid award. The award was presented Nov. 15 at the 2012 PRIME Symposium in Indianapolis.

Miami-based MBAF is receiving the second annual IPA Best of the Best “Pyramid Award” for the firm’s overall stellar performance in this year’s 21st annual IPA Survey and Analysis of Firms.

MBAF ranked among the Top 5 in the Best of the Best Firms by Region and is celebrating 10 consecutive years as a Best of the Best Firm. MBAF is an IPA Top 50 Firm, an IPA Top 100 Firm by Region in the Southeast and was named an IPA All-Star in Long-Range Planning this year.

Chairman and CEO Tony Argiz left his native Cuba at age 9 without his parents in what was known as the Peter Pan exodus, in which14,000 children were given “waiver visas” to leave Cuba. Upon receiving the award at the PRIME symposium in Indianapolis Nov. 15, Argiz said, “I had to mature quite early in life and it’s really helped our firm. It’s an honor to receive this award among my peers today.”

Best of the Best firms like MBAF represent the best of what the profession has to offer. Each of these firms demonstrates the right combination of vision, planning and execution to deliver superior performance and client service, in any economy.

“For a firm to make the IPA Best of the Best list in any given year is a great accomplishment and a well-deserved recognition of outstanding performance,” says Michael Platt, a principal with The Platt Group. “But for MBAF to have been named a Best of the Best for 10 years puts them in rarified air among the elite of the accounting profession.”

The Platt Group last week hosted the second annual PRIME Symposium, which brought together IPA Best of the Best firm leaders to discuss management practices with small groups of colleagues.

“In working with these firms for many years, we’ve seen what makes them tick,” says Kelly Platt, principal of the Platt Group and publisher of the accounting trade publication, INSIDE Public Accounting. “We launched the symposium so these leaders and others could share their knowledge, best practices and to openly discuss their challenges, experiences, and to ask questions and brainstorm solutions with some of the best minds in the business.”

Many of these firms have been named to the IPA Best of the Best list previously. Of the 50 firms named to the list in 2012, 29 were among this elite group in 2011, and 22 were on the list in 2010. To read the full list of Best of the Best firms, go to http://insidepublicaccounting.com/pages/IPABest.php.

Grassi & Co. Earns The Second Annual Pyramid Award From INSIDE Public Accounting

Indianapolis, Ind. (Nov. 2012) – The Platt Group, publishers of INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA), is proud to present Grassi & Co. with the prestigious second annual Fastest-Growing Pyramid award. The award was presented Nov. 15 at the 2012 PRIME Symposium in Indianapolis.

New York City-based Grassi & Co. has received INSIDE Public Accounting’s second annual Best of the Best Fastest-Growing “Pyramid Award” for the firm’s ongoing recognition as an IPA Best of the Best Firm.

Grassi celebrated its seventh consecutive year as a Best of the Best Firm in 2012 and was named an IPA Best of the Best Fastest-Growing Firm and a Mover and Shaker in 2012. Grassi & Co. moved up an impressive 29 positions in the rankings, to debut on the IPA 100 list at No. 83. The firm was named an IPA 100 Fastest-Growing Firm, and an IPA All-Star Firm for Long-Range Planning. Grassi & Co.’s managing partner, Lou Grassi, was named one of IPA’s “Most Admired Peers” in a 2012 survey with 430 participating firms responding.

Grassi & Co. is the recipient of the Fastest-Growing Pyramid award – designed to recognize public accounting firms whose leadership, operational, financial and firmwide culture are at the pinnacle of the profession. Upon receiving the award, Lou Grassi said “This is a great profession. I still tell everyone I jump out of bed every day. I’m excited about the profession. I’m excited about the firm and I’m excited about the future.”

Best of the Best firms like Grassi & Co. represent the best of what the profession has to offer. Each of these firms demonstrates the right combination of vision, planning and execution to deliver superior performance and client service, in any economy.

“For a firm to make the IPA Best of the Best list in any given year is a great accomplishment and a well-deserved recognition of outstanding performance,” says Michael Platt, a principal with The Platt Group. “But for Grassi & Co. to have been named a Best of the Best for seven years puts them in rarified air among the elite of the accounting profession.”

The Platt Group last week hosted the second annual PRIME Symposium, which brought together IPA Best of the Best firm leaders to discuss management practices with small groups of colleagues.

“In working with these firms for many years, we’ve seen what makes them tick,” says Kelly Platt, principal of the Platt Group and publisher of the accounting trade publication, INSIDE Public Accounting. “We launched the symposium so these leaders and others could share their knowledge, best practices and to openly discuss their challenges, experiences, and to ask questions and brainstorm solutions with some of the best minds in the business.”

Many of these firms have been named to the IPA Best of the Best list previously. Of the 50 firms named to the list in 2012, 29 were among this elite group in 2011, and 22 were on the list in 2010. To read the full list of Best of the Best firms, go to http://insidepublicaccounting.com/pages/IPABest.php.

Your Invitation to the 2016 PRIME Symposium

The PRIME is an invitation-only event and is limited to 100 guests from across the profession. Attendance is made up primarily of leaders of IPA Best of the Best firms, representing a mix of IPA 100, 200 and 300 firms ranging in size from $5 million to $500 million. The PRIME’s small breakout discussion build on the high-impact keynote presentations. Guests will gain exclusive, fresh insights and actionable items to take back to their firms to continue on the leading edge of the profession.

The PRIME speakers, MPs and Best of the Best guests offer customized learning opportunities. Speakers and workshops focus on innovation, ensuring relevance in a changing world, change management, practice growth, profitability and ways to remain competitive.

Gather tools and resources to uncover what the future holds for you and your firm. Roll up your sleeves and prepare to be engaged.

 

 

View the agenda and register for the 2016 PRIME Symposium

 

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