Mergers HelpProviding clients with effective advisory services and the best guidance for their unique needs in these situations requires expertise on our part. That’s why HW&Co.’s recent mergers with The Shealy Group and Finkler & Company are so important. The expertise our colleagues at these firms have brought to our practice benefits our clients and enhances the services we offer. We are proud to call these colleagues “partners and co-workers” today at HW&Co. Combining with these two firms has significantly strengthened our firm’s services to manufacturing, healthcare and agribusiness clients.

Like many industries, the accounting profession is seeing a lot of consolidation. There are many reasons for this. Strategic opportunities to combine client groups, geographic reach and technical expertise make some business combinations attractive. The desire for senior partners to exit their practices also leads to some mergers.

Culture is Top Issue

In every case, the most important consideration we examine before moving ahead with a merger is culture. Are the people who will join HW&Co. open to our processes and the systems we have in place? Are they willing to be as agile as we are in terms of integrating new technologies and seeking out marketplace opportunities? We embrace change at HW&Co., and we look for firms that are as excited as we are about seeking new opportunities and building new technical expertise.

When we start to consider a merger, I’ll usually meet first with the other firm’s managing partner to get a sense of their culture. Many times, the managing partner’s personality really is the culture of the firm; there’s a trickle-down effect.

If that meeting goes well, we continue to discuss client groups, geographic reach and industry expertise. Then we’ll bring the partners and managers of the two firms together for a meeting where we’ll see how our people will mesh. We want everyone to be happy.

Align with Goals

Above all, a merger must align with our firm’s goal to grow and strengthen our technical ability to serve our clients’ ever-changing needs.

For the clients who come along in these mergers, continuity of services is a top priority. It’s concerning to find that your 20-year relationship with a professional at a local accounting firm has become a relationship with a new firm. We place a high priority on client continuity. Most new clients, if they see any change at all in their relationship, may see new additions to their service team – along with retaining their previous advisor.

As many accounting firms add service lines and divisions that provide non-accounting services, we prefer to focus on what we do best – tax, accounting, cost reporting and advisory services around the increasingly complex needs of our clients.

A firm must have new resources that were never needed in accounting firms just a few years ago so we can service the clients who come to us for help.

The new year will bring new opportunities for all of us, and we wish you success in 2022.

Brandon Miller, CPA, CGMA