Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

The Last Word

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

The Last Word

Article excerpt

There's a process to going through a merger or acquisition. It takes anywhere, in our experience, between nine and 15 months. It gives you time to spend with the people on the other side who, from the day you do the merger, are going to be your partners. Most of the time, you're figuring you're going to live with them for the next 20 years. Sometimes mergers don't work. Maybe you go through the process, and whether it's month three or month 10, you figure out that you're not meant to work together. It's not dissimilar from dating or marriage. Some people should be together, and some people shouldn't. It's the same at work. But if you figure out it's not working, you figure out how to fix it. Or you try to unwind it.

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It's not like it was for the generation before us, where partnerships were forever. Not every partner lasts in every firm for their lifetime. It's not an everyday occurrence, but partners do move occasionally from firm to firm. Every firm is not right for every person. You're merging a firm, and the other firm's partners may have made the decisions in the merger, but the staff had no choice. You just have to show people you care and have empathy. Honesty and being direct are important. Ultimately, the decision's the decision. It goes a whole lot easier if you let them know you care and you listen.

It's about attracting and retaining good talent. You give people a platform to work in where they can really excel, and you let them do their thing. You create an environment where people can be successful.

You want clients that are successful and that will grow. The more they grow, the more they need from you. This business is all about the clients you want and what you need to do, and what resources you need to service the clients you have or that you want. …

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