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Archive for April, 2012

In the current market place, it is important to expand our suite of service offerings in order to become more valuable to our clients, providing them with the depth they require from their accounting provider.  There are a number of ways to accomplish this.  We have used merger and acquisitions; hired professionals with relevant expertise to create a service from scratch; and also formed strategic partnerships with firms who offer a specialty service such as insurance or wealth management.

 

The use of strategic partnerships can be sticky. Those partnerships which are simply informal and state we will “mutually send each other business” are easy to create and don’t require a large capital requirement, but usually don’t work.  For a strategic partnership to be successful, there must first be a cultural fit. By this I mean that the goals of the parties must be aligned and there must be a similarity in business philosophy.

In addition, there needs to be mutual trust. All too often, we have seen in our clients’ partnerships where every partner wants to nickel-and-dime the other and second guess joint decisions and strategies. These partnerships are flawed from the start, and normally fail sometimes rather dramatically with lost friendships and lawsuits. So, there needs to be a mutual trust in a strategic partnership and a definition of the roles of the partners. Finally, there needs to be a financial commitment from all the parties. Our most successful strategic partnerships include an equity infusion from us and the other partners. When there is this investment, you will have commitment from everyone towards success.

It is a powerful statement for me to make to our partners that we have an equity investment and we need to make this partnership work.  A strategic partnership should ba win- win- win. We are sovling problems for our clients to create a win for them. We are retaining important clients for the firm.  And we are creating a business that will add value to everyone involved.

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We were all excited this week with the Mega Millions jack pot of $640 million.  Wherever I went, everyone was abuzz with the hopes of instant wealth. I do have to admit that I bought a ticket despite the 179,000,000:1 odds, because of course someone has to win, don’t they, and why not me? I could pay off debt, take care of some family members and become a real good philanthropist with that kind of cash on hand.  Well, the dream is over except for the holders of those three tickets.

 

As I faded back to reality, it made me think about the dangers of a society that thinks success can come as easy as buying a lottery ticket and getting lucky. We can spend too much time dreaming about success and not enough time making it happen. In the real world success comes from hard work, luck comes when preparation meets opportunity. For the vast majority of us there is no easy way to gain success. Yes, reality is that we all must work hard every day to prove our value to our employer, clients and customers. When we do that, success comes in many ways. It is the satisfaction of a job well done; the positive feedback from our stakeholders; and many times, enough money to maintain the standard of living we choose for ourselves and our family.

 

Many have accused me of being a workaholic.  Since the days of college, I have been motivated and focused on trying to achieve the next level (whatever that is at the time), first educationally and then professionally. Now, I look around and have great colleagues and wonderful people to work with, a fantastic loving family and a standard of living that’s comfortable. So in retrospect, I hit the lottery years ago.

 

Bill

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