3 Questions Featured

7:00pm EDT November 25, 2010

Darci Congrove joined GBQ Partners in 1998, became a partner with the firm in 2002 and was named managing director earlier this year. She has nearly two decades of industry experience, primarily with closely held businesses and their owners, real estate companies, and individuals, for whom she performs a range of tax planning and compliance services and general business consulting.

Q. What can an accounting firm do to help its business clients come out of the recession in sound financial condition?

Entrepreneurs are cautious now about managing cost and hiring, because the environment is still uncertain. From a financing standpoint, we’re doing a lot of work helping people understand their capital structure and what they need. There are banks that are lending at the moment, but you have to have a solid establishment. We are also helping our clients find equity sources. There are investors out there, and there a lot of people who sat on the sideline and have a stockpile of cash.

Q. What will likely be the most pressing issues for businesses in 2011 and beyond?

The tax issue is really paralyzing for businesses that are trying to plan, particularly for those that are trying to invest or grow. There are not a lot of businesses that could handle a tax increase without that becoming a big number. So the two challenges a lot of businesses are facing are still financing and taxes.

Q. Have businesses worked with their accounting firms more, less or about the same during the last year or two?

What we had seen during recent years is that those companies that were in trouble are spending more time with us, because they needed advice and assistance, and that the businesses that were doing fairly well were being more cost-efficient about the things they were asking us to do. In 2010, what we see now is that we’re not spending nearly as much time with businesses that are troubled or turnaround situations, and we are spending more time on consultative services again. What we’re doing now is a little different than what we were doing 12 or 18 months ago.