Stephen D. Mayer is the founder, chairman and CEO of Burr Pilger Mayer. He has more than 35 years of industry experience, during which he has worked with individuals and private and public businesses, and he has touched almost every area of the firm’s practice areas of accounting, tax, consulting and wealth management. His focus areas include audit services, mergers and acquisitions, individual tax planning, and wealth management.
Q. What can an accounting firm do to help its business clients come out of the recession in sound financial condition?
There are 80 million people out there who work with CPAs for their accounting needs, and between now and next week, almost all of them will think about whether they have enough money to retire, whether they can make the next payroll, whether they can hire somebody or whether they have enough money to put their kids through school. And whether we’re coming out of a recession, going into a recession or things are just fine, CPAs ought to be touching base with their clients as a form of preventative maintenance. We have also found that the longer and more intensely we are involved with our clients, the more value we are able to add.
Q. If businesses are in the market to change their firm, would now be a good time to do that?
Now is a good time to evaluate. It’s happening throughout the industry, and it’s happening with our clients, as well. For a lot of people, cost is a big driver. Cost may be important, but in the long run, value is much more important. When the doctor tells you that you have cancer and they have to operate, you’re probably not going to shop for the surgeon who is the low-cost leader.
Q. Have businesses worked more with their firm during the last couple of years?
In many cases, the answer is yes. Our clients are more concerned than ever about the level of taxes they are paying, regulatory challenges they are facing and the impact the recession has had on their business. This is a great time for CPAs to add value to their clients and for businesses to extract value from their firm.