Julie Boland and Ed Eliopoulos keep the EY legacy alive in Northeast Ohio


A company heritage that goes back to 1903 doesn’t weigh down Julie Boland and Ed Eliopoulos. In fact, Boland, managing partner of Ernst & Young LLP’s Cleveland office and Eliopoulos, managing partner of the Akron office, feel a lift knowing that they have hired, developed and invested in the people who protect the legacy of a professional services firm founded in Cleveland more than a century ago.

Established as Ernst & Ernst, EY has grown to a global presence of 190,000 employees, with 1,300 employed at the Cleveland and Akron offices.

“We take great pride that our roots are local, but our reach is global,” Eliopoulos says.  “We have benefitted from this community and have given a lot back. Our job is really to step into the firm at a certain point, and we are going to leave it, but we ought to leave it better than when we stepped in. That’s the legacy of the firm.

“We’re proud of our legacy, we are proud of our people. We are proud that if you think about some of the bold steps that you take as a leader in the community in particular, investing in this East Bank of the Flats, moving down here from the old Huntington Bank Building in 2013, was a huge step. Nobody was doing much of anything except developer Scott Wolstein had a vision to bulldoze everything and put up an office building, and Don Misheff, the EY office managing partner at the time, took a bold step by signing on to become a significant anchor tenant.”

Boland, who on July 1 became the first female managing partner of the Cleveland office of EY, stresses how crucial it is for an organization with a proud legacy to protect it — and perpetuate it.

“We need to hire great people and put them in challenging positions where they’re going to continue to grow because Ed and I are responsible for developing the next leaders of these offices and the next leaders of the community,” she says.

“Our view is how do you make people, regardless of whether they’re here for a couple of years or they’re here for their entire career, to feel like they’re part of something really special and that their experiences here have a long-term impact on them. We want to keep that connection because most likely they’ll end up at a client or have influence in the market, and we want them to think very fondly and positively on their experiences at EY.”

Here’s a look at how Boland and Eliopoulos protect and perpetuate the legacy of a 112-year old firm, and keep a small-town feel in a global economy.

Local, but global reach

Being a global firm is an important differentiator for a business. With the instant connectivity that technology provides today, it makes it easier to provide different perspectives on how to address the challenges that today’s economy often presents.

Of the Big Four firms, EY is the most globally integrated.


EY’s 28 regions are organized into one of four areas: EMEIA (Europe, Middle East, India and Africa), Americas, Asia-Pacific and Japan.

This structure is designed to effectively cater to an increasingly global clientele that has multinational interests.

EY makes diversity and inclusiveness a major part of its very fabric, and the ability to draw upon expert viewpoints is not overlooked by clients.

“They want to see our firm mirror their own people,” Eliopoulos says. “They’re demanding more and more diversity from us than ever before.”

Research has found that diverse, high-performing teams are more efficient, they’re more productive and they develop better answers, Boland says.

“A global firm brings different perspectives to the table, whether it’s gender, or race or whether it’s just different perspectives, it brings more diversity of thought,” she says.

Experts don’t always reside in the local community, so in today’s world a firm has to be able to tap into that subject matter expertise globally.

“Clients want to get access to the best and brightest minds,” Eliopoulos says. “So to do that, you really need to be connected internally, not just externally.”

Connection ranks high

Many companies will confirm that connection is the name of the game. The skills to develop a relationship that connects, however, aren’t usually inherent and therefore have to be developed.

Exterior“You need to connect with the person you’re sitting across from; especially in this business, that’s what’s important,” Boland says. “You have to take the technical information and translate it so it helps people solve issues and problems, and communicate that.”

To do so means spending a lot of time with one another, so you also have to appreciate whom you’re with and like the people you’re working with.

While the hard skills are a must among accountants, it doesn’t overshadow the importance of the soft skills.

“You can be the smartest person in the room, but if you can’t communicate, if you can’t express yourself, what good is that intellect?” Eliopoulos says

EY expects to hire about 100 new employees for its Cleveland and Akron offices this year. For new employees, EY runs what Eliopoulos calls the epitome of the ultimate apprentice shop.

“Our audit staff in particular receives quite a bit of oversight,” he says. “Your first two years on the audit staff mean somebody’s looking over your shoulder every day as you are being trained in methodologies and culture.”

An essential soft skill to cultivate is flexibility, if it’s not already in an employee’s toolbox, Boland says.

“We really value flexibility,” she says. “I’m not talking about flexibility solely in a flexible work arrangement but flexibility in the choices we all make. I think in a profession where things are moving fast, and we’re working hard, it’s important for people to understand and appreciate that.

“We want people to have hobbies, time for their family, time to travel, to do things outside so they’re very well-rounded people. I think that’s critically important as well.”

Every year, EY takes an employee engagement survey to give management an idea of how engaged employees are.

“The more engaged they are, the more productive they are, and our retention rate goes up,” Boland says.

“We ask are you proud to work at EY? Do you feel like you’re valued?  Do you get feedback? We take the pulse of how engaged are our people, and we look at the trend line, and if there are ever any challenges, we dive into it and see what we can do to make sure we keep our people engaged.”

Eliopoulos takes his apprentice shop analogy further, noting that another apprentice is always hoping to move up to journeyman.

“That’s continuous almost marching, if you will,” he says. “There’s that next person following in line behind you. You have to do that. It’s a business, and you have to get new people, and you have to give them appropriate experience so they can grow their careers.”

Building political capital

As the old adage goes, it takes a long time to build a relationship, and it can be lost in a second. But if a firm has built up political capital, it doesn’t just lose it when a challenge arises.

“I think we are very good at being transparent and authentic,” Boland says. “If there’s an issue, being transparent and authentic is part of a relationship. There’s no trick to it.

“It’s just going in and being honest, having integrity, doing the right thing, having courage to stand up to what you believe in and just being willing to have an open and honest conversation.”

How to reach: EY (216) 861-5000 (Cleveland), (330) 255-5800 (Akron) or www.ey.com



  • Think globally, but keep your feet on local ground.
  • Connect with the person sitting across from you.
  • Build political capital, and it will help in times of need.

The file

Name: Julie Boland
Title: Cleveland managing partner
Company: Ernst & Young LLP

Education: Bachelor’s degree in accounting, University of Vermont; MBA, University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Boland on being the first female Cleveland managing director:

I look at it as a privilege to have been asked to consider this position. EY has long offered leadership opportunities for all our people. Our diverse and inclusive workforce is one of our great strengths. I’m proud of this firm, I’m proud of the people we work with and how we serve our clients and the community. I look at that much more on what’s important than being a “first.”

Boland on the new EY tagline, adopted in 2013:

Our new purpose is ‘Building a better working world.’ It goes to how do we think globally but act locally, empower our people locally who know the market, who know the clients, but bring the global aspects of our organization to them. It’s also all aspects from how we serve our clients, how we develop our people and how we give back to the community. I think it’s a really powerful statement; it’s something that we’re getting a lot of positive feedback on.

Name: Ed Eliopoulos
Title: Akron managing partner
Company: Ernst & Young LLP
Education: Bachelor’s degree in accounting, University of Akron

Eliopoulos on the new EY building, on the East Bank of the Flats in Cleveland:

This obviously is a whole different feel from our old office in the Huntington building, which dates back to the 1920s. You just can’t retrofit a building of that vintage for today’s necessary use. This is much more conducive to how our teams work. After last year, we moved in and many people looking for space in downtown asked, ‘Do you mind if we come in and take a tour?’

Eliopoulos on the EY Entrepreneur Of The YearTM community:

Each year we recognize those high-growth companies that are really making a contribution in this local community, in this local economy through our EY Entrepreneur Of The YearTM program. Similar to how we want to stay connected to our firm’s alumni, we invite past winners, past judges and participants in the program to networking events to help build a community.

How companies emerging on the global stage can steer clear of tax hazards

George Koutouras, partner, international and transaction tax, Moss Adams

As your company experiences increasing global commercialization of products, services and technologies, you may face new tax challenges and uncertainties.

“Even the smallest of companies are experiencing some interaction with global suppliers or customers,” says George Koutouras, partner, international and transaction tax, at Moss Adams. “So that means they have the need to consider certain tax aspects associated with global transactions, on one end of the supply chain or the other.”

With a U.S. tax system based on global income, it may make sense for a company — transforming from predominantly domestic to global — to keep earnings offshore to reinvest in new growth for foreign jurisdiction subsidiaries, as opposed to taking U.S.-sourced capital and committing it to offshore operations, he says. However, you must have an economic or legal justification to organize your business that way, as solely tax-motivated transactions are not available in today’s environment.

Smart Business spoke with Koutouras about businesses experiencing increasing growth globally and the potential tax problems.

When migrating capital offshore, why are bank debt covenants important?

When a company decides to go offshore, setting up operations or buying facilities, the first question is not what does that do from a tax perspective, but what are the restrictions on your bank covenants? Lenders may place restrictions on a company’s ability to use lent funds offshore, recognizing the difficulty associated with returning that capital to the U.S.

Review your bank’s financing restrictions. If they limit your ability to migrate cash or capital, determine if you can re-negotiate some of the bank notes, which is not always easy. A company may need to replace certain financing with other debt financing — it’s not a matter to be taken lightly.

Ultimately, whenever sending capital offshore, businesses and their advisers need to understand the intended end result. Do they need to repatriate it at some point to service debt, or do they intend to keep that cash offshore indefinitely to finance offshore growth? The answers will influence the structure that is created from the outset.

How seriously should a company consider local financing options?

If a company migrates some activities offshore, you might need to obtain local financing to expand operations. However, certain jurisdictions, particularly in Europe, are experiencing a credit crisis and, as a result, bank financing is not readily available. Without local financing, question whether there is any ability to service U.S. bank debt, or will you need a mechanism for intercompany financing? Often cash-rich companies use intercompany loans to more freely transfer extra cash between jurisdictions.

But an inevitable hurdle with related-party transactions is the need for a secondary analysis to ensure those transactions are at arms length. Otherwise, the jurisdictions involved, such as the U.S. and Ireland, may attempt to re-characterize or re-price payments to be more consistent with market turns, creating some unanticipated tax consequences.

What intellectual property (IP) will you need within a foreign region?

IP is a relatively broad category of assets that not only consists of patents and trademarks but can also include know-how and processes, and companies should match the commercialization of IP with the development of the IP.

Often businesses take U.S.-developed IP and parse it up among various global commercial centers. However, if IP is being sold in Europe, there may be a need to manipulate or develop that IP in a European-centric way. Companies should identify centers of activity for offshore endeavors, including the development of IP. Areas, such as Ireland for Europe and Singapore for Asia, have a skilled work force, good technology infrastructure for research and development, and a relatively low tax rate when compared to the U.S.

IP is an area where the U.S. is vigilant about establishing policies to restrict companies’ ability to migrate assets offshore, so outright sales of IP offshore aren’t without their accompanying tax costs. Often, property, including IP, in its earliest stages of development and/or recently purchased is the easiest to convey offshore without the inclusion of taxes. To the extent IP and other U.S.-owned assets are needed offshore, consider both sides of related-party pricing to avoid unsupportable accumulations of income or loss in the relevant jurisdictions.

How should you quantify the support needed from domestic management, sales force, technical help or home office systems?

The cost for headquarter-support services needs to be chargebacked by the offshore entity. Companies that aren’t charging for management services and/or systems that go offshore are vulnerable. For example, the U.S. might assert that the foreign entity should be paying more back to the U.S. for the use of the U.S.-based management, thereby creating more potential U.S. tax income. This is something that needs to be reviewed periodically; the management chargebacks existing today might not be the chargebacks needed in a year’s time.

What tax considerations are important for how you sell goods within a region?

Pay attention to how your company conducts sales within the jurisdiction. Sending your domestic sales force into a foreign country will extend the taxable presence to that other jurisdiction. To avoid that, a company can compartmentalize sales by setting up a separate company or using a third-party, such as distributors, already within the country’s marketplace. Another mitigation is to avoid signing sales contracts within market and thereby creating a taxable presence. Ideally, in such cases, all sales are negotiated and executed remotely, and the salesperson is merely demonstrating the product with no authority to sell on behalf of company.

Also, when selling inventory, the placement of property within a jurisdiction could create a taxable presence. The U.S. will tax the income, and the foreign jurisdiction may assert tax liability for sales within its borders, creating the possibility that the same dollar could be taxed twice.

George Koutouras is a partner, international and transaction tax, at Moss Adams. Reach him at (415) 677-8212 or [email protected]

Insights Accounting is brought to you by Moss Adams

J&J picks Bayer executive Peterson as group worldwide chairman

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., Thu Sep 13, 2012 – Johnson & Johnson said Sandra Peterson, currently a Bayer executive, will take on the new role of group worldwide chairman, overseeing a consent decree at the company’s troubled manufacturing plants that produce over-the-counter drugs.

Beginning Dec. 1, Peterson will oversee information technology and the global supply chain, as well as J&J’s vast consumer business, which makes products including Tylenol, baby shampoo and Band-Aids, the company said on Thursday.

Peterson, 52, will also become a member of the J&J executive committee, the company said.

Shares of J&J were up 9 cents at $68.24 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

J&J’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare has been operating under a consent decree after three of its manufacturing plants failed to curb quality lapses that had sparked a flood of recalls for its nonprescription medicines, such as Tylenol painkiller.

Over the past couple of years, faulty manufacturing has prompted J&J’s McNeil unit to recall millions of bottles and packages of Tylenol, Motrin, Rolaids, Benadryl and other products. Some of these recalls affected the company’s distribution worldwide.

Peterson is chairman and chief executive officer of Bayer AG affiliate Bayer CropScience AG, based in Europe, a position she has held since 2010. Before that, she was president and CEO of Bayer Medical Care and president of Bayer HealthCare AG’s Diabetes Care Division.

Prior to joining Bayer in 2005, Peterson spent 5 years in leadership roles at Medco Health Solutions.

Driving global sales for manufacturers

Andrew Dorn, Industry Leader, Information Intensive Business, Acxiom Corporation

When Andrew Dorn, Industry Leader, Information Intensive Business, Acxiom Corporation, was recently researching the top manufacturers in the United States, one topic kept coming up — the strong growth expectations focused on the world’s emerging markets. With the economies of the U.S. and Europe in flux, Dorn felt that, now more than ever, manufacturers need to be attentive to those emerging markets.

“The world is now flat,” says Dorn. “Competition comes from everywhere, so manufacturers need to be everywhere.”

Because of that, Acxiom has partnered with Smart Business to present a special one-hour webinar: “Driving Global Sales for Manufacturers: Why global growth for manufacturers is more important than ever.”

During the webinar — on Wednesday, September 19 at 1:00pm EST — we will discuss why global sales for manufacturers is critical, what factors should be considered in developing or refining the  international strategy, and, finally, present a roadmap that can be employed to optimize chances for success.

Featured panelists will be Zia Daniell Wigder, Vice President and Research Director, Forrester Research; Jennifer Barrett Glasgow, Global Privacy and Public Policy Executive, Acxiom; and Michael Biwer, Managing Director, Acxiom.

“As you enter the global market, it is imperative you understand the privacy laws in each country as they are quite complex and some are very stringent, for example, having criminal penalties for some violations,” says Barrett Glasgow.

Other topics to be discussed include:

  • How to determine which countries to enter and what data to gather to understand regional customer requirements
  • Recommended approaches to building country-specific strategies that can help facilitate smooth transitions, lowest possible cost-of-entry, and consistent performance
  • Considerations for navigating the complex web of country-specific data protection and privacy laws companies must adhere to in their efforts to connect with customers and prospects
  • Best practices used by leading companies that have successfully entered new markets

“The U.S. and European economies are still recovering and the balance of growth is constantly shifting,” says Dorn. “For example, China and Brazil have been experiencing strong growth. They are encountering a maturity curve, but that doesn’t lessen the importance of the issue — manufacturers need to be diversified and have a presence in all major world markets.”

The webinar, “Driving Global Sales for Manufacturers: Why global growth for manufacturers is more important than ever” will be held at 1:00 pm EST on Wednesday, September 19.

Click here to register for this free event!

Apollo’s head of real estate could change role: WSJ

NEW YORK, Tues May 29, 2012 – The head of Apollo Global Management’s real estate fund is talking to the firm’s top management about changing his role, the Wall Street journal reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Joseph Azrack has been in charge of Apollo’s real estate team since 2008. The article did not specify what Azrack’s new role would be, but said people familiar with the matter expect he could leave the real estate job.

While a behemoth in buyouts and credit investments, Apollo is still a junior player in real estate. Its competitor Blackstone Group has raised more than $10 billion for its latest real estate fund.

Apollo reached a final fundraising close for its U.S. real estate fund in the first quarter, with commitments from investors totaling $713 million.

An Apollo spokesman declined to comment.

Sidestepping legal landmines when expanding internationally

Sonia Agee, Partner, Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley PC

Establishing a foreign subsidiary may have lucrative business advantages, but if you’ve decided to pursue this strategy, it’s important to stay informed, plan ahead and follow proper compliance with both U.S. and international requirements. Failing to do so can result in undesired consequences and potential IRS penalties.

To ensure proper compliance domestically and abroad, engage a solid group of advisers in the initial planning stages, says Sonia Agee, partner at Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley PC.

“It is critical to have the right team in place,” says Agee. “Generally speaking, that team consists of a U.S. legal counsel, accountancy professionals on both sides of the operations who understand the coordination of the various tax and reporting requirements between the U.S. and foreign jurisdictions, and a foreign counsel who also has the same knowledge and understanding.”

Smart Business spoke with Agee about the steps to take when expanding overseas, and how to maintain compliance with both domestic and foreign regulations.

What initial talking points should business owners discuss with their counsel when they’ve made the decision to expand overseas?

When a business client first comes to us and expresses interest in looking at overseas opportunities, first and foremost we need to get a clear understanding of the goals and strategies for pursuing foreign operations. We assess the specifics of what the company plans to accomplish by expanding overseas, and how it may be different from or impact what they’re doing here in the U.S.

Once the company makes the determination to expand internationally, it is critical to ensure that the new business venture is properly structured overseas. The necessary steps will vary widely depending on the jurisdiction in which the company is looking to operate. In addition to U.S. counsel, it is important to have good counsel overseas who has worked with cross-border issues, because there is often a delicate balancing act to making it work overseas, as well as from a U.S. perspective. Not all forms of entity will work for all ventures, so making sure that the foreign venture is properly structured minimizes liability to the company.

What potential legal landmines exist with foreign subsidiaries?

Once the setup with regard to the actual structure is determined, you must look at the detailed aspects of the company’s operations. The company must coordinate a number of things, including the work force: will it be necessary to hire a foreign work force, or will the company be bringing key individuals from the U.S. or from other parts of the world into that new jurisdiction? In either case, there are both immigration and employment law issues to coordinate in the U.S. as well as from the foreign perspective. For example, if the company plans to replace a local work force by moving overseas, it is imperative to hire employment counsel because, depending on the size of the work force, there may be a number of formal requirements to avoid liabilities.

Additionally, many jurisdictions have varying laws surrounding intellectual property. Some jurisdictions simply don’t provide the same protection that we have in the U.S. in terms of intellectual property rights, so it is important to identify those issues and determine the best way to deal with them.

Finally, the company must be sure that appropriate reporting and compliance is in place. There is a myth that if you earn the money overseas and don’t bring it back to the U.S., you don’t have to report it. The general rule under U.S. tax law is that worldwide income is reportable and taxable in the U.S. If a company is formed as a subsidiary of a U.S. entity, the U.S. entity has a reporting requirement. Conversely, if a company goes overseas and is formed as a ‘sister company’ to the U.S. company (the ownership of the foreign entity mirrors the ownership of the U.S. company) there are still reporting requirements. Not only must the appropriate forms disclosing the existence of the foreign entity be filed each year, but, in addition, all income from the foreign entity likely needs to be reported here in the U.S., either through the U.S. entity or through the shareholders.

If a company has a foreign bank account for the foreign business, and a U.S. person has signature authority over the account, the U.S. person is required to file a reporting form disclosing the existence of that account as well as their authority over it. There is a significant penalty an individual can incur for failure to report; it can be up to a $10,000-per-year penalty for not reporting a foreign account, so it’s very important if you are looking to go overseas that those reporting requirements are dealt with each year. If they’re not, every year can carry its own penalty and fine.

What other issues should you consider to get the most benefit from a foreign subsidiary?

Another question to ask is ‘Can the entity here in the United States have a subsidiary overseas?’ In most instances, the answer is yes, but a U.S. company does not want to inadvertently forfeit U.S. tax benefits by having an entity formed overseas that may not work with the U.S. requirements — for example, S corporations may only have qualified S subsidiaries. A foreign entity may not comply with the requirements and the S status benefits would be lost.

Again, working with foreign counsel to ensure the form of the foreign entity chosen does not present any problems for the intended purposes is extremely important, as there may be other limitations overseas. For example, a company may not be able to have a direct foreign subsidiary due to specific limitations on ownership imposed by the foreign jurisdiction. Each jurisdiction has its own requirements that need to be understood in the context of the proposed foreign operations before making any decisions.

Sonia Agee is a partner with Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley PC. Reach her at (408) 947-4889 or [email protected]

Ford sees 50 percent sales growth by mid-decade; global sales to rise

DETROIT ― Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday that it will grow by about 50 percent in global auto sales to about 8 million per year by the middle of the decade.

Much of that growth will be in China and India, Ford said.

By 2014, more than 140 percent of Ford’s global product portfolio will be either new or significantly refreshed from its 2009 lineup, a Ford spokesman said in an e-mail. The figure is more than 100 percent because some of the models will have been turned over at least twice in that five-year period, the spokesman said.

Ford last week announced that it would introduce the smallest engine in its history, a three-cylinder, within the next two years.

On Tuesday, Ford said that by 2020, about 55 percent of its total vehicle sales should be of small cars. Also, Ford said its Asia-Pacific and Africa sales regions should make up nearly a third of its 2020 sales.

Ford executives are in New York to meet with Wall Street analysts about long-term growth strategies and efforts to continue strengthening the balance sheet. That session will be held on Tuesday afternoon.

Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally separately told CNBC in an interview Tuesday morning that the company has exited the “survival mode” and is poised for major growth around the world.

Mulally took over as Ford CEO in 2006 and has turned the company around so that it has shown a profit for each of its last seven quarters. From 2006 to 2008, Ford lost $30 billion.

Ford shares on Tuesday morning were up 1.2 percent at $14.08 per share.