Crossing ‘thought borders’
Make this the year you change your thinking — and your results
BY GALE CROSLEY
Sometimes it’s not what we’re thinking, but how we’re think-
ing that keeps us from the success we deserve. In this case,
I’m referring to the limits we impose on our-
selves, which I call “thought borders.”
IT’S A SMALL WORLD,
Learning to identify these artificial limitations and move beyond them is a powerful
tool for growth.
you’re committed mentally
While not necessarily geographical, they
constrain our forward movement much as
the absence of a passport prevents us from
entering another country.
Another common thought border
is related to travel-phobia. The
thinking goes: “We can’t send
auditors out of town because
it costs too much and they hate
to travel.” Welcome to the 21st
century, when a firm headquartered in
Peoria is no longer limited to clients in the
309 area code!
Once you venture beyond a thought bor-
der, the doors will open wide. For example,
while advising a firm that was going through
this precise scenario, I introduced them to
a provider that specializes in helping other
CPA firms break into the global market. They
do this by providing international tax exper-
tise during the start-up phase, a common
Technology and real-time communica-
tions have done more than perhaps any other
factor to expand the scope of our reach. Sure,
face time is essential, especially initially. But
it’s entirely possible to deliver top-notch, on-
going client service via e-mail, Skype, cloud
computing, and other low-cost, no-travel
Another thought border I’ve identified is
the “generic offering” mentality. It assumes,
for example, that all audits are equal. That
may appear true when we look from the in-side-out. But that’s not how it looks to your
client. The ability to add value by creatively
customizing an audit to your buyer group can
give you a significant edge over other firms.
This is entirely possible, even in the world of
distribution centers or manufacturing sites
that could be the entrée you need.
Rothstein Kass merges in HC Associates
Details: Top 100 Firm Rothstein Kass
has added HC Associates LLC to its Business Advisory Services Group. HC chief
executive officer Edward Tedeschi and
president and chief operating officer Carl
Versella have joined Rothstein Kass as
principals, and will continue to provide
customized consulting services to clients
including hedge funds, funds of funds,
institutional investors, family offices, asset
managers, banks and broker-dealers.
Terms were not disclosed.
TAKE OFF YOUR BLINDERS
In order to grow the firm, accounting leaders
must constantly assess their markets to craft
strategies for short- and long-term expansion. In my experience, many are too quick
to dismiss particular services or industries,
which prevents them from pursuing potentially lucrative opportunities.
They do this because of mistaken beliefs
and negative thinking — thought borders.
One of the most common is summed up
in the statement, “We can’t do that because
we’ve never done it before!” The market is
screaming for chocolate ice cream, but because Firm X has only and always produced
vanilla, they erect an impassable barrier between themselves and a world of chocolate-craving clients.
Let’s bring it closer to home. In your partner meetings, you’ve repeatedly discussed
the fact that international is a sizzling hot
market. You keep yourself from this vast opportunity because of what you consider logical reasons — you’ve never had a non-U.S.-based client and no one on your staff speaks
a foreign language.
But in fact, your firm is positioned as well
as any to grab some of this global goodness.
Your service lines mesh with potential areas
of strong international growth. Your domestic
technical expertise is well-established. And
‘We can’t do
Sikich merges in Streamline Systems
Details: Top 100 Firm Sikich has merged
with Denver-based Microsoft Dynamics
AX reseller Streamline Systems, rounding
out its own Dynamics sales and consulting practice. Both firms have Microsoft
ERP Gold Competency. The merger will
see the integration of Streamline Systems’
customer base and employees, who will
now work under the Sikich name.
Gale Crosley, CPA, is founder and principal
of Crosley+Co. ( www.crosleycompany.com),
providing revenue growth consulting and
coaching to CPA firms. Reach her at
approach in areas such as cost segregation
and tax credits. It was exactly what my client
needed to jump-start its global pursuit.
The “We don’t have any international clients” curtain is another that’s easily pushed
aside. The international field is wide open,
with nearly 140,000 inbound and outbound
international entities in need of service.
Find them by getting creative. Talk to international lawyers, embassies, foreign chambers, consulates and globally connected
faculty members at local universities. Get to
know your community’s economic development council. What about sponsors of trade
missions? Port authorities? Consultants who
relocate companies and their executives?
Interview existing clients. You’d be surprised how many of them have foreign-based
NO STONE UNTURNED
Rather than seeing limitations, think in terms
of opportunities. As you eliminate the excuses and constraints, you open the door to
Replace the “No, we can’ts” and “But we’ve
nevers” with creative sleuthing into markets
that are best suited for your firm regardless
of past experience. Leverage what you know
and what you’ve done to achieve success in
If you stay within your thought borders, I
predict you’ll be stuck slogging it out in the
price-driven, commoditized, competitive
trenches with everyone else. The markets
are filled with people suffering from border-thinking syndrome. Move beyond it and find
your bright future. AT
Deloitte to acquire CRG Partners
Details: Deloitte has agreed to acquire
New York-based CRG Partners, expanding the firm’s financial restructuring, turnaround management and bankruptcy reorganization capabilities. Financial terms
of the deal were not disclosed. Deloitte
said that the acquisition would advance
the firm’s position in the restructuring
marketplace. CRG will become part of
Deloitte Financial Advisory Services.
Skoda Minotti acquires IT security firm
Details: Accounting firm Skoda Minotti
has acquired Core Information Management, a Cleveland-based IT auditing
and IT security management firm, and
is launching a new industry practice,
the Skoda Minotti Financial Institutions
Services Group, built around the acquisition. CIM president Joseph Compton is
joining the firm as principal-in-charge of
the new group. Skoda Minotti Financial
Institution Services will provide a wide
range of IT services for community banks
and credit unions.