Business leaders grapple with a ‘cutthroat environment’ and increasing M&A

Business leaders grapple with a ‘cutthroat environment’ and increasing M&A

2022-08-02T13:11:59-04:00August 2nd, 2022|Economy, Philadelphia|

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Writer: Sara Suarez

2 min read August  2022 Invest: met with business leaders in Philadelphia to discuss the degree of competition in their markets and how they’re seeking to grow their companies in a crowded space. Leaders explained how consolidation helps them acquire technologies, talent and new services — all elements that could define their success in 2022.

Christopher Annas, Chairman & CEO, Meridian Bank

Considering the shifts in the market, do you anticipate consolidation to remain the same? 

Before 2008, 40 to 50 banks opened each year nationally, with around 10% of those in this region. Since 2008, we’ve probably had fewer than 50 new banks open in the U.S. Regulators have been hesitant to approve new bank charters as they watch the industry evolve. They are looking hard at any merger and how it might impact a multistate region, and possibly reduce competition or banking access. The number of banks in the U.S. has been declining for ten years and it seems this will continue. It is a different environment in the banking industry now, and it is here to stay.

Jeffrey Lobach, Managing Partner, Barley Snyder

What are your overarching priorities going forward?

We have strategic plans to direct our growth. We also are attentive to opportunities that come to us. In the last eight years, we have completed 10 strategic transactions that brought in a practice, a group of lawyers from another firm or an entire firm. All 10 have been successful and the people are still here. We want to continue that pattern. The key is getting the right people in the first place. In terms of geography, we have been expanding our footprint outward consistently for the last eight years and that will continue. We would like to get on the ground in Maryland, where we just have virtual offices right now, although we practice a lot there.

Anthony Delfiner, Managing Director & Philadelphia Office Leader, CBIZ Marks Paneth

How competitive is the market now for your firm and the services you provide?

It has been very competitive, just like it always has been. I feel like Philadelphia has been more of a cutthroat environment than most. It is very price competitive. We’ve been fortunate to bring on a lot of new work this past year, but if you’re not providing that consultative element as a CPA firm, most likely someone else will, and you could lose clients.

How is technology changing the business of accounting and professional services?

I’m a very big proponent of technology and what it has done for our industry. I’ve heard that 40% of CPAs are going to be retiring in the next five years, and I don’t see the same equivalent of new CPAs coming back into the industry. People are just not out there, and it’s very competitive trying to get new staff; the only way we’re going to be able to supplement that is through technology. We’re going to have to improve technology to reduce our costs and continue providing service at a reasonable price for our clients.