2 min read November 2022 — Invest: spoke with Armando Hernandez, CEO at H&CO, about the continued influx of foreign investors in Miami. When asked about his clients he stated, “They are looking for a trusted partner that can help them navigate the complexities of investing in a new market or opening a new business. They want someone that has been doing it for years to guide them in the right direction. This is what we do and do best.”
What are some of the biggest opportunities for the accounting industry in Miami?
The biggest opportunity for us in Miami is that it continues to be a destination for foreign investors. We focus on Latin America which is our main market, but during the last three years, we have seen people coming from California, New York and other markets within the U.S., as well as many from European countries. We are capturing some of the new market, and many of these new clients have some international connections. We can help them establish a business in Florida. With all of these people moving to Miami, labor is more expensive, and it is becoming more expensive to live here. The result of inflation is more expensive for us, and for our clients to operate in Miami. Despite all of these challenges, we have been able to continue to serve our clients well.
What are some shifts in demand for your services?
We help clients come and invest in a new country or new state. They are looking for a trusted partner that can help them navigate the complexities of investing in a new market or opening a new business. They want someone that has been doing it for years to guide them in the right direction. This is what we do and what we do best. We help people operate in a new place. For all the clients coming to Miami, we become their local partner to invest and run their businesses.
What sets you apart from your local competitors?
We are well-diversified, and we have 30 years of experience. We have locations in South Florida and 14 countries in Latin America. We are very client-centric. If you compare us with other accounting firms, we run our firm like a family office providing personalized service. This is necessary to attract foreign investors.
We contribute to the growth of South Florida, and we love contributing to it. We not only help clients, but we promote the area. We give seminars all over Latin America promoting Miami, and when investors come here, they see us as someone that they can trust. The accounting profession plays an important role in the growth of Miami, because we make sure as an industry that investors come here and that they are protected. We give credibility and peace of mind to someone that is coming to a new place or country. It is important that we are regulated by the government, and that we have no conflicts of interest. When the client is working with our CPAs, they know they are working with someone independent. If the client does well, we do well. Sometimes we don’t charge them for months to guarantee their success. Their success is our success, and it is our goal to build a long-term relationship.
What partnerships are important to your success?
We have partnerships with many institutions in Miami and almost every university in the area. It is a challenge to find talent and people to hire, so this helps. We make sure to have a presence at the job fairs and because of that, we have been able to attract great talent from every university in South Florida. We have an amazing internship program, which is one of the top in the country. We bring potential candidates for internships, so they can learn about accounting, international taxes and technology. We have partnerships with nearly every law firm in Miami that helps international clients, as well as partnerships with many banks. People need a lawyer for immigration and banks for their money, so we help clients find that.
What are some strategies that you have to improve the culture at H&CO?
The remote environment is challenging for every company, and we are no exception. When you hire a new person, how do you make sure they know about our culture? We are very client-centric, so we need to show that to a new employee. Some people are working in the office 3 days a week, so we can maintain our culture. It has become hard in accounting because you need to work with someone next to you and also to learn about the firm’s culture. We are adjusting well, and we want to continue the way we work. We also have employees globally and we have managed to implement that culture across many borders through good communication.
What are some challenges that you are facing? How does that impact the wider accounting sector?
The biggest issue the industry is facing is finding talent. There are fewer people going into accounting, but we are trying to encourage more future accountants. More people are going into technology instead of accounting, and the number of accounting students have been going down for the last five years. Our biggest challenge is that we don’t have the people to do all the new work. We need to do a better job to attract more kids into the profession because there is a lot of work in accounting, and it is an amazing profession.
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