By: Felipe Rivas
2 min read April 2020 — Accounting and financial services are a market sector that has been on a steady growth trajectory for years, and with this growth comes a significant increase in competition and the need to differentiate. Charles Muracco, CEO and principal consultant at CLM Advisors, understands this and has evolved his firm into a pure consultancy. During his discussion with Invest:, he talked about his company’s mission, demand growth and his firm’s adaptability to dealing with the challenge of skilled labor.
How do you differentiate your firm in a crowded marketplace?
We are a boutique consulting firm that helps businesses with their long-term goals. Although our roots are in accounting services, we have gotten to the point where we rarely talk about tax or compliance with our clients. We focus on helping business owners think about where they want to take their business in the long term. We build businesses by creating their financial road map. We have evolved into a pure consultancy firm. Five years ago, our largest client was in the $35-million range, with the average in the range of $2 million to $5 million. Today, our largest client does $135 million in revenue, and our average is $25 million to $30 million.
Our mission is to help the economy one business at a time, by helping businesses and individuals to be fiscally responsible and understand the importance of a good fiscal strategy. We work our way back to a profit model, and then we build a series of financial projections based on a specific goal. Through this process, we can drive down metrics in every area and connect every aspect of the business to drive it to the long-term goal.
What is one trend you have observed in recent years that you are currently navigating?
The economy has improved in South Jersey over the last few years. Businesses are growing, but there’s always a big fear of taking risks. That is a trend we continue to see when it comes to investments and business expansion. In our approach, we devise profitability models and compare that information with what is actually going on in our client’s businesses to make sure they can make informed decisions.
In what sectors do you see the most demand for your services?
We have a small concentration in the service industries and have been increasing our concentration in distribution companies. We are seeing growth in the construction, healthcare, retail, wholesale, and B2B types of businesses. We are seeing growth across the board, especially because we bring an outsider perspective to the companies we serve. Since we do not focus on just one industry, we are able to provide support to a variety of different types of businesses.
What is the biggest challenge facing the firm?
Our biggest challenge has been trying to recruit from among traditional CPAs. CPAs have been conditioned to think historically, and we’ve flipped the traditional model, using the historical information to look forward. We need professionals who have the discipline to dive deep into the numbers. Traditional CPAs are the best at that. It has been a real challenge to get these professionals to understand our business model. As a result, we have been developing our model mostly with younger professionals. In South Jersey, the biggest challenge is the labor pool. Younger professionals are leaving the state, and we need to find a way to retain them and attract more talent to the region.
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