2 min read January 2022 — Kreischer Miller is an accounting, tax, and business advisory firm that serves the Greater Philadelphia area. In an interview with Invest:, Managing Director Chris Meshginpoosh discussed the evolution of human capital and technology.
What makes Philadelphia a great place to do business?
We have a very diverse base of businesses in Philadelphia, which provides some insulation from the typical ups and downs that you see in less diversified markets. Additionally, the region is home to a substantial number of closely held businesses that have been around for generations. These businesses have been through multiple economic cycles and are thoroughly capable of navigating difficult environments like the one we’re in today. We also have a great pool of talent in light of the number of graduates from high caliber, local universities. All of these factors contribute to a stable local economy that, in turn, provides stability for us.
What is the current state of M&A activity in Philadelphia?
There was a little softening of the M&A market around March of 2020, but it resumed fairly quickly. Additionally, because of the high level of dry powder, exit valuations remain very high. As a result, the areas we’re seeing the most growth in are exit planning and M&A advisory services.
To what degree is technology a priority at this time for Kreischer Miller?
I don’t think a day goes by right now where we don’t talk about the need to continue to invest in new technologies. A substantial amount of our revenue falls in two major buckets, which are audit & accounting and tax strategies, and in both of those areas there has been a dramatic evolution in technology over the last several years. Some new technologies such as artificial intelligence have not yet had a significant impact on the middle market, but that is coming. To make sure we are prepared, we’ve selected technology champions within our firm to identify and test new technologies, and have set aside reserves to invest in those technologies when the time is right. We’re also looking to automate processes for manual tasks in order to free up time so that our people have time to devote to higher value activities.
When I joined the profession, it wasn’t uncommon for a first-year employee to spend a good deal of time making copies and getting coffee for the rest of the team. Looking back now, I chuckle because the people who enter our profession have always been incredibly bright, and underutilizing their skills is such a wasted opportunity. Additionally, employees now have much more power in the employer-employee relationship than they had in the past, so if you don’t challenge them, you’re not going to keep them. The investments we are making in technology will provide us with the ability to better engage our employees and accelerate their development.
What does the future hold for Kreischer Miller’s work environment?
I don’t think there’s any way we’ll end up back where we were before the pandemic. One thing that has always concerned me is that our work often requires deep concentration, and the constant interruptions of an office environment don’t help. At the same time, engaging with other team members and clients is incredibly valuable. What we now realize is that we can have the best of both worlds. We can allow people the flexibility to choose to do work from the location they’re comfortable in, as well as find time to get together with our clients and other team members, making sure that that time is spent with a purpose.
Most importantly, our clients have high expectations of us, and we want to make sure we continue to meet those expectations. While we are committed to adapting the workplace to suit each person’s goals and objectives, everyone understands how important our clients are and our team is fully committed to meeting their needs.
What is your outlook for the next three to five years?
Barring some significant economic shift, we expect that we will continue to see increased demand for our services. There’s no shortage of issues facing our clients, and they routinely turn to us to help them address those challenges, particularly in light of the experience we’ve accumulated working with so many different companies and industries.
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