3 min read April 2022 — In an interview with Invest:, Jeffrey Zudeck, MidAtlantic regional managing partner of Marcum LLP, provides insights into how Marcum is maximizing technology and enhancing its commitment to technology to expand in the Philadelphia market. Zudeck added that the accounting and financial sectors should expect high growth rates following the shift to a hybrid work environment, impacting the search for talent in the region.
In what ways did Marcum LLP grow or evolve during the pandemic and how are you applying any lessons learned to the next few years?
Fortunately, we not only survived the pandemic but we’ve had record growth. Along with the accounting profession as a whole, our firm, both locally and nationally, thrived as clients relied on us to help them navigate the complex impacts the pandemic had for both businesses and individuals. We had to learn how to pivot from performing our services in person to doing it virtually. Our previous commitment to technology proved prescient and allowed us to have a stable platform. We were able to deploy that technology pretty quickly and translate it into a lot of other areas. The most important thing we learned was how to manage our people and our workflow in a virtual environment, including how to continue developing our professionals for fulfilling, long-term careers with our firm. That was a challenge in the first year of the pandemic.
How has the virtual environment impacted the ongoing struggles to find talent?
We saw the virtual environment as a benefit for our talent search. With the Great Resignation that was going on in the new work-from-home environment, a lot of competitors downsized. We didn’t. Instead, we used it as an opportunity for growth and we saw a lot of great candidates in the marketplace. While we currently have 31 domestic offices in major business markets across the country, with this remote environment we can have employees everywhere and are able to hire for our needs. It has allowed us to open up the talent environment to a greater extent and to capitalize on the great people who are out there in the market. We’ll learn how to navigate these relationships over time.
How has Marcum capitalized on developments in technology, either within your firm or in helping your clients to maximize their growth?
The human capital component and connecting with people are two major ways the firm has leveraged the digital environment. With technology, we have access to a much larger pool of human capital, which expands our ability to attract talent. We anticipate that it will also support retention by enlarging our capacity to accommodate flexible, remote work arrangements – an area where Marcum has been an industry leader since long before the pandemic. We also figured out how to leverage technology to reach very large audiences of clients and others. Marcum has long been noted for our events programs, and being forced online by the pandemic compelled us to reimagine the way we deliver content and connect with our clients. In 2021, Marcum held 142 webinars with over 15,000 participants nationally. That immediate access to the right people in our firm has been a big benefit for our clients.
In addition, we are leveraging our technology solutions capability to help our clients in their businesses as well. Through Marcum Technology, we offer a full range of technology solutions in the areas of Digital Advisory Services, Infrastructure Solutions & Services, Strategic IT Consulting, and Cybersecurity & Digital Forensics. This is actually becoming one of the fastest growing areas of our business.
How have mergers and acquisitions influenced the firm?
Our mergers are always about the people. The continuous flow of new talent that comes with mergers is a huge benefit to our clients, as well as to our team. With each merger, our service capability is enhanced through the addition of new or expanded industry experience and, in some cases, our presence in a new geographic market. Our clients gain access to expanded resources, and our associates get huge opportunities to be part of a national platform and to work with national clients. We expect there to be more transactions in 2022 and beyond.
How has the work environment at Marcum been permanently challenged by the pandemic?
Ironically, in some ways the pandemic actually enhanced the work environment by forcing even greater flexibility to accommodate work-life balance for our associates. While there has never been and never will be a substitute for a handshake, working remotely at least part of the time is seen as a positive development by many people. But there’s a trade-off. It is difficult to properly train and cultivate professionals when you remove the learning opportunities that come with spontaneous conversation and collaboration in the course of a normal day at the office. In the professional services space, it is even more difficult to teach staff how to develop and maintain client relationships when networking is so severely curtailed and you cannot break bread together. In addition, throughout the pandemic the cost of attracting and hiring talent continued to rise in tandem with the growing demand for our services. This has translated into a higher cost of delivery. Marcum and the accounting industry are going to have to figure out how to utilize technology to manage this very unique situation.
What is your outlook for the Philadelphia accounting sector overall for the next two to three years?
Right now, it’s really strong. We see significant growth for 2022, even surpassing the record growth we saw in 2021. I see it coming in Philly from several areas. We’re seeing almost 100% growth year on year in our Transaction Advisory Services group, supporting our clients in their diligence on both the buy-side and sell-side. We’re going to continue that growth trend. We’re seeing backlogs of work in that area like we’ve never seen before. Our audit and tax practices have been growing at an exponential rate. We’re starting to see our litigation support practices catch up. We have four major disciplines and all of them are firing on all cylinders. I don’t see any end to that. It’s just a matter of acquiring the talent to meet the demand for our services. That will allow us to continue to thrive and continue growing in the future.
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