By: Max Crampton-Thomas
2 min read February 2020 — Recent advancements in technology, economic uncertainty and the constantly changing needs of businesses and individuals alike have resulted in the accounting world having to expand its offerings into a multitude of advisory services. Invest: spoke with Michael Hendricks about how Frazier and Deeter, a nationally recognized CPA and advisory firm, is adapting to these changes. He also spoke about the need to attract and retain talent in an increasingly competitive talent market, and how his firm is going the extra step to make sure this young talent feels that they can have an impact on the business regardless of their tenure.
Why is an office in Tampa Bay conducive to the overall success of the business?
We have been in the marketplace now for five years. When identifying new opportunities, we look for areas where middle-market companies may be under-served. What attracted us to Tampa Bay was really the growth that the region has been experiencing over the past decade. We love the demographics of the region and the industries this area focuses on. We really look to get involved with the real estate, technology, distribution and manufacturing marketplaces.
How have you seen the accounting industry evolve with recent advancements in technology?
I believe our industry is evolving quite a bit, to the point where we are going to see many tax and audit services going the way of artificial intelligence. Everything is going to be a little bit more competitive when it comes to pricing, so new ventures like consulting, back office, cybersecurity, data analytics and other consultative services is where I believe we will see our industry grow. We have been investing a lot of time into this.
What efforts have been put forth to help retain young professionals in your business?
We have tried to keep the younger generation engaged in the business by setting up roundtable discussions and giving them a voice to present concerns to management. Every year, we pick out 10-15 individuals from our senior and supervisor levels and give them a chance to voice concerns and present ideas that they think can help resolve these issues. This activity offers an opportunity for them to grow. They are able to come to the board of partners and talk to them as a united voice. This is an ongoing process and every year we have a new group assembled. We think it is a great way to have the younger generations engage with the firm’s leadership group in a comfortable setting. The conversation can sound negative on the surface, but really it’s a great way for people to talk about what we could do better as a company. I find if you give employees at all levels a voice, they feel more invested and more ingrained in the culture, rather than just being another number in an organization.
What would you identify as the most daunting issue for your industry?
The one issue that we consistently hear in our industry relates to talent acquisition and retention. I believe this is changing. We see a lot of students from Florida universities deciding to move to the Tampa Bay region after graduation. One of our most successful recruiting tactics has been finding people who want to live in a place like Tampa Bay but who aren’t already here. Of our last 10 hires, four have come from out of market. We offer a lifestyle in this region that is still not on everyone’s radar, and as more people find out about it, they love what it has to offer.
How can a firm like yours remain on a sustainable growth path in the case of another economic downturn?
Planning in advance and smart decision-making is the best way to handle another economic downturn. We always look to hire good people and we will never turn down a good person if we think there is a fit. We also know our business. We are able to adapt with the range of services that we offer to our clients. We become engaged with our clients, we know the services we are offering and how they help our clients. We have to convey the value that we offer, and as long as we are doing that we should be able to withstand any downturn.
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