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Building the Firm of the Future with Anders

Published by Summit Marketing Team on Jul 1, 2022 6:00:00 AM

The Modern CPA Success Show: Episode 67


In this special episode, Jamie Nau, our host and Director of Accounting, interviews Jody Grunden, our CEO and co-founder now Partner at Anders CPA + Advisors, and Dave Hartley, Partner and Director + Advisory Services at Anders, to discuss what the future looks like for Summit CPA and the Accounting industry in general. They will talk about the recent Summit and Anders merger, what changes we have made and are still doing, how we championed change within our teams, and how this will pave the way for innovation and bring more value to our clients.



Jamie Nau: Hello, everybody. Welcome to today's show. This is going to be an awesome one because we were able to grab a famous celebrity for today's show. So, for anyone that watches True TV and Impractical Jokers, one of my favorite shows, we were able to grab a mirror for today's show. So, I'm super excited. I know Jody is as well to have a conversation with Murph about his Impractical Jokers experience.

And if you're not on YouTube right now, you better jump, switch platforms so you can see this show cause it's going to be a good one. So welcome to the show, Murph.

Dave Hartley: I think more accurate would be fake Murph, but I’m glad to grace you with my presence. 

Jamie Nau: Yeah, of course. We've got Jody here as always. Jody, welcome to the show. And then we have David Hartley here from Anders. So, when we meeting with Anders, the entire time I just couldn't stop double taking at David because he looks just like Murph.

I couldn't believe it. And finally, I talked to a couple of other people there and they all agreed. So, it's been a fun ride, just introducing and taking pictures of myself with David and sending it to my family and friends. And welcome to the show, David—excited to have you. 

Dave Hartley: It's that's my claim to fame at this point. I do get that a lot, actually. I'll be at a convenience store and the clerk will look at me with huge eyes. It's like, “your Murph.” 

And it's like, “No, I'm not Murph. I look exactly like Murph, but I'm not.” 

So that's the issue; it's one of the strange and interesting things about me, I guess.

Jamie Nau: I'll let David do his full introduction, but David is the partner and director of the advisory services over at Anders. He’s going to be overseeing a lot of what we're doing here at Summit going forward. So, we’re really excited to talk about that. David, you want to do a quick introduction to yourself and then also kind of talk a little bit about the merger and why you're excited for it before we kind of talk about the future. Let's get started there. 

Dave Hartley: Sure. I am a partner and director of advisory services with Anders CPA, headquartered out of St. Louis. I've been with Anders for only three years, but my career is 30 plus years. I actually started way back in the day as a CPA; passed the CPA exam and went to work for Ernst and Young as an auditor. 

I did that for a while and then my career pivoted pretty heavily into technology. So, I actually led technology for a public company. So, I've done a lot of different things in my career. Then when I talked with Anders three years ago about joining Anders, it was really a culmination of all of the skills and experiences I've learned over that 30-year period that are all relevant to what we're doing today with Anders.

So basically, Anders has 50-plus years as a traditional CPA firm, historic, with a tax and audit services. And then the firm over the last couple of decades is really focused on building out advisory services. 

So, when they talked with me, it was like, “Look, we've got a good solid core of advisory services, but we really want to take it to the next level. Can you come in and kind of help with that?”

As part of that, our advisory practice, we do have a technology group, Anders Technology, that focuses on managing services for small- to mid-sized companies, but also does a significant amount of Microsoft consulting. So, helping companies, rather than just operate their technologies, really making their business better as a result of integrating and utilizing the latest technology.

We have that as the technology subsidiary; we do the virtual CFO outsourced accounting, talent, forensic litigation support, so we really have a lot of these servers that really bring a lot of value to clients. 

And so our focus, and what my focus is, is to really continue to grow the firm in the advisory area, and really make sure that, as we look at what our clients need, we're focusing on that and really making sure that we're bringing it in. That's part of the reason why Summit was so interesting, as it has one of the areas that we've really looked at.

More and more companies are really struggling as the world gets more complex. For small to mid-sized companies, founders are really struggling with the financial aspect of their business. So, we found that as we started offering more sophisticated virtual CFO services, the demand was massive.

As a result, that was one of the areas that we went on and looked for: who can help our clients with virtual CFO counsel and advice, and really help make the businesses better. And then one of the organizations we found was Summit, which was immediately attractive. So, Jamie, that's a little bit of how we got to where we are. 

JodyGrunden: So, we're so different though. Summit is different than a traditional accounting firm in a lot of different ways. So, what was it about us that you thought, “These guys are pretty cool.”? 

Well, we know that we’re pretty cool, just because Jamie and I are pretty cool, right?! But outside of the coolness, what was the attraction? I mean what did you like? Or, even better, what did you dislike? Like, “Oh my gosh, these guys are gonna rock our world.” 

Dave Hartley: I think probably, and I mentioned Anders is a traditional CPA firm, but that's sort of the history of the firm. The firm has always been entrepreneurial and innovative and really focused on what's next. 

Not doing sort of what we've always done, but really looking for ‘what do we need to do for our clients? What do small- to mid-sized businesses, what does the middle of market need and how can we make sure that we bring those services to them?’

So, I'll start with one thing. One of the things that was most interesting to me about the Summit model is a lot of times with CPA firms, we serve clients. So, what that means is basically whatever the client's need is we figure out a way to help them, which is reactive. 

What was interesting about the Summit model is that you guys have done this so much, and you have such deep expertise, that you've developed a product that you proactively take out and say, “Look, we know what you need. Here's what you need. You need this virtual CFO for service that focuses on a FP and a cashflow forecasting, helping you make business decisions. We want to meet with your leadership team every week to talk about the decisions that you're making and how to make better decisions using financial data.”

That that to me, when I understood the model, I was like, “Wow. Okay. That makes sense to me—why that's so attractive to clients because historically we've asked, “What do you need?” 

“Okay, well, we'll do this, we'll do that.” But the, the fact that you guys have sort of cracked the code on what that offering is.

I think that the opportunity to scale that is just massive because I think there's not a whole lot on the market that has what Summit has—that solution offering. And so, I think it's highly valuable. It's competitively priced. And when I think about the market for it, the market is just massive.

Jody Grunden: And the downside is that everybody has to wear Hawaiian shirts. Is that what you're thinking? Or …

Dave Hartley: So, when I met Jody, I'd actually seen Jody at a conference many years ago, and I didn't specifically remember Jody, but I remembered a presenter in a Hawaiian shirt. And it struck a nerve with me, and it was positive.

We ran a process where we went out and we recognize that this virtual CFO space is going to be, we think is going to be, significant for the future of, not only for Anders but really for, the industry. And so, when we came across Summit, I'm like, “Oh, Jody Grunden, okay. So, I follow CPA Trends Lines.

Jody's on every PA podcast that has ever existed on the face of the earth. I've heard Jody before and I knew of Jody, but I'd never like had a chance to really meet him. And then when we got a chance, it was probably September, October, last year, we said, Hey, “here's who we are at Anders. And here's what we think the future is.”

And then when we got to know Jody and Adam and the team, it was like, “okay, culturally we're, incredibly aligned. We both value the employee experience. Our culture is significant and that aligned perfectly between the Anders and Summit. 

So, when we looked at that and then just started looking at all the different areas and the solution offering and what we think we can do with it, for us, it was just a very attractive situation, regardless of dress code.

Jamie Nau: So, I know I’m surprised, and I’m sure our listeners are to surprised that you knew Jody first, and you still took some steps forward! So, I think that's probably the most surprising thing about this podcast so far, but we'll move past that. Let’s start talking a little bit about the next steps.

Let's talk in the short-term first. Let’s look at the next six months, next nine months. How do you see Summit getting integrated into Anders and the value proposition there?

Dave Hartley: I think there's a couple of things as we got to know Summit. If you haven't read Jody's book, I actually recommend you read Jody's book because I had met Jody and had conversations. And then, when I read the book, it was like, ‘oh, okay.’ 

So that explains why Summit has made the decisions that have been made over the last10 years. And, for me, that was very helpful and very enlightening to understand. So, right now we just closed the transaction a couple of weeks ago.

There was a ton of administrative, sort of operations type, things. We had to make sure that employees got paid properly. We had to ensure vacation balances came over accurately. So, there was a huge focus on that and just making sure that we got the transaction off on the right foot going forward.

So making sure all that's happened has been a big focus. What we're excited about now is to really start focus on, ‘okay, let's supercharge the growth; let's look at hiring. Let's look at the solution offering.’ 

Summit has done a great job, specifically in the digital-agency space, of really becoming an amazing advisor to digital agencies. We look at that and we see the potential for that offering with Anders. We serve a number of different industries, and we have depth in a number of different industries. So, when we looked at the value that Summit brings, specifically to the digital-agency space, and we think about, ‘Wow, we could bring that same value to whatever industry, (healthcare, construction, legal), you know, whatever it is.’

As we start to look at that, it's like, ‘okay, we know we've got a good thing.’ 

We know we have clients that have the need. We just have to figure out how do we educate them. Because probably the biggest thing, and one of the things that we're seeing the talent shortage right now, is making it where the solutions that companies have used in the past no longer work well on a go-forward basis.

So, in the past when you, “well, we've got some technology needs, we'll hire a technology person,” or “we don't really know accounting, so we'll hire an accountant or two.” 

And that used to work. You can find those people. Now you can't find those people. So, more and more companies are coming to us and saying, ‘Look, we can't find the talent. Can you help outsource this for us? Can you take this off our hands? It's back office. We're not good at it. Why don't you, you know, can you guys do that?’ 

So as a result of that, we have more and more, business owners that we're having discussions with where they're like, ‘look, that solution worked in the past, but it doesn't work on a go-forward basis.’

There are a lot of businesses out there right now struggling with talent and don't know that there is a better option. And so, that's part of what we have to do on a go-forward basis is really create awareness around the offering and the fact that this is there. And a lot of businesses don't even know or haven't thought about this as an option.

So those are just a couple of things. I mean, there's a ton of things. Summit is 100% remote. At Anders, we have a hybrid, but the way that Summit runs and manages culture in a remote workforce has been hugely insightful for the Anders team. So looking at when and how do we embrace certain things that Summit does, there's a lot of those types of things that, as we look out over the next 3, 6, 9 months, there's a lot of exciting things that we're going to do that we think will benefit Summit’s clients, and Anders's clients—and then employees of both firms, to create a better employee experience on a go-forward basis.

Jamie Nau: Great. So, the first step, it sounds like, is that brand awareness, getting that out there and making sure people know exactly what the service offerings are. And then I think the other thing you talked about there was, and this is what I know I'm excited about as the director of the accounting department, in the past, we've always had to time it, right?

We've had to say, ‘Okay, if we need to get it right, what's the forecast look like next three months? We think we're going to have this many clients. Okay. I can hire a CFO in month two, and hopefully it's right in these two weeks. So, it works out and that a tough game to play. And so, I think that’s where we’re looking at now—getting the people in place. 

But, more importantly, is getting the people in place and getting them up to speed quickly. Right? And then, I think the other part of it is, I could hire four CFOs tomorrow, but if none of them are trained and ready to take on clients, then I really don't have four CFOs. I have four people in training.

And so, it's building those processes around, getting people in and getting people up quickly. And I think there's, there's two challenges right there; one is, and you already kind of mentioned it, but you mentioned that on the client side is people. I mean, it is really hard to find people right now.

And I think since we've made this merger, we've been really looking to hire more people and get people in fast, and the well is pretty dry still. So, what do we think about that and how—I'm going to throw this to you, Jody—how do we get the water to pump up a little bit more and get to get people coming in more quickly?

Jody Grunden: You know, I don't think the well is dry at all. I think the well is dry when we look for people specifically; you know, if we’re looking to hire three CFOs today, and we have only four applications, obviously that's a problem. Right? 

But, as we go through, if we consistently have four applications every single month, then that is going to enable us to hire eight CFOs over the next year—or whatever that number is.

So, I would say, yeah, the well might be dry at the moment we're looking for them, which is right now. We've got four or five really good—I think we had three or four really good candidates right now—if we continue that over time, it's going to get back to where it was, you know, prior to the pandemic, in my opinion.

I don't think that's going to be any issues at all. I just think it's going to take a little time to build that up. The other thing, which is kind of cool, is that we're always looking externally for talent. We've already got the talent inside the, you know. Really, what are you going to do from Summit? You are going to be an accountant working underneath the CFO. Or you're going to be the CFO itself. 

Whereas with Anders right now, there's a lot of folks out there that they may currently have that really love the company. And, you know, don't want to depart from the company at all, but they really kind of getting stale in their position.

So maybe it gives those folks an opportunity to go sideways, instead of externally looking for people for our team, we may end up finding people in a different department that want to give this a shot, you know, that type of thing.

Plus, when they find out cool you are, Jamie, they’re going to be in 100%; we’re gonna have to fend them off and you'll say, “Hey, hang on!”

I really don't think that's going to be a problem at all. I just think it's really the start of what we're looking for. And I think six months down the road, you're going to be like, ‘okay, now what do we do with prospects, great prospects, anybody in the audience who would love to hire them, but we don't have the room for them anymore because we've got such a huge bench. You know, I think that's where it's going to end up being, um, in a very, very short period of time.

Jamie Nau: Yeah. That's definitely the hope. And I think I totally get what you're saying—in the past, it's always been that the timing has to be right.

Kind of like I mentioned now, if we find an opportunity hire that we're going to be able to take that hire because we found someone perfect. And I think, you know, kind of the flip side of what you mentioned as well is people coming in., I've had candidates come in that would be a great auditor but not a good virtual CFO. Or this person talked, we had a 30-minute interview and they spent 20 minutes talking about taxes.

I don't want him to be my CFO or an accountant for me, but they'd be great in a tax department somewhere. And so now, I think we're able to bring those people in and look at the Anders side of things and see what they have to offer so we could bring more and more great people in. It’s kind of that give and take of the HR department.

David, you want to talk a little bit more about, about that and what you guys bring to the hiring and interviewing process for us? 

Dave Hartley: Yeah, just to kind of piggyback on Jody's comments, Anders now has, with the addition of Summit, we have over 300 employees.

And our growth plans going forward are to add dozens of employees in all of our practice areas. We just think the macro conditions right now, and the complexity of technology and business, is going to benefit firms like ours, who do a great job helping companies with a lot of the back office things that they are not experts in.

So, a big part of that is making sure that we can get the right people onboard to serve those clients. So, recruiting is a big focus of ours, and that's part of why we focus so much on culture. If we create an environment where people really want to work, and that's one of the interesting things that we're watching right now as more and more larger companies now ask their workforce to come back into the office, we think there are a number of people who have decided ‘I'm really good when I work remote and I really like it and I want to continue to do it.’

If that's the case, Summit can be delivered in a 100% remote model, and it works great. So that is going to be part of, as we start looking at the attractiveness, maintaining and focusing on our culture and making sure that it is genuinely the best place.

And then making sure, and we've actually been doing this at Anders, after the pandemic when we started asking people to come back in the office, we focused on flexibility and choice. It's like, ‘okay, if this works well for you, get with your team, we didn't mandate certain days of the office or certain hours. What we did is we empowered each team and each leader to say, ‘look, this is working well for us.’ 

So let's say. We have teams at Anders that have decided Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, let's all be together in the office on those days, and work remote on Mondays and Fridays. We've got other teams who have done almost the exact opposite, but it works for them.

And that's one of the things that I really like about Anders, cause I've only been with the firm for three years, when I came in, there were a lot of questions. And then when I got here, it was like, wow, I've been here three years. I just celebrated my three-year anniversary.

The firm hasn't made any decisions that's violated our core values, which we live by, during that three-year period. And I'm very proud to be associated with a firm like Anders with the caliber of people and the integrity of people that we have, that I know do a great job, serving our clients and taking care of our employees.

So, Jamie, the whole HR aspect for us, I mean, people is our business. What I like about Summit is the Summit sort of tech-stack integration with the people, but the people are still really important. So, for us, that's what we view as the future. When we look at constraints, we’ve just got to make sure that we've got the right people who understand our client's needs. And if we take care of them, they will absolutely take care of our clients. 

Jody Grunden: I think a lot of that comes with trust, right? Trust is a really big factor. That really was said but not said—it was kind of more implying. In a remote work environment, you've really got to trust your team.

You've got to give them the autonomy and the trust. And I think that's what a lot of folks out there today really want is they want to be trusted instead of me being at the office and sitting by a desk where everybody can see me. Now, I'm actually working remotely working outside of the environment and that team trusts that I'm going to get the job done.

You know, they trust that if I pick up my kids from daycare or hop to a baseball game real quick, or whatever with the kids or whatever that might be, they trust the fact that, ‘Hey, I'm still going to get my work done.’

And I think that's a big thing that is very new for a lot of brick-and-mortar type CPA firms or brick-and-mortar companies out there is that, that trust probably was always there, but it was, it was never out front. It was never deliberate. 

It was never saying: if you take a couple hours off today, great; make it up later tonight, or whatever. Don't worry about the time necessarily, just get the job done. That's more important than clocking in and clocking out. 

Jamie Nau: I tell you what I've seen, just in the month we've been working through stuff, is really how we're going to be able to complement each other.

And this is just one example I'm going to give, but I think it really is the two things working together. So, when it comes to hiring, one area that Summit has nearly given up on is right-out-of-college people. Right? Not because they can't do the job, but because they don't want the job. If you're coming right out of college, a lot of people coming right out of college from our marketing and our HR teams tell us is that they don't want to come straight out of college and work in an online environment and be in their house all day. Right? That's not what people right out of college are looking for.

That’s one of the things that we've nearly just said this is just an area we're not even gonna recruit. But with Anders, this is an area that Ander has had great success in because there's certain universities you go after there's people, you can go and they have a place to go.

They're going to come into the Anders building. So, what I'm seeing is we're going to be able to hire those accountants that we haven't hired before. So not senior accountants, but accountants, and they're gonna be able to start off in the office. And if they love it there, cool. They can stay there their whole career while they're at Summit if they want.

But maybe after two to three years, the situation changes. They've already met people. They're ready to go home— two days a week, three days a week, and maybe even full-time from home, and they'll be able to do that. And so that's something that you guys are bringing to us. 

But then on the flip side is Anders has always just recruited that local area. They've recruited the St. Louis, Missouri area, when it comes to experienced hires. Where we have this huge web; we look at everybody, we look at anybody that comes in and that's something that we have a ton of experience in. So, when you see our HR people talk, you get to see the light bulb go off.

They're like, oh wait, you guys are going to help us learn how to get more experienced tax people, more people that can come in from outside the St. Louis area. And we're saying, ‘Hey, you're going to have an office where people can go to right out of college. So, we're really going to be able to complement each other.

And I think that's just one example of some of the meetings I've been in. I've seen the light bulb go off on how we're going to be able to complement each other. But that's something that I'm the most excited about is that we're going to keep finding those things. 

Dave Hartley: And it is really interesting because Robert Minkler, our managing partner, he goes and meets with other CPA firms and all kinds of businesses. The level of shock that he gets when he tells the story about how, you know, a large percentage of Anders employees that are based in St. Louis want to come into the office and they really enjoy the office environment.

And they're like, ‘how can you possibly convince people to come back to the office?’ It's like, ‘well, it's a great office. It's got great people. We've eliminated the barriers. We've taken care of parking.’ 

There's just a number of things that we do for our employees. There's that demographic that really loves that environment. The fact that we have a bar in the office that we opened for happy hour on Friday evenings and those types of things that are great for them socially, which works for their life. And we're glad that we can create an environment that works professionally for them. And then also personally, and as a result of that long-term, it’s going to increase retention, increase employee engagement and satisfaction. We're excited about where this can head—the flexibility that whatever works well for you, we can probably accommodate. 

Jody Grunden: The other thing about it is, even though they might love coming in the office and that’s where they are at, life happens to people—their spouse might get relocated, maybe their spouse might be in the army Navy, air force or armed forces, and might have to move somewhere. 

Which is like, ‘well, what do I do now? Do I move with my spouse? Of course I do, but I love Anders.’ 

And so it gives them even another option. They can still work for Anders and work in this remote environment. I think for a lot of people, that would be the key to staying onboard and remaining with the company. I think it's going to be something huge that wasn't offered before. It was kind of offered before but now it's reality because we've got the platform for you to actually do that. So they can still be part of that big environment, that environment they love when they were in the office there.

Jamie Nau: The next area I want to go down a little bit is, is the resources areas. So, we've talked about the people, and we talked about the hiring and let's, let's talk about the resources because this is another area at Summit that we've been talking about quite a bit, especially in our CFO meetings where, in the past, a topic came up and let's say it was a complicated tax topic or evaluation need, a lot of times, we'd be in our Friday CFO meeting.

‘I have this client that needs evaluation, who have you guys used?’ 

And we'd all kind of throw a couple names out there and then we'd have to call and do some reference checks, see what's available. And then obviously we'd manage the relationship because we don't just let our clients go on that stuff, but we'd have to be trusting an outside firm.

Now, with both those issue, I just mentioned, plus many more, you know, you guys have a lot of those resources in house. I know that's something that the CFOs are really excited about. So, can you expand on that a little bit for us, David? 

Dave Hartley: Sure. Yeah. So, as I mentioned earlier, you know, the Anders advisory practice, there was a good, solid core of advisory services that the firm's been delivering for a while. Since I joined, you know, and the firm as a whole has really focused on adding those additional advisory services. Jamie, you know, whatever those needs are, you mentioned a couple, evaluation and really deep tax expertise, we now have that within Anders.

And I think part of the advantage of that is, and I know this because in my prior life when I led technology for a public company, managing vendors and managing all the providers became a significant amount of effort. So, to know that you have a single-source partner that you can go to that will help you with these three or four issues that you don't have to find them on your own, you don't have to manage it. Any of those types of things, in my opinion has significant value. So, when I look at that for clients and the fact that we already know them, like if we're providing the virtual CFO service, we know cashflow, we know exactly where they're at. So, when we advise them on other issues, we're a much better advisor because we know the business, we know the client. 

There are so many things, that as we look into now, more and more of what we do with our technology business is delivered remotely. We can deliver those services and that expertise; we've got cloud engineers, we've got very senior Microsoft engineers—people that really know these technologies well, the vast 99% of the time, they're not onsite with clients. All of that is delivered remotely.

So, when we start to look at the potential to deliver the services that we have with the expertise that we have to the existing Summit client base, and then as we start to add new clients and look at what we can bring to them, we're just very excited about that. That's a better way to do it.

And we think it's creating greater value for the clients because they're getting the service that they want, but they're not having to manage three, four or five providers to, to deliver on those. We just think that's a better model on a go-forward basis that we think the market is going to respond to.

Jamie Nau: I agree. And I think also, gentlemen, I’m going to let you talk about this a little bit, but in the sales process, I know that Jody’s not as guilty of this as much as our other owner is, which is Adam, but Adam hates to say no to anything. He could have a person come into a client call and be like, ‘we have 19 organizations across the world and we're going to be working in SAP and all this stuff.’

And Adam was like, ‘yeah, we can do that.’ 

Whereas, I look at it, and I'm like, ‘oh my goodness, there's no way we’re going to be able to support that. But I think with the additional resources and with the additional departments, that’s one that the Summit team might not take on, but maybe another one of your departments might be able to take on that type of organization. I think that's something that I'm pretty excited about.

And Jody, you want to talk about that? Cause I know you're highly involved in those sales calls. And how often does that happen? Where you're like, ‘ah, this is a little bit too, too much for what we do, but it might be better for something that Anders could offer. 

Jody Grunden: That's a great question because a lot of times it comes down to, we've got some really great CFOs, but maybe they don't have the experience in the, you name the field, let's say it's transportation. Maybe they don't have a ton of transportation experience, and it's kind of nice to be able to reach out in the Anders web and say, ‘okay, who has transportation experience that could really help this client.’ 

The cool thing about that is that we may not have a person, a CFO, that has that experience, but we've got the knowledge base to bring in. So, we can bring in XYZ person who has that experience and really bring that onboard and kind of piggyback off the engagement.

So those are the types of things I'm really looking forward to is the fact that, whereas we may not have been able to add that person on as a client because we had to bow out because we didn't have whatever experience, now we have a really great opportunity to have the experience and bring it to them.

And we just quoted a person in the healthcare industry that we probably wouldn't have quoted before, and we brought an individual, a partner, out of the healthcare department. And boom, they had the exact experience this person was looking for. So, it gave us a really great opportunity. 

We didn't get the client, but at the same point, it gave us an opportunity to get that client, which, we would never have that opportunity before, which was super, super cool.

Other areas are just simply when they're calling in looking for something that just really isn't in the virtual CFO wheelhouse, we have that as well. And so, if they're looking for just some, somebody to come in and do a quick in and out thing where maybe we can bring that to Beth, our interim CFO, where she can handle the situation for three to six months while they're transitioning or whatever that might be. It's pretty cool.

So again, something that would be out of our wheelhouse, we can kind of direct towards a different department, which I'm really looking forward to that. Because again, you know, I don't have a problem saying no—if they're not a good fit, they're not a good fit. And I don't want to bring that type of a client into an environment and have them fail.

But now we've got the opportunity—a chance to say ‘yes’ even more often, which is pretty cool because we get tons of prospect calls. You know, we're dealing with probably at least four week. And with that, a lot of those turn into clients, which is super cool. But, to have the opportunity to maybe even bring in more because we offer that experience and then close more and give them a better opportunity or really a better fit than what we could before is a pretty exciting.

Jamie Nau: Yeah, it's gonna be a little easier to qualify, right? In sales terms, like in the past, you know, if we had five calls a week, there'd probably be one or two that weren't in our wheelhouse—wasn't what we would do, so we just didn’t qualify them. Now, it's like maybe just one of those won't qualify because we have these additional resources and knowledge and a lot larger firm, which I think is going to serve our clients a lot better.

And I know David, you were talking a little bit about the expertise. I always think back to my Grant Thornton audit days where, whatever topic came up, if I was in the middle of the audit field, you know, whatever topic came up, I'd be able to find an expert. And I'm pretty excited about having that now because there's times where I think our CFOs feel like, ‘okay, this client is talking about something I've never heard before. How am I going to answer this?’ 

And they're just Googling, where now they can say, ‘well, great question. Let me set up a meeting next week with so-and-so from Anders to really dig into this topic.’

And I think that's going to be a huge advantage for us. So, with that said, we're running up on time here. I do want to get some final thoughts from both of you. So, let's, let's start with David. Any final thoughts on things we should be looking forward to over the next year, two years, three years of how this is going to work? 

Dave Hartley: Yeah, I think just in general, the whole concept of client accounting services or client accounting and advisory services, whatever, whatever acronym you use, I think, from my perspective, when I look at what businesses need today, I think it's absolutely positioned for massive growth.

And I think through the AICPA and other studies that I've seen, it's a high growth area for a number of firms. And part of the reason why that is, is because it's so needed in the market. Jody, I know you've been preaching this for a long time: changing how people think about accounting.

And I think this is a great example of that. You know, a lot of people think of their accountant as someone who is going to come to me with some set of financial statements that I don't understand. They're going to use words that I don't have any idea what they mean, and then they're going to leave and I'm going to pay them.

And I think that the thought now that a true business performance coach who understands financials is going to come into your business and is going to make you better; and, as a result of that, increased revenues, increased profits. It makes so much sense that I think, as we get more visibility around this offering, this is an option and here's how it works because historically that's not how businesses operate in the middle market. 

So, I think as we go forward with that, I think the market potential is huge. And then, the integration just for what we can bring and how we can deliver our services nationally, with a remote model and with a very high level of client service, but it just so happens that we're not in the same city that you are, and that's okay.

I think a lot of these things that we've sort of started to see and experimented with, I think those are really going to take off. And I think when we look back in a couple of years, I think, it's very much the way that we're positioned at Anders, but then also how the industry is changing to really become better advisors to businesses in general. I think we just happen to have a particular slice of that, that I find particularly interesting, that I think it’s going to really drive the growth of the firm on a go-forward basis.

Jody Grunden: I think you said it—pretty much hit the nail on the head. I wish I could speak as well as you, by the way, just so you know; obviously that's not the case! I think you hit it right on the head. You know what we bring; you know, we double our size every three years. We've been doing that since 2010.

So, without Anders, this year we'll probably be around the 15, $16 million mark. With Anders this year, there's a possibility to be closer to the $20 million mark. With Anders within three, four years, it's possible, we may get to $50 million market. 

I think that could not have happened on our own. It could have been a hail Mary type of play.

I think the chances of that are very, very high and, and it's kind of cool because Anders is a 50 to $60 million firm today. I think within three to five years, if they're not over a $100 million, I think I would be so shocked and so disappointed actually because the offering is so there, and the demand is so high for it. And it's only going to get higher and higher. 

As the virtual world becomes more and more of a norm, right now it's becoming that norm, but it will be the norm here soon. And the virtual world regarding clients meeting with professionals and so forth, the different service offerings that we offer, I think all of that's going to become very mainstream pretty quickly. 

The cool thing about it is that we've been doing this since 2004. We've got this figured out. And, with bringing the Anders team on and accelerating that process, I think is going to be huge for everything.

And, like I said, the $100 million mark in three to five years, I would be so disappointed if we didn't hit that. So, I think that's where the growth is going to be because the demand is there, and I don't think the demand's going to slow down.

Jamie Nau: Yeah. I think that's all the same stuff I'm excited for, the growth. And to your point, Jody, ‘could we have gotten there without Anders?’ Yes. But I think it would have been a slower burn. I'm really excited to accelerate that growth and really be the leading firm for these services because of that growth, and it makes their excited for that.

I'm going to challenge all of our listeners. I know the majority of our listeners are listeners. But because of the Murph resemblance here, I want everybody now, at the end of the show, to just go to the YouTube site, just watch the first two minutes and give us a thumbs up if you think Dave looks like Murph.

I think it's a 100% resemblance there. So maybe we can get a little more YouTube traffic after this video to check this out. Thanks for joining us, guys. It was a great episode and definitely excited for the future.


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