Dear Clients and Friends,

We’ve frequently been hearing, especially in our own accounting profession, the breathless warnings of the disruptive changes that are re-defining what we do. With all this buzz, it’s certainly easy to feel overwhelmed by the rapid pace of global economic advances, new technologies, cybersecurity threats and legislation that affects foundational approaches to public accounting, as well as to your business.

Disruption and innovation require a different approach to financial management and client service on many levels. Today’s business environment requires that we go far beyond the audit and tax compliance mindset that has defined our profession for so many decades. Our workforce is being called upon to carry a deeper set of skills with a broader experience base and vision to drive greater impact for our clients. It’s a “Client Forward” philosophy that calls for proactive problem-solving and a more intuitive portfolio of services.

Of course, while we remain true to our core values that helped build the foundation of our firm, that doesn’t mean we’re standing pat. Our own pace of change and innovation is significant as we continue investing in our workforce and the technology to support them, re-engineering our service offerings, as well as adapting to new legislative, technological and regulatory conditions in the market. The strategic planning process we’ve executed at BMF over many years has resulted in a variety of new initiatives and successes that I’d like to share with you.

  • We’re working with our clients beyond the traditional financial offerings – in terms of how we embrace e-commerce and tax policies in the wake of the Wayfair decision, among others. It’s no longer about waiting for clients to turn to us for help – we are going to them with ways they can better interpret and work with today’s complex legislative and regulatory changes to their best benefit.
  • As cybersecurity has moved beyond the IT department to a central role in corporate and financial security, we launched the BMF Cyber Technology Group to aid in the protection of our clients’ financial and data foundations. Cybersecurity is the very definition of mission-critical performance, so our ability to lead this initiative will be critical to the success and security of our clients.
  • David Planitzer joined the firm to help champion and further expand our rapidly-growing Controllership service area, which offers “as-needed” controllership services for organizations feeling financial or operational strain caused by changes in staffing, acquisition, project support or other temporary events.
  • Our tax advisory practice is adapting to new changes brought by cryptocurrency trading. Today there are 23 million Americans who own some type of cryptocurrency, a number that undoubtedly will grow as this new currency platform embeds deeper into our daily economy.

Many of my colleagues in our profession are trying a variety of approaches to adjust to the pace and depth of change. Accounting Today magazine reported that in 2019, 134 mergers occurred among the Top 100 accounting firms. Our long-held strategy of remaining independent remains the overarching objective in our Strategic Plan, and the stability that has created for both our firm and our clients continues to be a critically important part of our Firm “DNA.”

We know that plans will remain just that unless they are supported and driven by a uniquely talented workforce focused on execution. Any of my colleagues within the accounting profession will tell you that attracting and retaining the very best people is one of our greatest challenges. Our status as an independent firm, along with the tremendous investments we’ve made in technology to support our workforce and build workplace culture, has given us a competitive advantage in attracting, developing and retaining the top-tier talent our clients rely upon.

  • We enhanced our leadership team with the promotion of two individuals to partner. Matt Mallinak brings a critical finance and business perspective as we continue serving our clients’ ever-evolving business advisory and compliance needs. John Jenkins has demonstrated a significant impact on tax strategy for his clients as well as solid leadership in the tax department. We are pleased to welcome both as our next generation of partners.
  • We’ve continued to grow and expand our team, with 19 new hires in 2019 and 12 promotions. We believe in a “talent-first” investment strategy for building our team skills by providing tuition reimbursements and allowing for nearly 200 hours of CPE and professional development time throughout the firm.
  • We implemented two significant professional development programs to continue to support and reinforce our associates’ skills in providing advisory services.
  • Our recruiting and skills development programs continue to gain traction, as we have built an environment attractive to people at all levels, including the Generation Z professionals following close behind Millennials.
  • We held our 4th Annual Summer Leadership program, an exclusive program that provides college accounting students a look inside the world of public accounting. This innovative approach to recruitment has received national recognition for how we communicate our culture and values to the next generation workforce.

Our bedrock value of deep community involvement continues to be cited by our people as one of the most attractive parts of the firm, even why many were drawn to BMF in the first place. It’s a spirit that defines BMF and remains front and center with many key accomplishments this past year. The following are a few recent examples:

  • Melissa Dunham was named a 30 For the Future recipient by the Greater Akron Chamber; she was also recognized as a 2019 Woman of Professional Excellence at the Women of Achievement Awards.
  • John Jenkins was selected for Leadership Akron’s Signature Class 36.
  • Mindy Marsden completed the Cleveland Bridgebuilders 2020 program.
  • Geoffrey Zion was selected for Torchbearers Class of 2020.
  • I was elected Chairman of the Board of the Akron Community Foundation.
  • BMF was a recipient of the 2019 Pillar Award for Community Service.
  • Together with our staff, we raised more than $67,000 for the United Way’s annual Workplace Campaign.
  • 22 BMF staff (even including some of our new interns!) participated in the 16th Annual Portage Lakes Polar Plunge to support the Akron-Canton Foodbank’s Harvest for Hunger campaign.

I’m also proud to share BMF achieved a significant milestone this past year as we were named a Top 200 firm by INSIDE Public Accounting. This recognition and validation as one of our industry’s premier firms is not only a result of the significant growth we’ve achieved but an affirmation that the decisions we’ve made to expand our service offerings and geographic reach have been well executed and well received by our clients.

Our future is determined by our ability to absorb this ever-changing environment and continue to provide exemplary client service delivered by the most talented workforce we can build. Legislation and IRS regulations continue to evolve, business conditions pass through their cycles, but our founder Stanley Bober defined the same consistent imperative for us 60 years ago when he founded the firm: become our clients’ most trusted advisor. “Achieve that, and all of us will be well served.”

It’s an exciting time to be in public accounting, collaborating with our clients as their trusted business advisor. We approach 2020 with a spirit of enthusiasm, optimism and achievement that will serve our people and our clients well.

My very best wishes to you, your colleagues and your families for a very healthy, successful and prosperous year to come.

Sincerely,

Richard C. Fedorovich, CPA
Managing Partner and CEO

 

We are always interested in hearing your feedback or to discuss any challenges or triumphs your business is facing. We encourage you to CONTACT US to have a conversation on any of these topics and more.

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