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Miller Grossbard Advisors, LLP: A membership case study

International association of accountants Alliott Group member firm Miller Grossbard Advisors explains the benefits of membership

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Paul Grossbard, Miller Grossbard CPA
"Membership has enabled us to have a much larger presence than just our physical office and staff in Houston – we are now an international firm.”
Paul Grossbard, Partner, Miller Grossbard Advisors, LLP, Houston, TX

Miller Grossbard Advisors, LLP (MGA), a 26-year-old Houston, TX business advisory, accounting, tax and outsourced service firm, came to Alliott Group in 2002 to gain the national and international resources the firm needed to service its clients with multijurisdictional needs. Today, MGA offers a broad range of services to entrepreneurs, privately held businesses and high net worth individuals with needs throughout the U.S. and worldwide.

THE CHALLENGES

A growing CPA firm

Back in 2002, the firm was growing rapidly, but an increasing number of their clients needed help in different state jurisdictions. The firm had reached a stage in its development at which greater resources were a necessity if the firm was to continue its fast rate of growth and retain its status as an independent CPA firm.

“We knew what we knew,” comments Paul Grossbard, Partner at MGA, “but we were looking to see the success other firms were having operationally and in utilizing technology.”

The firm decided to seek out an alliance (‘association’) of accounting firms, and a selection process led by co-founders Paul Grossbard and Russ Miller and the firm’s management team, concluded with MGA choosing Alliott Group: “An international presence was the key differentiator for Alliott Group along with a national presence that was small enough to ensure there would be significant candor and opportunities for the open sharing of ideas,” adds Grossbard.

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THE SOLUTION

A meeting of minds

In April 2002, both parties reached agreement on membership and MGA was appointed as Alliott Group’s Houston accounting member firm, giving the firm exclusive rights over a sizeable geographic territory in which the firm can market its services to local clients and to its Alliott Group counterparts in other markets across the U.S. and worldwide.

The firm had immediate access to similar sized, entrepreneur-led, owner managed firms, and in the 15 years since MGA joined, Alliott Group has grown to 170 firms in some 70 countries.

THE RESULTS

Ability to service clients worldwide

We have been able to meet MGA’s needs at several levels. Firstly, MGA has been able to continue its growth trajectory, supported by its ability to get work done for its clients almost anywhere in the U.S. and worldwide. Paul Grossbard comments:

“Membership has enabled us to have a much larger presence than just our physical office and staff in Houston – we are now an international firm.”

New business referrals

Secondly, by integrating MGA into a non-exclusive alliance of firms that have the equivalent need to service their clients outside their own domestic market, we have helped the firm to win new clients and new fees: “Tangible benefits came quickly. In fact, very early on, we were referred one client from the London member firm (Alliotts) that has remained our client for the last 14 years. We have won other clients too and generated fees from those engagements,” confirms Grossbard.

New ideas to improve the business

Thirdly, our business model, which is built on giving member firms generous geographic territories, ensures that firms such as MGA can develop their business but also share ideas in a non-competitive forum. The latter is underpinned by regular opportunities to meet, train and participate in MAP type programs through our Business Advantage Program: “Members of our management team attend Alliott Group conferences, and staff members are sent on the association’s training courses. At every meeting, we look for at least one new idea that we can implement – we have garnered ideas that have significantly improved our operations,” says Grossbard.

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Cross border partnership fuels fast segment growth

MGA is now one of the United States’ fastest-growing CPA firms and a recipient of an INSIDE Public Accounting ‘Best of the Best’ award. Indeed, the firm’s fastest-growing segment is outsourced accounting and CFO services, a niche that MGA has been able to scale up quickly by forming a strong partnership and deep levels of trust with our member firm in India, B.M. Chatrath & Co: “We utilize a team at our affiliated firm in India. This partnership is growing the service segment faster and with better margins,” adds Grossbard.

A strong international reputation and profile

Through full and proactive participation in our alliance over the years, MGA has repositioned itself as a firm that can be relied on by local clients to get work done almost anywhere in the world:

“We had a U.S. client that was buying a significant manufacturing and distribution facility in Germany. We needed to assess the tax implications of this proposed acquisition at both ends - in Germany and the U.S. One of our German affiliates, audalis, worked with us to analyze and model the implications of the transaction and assisted with tax planning. By being able to provide immediate answers and analysis of a foreign tax system and integrate these findings seamlessly into the client’s planning and decision-making process, the client came to perceive us as not a Houston firm, but a firm that could meet their needs internationally.”
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