Season 3 Finale
Episode 73 of The Unique CPA is live from The Beer Temple in Chicago, and the end of Season 3 celebrations are so big, we’ve had to split it into three parts! Randy is joined by Scott Scarano, host of the Sons of CPAs podcast, and they talk to Tim Jipping, owner of Journey Advisors & CPAs, Allan Koltin, the founder of Koltin Consulting Group, and Kenji Kuramoto, the CEO of Acuity.
I am excited! Hopefully we got some people on YouTube paying attention to us today. This is a lot of fun. We’re coming live from The Beer Temple in Chicago. This is the third Anniversary, or the three year anniversary, of the unique—what’s our show called?—The Unique CPA podcast.
The first annual.
The first annual, on the third year. I guess I should have had that—we’ll call it the third annual, we didn’t do it the first two years. So we are broadcasting live. We got a great show in store for you tonight. This is not our typical show—we are going to have guests coming in and out and we’re gonna do a lot of really interesting things. It’s gonna be a lot of fun.
But before we get started, before we get to the guests, before we see everybody you’re all logging in to see—other than me, which is not me, you want to see all the rest of the guests—
We’re all here for you, Randy.
Well, there’s another voice you’re gonna hear—you’re gonna hear quite a bit today. And I’ll introduce that other voice in a minute. You can talk, I’m just not gonna introduce you yet.
I’m color commentary.
I’m play-by-play? Is that what it is?
Yeah, you’re play-by-play.
Alright, so before we introduce our guests, what I want to do is I want to thank a bunch of people because this—I come up with these crazy ideas, and then I let everybody else do the work. And so I want to thank everybody that’s been involved with this, whether it’s this event, or whether it’s the podcast in general. And so some of these people are here today.
So the first person I want to thank is Dana Plotke, who I’m looking at right now. This podcast wouldn’t exist. This was her brainchild. I had no plans to do a podcast, and no idea I could even do it, which most people would probably say I can’t do. But I had no plans to do a podcast, and Dana came up with this idea three plus years ago, and so she’s seen the evolution of this. So Dana, thank you so much for that.
Thank you, Dana. We all appreciate you.
Yep. And I wouldn’t have met any of these people that are on the show today without that. And these are amazing people that I’ve got to meet just because of this simple thing of doing a podcast.
Mark Reese and Haley Kretzmer are here. They both were very instrumental in getting this going. Mark’s our head of marketing, and he does everything, and Haley just keeps me in line, and she’s been doing everything for the last month to get ready for this. So thank them both.
Tina Dietz and Robin Thompson from Twin Flame Studios helped us set this up. They helped us get this going. They taught me how to do a podcast. And so that was amazing.
And Justin Grant somehow makes me sound good every time we release one of these. I have no idea how he does that.
And then I just want to thank all the show guests we’ve had over the years. Somehow, everybody says yes when I ask them—I have no idea why I think they’re all insane, but it’s great to have them here. All right.
That being said, You did hear another voice. I want to let you know who that is. That is the host of the Sons of CPAs rebranded as Accounting High podcast, Scott Scarano himself. Scott, thanks for being here today, and being my co-host.
I’ve got an immense amount of gratitude for you, homie. Thank you.
I can’t hear you, man.
I can hear you. I told him beforehand I couldn’t hear him, but we’re good to go. So besides the podcast, Scott does a bunch of stuff. He’s out speaking he’s out at events, he’s the owner of Padgett Business Services in North Carolina that does accounting and tax and payroll and all kinds of good stuff. So Scott’s here to make sure when I forget to ask a question, he keeps things moving. And I’m gonna hand it over to him plenty of times to ask the questions as well.
And surprise guests—this was not on the docket, we did not tell people ahead of time. when this first started three years ago, my very first guest ever was Tim Jipping. And Tim is sitting in the chair right here. Tim, welcome to the second version of The Unique CPA with Tim Jipping.
Yeah, yeah. Happy to be here.
Back for a second helping.
So see this is whatt’s amazing. He came back again, he must have had fun the first time. So Tim—
—well, he heard there was going to be beer, so…
—the first time we talked. I met you probably a year plus before you were on the podcast, and I had heard that you were just listed under what, CPA Advisors’…?
Yeah. 40 under 40.
40 under 40. And very impressive, and I reached out to you and said “Hey, I’m starting a podcast. Would you want to be the first guest?” And he said yes, which was awesome. I think I spent eight hours prepping for that interview—which now I spent about 10 minutes. I think I spent eight hours prepping for the interview, and you were hosting a podcast at the time. Are you still hosting the podcast?
I’m not, no, it was a season—that was a season of life.
A season—that season’s over. Well, you need to go back to it.
He just needs encouragement.
Whatever makes you happy, Tim. I just want you to do what makes you happy. All right. So when we talked that first time, you were just starting Journey Advisors & CPAs, I think is the name of your firm. You know, we’re three years past that now. Give me an update. How has Journey been doing? How’s the business going?
Oh, it’s been, I mean, it’s been doing fantastic. I mean, better than I could have hoped.
Yeah. The last time we spoke I was, I think, yeah, when we met, I think I just left that big firm, had started up, had no idea what was in store. I really appreciated any guidance and advice you had. And so when you asked to join the podcast, I was like, “Yeah, let’s do it.”
I had guidance for you?!
I can’t remember—I can’t remember it. But I’m sure it was there.
We’ll pretend—we’ll pretend there was guidance.
So what you’ve done over the past three years is impressive—not to say that I didn’t expect it.
Ahh, I didn’t.
But you know, podcasting is, you know, pretty big out there these days, and so everyone’s trying, and what you’ve done, and the guests that you brought in, the people I’ve met here tonight, very impressive what you’ve done over the past three years.
Well, thank you for that. I don’t know how it happened. I don’t know what’s happening. I just keep going with it. I tell everybody, my entire job is talking, so I guess podcasts make sense. Even though when Dana first asked, I didn’t see myself as a podcast host. But it’s been great for the last three years. So I want to thank you for that. Scott?
I got a question for you, Tim.
How do you keep those Air Force Ones so clean?
Oh, I don’t. They are—
They are fresh.
Well, you know, they’ve got a little, they’ve got a little dirt on ‘em. I think. You know, the Air Force Ones are best when you can tell that they’ve been worn.
With the creases.
Yeah, with the creases. I’ve been accused of having creases in, by collectors. And anyways, I just go with it.
That was just a palate cleanser question.
Well, what are your shoes, is what are these you’re wearing?
These are Jordan Threes. His are like iterations of the Jordan Ones. I think that’s why they call them Air Force Ones.
Yeah, mine are the Threes. Kind of all off white.
In case you want to know, I know I’m wearing Merrill shoes.
I didn’t want to know.
You know, Randy, I mean, since you asked, I mean, I think meeting with you a few years ago was really kind of a launching point for us. Not all of a sudden, we blew up. But I think it gave credibility to the types of things we were doing. And what you are highlighting with your guests really reinforced the direction we were heading and the path we were on.
And we’ve learned a lot over the past few years. We continue to learn, I always describe that I think our firm is like a nine or 10 year old. We haven’t quite hit puberty, we haven’t hit the teen years.
You’re past the toddler years though!
We’re past the toddler years. We’ve learned to crawl. I think we’re walking okay now. We can have a reasonable conversation with adults.
But, you know, we’re getting there. And I think that had a lot to do with, you know, what you’ve been doing. And just yeah, reinforcing the fact that you can take unique paths in this profession and do things a little bit differently, and they can be successful.
So I remember talking to you, and that was your plan—you wanted to do things different. That was your whole plan. And so you’ve stuck to that over the last three years and continue, right?
We try to, I mean, you know, we have certain boundaries that we must stay in. But yeah, we try to do things differently. I think, I don’t recall if I told you this or not, but we wanted to bring some big firm service level value down to, you know, smaller business, and give them the same service level and competency and knowledge. And so, yeah, we just stuck to that.
That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Well Tim, I don’t have anything else. I mean, do you have anything else, otherwise, I really appreciate you being here. Oh hold on, Scott’s got a question.
What’s one big change that you’ve had since the first episode of The Unique CPA? One big change, or one thing you would like to edit back from that episode?
Oh, edit. I don’t think I would edit anything. You know, we re
Well, we re-launched it today and re released it. Totally legit.
That’s the plan. Yeah.
So the episode that I was on, when you asked, you know, hey, can you come by and maybe you want to do a couple minutes. I was like, “You know what, I should probably listen to that thing again.” And our whole firm listened to it, and they were like, “Wow, you were remarkably consistent in your perspective and the way things have been going.” Sometimes you get lost, right, in the day to day and you sort of lose sight of that path that you’re on. And fortunately, I think it was so deeply ingrained that we kind of stuck on that path.
If we could do something differently, I mean, you know, knowing what you know now, I mean, sure, there would be certain administrative items, maybe, you know, we’d go a different route. We’ve hired a team overseas, and they’ve been phenomenal.
We continue to grow there. And so, but no, I would say the vision of the guests that you have on the podcast, the vision that I had, and still have hasn’t deviated, and I think if you stick to that—
It’s pretty important—
You’re gonna be, you’re gonna be successful.
Little things here and there, but that main path that you started down, you’re sticking to consistency. That’s great. I mean, obviously, you have this plan in your mind, and that plan has been working. So that’s awesome.
Now, it’s all about the people. It’s all about the people. It’s always about the people I know, you’re gonna have—
And if you articulate your vision to those people. And then they continue to perpetuate it even without you.
Exactly, exactly. So yeah, we’re doing well. And I really appreciate you having us here—or me here—and the rest of the guests that you have tonight. So thank you very much for hosting.
We’ve got some awesome guests. Tim Jipping, thank you for being here. We’re gonna have to do—I really want to do a follow-up and just talk about this whole path you went down and do that. Like and I have a group of guys here that I’ve done that with they started a firm a few years ago, and we’ve been doing an annual update—you and I need to do that too. So I’ll reach out to him. I’ll do that. Thanks again, Tim, for me.
Thanks for having me.
All right. All right. Well, that being said, we are going to switch guests right now.
Quick commercial break?
We’re not going—this is our only transition where we’re not gonna go to a commercial break. So this transition we are going to bring in Allan Koltin, come on in, and Kenji Kuramato, come on in. And so this is our next set of two. We’re going to be rotating two guests in at a time, and I will do—you know what, what I want to do is I’ll introduce Allan and you can introduce Kenji. How’s that sound?
Happy to do it.
All right. And make sure you speak loud enough. Because you know, I’m old, Scott. I can’t hear things that well anymore.
I thought the mic enunciated that a little bit.
All right. All right. So now our next two guests just came in—you saw ‘em, I’m assuming they’re live on camera. I don’t even have to introduce Allan Koltin because everybody knows Allan Koltin, but I’ll do a quick introduction on Allan Koltin. He’s the most recognized person in account tax and accounting and CPA, for sure. He runs Koltin Consulting Group. That’s what your firm’s officially called, out talking to CPA firms very active and just practice management topics with them, but M&A stuff as well. And that’s probably a topic we’re gonna touch on today. This is Allan—I can say this for everybody that’s on the podcast today. But it’s the repeat visit. And so I won’t say it every time, but I will say it this is Allan’s repeat visit on The Unique CPA. Allan, thanks for being here.
Oh, I’m just thrilled to be here. Can I take 10 seconds—you ever see the movie Rudy? And when the dad comes in the football stadium, and he says, “This is the most beautiful thing these eyes have ever seen”? That’s the experience for me tonight! This is incredible! I mean, accountants and beer, like, isn’t there like a generally accepted accounting principle that you can’t do this?
We’re breaking all the rules, today.
Allan, you remind me of Dick Vitale. Like right now. Yeah, this is perfect! Bringing the energy. We might need you to take my place.
We can consider that.
Alright, you want to introduce Kenji?
Alright. Kenji is probably one of the most boring people I know. He’s an *******, he’s not very cool to be around.
Is this a G-rated show?
No, so Kenij is one of my favorite people. That was all joking, sorry, I shouldn’t be cursing. So Kenji is probably one of my favorite people of all time. One of my best pals, the founder of Acuity. He provides accounting, finance—I’m going on script now! Kenji hosts the Drink While You Think podcast, and I feel like this is a live version of that, or tribute to that, right? We’re at the Beer Temple. We’re worshipping beer right now.
Well, we’re enjoying beer. I don’t know if we’re quite worshipping.
Kenji’s a creator, though, too. He creates beer in his basement.
Oh, I know that. I offered to bring him some hops this fall, so we’ll see.
I don’t know if he has hops though. I don’t know. I’ve never seen him play basketball.
You’re going with the dad jokes now. All right.
I gotcha. You’ve been coaching me on those.
I’m very good at that. All right. All right, that’s great. This next segment, I’m really looking forward to.
Two nights ago, Kenji sent out an email saying, “Can I nominate Allan to talk about private equity and public accounting and that’s why they’re two teamed up here today.” But Allan, you and I talked about this on the podcast, I think it was October and November. PE was just coming in with EisnerAmper at that time, I think Citrin Cooperman, and those two specifically, and you could tell—well obviously Cherry Bekaert and other firms as well—those two specifically seem very active still. There was just, I think it was just announced today, saw you announce it, that EisnerAmper just merged in Lurie, which is a big firm out of Minneapolis. Citrin Cooperman had an announcement last week of another firm, I think, they’re merging networks. Why don’t you give us—can you give us an update of what’s going on? Is this going to continue? What’s the game? The, the—what’s the word? The, the—you just tell us! What’s going on with private equity?
So, Randy, it’s insane.
You know, when we when I was on your podcast—and thank you for having me—people stopped me on the street and say, “Hey, weren’t you the guy on Randy’s podcast?” I mean, you have taken my brand like, up like this.
I doubt that.
My comment to you was, there’s a storm coming. And it’s gonna be a good one. And what I thought was maybe like a one off, you know, where maybe, okay, EisnerAmper does this, Citrin Cooperman, does this, now Cherry Bekaert does this—I would tell you that if I just look at the top 25, more than half of them are in an active PE discussion. I would think you’ll have three or four more top 20. But by the end of next year, this profession will not resemble itself.
You know the big four, right? They’re breaking up, they’re having this conscious uncoupling—audit will keep the brand, tax and consulting together. They’ll go the route of private equity or an IPO, and they’ll truly become global firms. But when you get into firms 5 to 25, just assume half of them will be PE owned. And PE won’t stop there. These were the heavyweights. Now you got the middleweights coming in and saying, “I want to talk to firms 30 to 100 million.” And now you even have the lightweights—where they’re saying like family office, “Hey, if you got to $3 million of EBITDA, we want in.”
Yeah. And I was worried about this. They said as soon as someone cracks the code, they’ll all be in.
Really! So this has not stopped, and it’s not going away. There’s gonna be, and I think we’re gonna talk about this later, there’s gonna just be a completely new structure of firms and how they’re set up.
So that being said, Kenji, I know you wanted Allan to talk about this. Did you have anything specific or you just want to hear the stories?
I just think the stories are incredible. I think that to me, with private equity, there’s a lot of folks out there who were maybe against this, saying, “Wait a minute, wait a minute, this is not what our profession is about—non-practitioners being owners.” But I think it’s exciting. I think it’s actually very exciting, and bringing something new to our profession. And I’m just curious, from Allan’s perspective—there’s probably a few things I would guess that private equity is doing, there’s probably some cleaning up of pensions, deferred comp, and things like that, that some of these firms may need to kind of get off the balance sheet and figure it out.
But I think Allan, you’ve talked about using private equity in these big firms to attract newer talent and give some monetization opportunities where historically in our profession, you got to wait allllll the way to the very end, until you’re kind of really getting a bite of that apple. And now there’s an opportunity to kind of get a few more bites earlier on, and I think that’s really intriguing, because we are all having an issue, whether you’re a top 25, whether you’re mid, you’re small, like how do you retain and attract young people?
And so I’m just very curious about this new structure around, how do you get the younger generation that we were like, “Hey, we’re not gonna hold that carrot out until you’re literally at the time, 30 years in,” but now you’re, you’re getting some opportunity to actually monetize your value earlier. Are you seeing that that’s a prominent part of why these firms are going the route of private equity is to kind of engage the younger generation within accounting?
You nailed it. You nailed it. So the big three, the three T’s we got to be thinking about: talent, technology, transformation. This business, this industry called “accounting” has been around for 140 years. And for 138 of them, it was pretty, pretty “steady Eddie,” if you know what I mean. We offer two things that clients don’t want, but they need: financial statements and tax returns. And the disruption is on. Firms are seeing declining margins, they have to build out consulting, advisory, or partner with someone who can deliver those things—they don’t have the bankroll, the capital, to go acquire those companies. Because private equity is sitting across the table.
And the kids today, it’s all about the kids. Late 90s, public company consolidators came in. With the exception of CBIZ who was the lone survivor, American Express, H&R Block, everything failed. Why? Because it was a get rich quick scheme for the older group, and there was nothing for the kids.
So what did these private equity groups do? They started by saying “We’re going to create a model that has stickiness for the young generation.” What they didn’t realize is those people today, they’re fine to get a check, and be part of Newco, and get shares and options and stock, in building something out. So it’s funny, it starts out with the older group because they’re close to the finish line. Instead of getting two times compensation as ordinary income, you can get 7, 8, 10, 12 times comp, right? Capital Gains, today. So the old ones are always in, but the young ones are driving this train. And what they see is the transformation of an industry. That was a “steady Eddie” for a long time. And they’re gonna need the capital to do it. Private Equity’s timing is perfect.
That’s exciting. What’s in it for the young generation?
So a couple of things. Number one, you eliminate the unfunded chain letter—the retirement obligation for the older group.
That’s a great analogy.
Number two, they’re gonna need a ton of capital to build the technology—the AI, the bots, the consulting, the advisory, the outsource. Where’s that money come from in an accounting firm? It comes from partner comp. So do you want to take all your earnings and put it back in while you’re funding out the baby boomers? What do you got left to make? And what if you guess wrong? What if you go for 5, 6, 7 years, spend all this money and you come up empty?
You know, you’re seeing deals—there was one announced today, you’re seeing, you’re gonna see him about one a week now, for the end of the year. Fiercely independent firms that never would have done anything, are saying, “You know what? If you can give me seven, eight times, the EBITDA of our business, where do I sign?”
It’s hard to turn down.
So what’s the—and I think I asked you this before, but I mean, you had mentioned, I mean, this is gonna be multiple iterations of this. It’s not one private equity comes in, and they’re done, and they’re there for the next 100 years, right? I mean, they’re going to maybe not like in the 90s, but they want to get out at some point. Is this going to just keep happening every five years?
So think three bites of an apple. On day one, monetization, there’s an enterprise value, you know how this works, it’s EBITDA times multiple. Enterprise value is 60% of that—cash, capital gain on day one. You clear out the deferred comp, you pay off the debt, you pay off the old partners, you get your capital back. But it’s the second and third bite that have the kids excited. The second bite is three, four years later, hit some EBITDA milestones, and you get another bite of the apple.
And then in four to seven years, when they flip their investments, we are pari-passu, we have the same ownership, if you will, in NewCo, and we get to have another bite of the apple. Some of these professional service firms and consulting, advisory, recruiting, wealth management, insurance brokerage—they’ve gotten 2, 3, 4 bites of the apple. I know when it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Yes it does!
I guess, in that regard, Allan, is there a—have you seen firms have that concern of where that call it that third bite at the apple, to where the PE firm has got to get that five to seven year flip to get the return, that they’re looking at going, “Hey, well, what happens if we happen to be in a down market, we’re in a bad cycle. And we’ve got to return capital back to limited partners and the private equity firms, and now we’re a little bit on a treadmill to where it’s every five to seven years, now we have to kind of go back out to market, if you will, to sell.” Are firms concerned about that, or are they actually excited about the fact that we actually do have to go to market, we have to do kind of almost look like we’re doing almost an exit every five to seven years. How are they thinking about that?
So at the end of the day, it’s still the accounting firm driving the ship, you know, they’re gonna partner with a private equity group that doesn’t get in their hair, that’s not micromanaging it. But you know, what’s getting exposed here is the flaws of a partnership—30 partners, you sit around a table, everybody has a say. So what do you do? If somebody objects, you don’t make the decision—you water it down, you kick the can down the road. So they’re gonna make better, tougher, faster decisions, produce more profits, which is going to cause more EBITDA to happen.
We all knew it innately. We just never had another mechanism to try to run the business, like a business.
So that’s a great segue into how Kenji is running his firm.
Let’s do it.
You asked me on our episode, “What’s gonna happen to the partner model? Is there alternatives?” Kenij’s firm Acuity is the alternative. They’re running it like a business. I don’t know if I have a question there, but I think—can you speak on that and how this impacts the way you’re running your firm?
I don’t know if this impacts the way we’re running our firm and in some ways, it maybe validates it?
Yeah. I think what Allan’s seeing and has been involved with is a new fresh take on the ownership model around accounting firms. And again, I grew up in—wasn’t Big Four, it was Big Six back then, so that gives you an idea of my age.
Yeah, I’m Big Eight, so.
Hey, thank you for that, Randy, making me feel better.
But I think thinking about that model where that that was the structure of our firm ownership worked. And so coming out of that model and stepping outside for a few years in private—myself, my business partner Matthew’s here, be on here later—we had a pretty clear picture to where we’d been inside those organizations—he, as an actual shareholder, me as just a staff member, senior—of how to maybe change it up a little bit. And so we kind of always felt that way about our firm of like, “Hey, let’s run it a little bit more, I would say, like a non accounting firm, and maybe in some sense.” What we did was we took a lot of cues, we now, our predominant vertical that we sell into is SAS-based technology companies. So we see lots of venture capital, lots of private equity. So we were used to them as a client base and raising capital, so that actual business model—we were very familiar with.
And so we’ve taken a lot of things throughout the years, to kind of impact the way that we run our firm—probably more so from venture, private equity backed companies, than we actually have from the accounting community. Not to say that we don’t respect that love our accounting, family and friends, but we felt like there was a way—and I think Allan’s pointing out this—it needed to change in the way that a lot of these firms work.
So I think that we probably saw that we, emulated what our clients were doing. I think now we’re seeing an intersection point to where private equity has kind of realized, “Wait a minute, these are some great businesses. These accounting firms are excellent businesses.” Top 25 is interesting, makes perfect sense. But to hear them coming down to the mid tier, you know, even down to the lower smaller accounting firms is really interesting, family offices looking at them. These are—I’m excited about it, because I think it validates the model that we are all part of, we’ve lived in for years, that maybe we haven’t given full credence to the value we inherit in our firms. I mean, it’s typically been this, “Oh, it’s a one times revenue multiple, or maybe some.” And I think we’re seeing there’s actually more value inside of accounting firms than maybe we thought about historically.
You know, it’s interesting, just for a minute—private equity, tried to enter our profession. 15 years ago, I was part of it. And the problem in those days was we didn’t need capital. It was the steady Eddie. We do compliance for a living. They tried to get in 2012. The problem was, we still didn’t need capital, but we didn’t make enough profit, because the partners ran the firm, the firm didn’t run the partners. And it’s the perfect storm today: Technology, talent, transformation, the need for capital.
Love the three T’s. I’m gonna remember that for sure. I’m gonna use that.
There’s a fourth T! You know what the fourth T is? And this is a bonus: it’s trouble. Because if you got your head in the sand, and you’re coming off your best year or two, because the feeding at the trough right now is so good, you can’t see it happening. It’s like that elderly couple in the movie, the Titanic. They’re sitting in the room.
All right, well, we’re gonna wrap up this session. This was great. But Scott you were about to ask a question?
So I had, I just basically for me, I was around with the final—like your Dick Vitale, right?—so the Final Four. I wasn’t around for the Elite Eight, or the six—Final Four. So for me, I still don’t really know the difference between VC and PE. What’s the difference? Like why wouldn’t VC come in? That’s all we’ve been hearing for the past few years. Like, all this VC money in tech, like, is it the same?
I don’t think it is. Allan’s got more to say on this than I do, but we’ve seen from our client experiences of those who raise VC and private equity—there are different models. They’re different, when you go out to a limited partner to put into your venture capital fund or your private equity fund, you’re essentially hoping to give them different types of returns and different risk profiles. And so it makes sense for, you know, we saw, with some software companies, venture capital can be a very good mechanism to put capital in the business. But the returns and the timelines are different. The growth needed, the scale needed, is different, because there’s not as much reliance on human capital.
Private equity has some different returns needed, I guess I would say, where the hurdles to cross for a positive, successful outcome to your limited partners, is not quite what you’re looking for in the venture capital world. I think it’s interesting to where where PE is seeing that, “Okay, actually, there’s some opportunities here in accounting firms.” But venture makes good sense for a lot of our partners who are here today, who are building great software that all of us use as firm owners.
I’m very suspect about whether it’s a good model for accounting firms. Now I know a few accounting firms—think about a Pilot or Bench, maybe software enabled, have raised venture capital. I’m still skeptical whether that’s a feasible model. I’m curious to Allan’s take. I think private equity is actually a better capital mechanism for accounting firms, unless you’ve truly got a technology component to the business. But I’m curious your take.
You nailed it in terms of the differences. You know, the question nobody’s asking is “What happens in four to seven years? Who do you sell it to?” Because you’ve got some pretty big PE firms in already.
That’s my question.
There is another level there’s, you know, the KKRs, the Blackstones, and, and some of the big bigs. Carlyle. But there’s also a second group that would say IPO. Look, for more public company offerings.
That’s what I was wondering.
And then there’s a third one, that’s so far out there, that is audit separates from tax and consulting. What’s to say the owner of Tesla, or Amazon doesn’t come in and buy it? Especially as you have this alternative practice structure.
So I don’t even know that the ultimate buyer in five to eight years—just like three years ago, we couldn’t have sat here and said, “This is what’s going on in the industry”—in four or five years. I think it’s game on.
Well, there wasn’t a Unique CPA.
That’s right. We could have talked about three years ago, or four years ago, five years ago, because we did not exist as a podcast. So you got that right, too. All right.
But that being said, Yeah, we need to get to our next guest. This was awesome. I could talk about this all night long, and we probably will once we finish up the rest of the next two sessions. But I want to do a great shout out, and thank you to Allan and Kenji, for being on the segment. Thanks.
We’re here to close this off.
What were the words? I think it was Toodaloo. We’re out.
About the Guest
Randy’s guests for part 1 of the Season 3 Celebration included:
- Tim Jipping, owner, Journey CPAs & Advisors
- Allan Koltin, CEO, Koltin Consulting Group
- Kenji Kuramoto, CEO, Acuity
Randy was joined by co-host Scott Scarano, owner, Padgett Business Services of North Carolina, and host of the Sons of CPAs podcast.
Meet the Host
Randy Crabtree, CPA
Randy Crabtree, co-founder and partner of Tri-Merit Specialty Tax Professionals, is a widely followed author, lecturer and podcast host for the accounting profession.
Since 2019, he has hosted the bi-weekly “The Unique CPA,” podcast, which ranks among the world’s 5% most popular programs (Source: Listen Score). You can find articles from Randy in Accounting Today’s Voices column, the AICPA Tax Adviser (Tax-saving opportunities for the housing and construction industries) and he is a regular presenter at conferences and virtual training events hosted by CPAmerica, Prime Global, Leading Edge Alliance (LEA), Allinial Global and several state CPA societies. Crabtree also provides continuing professional education to top 100 CPA firms across the country.
Schaumberg, Illinois-based Tri-Merit is a niche professional services firm that specializes in helping CPAs and their clients benefit from R&D tax credits, cost segregation, the energy efficient commercial buildings deduction (179D), the energy efficient home credit (45L) and the employee retention credit (ERC).
Prior to joining Tri-Merit, Crabtree was managing partner of a CPA firm in the greater Chicago area. He has more than 30 years of public accounting and tax consulting experience in a wide variety of industries, and has worked closely with top executives to help them optimize their tax planning strategies.