July 2019 - What Do You Think?

Emily Taibl, Sweeney Conrad, PS

We are asking our readers to contribute to our topic conversation and share a little about what they do in their firms. 

Last month, we asked about mergers and acquisitions and here is how you answered.

Q1: At what point were you brought into M&A?
At the beginning                                                        40.00%
A few months out                                                      40.00%
Last minute                                                               20.00%

Q2: As a marketer, how many M&As have you been through?
None                                                                          4.76%
One                                                                           28.57%
Less than 5                                                               57.14%
5 or more                                                                    9.52%

Q3: What was the most challenging part for you?
Communications                                                       30.00%
Culture Change                                                         50.00%
Technology Integration                                              15.00%
Establishing a new marketing plan/department          5.00%
Retaining key talent                                                    0.00%
Retaining clients                                                         0.00%
Other                                                                          0.00%

Q4: Share your greatest M&A success?
  • Getting people to start networking and joining professional associations that they hadn't attended before the merger.
  • When the new owners appreciate my role and ask for help/seek my experience.
  • In my recent experience, the most important aspect of a well-executed acquisition in terms of client relations and marketing is patience. Keeping in mind that the firm you acquired might no be ready for all of thee changes - so take a moment and chat with the new employees, visit the new location, and work with your partners to develop a cohesive plan to not introduce new folks into your culture but into your community as well. 
  • Growth for our firm an the merging of cultures.
  • M&A presents a great opportunity to "weed out". Being able to retain 100% of the employees and clients from the acquired firm we want to retain is definitely a success!
  • We developed an official M&A framework and process that includes alignment, steps, procedures, and a good dose of transparency.
  • The new opportunities that opened up for me when competitors read about the merger and contacted me with a job offer.
  • I had 1 month to turn around a communication plan. 


Looking at the responses to our survey, we can see that most of us have been a part of at least one M&A experience in our careers, and will more than likely face more in the future. The good news is that our firms are involving us earlier in the process, which gives us a chance to plan in advance. It is imperative for a smooth transition to create not only a cohesive marketing strategy, but a strong communications plans as well as strategies for successfully blending cultures.

According to a recent Accounting Today article on the Major Changes Ahead in M&A, the CPA M&A Market is exploding. In fact in that article, Terry Putney, CEO of Transition Advisors states, “We don’t see any let up in the market. All of the factors that have been driving activity remain and some are even more prevalent.” With no signs of slowing, it’s clear that M&As will continue to affect marketing and business development professionals in the accounting industry for years to come. Fortunately, we can lean on the experiences of our colleagues to help us navigate these sometimes rough waters, and find strategies to make the transition as seamless as possible for our firms.

For those of you who attended AAM Engage in June, we ask that you please take a minute for the minute and answer this month’s poll questions about how your experience.