The Special Ingredient
May 28, 2022

A little known fact about me is that I’m a self-proclaimed “foodie.”  When my family and I moved to Philadelphia in 2004, I had heard of its burgeoning restaurant scene and I was excited to see what the city had to offer.  In nine years, I’ve had many a meal – some good, some great and some spectacular.   But what I’ve learned from all of my tastings is that the difference between “good” and “spectacular” is often one special ingredient.

In business, the same can be said for hiring – it’s the person’s overall skill set and that one special attribute that can make the difference between “good” and “spectacular.”  Hiring is top of mind right now with college graduates flooding the marketplace.  At ParenteBeard, we are preparing to welcome more than one hundred new young professionals into our firm.   Although I hope all will find a lasting home with us, I know in reality, that won’t be the case.  When I discuss with our team why certain people become leaders at ParenteBeard and why others fizzle out, I often find myself coming back to that one special attribute – the special ingredient – that makes all the difference.

As an accounting firm, you might think that we simply look to hire the best accountants.  And we do.  But in the 21st century, our business is about so much more than debits and credits.  It’s about relationships.  When I was a young CPA, I thought I was hired because I was an excellent accountant.  But from my vantage point now, I realize that Chuck Parente, my mentor, hired me because I offered something a little different, a little special.  I didn’t just crunch the numbers; I knew what the numbers meant to my clients.  I had life experiences that allowed me to connect with our clients in a more personal way.  What Chuck saw was an entrepreneurial spirit.

That’s what we look for in the people we hire.  That’s our one special ingredient.  We have grown exponentially, to 1,000 employees since 2004, which is an accomplishment.  But we have only been successful in growing because we hired good, well-rounded people who know how to connect.  This has been especially true in our hiring of new college graduates.  Maybe it’s a graduate with a blended major in liberal arts and business or a graduate who worked two jobs to put him or herself through school.  Perhaps it’s a new graduate who was an NCAA Division I athlete or had a full-time internship.

These are the hires that have made us who we are today and when we’ve hired with our one special ingredient in mind, we’ve been able to go from simply “good” to “spectacular.”

I encourage you to share what your special ingredient is for hiring and how it has helped to shape and define your organization.

Thanks for stopping by.


Getting Ahead by Not Falling Behind
April 22, 2022

Recently, I was reading a profile of Paulett Eberhart, CEO of CDI, an engineering and staffing company in Philadelphia. In it she spoke to a variety of CEO-focused issues but there was one that really stood out to me: “Staying current.”

Being current – in a 24/7 media environment and beyond what we do every day – is a challenge.  Many of us are on information overload. But it’s hard to argue that our conversations about what’s happening outside our offices aren’t as important as our conversations about work.

While it’s hard to keep up, here’s my approach. I read The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer and South China Morning Post daily. The most important part of reading these papers (whether in print or online) though, is that I go beyond the business section. On any given day, I might read an article about leadership in arts and culture, a new approach to teaching and learning in inner-city schools or a delicate diplomatic issue.

These articles don’t have a thing to do with tax, accounting or business advisory. But each gives me different insights, which encourage me to be more rounded and even more curious. Maybe it’s a recommendation for how I can better lead or a stronger way for ParenteBeard to mentor new employees. Whatever it is, these articles are invaluable not only as conversation starters but also as tools to better connect with our clients. Even just sharing an interesting article with them demonstrates that we care deeply about our client relationships – and that we are always looking out for their business.

I’d enjoy hearing how you “stay current” in your own lives. Please feel free to share and maybe we can all pick up a trick or two.

Thanks for stopping by.


Hats Off…
December 10, 2021

Last week we hosted our third annual Audit Committee Forum. This year’s program came from discussions with our clients, current industry trends and feedback from last year’s attendees. Our goal was to provide forward thinking and innovative ideas to enhance audit committees’ operations and provide attendees with the guidance necessary to be more effective.

We are committed to sharing valuable information – with our clients, colleagues, friends, the industries we serve and the CPA profession – so we’ve shared insights from the forum ( to inform and educate members of audit committees and boards of directors on the current best practices for businesses in this uncertain economy.

In today’s fast moving environment, risk management is critical for CEOs and boards. Regulatory authorities are constantly issuing new requirements that mandate more explicit information on risks and risk management practices. Combined with the heightened scrutiny brought on by recent negative headlines about well-known companies such as Groupon, Amazon, Google and, surprisingly, HP and Autonomy, boards and committees are feeling more pressure than ever before. These individuals now face the same scrutiny for failure to comply with expected standards and will be held just as accountable as the companies they serve.

The interplay of the various risk and compliance requirements forces companies to go beyond managing risk in silos and create an integrated risk management function. In other words, instead of wearing just one hat in a particular area of expertise like marketing or finance, members of an audit committee are forced to wear many hats. The issues are all connected.

While risk can never be eliminated, companies that move beyond traditional risk management to implement more comprehensive enterprise risk management strategies will be in a much better position to prevent, minimize or recover from losses in shareholder value.

It’s time for committee members to remove their individual hats, whether financial, marketing, management, or other, and consider different ways of thinking.

Thanks for stopping by.

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A Win-Win: Growing with Diversity
October 8, 2022

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) recently announced the formation of their National Commission on Diversity, a group aiming to increase diversity in the accounting profession.

In our firm, we see diversity as an integral part of our culture and vital to our continued growth. We recently formed our own Diversity Council to drive greater awareness and focus on its importance. We are embracing culturally diverse opportunities and look forward to the benefits that accompany them. In an increasingly complex business environment, it’s more important than ever to take advantage of our differences – race, gender, faith, perspective and more – to help us meet the ever-changing needs of the clients and communities we serve.

For your company or organization, diversity has countless advantages. Beyond the many benefits that come from utilizing the intangible skills of a diverse workforce, it will allow you to tap into an extensive range of cultural networks, filled with potential clients and partners. You can provide even higher levels of client service by having access to a broad range of viewpoints. And reflecting the global marketplace is a key driver to expanding. In the future, I believe performance will hinge on how well we advocate diversity and inclusion.

In short, embracing diversity has exponential benefits for individuals, communities, companies and our society.

It’s also the right thing to do.

Thanks for stopping by.

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