The E&A CFO Group seeks to enhance its clients' success in many ways and works with them in several unique ways. Numerous clients have commented that: "That's the first time an accountant wanted to know what our mission is."; "Nobody has asked us this many questions about our business before."; and "You don't make me feel dumb like my last accountant did." That’s because several concepts are crucial to how we work with clients. Principal among them are:
Caring about your mission and goals. Only by knowing what is important to you and collaborating effectively with you and others, can we help you achieve it. E&A brings in talented colleagues as needed, but we also are very comfortable in a narrower role as part of your team.
Adapting solutions so you can do them. Of course, we provide recommendations and suggestions to improve things, but we want whatever solutions are chosen to be meaningful and useful to you. As General George Patton said, “A good plan executed vigorously today is far superior to an excellent plan executed tomorrow.”—So, too, it is with clients: A good plan they can execute is far superior to a perfect plan that they can’t/won’t do.
Understanding your core competency is not the same as ours. We add value by handling activities you don't have the expertise, time, and/or desire to handle. We want to be your "Finance guy down the hall" that handles what you want help with — without being elitist.
A few examples of how E&A has served specific clients follow:
Family Business Succession
The parents of a very close family founded a successful business with one of their adult children. Because the company represented the vast majority of the parent's net worth but the other children didn't want to be directly involved, the parents had concerns about the business and family relationships if the parents suddenly couldn't work. However, the parents also didn't want to relinquish control prematurely and they wanted to treat all of the children equitably, so they turned to E&A for help.
Joe and a trusted attorney colleague collaborated to create a solution. It involved transferring ownership of the company to the involved child over time and titling the shares to pass to that child immediately upon the second parent's death. The parents' shares carried 10 to 1 voting rights compared to the son's shares to prevent premature loss of control. A trust purchased a "second to die" life insurance policy equal to the company's value for each non-involved heir. Upon the second parent's death, the involved child owned 100% of the company and the other heirs won't have influence over the company. Yet, the uninvolved heirs still receive equitable treatment--a win for all!
Business in Distress
A long-time family business had transitioned from father to son many years earlier. Under the son, the business was marginally profitable, but deep in debt. The owner was struggling, and could earn a better income elsewhere. Plus, his father passed away two years earlier and the son's heart just wasn't in the business anymore. A very collaborative lender asked E&A to help turn around the business. During E&A's work as consultant, tax adviser, and accounting/payroll services provider, it became clear the company wasn't ever going to be what the owner wanted/needed.
We counseled the owner carefully to help him realize that reality. With that help, he accepted what he already knew and closed the business. After liquidating the company, he fully repaid the debt and received a nice windfall. More importantly, he was far happier. He told us we'd helped him come to grips with what he needed to do and made it "OK" to do that - we'd given him the validation he needed.
Wind Down and Starting Again
The two owners of a long-time client decided to end their partnership and, as is often the case, it was a bumpy process. To prevent a conflict of interest, we worked with only one owner during the process. After, an appropriate time, that owner started a completely new business with his children. Like many start-ups, initial funding was critical and things started slowly, but the company ultimately achieved success.
E&A helped the owners access a less common source of capital and provided complete accounting outsourcing services, so the family could focus on operating the business. We also coordinated tax services for the owners and the company to ensure optimal outcomes. Joe served as the company’s “Rent-A-CFO℠" to deal with the typical start-up surprises and the challenges of growing a business with a finite amount of capital and only so many hours in the day.
A Half-million Dollars in Research & Development (R&D) Tax Credits
An explosively growing and very profitable client hired E&A to provide 1-2 days per month of Rent-A-CFO℠" services. In the first month, we determined the client's pioneering technology qualified for R&D tax credits. Because E&A moved quickly, it obtained almost $400,000 of refunds already paid for the current year and three prior years. Subsequent years raised the total to well over $½ million. The two owners' were so (pleasantly) stunned they asked, "Are you sure this is legal?"
Coincidentally, the client's rapid growth had triggered an IRS audit for one of the years we were going to amend for the credits. To eliminate the owners' concerns, obtain precedent with the IRS from an audit of the credits, and guarantee the initial refunds, E&A pressed the IRS auditor to include the R&D credits in his audit. The IRS agent gave them a complete pass on both the original audit and the R&D credits!!!!