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3 Keys To Staying Relevant With Your Clients

Staying relevant with your clients is the key to success. This applies to not only retaining your clients, but to also getting referrals from your clients. So, how exactly do you do that? What does staying relevant or becoming more relevant mean?

You talk to your client, you master the industry the client is in, and you provide timely advice and tips that lead to productive results for your client. Ultimately you are building a relationship with your client. One that is built on mutual trust and knowledge share. In North Carolina, especially in the Charlotte and Triad regions, there are dozens of CPA firms that can handle a client’s tax or accounting needs, however client service is where LBA Haynes Strand stands out from the rest. We create strong mutually beneficial relationships with clients. We stay relevant with our clients, and we do that by focusing on three main client service aspects:

1. Industry Acumen

Staying up to date on a client’s industry, including threats and opportunities is key. This includes making your client aware of any changes or updates that they need to be aware of relating to their industry. We pride ourselves in having a diverse team that is able to handle client needs in a number of industries. Most specifically: Charter Schools, Construction, Manufacturing, HOA, Non-Profit, and Entrepreneurs. Our team attends regular seminars, conferences, and other events in all of these fields to stay up to date.

2. Client Collaboration

We cannot stress this enough… work with your client! Your client should feel comfortable to come to you regarding any problem or issue they have and before important decisions are made! Something we have found helpful with our clients is to hold regular planning sessions. These can be monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or just annually – whatever the client feels is necessary. When you sit at the table on the same team with your client, then you are much more likely to provide real value to your client.

3. Client Insight

Focus on the client! Focus on the client’s vision, short-term and long-term goals, and strategic initiatives to meet those goals. You must understand your client in order to provide great service! This can greatly help you, especially when it comes time to offer useful advice to the client. You cannot fully help your client if you don’t understand them.  We highly recommend to take this last step seriously and really get to know your client.

These three steps can greatly increase your relevance with your clients. Thus, creating an excellent client experience and one that will be mutually beneficial for years to come. We know because this is how we handle our clients. If you would like to discuss your tax or accounting needs with a member of the LBA Haynes Strand team, contact us for your no-cost consultation!

Results of the Contractor Remittance Survey

A CPA Firm should not just strive to be your accountant, but strive to be an industry resource to you. Your CPA Firm should be active in local trade organizations and in local chambers, to keep you up to speed with recent changes that may affect your business.   As a firm that includes a large number of construction related clients, we are members of the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) and have access to The Institute of Certified Construction Industry Financial Professionals (ICCIFP).  We do this to be active in the local construction community, as well as to represent our clients.

As a member, we receive valuable information, in many different forms, that we can then communicate to our clients and prospects.

The ICCIFP, has released the results or their “Remittance Survey.”  The survey was posted on September 28th, 2015 on the CFMA Bottom Lines newsletter.  The survey reached approximately 7000 members and was emailed to 950 CCIFPs.  The survey was closed on October 14th with 165 respondents.  Since the sample was targeted at CFMA membership and CCIFPs, the results are skewed towards larger contractors. Questions included in the survey were:

  • On average, how long does it take your company to remit payment to subcontractors?
  • How does your current remittance time to subcontractors compare to last year?
  • How does your current remittance time to subcontractors compare to three years ago?
  • On average, how long does it take your company to remit payment to suppliers/vendors?
  • How does your current remittance time to suppliers/vendors compare to last year?
  • How does your current remittance time to suppliers/vendors compare to three years ago?
  • Of all remittance transactions you made during the last year, what percent were checks, what percent were ACH/wire, and what percent were credit card?
  • When considering your total remittances for the last year, what percent were checks, what percent were ACH/wire, and what percent were via credit card?

To see the results of the survey: CLICK HERE!

Results of the Contractor Payment Survey

A CPA Firm should not just strive to be your accountant, but strive to be an industry resource to you. Your CPA Firm should be active in local trade organizations and in local chambers, to keep you up to speed with recent changes that may affect your business. As a firm that includes a large number of construction related clients, we are members of the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA). We do this to be active in the local construction community as well as to represent our clients.

As a member, we receive valuable information, in many different forms, that we can in turn communicate to our clients. At the bottom of this blog, you can find the results of a survey titled, “Contractor Payment Survey.” This survey was put together by the Institute of Certified Construction Industry Financial Professionals. On August 10th, the survey was mailed to 925 CCIFPs and was also posted on the CFMA Cafe website that reached approximately 7000 members. The survey was then closed on August 17th with 142 respondents. 

Questions included in the survey are:
  • On average, how long does it take to collect payments?
  • How does your current collection time compare to last year?
  • How does your current collection time compare to three years ago?
  • Of all payment transactions you received during the last year, what percent were checks, ACH/wire, or credit card?
  • When considering your total revenue for the last year, what percent was received from checks, ACH/wire, and/or credit card?
  • What is your gross annual revenue?
  • What is your total number of employees?

Results of Contractor Payment Survey: CLICK HERE

Finding The Right CPA For Your Construction Firm

Often times the relationship between accountants and their clients can be misunderstood as one that just produces a tax return or one time advice.  If this describes your current relationship with your CPA, you might want to re-think your CPA Firm.  An accountant is supposed to act as a trusted advisor, one that you can count on to answer all your accounting questions on a year-round basis and someone you will never hesitate to call with a question.

So, how do you maximize your relationship with your accountant?

It starts with hiring the right accountant.  You need to find the professional CPA firm that has experience handling similarly sized construction companies, someone who understands the nuances of construction accounting.  They should also show a general interest in your company.  Your accountant should be able to ask relevant questions about your company/industry and should be able to provide advice that is specific to the construction industry.  For example if your CPA firm is REALLY knowledgeable about the construction industry, the CPA firm will be able to provide you with strategic planning, smart growth and expansion consulting, sound internal controls, tax and cash flow planning, and finally budgeting and forecasting.

You must understand that your CPA is a resource to your company. If you are only sending over your financial information and waiting for your accountant to send over a completed tax return – then you are missing an opportunity to better your company. Your accountant should be utilized as a financial resource.  Accountants can develop corporate strategies, financial plans, can make recommendations to how to lower taxes and increase profits, and can open up doors to new relationships with lawyers and bankers for example.

In today’s economy many general contractors have attempted to do more work with less resources.  This often times puts more of a burden on employees and on the contractor or owner of the company.  This has led to some aspects of the overall financial plan being ignored or not maintained.  If you are a contractor, wouldn’t it be nice to receive monthly reports and analysis of your spending, cash flow, and other financial data?  Utilizing your accountant to do this, can help you stick to a financial plan that increases your financial health and can help identify problems before they turn into significant issues.  When hiring the right accountant, ask them if they are able to provide monthly analysis and reporting, if they say, “no”, then move on and find an accountant who can.

What else should you be looking for in an accounting firm for construction companies?
  • Accountants with industry knowledge.  Look for the “CCIFP” designation!
  • Look for accountants who won’t charge for phone calls and will never put you on the “clock.”
  • Look for CPAs who are in Construction related groups.  CFMA for example.
  • Find your trusted advisor – someone you can envision developing a relationship with and contacting on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • Someone who can provide insight into the construction industry.
  • During your first meeting, ask the accountant a specific tax question about the construction industry.  If they truly are a “specialist” in construction accounting, this will help you learn that.

Construction accounting is a specialty. That’s why you need an accounting firm that has keen insight into the challenges faced by general contractors and specialty contractors. LBA Haynes Strand’s in depth understanding of construction accounting is the result of providing services to more than 150 clients in the construction industry. For more information on construction accounting, download our free guide, “Profitable Construction: A Guide To Outsourcing Tax Preparation And Accounting.”

Top 25 General Contractors in the Triad of North Carolina

Congratulations to the top 25 general contractors in the Triad as reported by the Triad Business Journal! This ranking was based off of 2014 billings in the Triad including Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High-Point and surrounding areas.

The Top 25 General Contractors in the Triad region are:

1. Samet Corp.

2. Thompson Arthur Division of Apac Atlantic

3. Landmark Builders of the Triad

4. Frank L. Blum Construction Co.

5. D.H. Griffin Wrecking Co, Inc.

6. Shelco, LLC

7. Lomax Construction, Inc.

8. Windsor Commercial

9. Brasfield & Gorrie LLC

10. Omega Construction, Inc.

11. D.H. Griffin Construction Co. LLC

12. Parr Construction, Inc.

13. Magnolia Construction, LLC

14. Davie Construction Co., Inc.

15. New Atlantic Contracting, Inc.

16. Signature Development Group, LLC

17. Wishon & Carter Builders, Inc.

18. Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.

19. Sterling Building Group, Inc.

20. LMI Builders, Inc.

21. Miles-McClellan Construction

22. Ramey, Inc.

23. H.M. Kern Corp.

24. D.H. Griffin Infrastructure, LLC

25. Holden Building Co., Inc.

To see the full breakdown of the top General Contractors in the Triad region, click here. Our team would be happy to make an introduction to one of these companies if needed. Contact us today!

What Industries Are Growing Through M&A?

In recent years, mergers and acquisitions have seen a rise in popularity as a way to grow a business. Why is this? Much of this can be attributed to the aging of the Baby Boomer generation. Baby Boomer business owners are looking to retire or to cash in on the businesses that they have built. They are looking for opportunities to sell and the marketplace is very aware of this. As Generation X and Y continue to develop and build on their entrepreneurial backgrounds, there are many opportunities to buy businesses and grow businesses exponentially through M&A.

Mergers and acquisitions are not prevalent in every industry. However, there are some industries that are considered very active. These are the industries focused on growth through M&A:

  1. IT/Technology Companies
  2. Construction Companies
  3. Property Management Companies
  4. CPA Firms
IT/ Technology
Why M&A?

Technology companies want to gain access to intellectual property and talent, enhance new product lines (through acquisitions), acquire innovative product lines/technologies, and finally technology companies want to enter new markets. In addition, technology companies realize that these achieving these objectives through in-house operations would be very expensive and time-consuming. M&A gives these companies instant solutions and results.

Trends Driving M&A In The Technology Industry:
  • Cloud Computing
  • Mobile Technology
  • Data Analytics
Construction Companies
Why M&A?

Construction companies want to gain access to an expanded geographical footprint with new markets, a larger workforce, increased financial flexibility, and additional service offerings. Acquisitions have been increasingly popular among construction companies as larger companies are looking to add a specialty service offering. For example, lets say you hire a contractor to come in and install new siding on your house. They do a great job and you are pleased with your decision to use their services. If you find out they just added custom garage door installation to their list of services, you will probably use them again. The increase in service offerings through mergers and acquisitions gives construction companies the ability to sell multiple times to the same client which increases revenue.

Trends Driving M&A In The Construction Industry:
  • Favorable capital market conditions
  • The shale revolution
  • Labor shortages
  • Aging and retiring population of owners
Property Management Companies
Why M&A?

Property Management Companies are using M&A in order to gain: size, proximity to new locations, economies of scale, and additional management offerings. In some cases, especially the Charlotte area, management companies are looking to grow across state lines. Rather than a Charlotte management company opening a new location in South Carolina, they will often times acquire an established management company in South Carolina. This can be seen in the state of North Carolina, when management companies based in Charlotte use this tactic to gain access into new cities, such as Raleigh, Greensboro, etc.

Trends Driving M&A In The Property Management Industry:
  • Real Estate brokers wanting out
  • Lack of succession planning
  • Competition: National players coming to Charlotte
CPA Firms
Why M&A?

Growth through M&A has steadily increased for CPA firms. Firms want to gain access to talent, new marketplaces, and new service offerings. A CPA Firm may lack the time and the talent to grow a certain niche or service offering that they see an opportunity in. The best way to achieve instant entry into the marketplace is often times through a merger or an acquisition of a smaller firm that specializes in that service/nice and has the talent in place to achieve results. These can lead to an INSTANT increase in revenue and a larger footprint.

Trends Driving M&A In The CPA Industry:
  • Aging and retiring population of owners
  • New service offerings
  • Lack or decrease of talent
  • Increase in competition

Growth through M&A is our specialty. If you are in one of these four industries and are interested in exploring how M&A can grow your business, contact us for a no-cost consultation.