How have you added value to your clients’ business in this down and then slowly-recovering economy? Are there any additional services that you offer now that perhaps were not offered in the past?

Chris Allen, Deloitte & Touche LLP

Over the past few years, our clients have been looking primarily to streamline their operations through head count reduction and increased automation. Our consulting professionals are active in helping clients identify and realize operational cost savings through streamlining of processes including efficiencies through IT automation. Clients are also looking for counsel regarding new and increased regulations while positioning themselves for future growth as the economy recovers. For example, we’ve helped clients understand the implications of new regulations including health care reform and Dodd-Frank. Companies are also looking for ways to be more innovative with their offerings to differentiate in a competitive marketplace. We’ve worked with our clients to implement our thought leadership in evolving industries including new structures for alliances, and arrangements to develop new applications and access new markets for life sciences companies. We’ve also been at the forefront in helping our federal government customers in optimizing mission critical operations while reducing costs in the constrained budget environment.

Don Williams, Grant Thornton LLP

The first and foremost action step on our part in adding value to our clients is that we are listening. Often times, when the financial markets become difficult, you will find many professional service providers will begin selling the magic bean of the day. It is not always the right fit for every client or every situation, but it becomes more of a campaign on the accounting firm’s part. We have found that it is far more meaningful and creates more value for our clients if we step back and listen to what they are faced with and the various pressures that impact the business decisions that must be made today. We try to make sure that we do not become victims of the internet age and rely on technology for communicating with our clients. It is far more important to us if we can establish a face-to-face meeting to gain an update from management. Often times, these interactions will alert us to action steps which management can take in order to improve their operations and operating results. While I would not characterize our services as “new”, we are certainly aware of the impact of new accounting literature on our clients and new developments in both federal and state taxes that create planning opportunities for our clients.