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Leading Edge Magazine | Summer 2012 | Sikich


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The summer 2012 issue of Sikich's Leading Edge Magazine focuses on making better business decisions--specifically, through business functions, operations and financials.

Published in: Business, Economy & Finance
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Leading Edge Magazine | Summer 2012 | Sikich

  1. 1. summer 2012 published by Sikich LLPAdvice & information to help you manage your businesstakeaction! Stop writing plans and start actingPlusWorking caregivers | Business in Vietnam
  2. 2. Advice & information to help you manage your business Great Decisions Equal Success Definitely Different.® The decisions you make as a leader affect every single aspect of your We may not look like your typical business. They impact all of your stakeholders, the workplace culture and accounting firm. That’s because Sikich is environment and the company’s bottom line, and continued success relies anything but typical. upon you making the best possible business decisions. We understand each business, organizationThe process of making great decisions is much more than placing words or phrases and industry is unique and needs toin a pros and cons list—it’s a two-part process with multiple steps that might seem approach situations differently. For moretedious but is necessary. The first part involves taking steps prior to making the than 30 years, Sikich has leveraged itsdecision: defining the problem or situation, identifying the possible solutions and, business consulting expertise to transformperhaps most importantly, analyzing those solutions to determine what makes the and adapt to changing times. By setting newmost sense for your business. Without taking the time to go through each step standards for improved performance, wethoroughly, the risk you take of making an ineffective decision increases. have redefined the way our clients doThe second part of the decision-making process begins with actually selecting the business. Our clients like the convenience ofsolution you feel is best for the business. Whether it’s the one that has the most pros working with one partner who is able to provide a full range of services andor is most cost-effective, the decision should be one you can communicate to your appreciate the different voices, views andstakeholders, implement with few to no problems and evaluate on a regular basis. perspectives of a team that is focused onWith all the facets of organizations, making decisions that lead to success can be the execution of long-term strategic goals.challenging. Whether you need to explore decisions related to rebranding yourcompany, strategize tax planning or revamp an employee recruitment and retention We are ready to make a difference for you.plan, Sikich offers a multitude of managed services that can help you make greatdecisions and guide your company to continued success. • Accounting & Assurance • Business Software & IT ServicesRespectfully, • Business Valuation • Dispute Advisory Services • Graphic Design & Marketing Services • Human Resource ConsultingJames A. Sikich, CPA • Investment Banking & Corporate FinanceCEO & Managing Partner • Performance Measurement • Retirement Plan Services • Tax Services SUBSCRIPTION UPDATE • Wealth Management Complete this form and fax to Samantha Staniszewski at (630) 499-7474 or e-mail to Please update your subscription list as follows: ■ Change address ■ Subscribe ■ Unsubscribe from Leading Edge Name __________________________________________________________________ Chicago | Decatur | Denver Title ___________________________________________________________________ Indianapolis | Naperville Company _______________________________________________________________ Rockford | Springfield | St. Louis Address ________________________________________________________________ (877) 279-1900 | City _____________________________ State ___________________ Zip ____________ Phone __________________________________ Email __________________________ Facebook: Copy this form as necessary for multiple requests. Twitter: Securities are offered through Sikich Corporate Finance LLC, a registered broker dealer with the Securities Exchange Commission and a member of FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Sikich Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor. General securities offered through Triad Advisors, Member FINRA/SIPC.2 summer 2012
  3. 3. volume 12 • issue 4 • summer 2012 Leading Edge contentsThe Leading Edge Alliance is an interna-tional professional association of inde-pendently owned accounting and con-sulting firms. The Leading Edge Allianceenables member firms to access theresources of a multibillion-dollar globalprofessional services organization,providing business development, pro-fessional training and education, andpeer-to-peer networking opportunitiesnationally and globally, around the cor-ner and around the world. featuresMembers are quality firms who are suc-cessful, have deep client relationships,and strong ties to the community. The 4 Take actionAlliance provides members with animpressive combination: the compre- Stop writing plans and start executing hensive size and scope of a large mul-tinational company while offering theirclients the continuity, consistency andquality service of a local firm. 14 Stem the rising cost of working caregiversMember firms have access to extensive With more Americans caring for an elderly relative, teams of business advisors—a peer-to-peer connection that provides the right workplace support is vital business solutions for clients.To find out more about the Alliance,contact Karen Kehl-Rose, president, at 16 Business in Vietnam+1 630.513.9814 or Understanding hiring and investment rules Leading Edge Advisory Committee are key to a successful venture Tricia Egry / Alpern Rosenthal George Brust / Lurie Besikof Lapidus Co., LLP Jen Lemanski / PKF Texas departments Gary Voth / PKF Texas Karen Kehl-Rose / The Leading Edge Alliance 9 Outsource versus in-house: In affiliation with How going to the pros can save your company money Smart Business Content Marketing Ann M. Gynn / Editor 10 Building a better business Danielle Toth / Associate Editor Stacy Vickroy / Art Director with Microsoft Dynamics AX Andrea Jager / Graphic Designer 11 Five signs you’re merging withLeading Edge is published four times peryear by Smart Business Content Marketing, or acquiring the right company835 Sharon Drive, Suite 200, Cleveland, OH44145. (440) 250-7000, (800) 988-4726,FAX (440) 250-7001, postage paid at Cleveland, Ohio. 12 Client Spotlight: MRC Polymers / Industry UpdatesIRS Treasury Regulations require us to informyou that any tax advice contained in the bodyof this communication was not intended orwritten to be used, and cannot be used, by 13 Bits Piecesthe recipient for the purpose of avoiding pen-alties that may be imposed under the InternalRevenue Code or applicable state or local taxlaw provisions. 18 On the BookshelfLeading Edge 3
  4. 4. 4 summer 2012
  5. 5. cover feature take action! Stop writing plans and start executing By Leslie Stevens-Huffman B usiness planning is an annual rite of passage across corporate America in which executives travel to a remote location, lock themselves in a conference room and fill a binder with solutions to every conceivable business challenge. But given today’s turbulent business environment and restricted resources, the plan often gathers dust on a shelf as execution takes a backseat to the rush of daily activities. “When I assess failure in business strategies, very often it’s because the organization never got started; they never took the first step in the execution process,” says Dave Brock, president and CEO of Partners in EXCELLENCE, a business consulting firm. Brock’s observation matches the findings of a survey by Ernst Young that reveals 66 percent of corporate strategies are never executed. Although the financial fallout of ill-fated plan implementation is hard to assess, according to Dun Bradstreet, there were 81,616 business failures in the United States during the 12 months ending September 2010. Experts cite a lack of innovation, market research, sales and funding and poor cash flow control as common reasons for business demise, but they’re quick to point out that all of these pitfalls can be avoided by planning. continued on page 6Leading Edge 5
  6. 6. hanging fruit­ the top two or three goals — that provide the biggest bang for the buck,” Hebert says. Precise and deliberate execution Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase,“A lack of foresight and an once said: “I’d rather have a first-rateunwillingness to change is why execution and second-rate strategy any time than a brilliant idea and mediocremost mid-market companies fail.” management.” If managers are the key to execution, why are so many failing? For starters, it’s tough work.continued from page 5 “Execution requires sharp, focused actionNimble, streamlined plans After listing the pluses and minuses of and dealing with details and dirty realities,Mega plans were the rage in the 1990s. each goal and conducting a preliminary not the dreams,” Brock says.Unfortunately, they were usually outdated by evaluation, Hebert recommends a formal An analysis of the reasons for businessthe time they were finished, and prioritization methodology called the Pareto plan failure reveals poor execution of basicimplementation was infeasible if not 80/20 rule. The Pareto theory states 80 fundamentals. Although cascading goals andimpossible. A svelte, nimble plan, covering no percent of business problems are based on 20 building mindshare across the enterprise aremore than a three-year horizon, has percent of the causes, so theoretically, regarded as highly effective tactics, fewsupplanted the 1990s’ behemoth because it’s resolving the 20 percent improves overall employees have access to the overall plan andeasier to implement and can be adapted on performance. A Pareto analysis utilizes root- fewer still understand it.the fly. cause identification and a scoring index to The challenge is that employees have to be Savvy executives build mindshare for their help planners avoid personality conflicts and dissatisfied with their current situation andideas from the outset by soliciting input from biased decisionmaking while identifying the understand the consequences of maintainingvarious stakeholders during the creative most impactful issues. the status quo before they’re willing toprocess. They anticipate the need for For example, if a company wants to undergo change.accountability by weaving interim action increase sales by improving customer “Everyone has to understand the long-steps, tangible measurements and required satisfaction, planners analyze customer term ramifications of flat sales or pooroutcomes into every strategy. Finally, they complaints, look for root causes, identify the customer service because you can’t wake uprecognize change is critical so they set the biggest drivers of dissatisfaction and consider one day and change it,” Hebert says. “A lackstage for an arduous journey by espousing a range of solutions. Opening a call center on of foresight and an unwillingness to changerealistic expectations and acknowledging Saturday mornings might receive the highest is why most mid-market companies fail.”transformation is difficult but necessary. score if it has the greatest capacity to increase Worse yet, 60 percent of human resources “A long-term plan is essential because it satisfaction and sales at the lowest cost. and information technology organizationsforces managers to execute strategies that will “Today, companies have limited time and develop departmental plans that aren’timpact the company down the road,” says resources, so they need to tackle the low- linked to the organization’s strategy, and 60Byron Hebert, CPA, CTP, director ofEntrepreneurial Advisory Services for PKFTexas, a member firm of the Leading Edge The impact of poor executionAlliance. “But for implementation purposes, alarger plan should be broken down into • 90 percent of well-formulated strategies fail due to poor executionmanageable 12-month segments that focus (Harvard Business School Press).on the achievement of two to three goals.” Brainstorming is still the preferred way to • 70 percent of chief executive officer failures come not as a result of poorget a plethora of ideas on the table, but strategy but of poor execution (Fortune magazine).selecting the top two or three requires • 66 percent of corporate strategy is never executed (Ernst Young).discipline, shrewd evaluations and data-driven analysis.6 summer 2012
  7. 7. cover featurepercent of companies undermineaccountability by failing to link their Good deedsstrategies to the annual budget. Failing to give line managers individualgoals or engage them in the design and rewardedimplementation process can cause them toresist change and halt the execution process in Maximize your CSR investments by creating true valueits tracks. Plus, rogue managers are likely tocreate incompatible departmental goals if they Executives have traditionally viewed and prospective customers bydon’t understand their role or responsibilities corporate social responsibility as an sponsoring medical driving the organization’s plan. obligation rather than an opportunity, but Small to mid-size firms can create Every manager needs a personal one-page that sentiment is changing amid growing synergistic value by partnering with a localplan that spells out the current situation and evidence connecting CSR efforts to nonprofit that has the bandwidth andhis or her 12-month goals and tasks, Hebertsays. Short plans serve as a handy quick bottom line improvements. expertise to turn a community event into areference guide and accountability tool by A study by the Network for Business meaningful experience or by offeringallowing executives to conduct random Sustainability suggests that aligning unique pro-bono services to specificchecks and recognize top performers. your company’s CSR initiatives with your segments of the population. For instance, To facilitate implementation and boost mission and business objectives can a publisher of a science and technologyaccountability Hebert advocates an substantially increase customer loyalty. journal provides a school-on-wheels toadaptation of the plan-do-check-act method, In fact, a company with a market value children in underserved areas, while thealso known as the Deming cycle, which is aprocess used to implement new ideas in a of roughly $48 billion generated faculty at a local business college offerscontrolled way. Managers cascade individual $17 million more in average profits in free advisory services to buddinggoals to employees, create a list of clearly subsequent years after a modest entrepreneurs.defined action steps and then check the increase in its CSR ratings.results. Following the review, managers can “Balancing CSR with business Create positive impressionsstay the course, tweak the strategy or go back improvements can be tricky,” says Eliza Innovative companies have venturedto the drawing board. Clark, principal with Paydirt LLC, a beyond standard promotional fare such Although employees tend to focus on sustainability consulting firm based in as T-shirts and press releases; they’regoals and activities that yield personalrewards, 70 percent of middle managers and Minneapolis. “You have to be completely cutting through the communicationsmore than 90 percent of front-line employees transparent about your motives and clutter by posting smart phone videoshave compensation that is not linked to the make a concerted effort to emphasize and photos of participants on theircorporate strategy. Providing individual and outcomes.” website and using social media toteam incentives and rewarding employees as broadcast the bona fide impact of CSRthe company passes key milestones helps Take strategic initiatives events. They’re also turning employeeseveryone stay enthusiastic and motivated. Instead of sponsoring 25 random events, into ambassadors by allowing them to Yet the biggest factor of all may be large companies are saving money and Tweet and post updates regarding CSRexecutive inattention. Executives need toserve as a catalyst for change by maintaining improving their visibility by funding a few initiatives on Facebook.their focus and passion until the mission is strategic causes that mesh with their “The problem with taking a traditionalaccomplished. business objectives. In some cases, approach to communications is that a “Poor business plan execution is often they’re leveraging internal marketing press release is neither memorable norcaused by executive ADD,” says Jay Turo, expertise by aligning their corporate and valuable,” says Clark. “Companies haveco-founder and CEO of Growthink, a CSR brands and eliminating the cost of to be completely genuine and transparentstrategic advisory and investment banking hiring an outside PR firm. in order to prove they’re making afirm. “They become distracted by a brightshiny object, like opening a new market or For example, an agricultural company difference and earn the opportunity tomaking an acquisition, and forget to execute.” has joined the fight against hunger while maximize their return on CSR continued on page 8 a health insurer is appealing to current investments.”Leading Edge 7
  8. 8. cover feature 4 3continued from page 7 The best strategy implementers know their 1 2limitations, appoint an executive sponsor forevery major goal and engage cross-functionalexecution teams around each strategicobjective and supporting initiative. Teammembers double as plan ambassadors whofacilitate communications, fosterintradepartmental synergies and inject a The four phases of the plan-do-check-act cyclehealthy dose of peer pressure. “The first step is always the most difficult,” Plan: Identify and analyze the problem.Brock says. “Don’t focus on the entire action Do: Develop and test a potential solution.plan; it can be overwhelming. Focus on the Check: Measure the effectiveness of the solution and improvement opportunities.first step. Once you get past this point,somehow the next steps seem to come easier.” Act: Implement the improved solution.Prod, promote and persevereAccountability is the mantra for 2012 and Although we live in a society that thrives Reflect and renewbeyond because every employee has to meet on instant gratification, don’t give up too It’s hard to maintain intensity and focushis or her individual performance objectives easily or alter the plan at the first sign of over an extended period, so take anfor the organization to succeed. failure. It takes time to massage change occasional sojourn, solicit employee “Most of all, execution demands through an organization, and accountability feedback and assess the effectiveness ofaccountability,” Brock says. “Otherwise, suffers when employees’ goals and priorities plan-related activities, communications andpeople will spend endless hours developing shift by the hour. For example, Hewlett- incentive programs.strategies du jour because it doesn’t require Packard had a tough time digesting the Conduct employee surveys and focusthe hard, dirty work or the accountability.” Compaq acquisition after initially wooing groups to analyze previous implementation At a minimum, executives should conduct customers by touting low prices and then efforts, expose gaps and foster a spirit ofmonthly plan reviews with their team and abandoning that strategy to focus on continuous improvement. Do employeesmiddle managers and follow up every week customer service. have the tools and training they need toto ensure the timely completion of line “There’s a tendency to over-adapt when execute the plan? Do they understand themanagers’ critical action steps. the plan is strategically correct,” Turo says. importance and urgency of the mission? “Executives have to be pig headed about “Sometimes you have to persist and continue What are the issues that prevent them fromit and follow up every day, otherwise, your to execute until the market forces shift.” achieving their goals?employees won’t think you’re serious and If a strategic error has occurred, executives Review the strategic plan developmentthey’ll be distracted by other things,” need to acknowledge the failure, shoulder the process and create a sense of ownership byTuro says. blame and resist the temptation to launch a giving more employees the chance to Create a culture of accountability by witch hunt. Instead, emphasize the need for participate. Estimate return on investment byreporting progress on key initiatives in real evolution, recalibrate your goals and set the comparing incentive expenditures and plantime, whether good or bad, so employees tone by pressing forward. administration costs to incremental increasesdon’t make excuses or surmise failure is an To further establish accountability, executives in revenues and profits.option. Post progress charts on the company often engage a neutral third party or consultant Finally, compare the actual results to yourintranet, blog about the results and keep the to assist with plan design and implementation original goals to see how far you’ve come or ifgoals in the forefront by hosting executive because outsiders have the courage to offer you’ve veered off course. Although this mayroundtables and chatting with employees in unbiased opinions and the tenacity to crack the seem like a no-brainer, less than 20 percent ofthe halls and cafeteria. whip without fearing reprisal. companies review the results of Execution can falter if frontline employees Consultants can provide executive implementation efforts, acknowledge errorssense a disparity in accountability, so coaching and management expertise and and learn from their mistakes. Despitecommunicate everyone’s goals and review organize informational exchanges with execution’s inherent difficulties, executives haveexecutive and departmental achievements at leaders from other industries. no choice but to stop writing and master it.monthly meetings. Encourage new behaviors “Change often originates outside the “Executives need to understand that there’sand build synergy toward the plan by organization because executives are so no easy fix,” Hebert says. “Plan implementationrecognizing top performers, celebrating small consumed with managing the here and now, needs to be part of the daily routine becausewins and asking employees to grade the they can’t see the forest for the trees,” the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at acompany’s efforts. Hebert says. time.” LE8 summer 2012
  9. 9. inside: • Building a better business with Microsoft Dynamics AX • Five signs you’re merging with or acquiring the right company • Client Spotlight / Industry UpdatesOutsource versus in-house:How going to the pros can save your company moneyF rom marketing and information technology tohuman resources and being used for areas of the business that directly them. Part of developing and nurturing these relationships drive revenue. If you own is what professionals call aaccounting, organizations today a construction company, “value-add.” Professionals willare outsourcing a number of the in-house employees proactively look for ways toservices in order to focus on that generate revenue give you more value for yourtheir core business areas and are the sales people and money in hopes that you willgain access to top-quality those working in the field. form a long-term partnership.professionals. There is one other Investors would rather For example, if you outsourcebig reason why companies are see you pay salary for one a large-scale marketing project,now turning to outside of these positions instead such as a website redesign, aprofessionals to do their work— of someone working in professional might include ato save money. IT simply because IT new logo or suggestions for It sounds contradictory— professionals are not better website content. Whenpaying someone to save money— directly influencing revenue—or you’re getting these as addedbut when you look at the bottom development is great, as so the investors think. value, you’re saving moneyline, saving money is exactly employees bring back their because you’re technically notwhat you are doing. Think about new knowledge and skills to Reduce expenses. When you paying for those services.the basics of what it takes to hire the company, it can be costly. outsource to the professionals,internal employees for any jobs. Attending conferences and other you can find reduced costs on Stop paying for unnecessaryYou have to pay for their salary, on-site events can cost companies all sorts of products or services tasks. Although great employeespaid time off, insurance several hundred dollars in they need in order to do the job will do their best not to performpremiums and any possible registration fees alone, and while for you. After all, they’ve likely unnecessary tasks, duties suchretirement contributions, plus the many webinars are now free, the been in the industry for quite as checking and responding toadditional cost of infrastructure highest-quality ones still charge some time and have built up email, organizing files and readingand utilities, such as computers, for participation. By outsourcing those connections. For example, newsletters do happen. By hiringother office equipment and a position, you’ve eliminated any because HR professionals buy so someone outside the company toelectricity used at their costs associated with continued often from vendors, outsourcing perform a certain service, you areworkstations. education. your HR efforts may result in immediately eliminating the costs Those are all obvious expenses, reduced benefits rates because associated with unnecessary orbut there are plenty of other Free up money for your they often can get them at a day-to-day tasks.ways companies can save by specialties. If you lead a discounted price.outsourcing certain services: pharmaceutical company, it Furthermore, if you need to All companies have a talent or doesn’t make sense to spend purchase a specific software product to share with the world,Training adds up. Every excessive amounts of money program in order to complete the and nothing should take awaytime your company hires a for in-house accounting or tax in-house job effectively, an from the possibilities they cannew employee, it is likely he or planning. Instead, you can hire a outsourced professional probably offer. By spending money on theshe will have to participate in firm to crunch the numbers for already has the necessary necessities related to yoursome sort of training program. you and use the leftover capital technology and tools, thus company—rather than what doesWhether it’s two weeks or two for a department that truly eliminating that expense from not directly influence yourmonths, it’s time for both the matters to what your company your books. growth—you are helping to buildnew employee and a trainer, and does, such as research and your capital even more.time equals money. development. Find the value-add. Outsourced professionals can Professionals are continually provide not only world-classIn-house employees often Gratify current investors looking to build solid working knowledge and skills but alsowant or require continued and gain new ones. Investors relationships with the companies plenty of ways to save money ineducation. Though professional want to see the company’s capital that outsource services to the long run. LELeading Edge 9
  10. 10. Building a better businesswith Microsoft Dynamics AXW hen selecting an enterprise resource planning (ERP)solution, it is important to not Q. How is Microsoft Dynamics AX different from Microsoft Dynamics AX can provide these companies with enhance control of processes and projects and fuel expansion into other ERP solutions? industry-specific capabilities to new territories and services.only think about how a solution A. I’ve been working with help them design, produce andwill benefit your company’s Microsoft Dynamics AX for the deliver high-quality products to Q. What is an example of abottom line but also how it will past 10 years. Because many their customers. company that used Microsoftget you there. We sat down with companies have unique business Dynamics AX, and what wereLarry Cohn, managing partner in processes that require unique Q. Manufacturers in the results?Sikich’s Denver office, to find out solutions, they can find a particular face a number A. Before using Microsofthow companies can reach their tremendous amount of value in of challenges today. How Dynamics AX, a world leader ingoals with one ERP solution, Microsoft Dynamics AX. The can Microsoft Dynamics AX vacuum and ceramic seal solutionsMicrosoft Dynamics AX. solution itself is extremely agile help them overcome some was operating across three and intuitive—it’s meant to of these challenges and continents with each countryQ. What is an ERP solution, conform to your business rather achieve sustainability goals? operating on a different ERPand how does it help than your business conforming to A. Manufacturers face the system. Its goal was to provide acompanies? the solution. The RoleTailored perennial need to meet and beat single technology solution thatA. The term ERP dates user interface, for example, has low-cost producers in developing would help it increase sales,back to 1990. It is commonly preconfigured roles in the countries, along with an improve customer service andused today to mean a fully solution that are based increasing focus on business reduce operating costs. Specifically,comprehensive business software specifically on what users may growth. Every day, they confront it wanted to achieve increasedsolution used by manufacturers need to do. So, rather than challenges related to product sales with decreased headcount,and distributors to help them selecting a general ERP solution, quality, business integration, increased capacity production,manage organizational needs customers can get a complete on-time delivery, evolving supply improved inventory managementin their entirety—from back business management solution chain initiatives and improved and reduced lead times foroffice (accounting and financials) that is shaped precisely for them customer service. Manufacturers customer quotes.and operations (manufacturing, with Microsoft Dynamics AX. need solutions that empower It looked for a partner thatsupply chain and inventory them to streamline, monitor and could help it not only implementmanagement) to sales (quotes Q. For what kind of company control the entire production and the software but achieve theseand orders) and management do you recommend this service cycle. Microsoft goals as well. It chose to partnerreports. solution, and why? Dynamics AX can help with Sikich after receiving A. Sikich has a strong focus and component, sub-assembly and recommendations from bothQ. What is Microsoft very deep experience with whole-system manufacturers Microsoft and existing MicrosoftDynamics AX? manufacturing companies. increase operational visibility, Dynamics AX customers and wentA. Microsoft Dynamics AX is live at three sites within sixan ERP solution that contains a months—on time and on budget.number of robust features After being live for four months,designed to help companies the company has seen a 4-percentmake effective business increase in manufacturing capacity,decisions. It does so by 7-percent reduction in inventory,automating and streamlining 13-percent increase in orderfinancial, customer relationship quantity (not including headcount)and supply chain processes, and and 11-percent reduction in leadthe solution has rich, multi- time for quotes. LEfunctional modules and a user-friendly interface designed to For more information on Microsoftmeet the needs of both mid- Dynamics AX and how it can helpsized companies and large, your company reach long-term goals,complex environments. visit summer 2012
  11. 11. Sikich LLP Five signs you’re merging with or acquiring the right company M ergers and acquisitions (MA) have been taking place for decades, yet even the most recent studies have shown MA failure rates anywhere between 70 and 85 percent. As these transactions can be complex and confusing, it is no wonder why more are not successful. However, those sense to all stakeholders. Employees, investors, the community and organizations that are fostering solid relationships and moving anyone else with an interest in your company will know what the forward with successful deals are doing something right, and company values, how it will operate and what may be different after while MAs should take into account more than just the the transaction (including how it may affect them). Additionally, the following advice, leaders can start with these five signs you’re right company will demonstrate long-term and forward thinking, merging with or acquiring the right company: rather than looking to quickly fix a short-term problem. Both sides address any potential problems early. All Both companies are willing to help. It is not a secret that MAs MA transactions are bound to experience hiccups throughout are hard work. In fact, the complexities of these transactions are a big the process. However, when both sides can openly discuss reason why many do not work out—there’s simply too much for one potential problems early, there is more time to strategize a person or company to do. That is why the right company will help game plan to get through those issues when the time comes. you out. From participating in department meetings to developing Whether those issues relate to management style, employee a new business plan, the right company will offer its leaders the benefits, finances or something else, bringing it up early allows opportunity to step away from day-to-day work in order to strategize both companies enough time to decide how to solve the the transition. The right company may also offer mid-level managers problem and relay any new developments to those involved in and staff the opportunity to help out in an effort to integrate fully, the deal. provide opinions and understand the value of the transaction. Communication is good. When you’re dealing with a new The two cultures are compatible. The most common reason for MA venture, the right company will not only communicate a failed MA is often cited as incompatible cultures. Even though well but will do so often. This does not only refer to its it’s possible to blend two different cultures, your company may save communication with your company—although that is crucial a lot of time and headaches by finding a company that already has for a successful MA—but also to how both companies a similar—or at least compatible—culture. This ensures one culture communicate with their stakeholders. Here are some ways to does not become the dominant culture, which can result in negativity tell if communication is going well: and no sense of belonging. Though comparing cultures goes deeper than these seven questions, if a company’s answers are similar to • Both sides are specific when discussing their needs and yours, it might be the right company with which to get involved. wants—everyone should be on the same page. • All conversations end with a clear understanding of • What are the demographics of both employees and clients? everyone’s next steps. • Are leaders flexible with employees, or do they like to • Attitudes are positive following a discussion. micromanage? • Both sides challenge each other with constructive criticism • What unwritten rules are in place? and questions. • How does the company approach change? • The focus is both long-term goals and the future, and • What traditions does the company have? the past is only brought up if it assists with planning for • How are employees rewarded? the future. • What are the company’s top three business values? There is a common long-term vision. While part of Planning and implementing an MA is an intricate process, but it effective communication means determining long-term goals can be an exciting opportunity if leaders take the time to choose the and a successful future, the right company should also share a right company carefully. By starting early, evaluating all facets of a similar long-term vision. When its vision is completely off-base potential merger or acquisition and keeping communication at the from yours, it is likely the MA will fall through; however, forefront, the likelihood that you can be part of the 15 to 30 percent when the two align, the combined long-term vision will make MA success rate will be much greater. LELeading Edge 11
  12. 12. Sikich LLPClient Spotlight: MRC PolymersFounded in 1980 on the southwest side of coatings and paint, grindingChicago, MRC Polymers began with a vision them and formulating themof environmental stewardship—keeping with additives to meetplastics out of landfills by turning them customers’ specifications.into high-end durable products. Since the To ensure quality control atcompany’s inception, it has recycled more each stage, the companythan 300 million pounds of plastic, and performs a check when thetoday, it is recycling more than 50 million product arrives, as well aspounds annually. in-process and final testing. MRC Polymers specializes in closed- Since 2006, MRCloop recycling, meaning the company Polymers has partneredtakes customers’ scrap plastics, such as with Sikich for its humanold vehicle bumpers and water bottles, resources, tax and auditing needs. Sikich Want to get an inside look at MRCand preps the plastic so it can be molded has cultivated a relationship with the Polymers and learn more about how Sikichback into those same products. MRC company that provides the Sikich team added value to the company? Watch thePolymers’ process includes sorting the a deep understanding of how it can help client spotlight video at plastics, washing them to remove MRC Polymers achieve its goals. client-spotlight.Industry UpdatesKeeping abreast with statistics, trends and industry developments allows you to identify risks and uncover opportunities in the market. Withbetter insight into the competitive landscape, you can make more informed, strategic decisions and gain a competitive edge. Our quarterlyindustry updates offer intelligence from First Research* and focus on the critical facts that affect your day-to-day business. REAL ESTATE HEALTH CARE Home affordability at historic highs – The National Health care reform already entrenched in Association of Realtors’ (NAR) housing affordability hospitals – Whether the Supreme Court upholds the index reached an all-time high early in 2012, according Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or strikes itto Investment Weekly News, indicating the average family had double down, hospitals have already implemented changes required by thethe income needed to purchase a typical home. The index hit 206; law, according to CFO Magazine. If the law is struck down, hospitalsan index of 100 means an average household has enough income to can’t simply go back to the way things used to be done becausepurchase a median-priced single-family home, assuming a 20-percent of the infrastructural changes regarding payment, capital, caredown payment and a mortgage payment equal to 25 percent of gross decisions and reimbursement, financial experts say. In particular,income. NAR projects the affordability index will remain above 200 for payment bundling, in which a procedure is priced at a flat rate andthe remainder of 2012, boding well for buyers and their agents. But hospitals decide how to parcel out payment, is already leadingeven with favorable pricing, purchases still depend on buyers’ ability to significant changes in how CFOs run their hospitals. The moveto obtain financing. toward paying doctors for outcomes rather than individual instances of care is also gaining momentum. *Industry intelligence from First Research, a division of Hoover’s (a DB company). Data Published: May 14, 201212 summer 2012
  13. 13. bitsTeam players in demand byemployers, survey says If you value having your employees conduct themselves as teamplayers who place their full focus on satisfying customers, you’rein good company. According to a recent survey by OI Partners,about 70 percent of the companies contacted listed those twoqualities as what they most desire in workers. Following in third and fourth place are the qualities of available pieces Free NSC cell phone policy kit A cell phone policy kit for employers has been updated recently by the National Safety Council to assist companies with implementing their cell phone policies. The kit is available free on the NSC website. “Employees who use their cell phonesmotivating and engaging others in their jobs (68 percent) and while driving expose themselves to aachieving success in a “critical few objectives” (62 percent). significant safety risk that they are seemingly willing to accept,” says Two out of three employers reported they have implemented David Teater, director of transportation initiatives. “This risk applies toprograms in the past year to retain some of their most all employees, not just commercial drivers or other employees whose talented workers, according work involves driving, such as field salespeople or service technicians.” to the survey. A recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey Companies reward their found drivers cite work-related communications as a reason to use most valuable workers with phones while driving. raises in salaries and benefits, The NSC says employers who expect employees to use cell phones tuition reimbursement, and while driving as part of their business must recognize that doing so provide coaching and cash exposes employees to preventable crash risk. bonuses depending on the The Cell Phone Policy Kit is available for download at cellphonekit. level of the employee, the It includes resources for executives, guides for the survey found. implementation team and educational materials for employees.What’s your marketing ROI?To really know if you are getting your money’s 3. How are we managing financial riskworth out of your marketing efforts, you have in our marketing plans?to understand the full impact of marketing For successful communication, you may set riskaccording to, “Measuring Marketing’s Worth,” parameters that enable some changes in thein McKinsey Co.’s McKinsey Quarterly. marketing mix but limit the total shift in any There are five questions executives should given year.ask to see if they are getting the maximum 4. How are we coping with approachingreturn on their investment. added complexity in the marketing1. What exactly influences our organization?consumers today? You’ll require a number of specialists, and you’llCompanies are conscious of the growing need somebody who both integrates marketingimportance of touch points, such as favorable efforts across channels and focuses on theconsumer reviews, but don’t understand the true bottom line. Finally, you’ll need absolute claritymagnitude of their effects. in processes, roles and responsibilities.2. How accurate is our marketing 5. What metrics should we track givenjudgment? our options?Formulate hypotheses about the impact of Try measuring the impact of advertising onchanges to your marketing mix and then seek consumer recall, the perceptions of the businessanalytical evidence. and sales leads and revenue.Leading Edge 13
  14. 14. Stem the rising costof working caregiversWith more Americans caring for an elderlyrelative, workplace support is vital By Leslie Stevens-Huffman A ccording to a Gallup poll, more educated workers hire outsiders to care for than one in six American workers aging family members. A survey by Genworth provides care for an elderly or Financial shows that overwhelmingly, disabled family member, relative or Americans want to receive long-term care in friend. All told, these overtaxed their homes. In addition, the median annual moonlighters miss 126 million workdays each cost for a nursing home is $81,030. Nearly year, costing American businesses an one-third of working caregivers are in a estimated $25.2 billion in lost productivity. professional occupation, with another 12 Of course, that doesn’t include the cost of percent each in service and management stress-related illnesses or disability claims or roles. Other professions such as installation/ the tab for administering employee leave repair, transportation and construction make programs like the Family and Medical Leave up less than 5 percent each of caregivers. If Act. Frankly, it’s hard to tally the financial left unabated, the rise of working caregivers impact of this burgeoning subgroup because could impact the performance of key 28 percent of affected employees say their departments and succession planning. employer is unaware of their situation. An informal data review is a quick, cost- “Employees who care for someone with a effective way to estimate the number of long-term illness such as dementia or caregivers in your employee population and Alzheimer’s endure so much stress, they often their associated impact on the bottom line. end up choosing between their two jobs,” says Compare your company’s absenteeism rates, Jennifer Antkowiak, a news anchor for productivity levels and medical claims to other Pittsburgh’s KDKA-TV and founder of organizations as higher claims for depression Jennifer Cares, a company aimed at helping or chronic illnesses such as heart disease and caregivers. “Consequently, companies incur the diabetes could signal the need for intervention. cost of hiring and training a new employee, Finally, establish a baseline to track the when it’s possible to reduce turnover by near-term impact of caregiver support offering caregivers flexibility and support.” programs because it may take several years to reduce health risks, improve well-being and Assess the impact stem the rising cost of employee health care. Although most working caregivers are female “It’s hard to gauge the total impact of and older than age 40, companies that working caregivers without taking a formal employ a younger workforce aren’t immune survey,” Antkowiak says. “Employees may not to the impact. Gen-Xers and Gen-Yers often think of themselves as caregivers if they provide part-time care for a grandparent or occasionally leave early to take a relative to a extended family member, and when you doctor’s appointment or therapy session, but account for everyone across the entire those trips add up.” support chain, it isn’t unusual for caregivers to account for 50 to 75 percent of a Offer targeted support programs company’s total workforce. Small changes in human resources policies Don’t assume professionals or highly and an enlightened management team can14 summer 2012
  15. 15. strategic Key facts: Mid-year tax • One in six workers provide care planning to either a family member or friend. • Caregivers are forced to miss a The clock is ticking on combined 125 million workdays favorable estate tax each year. • 28 percent of caregivers say rates and exemptions their employer is not aware of By Leslie Stevens-Huffmanreduce caregiver stress and turnover without their situation. Your 2012 summer vacation shouldincreasing costs. Several companies haveinstituted work-life balance programs such as include time for year-end tax planning asflextime, job sharing and telecommuting, How you can help a host of favorable estate tax rates andwhile others have reallocated wellness dollars • Assess the need for programs to exemptions are set to expire on Dec. 31.toward initiatives that cater to the unique assist caregivers in your Unless you act soon, individual filersneeds of working caregivers. workplace. could forego the opportunity to avoid gift According to a recent survey, the four • Tailor your wellness program to help caregivers manage their taxes on up to $5.12 million and coupleswellness benefits most frequently offered bycompanies are online wellness information, own health better. on up to $10.24 million, when theeducational tools or resources, fitness center • Sponsor workplace seminars on exemptions are indexed for inflation.discounts and printed wellness information. end-of-life topics such as estate Worse yet, procrastination could Impactful choices for caregivers include planning. result in the unnecessary payment ofstress reduction, healthy eating and time • Institute flexible hours for your estate taxes at a rate as high as 55management—because caregivers are so busy employees. percent on real estate, stocks, bondscaring for others, they tend to neglect their and cash in excess of $1 million if theown health. federal gift tax reverts as scheduled. Because working caregivers don’t have timeto ferret out community support or resources, “There’s no point in waiting until afterinvite employees and their families to hear tools to initiate a proactive dialogue.” the November election because wespeakers from nonprofits and government Once the issue of working caregivers is no have no idea what Congress will do,”agencies that offer information on grief and longer taboo, line managers need the authority advises Rob Babek, partner-in-charge ofbereavement counseling, hospice, Meals On to effect change by offering employees part- the Los Angeles office of Marcum LLP,Wheels and traveling nurses. Better still, ask time schedules, unpaid leave or telecommuting. a member firm of the Leading Edgea qualified professional to chair an onsite group. Measure hard and soft cost savings Babek notes the capital gains tax rate Amy Lieberman, president of Minneapolis- Although measuring the return on investmentbased Estate Matters LLC, says companies from HR policy changes and wellness is also set to increase at the end of theshould host panel discussions featuring financial initiatives targeted at caregivers is challenging, year. He says taxpayers should considerplanners, estate attorneys and physicians even a modest investment should yield an selling highly appreciated stocks andbecause caregivers often face financial issues immediate boost in program participation gifting the money to a charity or heir toand gut-wrenching end-of-life decisions. rates, employee morale and attendance. avoid paying more in capital gains taxes. “Having clear end-of-life instructions, However, the true measure of increased Finally, if you own highly appreciatedhealth care directives and a durable power of efforts to support working caregivers is often real estate such as a home or vacationattorney reduces emotional turmoil as a evidenced by improved esprit de corps. property, you can maintain ownershipfamily member ages,” says Lieberman, whose “Caregivers feel guilty about missing workfirm helps families deal with caregivers and and they’re afraid of losing their jobs,” and avoid estate taxes by graduallyother service professionals. “Moreover, Antkowiak says. “But fear can be replaced by transferring ownership to your childrencompanies can reduce the future impact of confidence and loyalty once the issue is out in and grandchildren through a familyour aging population by giving employees the the open.” LE limited liability company.Leading Edge 15
  16. 16. Business in VietnamUnderstandinghiring andinvestmentrules are keyto a successfulventureDezan Shira AssociatesE arlier in its development process than many countries, Vietnam is learning from other countries’ reform experiences and utilizing its late mover advantage in Myanmar and Vietnam have reduced nearly Unlike the ROs, the branch is entitled to dotechnology introduction. While not a large 99 percent of tariffs to less than 5 percent, as business in Vietnam, although the lawcountry in terms of area, Vietnam’s of June 2011. prohibits it from carrying out commerciallongitudinal breadth and variations in terrain activities other than those stated in the parentallow the country to simultaneously support a What investment vehicles are company’s business license.wide range of industries. As labor costs rise available in Vietnam?elsewhere, many investors look to Vietnam, The Law on Investment provides for three What about taxes?where labor costs are, for example, estimated basic forms of direct investment by foreign Vietnam’s standard corporate income tax rate isto be 50 percent lower than China. investors: joint ventures enterprises, 100-per- 25 percent for both domestic and foreign- With a reasonably steady 7-percent GDP cent foreign-owned enterprises and various invested enterprises. Value-added tax is leviedgrowth per year average during the last decade, contractual forms. The contractual forms at three rates: the 0-percent rate appliesVietnam is nimble as it continues to shape its include business cooperation contracts, build- generally to exported goods and services, themarket-oriented socialist economy, and major operate-transfer contracts, build-transfer-oper- 5-percent rate applies to 15 categories offoreign investors continue to prioritize their ate contracts and build-transfer contracts. essential goods and services and the 10-percentinvestments into the country. Coca-Cola, for Business cooperation contracts, for example, rate is applicable to other goods and service.example, has said it plans to invest $200 million are agreements between foreign investors and The Vietnam government has abolished tax onin Vietnam by 2013, adding onto its $280 Vietnamese partners to cooperate on specific profit repatriation for overseas investors, andmillion investment during the past 10 years. business activities. personal income tax is levied at sevenMany small and medium enterprises are Regulated by the Commercial Law, progressive rates from 3 to 35 percent.following in step, acting on the business representative offices (ROs) and branch offices Interestingly, ROs are not subject topotential that Vietnam holds for companies of are also allowed in Vietnam. Similar to other taxation in Vietnam, and their yearlyall sizes and a variety of industries. countries, ROs cannot carry out commercial compliance requirements are relatively limited. One of Vietnam’s greatest advantages today activities (only activities like market research This means using an RO for first-stepis its membership with the Association of and liaison activities), but unlike in other operation support is much more convenient inSoutheast Asian Countries and accompanying countries (such as China), ROs are permitted Vietnam than it is in other jurisdictions (suchfree trade benefits. More than 99 percent of to hire staff directly and there is no cap on the as China) and the cost of being legal intariffs among ASEAN-6 countries have been number of local and expatriate employees a Vietnam is relatively cheap (a key point forreduced to 0 percent, while Cambodia, Laos, representative office can hire in Vietnam. many SMEs).16 summer 2012
  17. 17. What is the status of manufacturing monthly salary, which will rise to 22 percent in signed between the employer and the zones in Vietnam? 2014, according to a timeline laid out in the Vietnamese employee who is planned to Approximately 40 percent of foreign direct 2006 Law on Social Insurance. replace this particular foreign employee investment in Vietnam goes into The second type of minimum wage is used following his or her departure. manufacturing zones, and these zones generate for employees in all non-state enterprises In addition, a foreigner working for an more than 30 percent of the nation’s total based on zones as defined by the government. overseas enterprise with a commercial industrial production and 20 percent of its The minimum wage in these zones varied presence in Vietnam can be internally export value, according to the Ministry of from approximately $67 to $96 a month (as of transferred to the operation in Vietnam if at Industrial Planning. Manufacturing zones October 2011). least 20 percent of the total number of the include industrial, economic, export processing A 13th month salary is usually applied as a managers, executive directors and experts in and high-tech. Firms investing in these zones kind of annual bonus by both local and foreign the commercial presence in Vietnam are in Vietnam enjoy preferential policies issued companies in Vietnam for employees working Vietnamese citizens. by the government, as well as other advantages, with the company for at least a year. Prior to July 5 and Jan. 5 each year, such as modern infrastructure and the Employees will often receive it together with employers are required to report their use of availability of utility services compared to areas their 12th month salary or at the beginning of foreign labor to the Department of Labor, outside of the zones. the following year. In addition, there is also a Invalids and Social Affairs office and the In February 2012, Prime Minister Nguyen special bonus called Lunar New Year bonus or relevant authorities of industrial zones, Tan Dung asked local authorities to suspend Tet bonus, often paid to employees before they economic zones, export-processing zones and the licensing of new industrial, export- leave for the Lunar New Year holiday as a way hi-tech parks. In addition, before Dec. 15 each processing and economic zones in a move to of motivating and maintaining staff. The year, employers are required to register their improve the management and efficiency of amount of the bonus depends on the company demand for foreign labor for the next year. LE existing zones. Zone development plans and employee upper left: Luciano Mortula / through 2020 are being reviewed and revised Dezan Shira Associates, a Leading Edge Alliance in 2012. What are the limitations on hiring Firm, specializes in foreign direct investment, non-Vietnamese? providing business advisory, tax, accounting, payroll What about wages and social Employers in Vietnam can hire an unlimited and due diligence services to multinationals insurances? number of foreigners as long as a local hire investing in Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, India and In Vietnam, there are two kinds of cannot fill the position and the employees Singapore. Established in 1992, the firm is a minimum wages. meet requirements to work as managers, leading regional practice in Asia with 20 offices in The first type, the common minimum wage executive directors and experts. five jurisdictions, employing more than 170 (approximately $50 a month as of April 2012), However, the employer must have a training business advisory and tax professionals. is used to calculate the social contribution for program as required by the government for Sections of this article were drawn from the all enterprises, as well as salaries for employees Vietnamese employees to enable them to take recently released book, Doing Business in Vietnam. in state-owned organizations and enterprises. over these positions in the future. An employer The total minimum employer Social Security requiring a work permit extension for a To contact the firm please email vietnam@dezshira. contribution in Vietnam is 21 percent of foreigner must provide a training contract com or visit Leading Edge 17
  18. 18. on the bookshelfBusiness Books for the Beach Executive Economics: Your Brain andWelcome to the summer Ten Tools for Business Business: Theedition of “On the Decision Makers Neuroscience ofBookshelf,” with volumes Shlomo Maital Great Leaders Free Press Srinivasan Pillayon corporate social media, 286 pages FT Presseconomic theory, road- Many executives shun 288 pagestesting entrepreneurial economic theory because Pillay, a psychiatry they consider it impractical professor at Harvardbusiness ideas before diving in the daily business world. In Executive Medical School and ainto them, neuroscience Economics, Shlomo Maital demystifies certified executive coach, explains how the economics, showing how most business workings of the brain shape a person’s capacityas it relates to business decisions can be boiled down to two simple to be an effective business leader. Pillay assertsleadership, and business questions: “What is it worth?” and “What must the brain’s functions control executives’ abilityleadership itself. I give up to get it?” Maital explains how to project intangibles like fairness, trust and economic theory can be used to improve openness in their daily interactions with executives’ decision-making about fundamental employees, customers and colleagues. Your issues like what to produce, how to produce it, Brain and Business contains a wealth ofThe Executive’s how much of it to make, how much to charge research-supported insights into how a betterGuide to for it and how to make the best use of business understanding of neuroscience can be appliedEnterprise resources like time, labor and capital. to negotiating deals, managing change,Social Media improving relationships and effectivelyStrategy: How coaching people to achieve higher levels ofSocial Networks The New Business performance.are Radically Road Test: WhatTransforming Entrepreneurs and HBR’s 10 Must ReadsYour Business Executives Should on LeadershipMike Barlow, Do Before Writing a Peter Drucker, et al.David Thomas Business Plan (3rd Harvard BusinessWiley Edition) Review Press204 pages John Mullins 240 pagesTweet. Post. Upload. Download. Around FT Press The featured article in thethe clock, 24/7/365, social media is the 336 pages latest installment ofdominant way young people communicate, Launching a business is a tall order. To have a Harvard Business Review’sand it is quickly heading toward becoming shot at success, the entrepreneur must have celebrated 10 Must Reads series is “Whatthe dominant way virtually everyone talent, capital and a well-researched plan. But Makes an Effective Executive” by the late Petercommunicates. Many forward-thinking even with those essentials, if the basic concept Drucker. The editors of HBR have combedbusiness executives have jumped on the for the business is flawed, failure is inevitable. through hundreds of articles on leadership andsocial media bandwagon. This book will The New Business Road Test shows readers how picked the 10 they consider to be the mosthelp bring those who haven’t up to speed on to determine whether their fundamental useful to help executives maximize theirhow to develop an effective corporate social business concept is feasible before they sink organization’s performance. Topics includemedia strategy. The Executive’s Guide to their life’s savings, not to mention their life, drawing strength from adversity, increasingEnterprise Social Media Strategy is based on into a new enterprise. The third edition self-awareness, crediting others for one’sinterviews with leading thinkers at dozens includes a new version of The 7 Domains success, managing with tough empathy,of corporations, including IBM, Salesforce. Model, updated case studies, a rewritten encouraging intelligent risk-taking, setting ancom, Accenture, Intuit, Newell Rubbermaid, Industry Analysis Checklist and a new author- organization’s direction, motivating others toHR Block and the Mayo Clinic. run companion website. excel and provoking positive change. LE18 summer 2012
  19. 19. Sikich and other members of theLeading Edge Alliance are leaders inmany key markets, including: The Leading Edge Alliance is an international professionalAlabama India Palestine association of independently owned accounting and consulting firms.Albania Indiana PanamaAfghanistan Indonesia Paraguay The Alliance enables member firms to access the resources of aArgentina Iowa Paris multibillion dollar global professional services organization, providingAtlanta Ireland PeruAustralia Israel Philadelphia business development, professional training and education, and peer-to-Austria Italy Phoenix peer networking opportunities nationally and globally, around the cornerAzerbaijan Jordan Philippines and around the world.Bahrain Kansas PittsburghBaltimore Kazakhstan PolandBangladesh Kenya Providence Members are quality firms who are very successful, have deep clientBelgium Knoxville Puerto RicoBolivia Korea Richmond relationships, and strong ties to the community. The Alliance providesBoston Kuwait Reno members with an impressive combination: the comprehensive size andBrazil Las Vegas Romania Russian Federation scope of a large multinational company while offering their clients theBritish Virgin Islands LatviaBuffalo Lebanon San Francisco continuity, consistency and quality service of a local firm. Member firmsBulgaria Lexington Saudi Arabia have access to extensive teams of business advisors – a peer-to-peerCayman Islands London ScotlandChattanooga Los Angeles Seattle connection that provides the right business solutions for clients.Chicago Luxembourg SenegalChile Macedonia SerbiaChina Madison, WI SingaporeCincinnati Malaysia SlovakiaCleveland Malta Slovenia The Leading Edge offers:Colombia Mauritius South CarolinaCroatia Memphis Spain • Access to extensive teams of accounting professionals and businessCyprus Mexico Sweden advisors—a peer-to-peer connection that provides the right solutionsCzech Republic Miami Switzerland for clients.Dallas Michigan TaiwanDayton Minneapolis/St. Paul Thailand • Innovative, practice-proven strategies for improving performance inDenver Missouri Tokyo management, business processes, finance, operations, informationDominican Republic Moldova TorontoEcuador Montenegro Tucson technology and marketing.Egypt Montreal Tunisia • A leading knowledge resource for multi-disciplinary information andEl Salvador Morocco Turkey industry-specific expertise responsive to clients’ unique needs.Finland Nashville UkraineFort Lauderdale Nebraska United Arab • The Alliance offers accounting, consulting and tax services through aGhana Netherlands Emirates global alliance of firms with over 18,323 professional staff, more thanGermany New Orleans UgandaGreece New Jersey Uruguay 1,600 partners and over 23,518 staff in 455 offices.Guatemala New York U.S. Virgin Islands • The Leading Edge Alliance offers global business advisory expertiseHarrisburg, PA New Zealand Venezuela and experience with innovation, progressiveness and quality.Hartford North Carolina Washington, D.C.Hong Kong Norway VietnamHonolulu Orange County, CA Virginia/West VirginiaHouston OregonHungary Pakistan To find out more about The Leading Edge Alliance, visit or contact Karen Kehl-Rose, Visit for a detailed listing of member firms. president, at +1 630.513.9814 or Edge 19
  20. 20. Sikich LLP Corporate Office1415 W. Diehl Road, Suite 400Naperville, IL 60563(877) 279-1900www.sikich.comreturn service requested