There’s a classic idiom which states, “You can’t be all things to all people.” As it pertains to the accounting profession, the age of the generalist is certainly over, with clients demanding their trusted advisors to have a deep understanding of their industry as well as their business. Six years ago, we embraced this concept fully, establishing our Niche Development Initiative, which is currently spearheaded by Withum Partner and Whippany Office PIC, Kirk Holderbaum, Director of Markets. Our niche-focused business model encourages us to be more strategic in our marketing efforts, helping us gain a competitive edge by demonstrating our expertise and putting our strongest people – our Niche Practice and Team Leaders – on the forefront when pursing new business. We also demonstrate our expertise through our powerful website and content marketing strategy, our enhanced proposals, and our presence within industry associations as exhibitors at tradeshows, presenters at conferences and authors in their publications. And it has been working. We have seen our proposal win rates increase from 40% to currently over 70% within six years.
Strong leadership is critical in the success of this initiative. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate two partners who recently took over the reins of their respective Industry Niche Groups as of July 1, moving up from the Team Leader role:
- Chris DeMayo, CPA, MBA, Partner, is the new Practice Leader of our Technology Services Group. Chris has extensive experience in the technology industry, specifically in the start-up and emerging growth sectors, as well as with mergers and acquisitions.
- Tom Angell, CPA, Partner, is the new Practice Leader of our Financial Services Group. Tom has extensive experience with both public and private companies, including advising private equity funds and investment advisors on all aspects of private equity transactions, such as raising financing, deal origination and
We encourage Manager-level professionals and above to get involved with one or two of our Industry and Service practice groups. Below-manager staff are also encouraged to get involved, but more so to observe and learn about a specific industry or service line to see if there is a strong inclination towards that practice area. Why get involved in a niche? There are many benefits:
- For career growth – not only do you become more valuable to your clients when you develop an industry and/or service expertise, but activity within the niche development initiative is weighed heavily in the promotion process, helping you move up the Withum ladder faster.
- For external networking – building your network of referral sources and contacts is critical in developing new business opportunities. And the earlier in your career you begin, the better, as it will pay off in spades later on. Most every niche practice group has a calendar of external events for you to attend… great opportunities to practice your networking skills.
- For internal networking – the niche development initiative is most successful when niches work together to build strategies and leverage the strength of each other’s team members. Niche activity encourages cross-office relationship building, promoting the ‘one-firm’ philosophy when working as teams. It’s a great way to get to know your colleagues from around the firm.
- Hey, it’s kind of fun – not only is it intellectually stimulating to develop an expertise, but part of the niche development process involves fun and creative opportunities to engage with clients, prospects and referral sources. The Technology niche held a surf clinic with a bank one summer; the Construction niche holds an annual fishing trip; the Consumer Products niche attends the annual Fancy Food Show in NYC every year. These are only a few examples. Good stuff!
If you are interested in becoming active within a specific industry or service, feel free to speak with your career coach, or contact the appropriate Niche Practice Leader or anyone in the Marketing Department; see attached niche directory for names and contact info. They will be more than happy to invite you to their next meeting or mixer. With great leadership and activity within our Niche Development Initiative, we are confident everyone can “Be a Catalyst for Growth and Success”… for our firm, our clients and as individual professionals.