Recently, I was asked by one of our managers about when Armanino would become a national firm, and I responded that we already were.
But, what does it really mean to be a national firm? Does it mean, as our profession tends to believe, having real estate in major metropolitan hubs throughout the country or hitting a particular revenue number? Or even looking at a firm’s number of employees and where its clients are located?
And while, for years, Armanino has been serving clients in all 50 states with 13 offices and employees located throughout more than 30 states, the last six months have only validated and strengthened my belief that a national firm is defined by its ability to effectively serve clients located anywhere from anywhere.
Because of the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been working with our clients in virtual spaces. Yes, they had done it before to an extent — we had invested heavily in cloud-based technology to give clients more access and transparency to our work. But now this is the only way we meet. What clients experience today becomes what they know and influences what they come to expect from an engagement partner, how they choose who they work with and why.
As more businesses are in the same shoes, they are experiencing what we at Armanino have always known — the ability to operate successfully has more to do with capabilities and expertise than physical location. I believe the pandemic will cause the market to follow clients and change its view of national firms, and people will no longer make decisions about their accounting and consulting partners based on size or geography.
Most of our clients have traditionally thought that their primary partner needed to be located close to them. But in reality, we have never relied on solely local resources to help clients. Our partners tap into a vast network of experts from all over the country, including professionals who are deeply versed in the nuances and details of specific industries and offerings.
A partner in Denver working with a Colorado-based company may turn to our Seattle team for advice on a specific ERP software deployment or tap into experts from our San Jose office with questions about international tax implications, because integrated teamwork is in our DNA. Tomorrow, clients may not need to choose their partner based on physical location, instead focusing on things like business needs, expertise, impact and proven results.
Whether you have an interstate tax issue in Fairbanks, Alaska or need a financial statement audit in Tampa, Florida — our ability to drive impact is based entirely on our people and the investment we’ve made in our infrastructure. We have long defined ourselves by what impact we can make on our clients and communities above all else.
Being a national firm isn’t about numbers or dollars and cents, it’s about the ability to meet you where you are and help you achieve your goals to get you anywhere you need to go. This new way of thinking about national firms means that we can have a global reach while still having a local touch — giving you access to the best and only solutions that solve nearly any challenge, all while focusing on our important relationships with you and your business.