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Business Observer Friday, Nov. 16, 2018 6 months ago

Economic Forecast: Accounting industry to see more adaptation to change in year ahead

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Accounting — Alison Wester, partner, Mauldin & Jenkins, Bradenton
by: Grier Ferguson Sarasota-Manatee Editor

Company: Mauldin & Jenkins just celebrated its 100th anniversary, and Alison Wester, a partner at Mauldin & Jenkins’ Bradenton office, says the firm is looking forward to the next 100 years. “We’re always looking to expand into new markets,” she says. The Atlanta-based company recently completed mergers in Savannah, Ga., and Columbia, S.C.

The firm now has eight offices, with its Bradenton location being its only Florida office. That location, Wester says, serves clients statewide.

The firm sees more growth ahead in 2019. Mauldin & Jenkins’ Bradenton office continues to grow, she adds, serving governments, financial institutions, nonprofits and local businesses.

Industry: There are lots of changes ahead for the accounting industry. Wester says pronouncements coming down from the Governmental Accounting Standards Board and the Financial Accounting Standards Board will affect niches in which the the firm works. “They have both been very active over the last several years,” Wester says.

Then, of course, there are changes related to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. At Mauldin & Jenkins, Wester says staff is looking at how it affects individuals and business owners. “A lot of 2019 will be educating clients and prospects on those changes and helping our clients adapt and absorb those changes,” she says.

Threats: “Our biggest challenges and threats are finding and retaining good people,” says Wester. “There are a lot of opportunities for professionals in Florida.”

One tactic the firm has employed to help with retention is to create a staff advisory forum. The forum allows young professionals at the firm to have direct access to the managing partner and executive committee.

This year, a new employee benefit came out of the forum: a travel benefit that provides monetary compensation after an employee spends a certain number of nights out of town on business in a year.  

The staff advisory forum creates a connection point for young professionals, empowering them to share insights with leadership. Wester says, “We really listen to that.”

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