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Love & Marriage Marcum LLP | Accountants and Advisors | New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, California and Florida Certified Public Accountants
Love & Marriage

Love & Marriage

Sunday is Valentine's Day, and while many of you may not think so, I really am a romantic at heart. Just ask the people that really know me. It takes a lot of heart to keep going back to the business altar as many times as I have. In the last year, there was Frost Ruttenberg & Rothblatt in Chicago, then Smart Devine in Philadelphia and DGLF in Nashville. And those are just the 2015 "hook-ups." That's a lot of love, even for Marcum.

The thing is, we've figured out how to make it work. And I think what we've learned through a lot of trial (and a modicum of error) is pretty universal. Here is what we've found are the keys to success, according to the Marcum formula:

1. Chemistry. There have to be sparks between the principals. Even if they don't fly on the first date, the connection between the firms in terms of personality, values, culture and general sensibility is the foundation on which everything else will be built. No chemistry, no hope.

2. Vision. You don't necessarily need to see the world through the same pair of glasses, but you do need be looking in the same direction. Shared goals are a must for businesses contemplating a combination. Without a common vision, the parties will end up on different paths, and not to belabor the metaphor, but the effort required of the teams on both sides will be squandered if things should split when you come to a fork in the road. You have to be willing to walk together.

3. Complementary strengths and weaknesses. Both sides must bring something to the table that makes the other party better for the partnership. In Marcum's case, we look for partners that either expand our geographic footprint, deepen our bench in specific industry niches or add a new specialty to our service offering - or a combination of the above. All for the benefit of our clients. What Marcum brings is national scope, an extensive range of industry expertise and a track record of growth. Just as in life, the whole must be greater than the sum of the parts in order for the marriage to thrive.

4. Growth potential. Every marriage must move forward if it is to survive. Standing still - expecting that what works today will work tomorrow, failing to seek out growth opportunities - can kill the promise in an otherwise well-matched partnership. Both parties must continue to mature, to acquire more complexity and to contribute to the future of the marriage, not just hold their own in the present.

5. Stamina. Life is not always a picnic, and neither is business, no matter how much you love what you do and how well you work with your partners and your clients. A good partnership must be able to withstand the challenges that inevitably arise, hopefully gain something from the experience and come out stronger on the other end. You cannot cave at the first sign of trouble or at the last; you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to make it work for the benefit of your company, your clients, your staff, and even your vendors, all of whom rely upon you to do the best you can for them.

Of course, there's no such thing as perfection. The best we all can hope for, in life and in business, is the best we can do. We have to be flexible enough and committed enough to know what mid-course corrections are necessary and appropriate, and optimistic enough to believe we can overcome whatever obstacles we may encounter along the way. I'm happy to say that at Marcum, so far it's been working for us. We've been extremely lucky in courtship and in marriage. And if it's not wedded bliss 100 percent of the time, what marriage is? As a rule, "I do" has been significantly better for us than "I don't."

Tracy and I will be celebrating Valentine's Day on Sunday. I wish the same for all of you - success, gratification and, above all, love.


Poll Schmoll Marcum LLP | Accountants and Advisors | New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, California and Florida Certified Public Accountants
Poll Schmoll

Poll Schmoll

It seems that every time I write something political I get into trouble. But what the heck - here's another attempt at political commentary anyway, hopefully without the trouble part.

The people of Iowa have caucused, and the results are in. On the Democratic side, although Hillary Clinton was the declared winner, not to anyone's surprise - particularly pollsters - the race was a virtual dead heat between Mrs. Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Perhaps with such a small field (down to two now that Martin O'Malley has dropped out), polling can be more reliable. But on the Republican side, it was a completely different story. Up until last weekend, most polls had Donald Trump leading by 5 points (with a margin of error of less than 4 points) over Ted Cruz, with Marco Rubio a distant third. Man, do I want to be a pollster. I don't know how much political campaigns and media outlets pay for polls, but it seems that pollsters have become the new weathermen of this generation. The Republican outcome in Iowa had no relation to the forecasts at all. The results for the top three candidates turned out completely different than predicted by virtually every pollster. Cruz won by 5 points over Trump, a 10-point swing if my math is correct. And Trump barely beat out Rubio for second place, putting Rubio way ahead of the expected showing. Go figure.

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Stripped Down Marcum LLP | Accountants and Advisors | New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, California and Florida Certified Public Accountants
Stripped Down

Stripped Down

By the time most of you read this today, I will be arriving at JFK on a red eye flight from San Francisco, landing a few minutes before 8am, just in time for the morning rush hour into Manhattan. The perfect end to a perfect travel day (not). Yesterday was one of those days dreaded by those of us who travel frequently: wake up in LA, fly to Sacramento for a meeting, buckle up for a two-hour car ride to San Francisco to make an 11pm flight back to NY. How glamorous can it get?

Not that I'm truly complaining. Yesterday/this morning was the culmination of a 10-day trip that actually was quite fascinating and a little glamorous to boot. It started last Wednesday, probably making it the longest business trip I've taken in recent memory. As last week's posting alluded to, I began in Las Vegas to spend time on the set of the latest installment of the Jason Bourne movie franchise, of which I am one of the producers. This new installment is due in theaters July 29. Without giving too much away, Las Vegas plays a prominent role in the film.

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Truth: Stranger Than Fiction Marcum LLP | Accountants and Advisors | New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, California and Florida Certified Public Accountants
Truth: Stranger Than Fiction

Truth: Stranger Than Fiction

2016 is not even a month old yet, and already the news needs a reality check. Sean Penn leads the Mexican authorities to "El Chapo," the world's most wanted man. Absurd but true, proving once again that fact is stranger than fiction. So this week, I'm offering you a little game. Take a look at the following pairs of headlines and see if you can tell which are real and which are spoofs. It might be harder than you think. Then scroll all the way down for the answer key – no cheating, please! Enjoy.

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The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Jeffrey M. Weiner and do not represent those of Marcum LLP, its partners or its employees.

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