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Power of the Pen Marcum LLP | Accountants and Advisors | New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, California and Florida Certified Public Accountants
Power of the Pen

Power of the Pen

The hand-written note is back. And in this digital age of speed posting and garbled abbreviations instead of fully formed words and sentences, that's really saying something.

First it was A-Rod (aka Alex Rodriguez), who issued an apology letter to fans, Major League Baseball, the Yankees, the Steinbrenner family and the Players Association, for the incorrigible behavior that landed him a one-year suspension. He put it all out there - in cursive writing - straight from the heart (and the public relations office) for all the world to see. Whether or not that gets him a pass from the fans and the media when he takes the field this spring (albeit, on first instead of third base), it was a humble and gracious way to re-engage with the public. Plus it probably diverted some of the hoopla when he arrived at spring training this week.

Then it was actress Emma Watson, who uploaded a hand-written love letter to funny guy Steve Carell on Twitter, to thank him for wearing HeForShe cufflinks to the Oscars. (The links are an emblem of a gender-equality campaign for which Watson, of the Harry Potter movie franchise, is an ambassador). How ironic is it that she used a channel with a 140-character maximum to deliver an image of a full-blown piece of correspondence? On the other hand, she could've just tweeted and been done with it, but she took the time to write out her thoughts long-hand. Yes, it got her campaign a lot of great publicity, but the consensus seems to be that it was a genuine and heartfelt gesture.

Maybe the business world should take a hint from all the attention being garnered by this recent outbreak of hand-written missives. Especially those of us in the client services business. Our clients are our reason for getting up in the morning, and whether it's an occasional lunch or a phone call or, yes, a handwritten note, a personal connection will beat an email every time.

PS: For those of you who read my column two weeks ago about my recent restaurant travails, an update: Tracy and I were finally able to get into Upland, the Stephen Starr Italian restaurant on lower Park Avenue in New York City. To make a long story short, if I had to do it over again I'd take a pass. Definitely not worth the wait or the hype.


Better Cyber Safe Than Sorry Marcum LLP | Accountants and Advisors | New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, California and Florida Certified Public Accountants
Better Cyber Safe Than Sorry

Better Cyber Safe Than Sorry

Remember when we used to conduct business by fax and telephone? And make bank deposits by filling out a paper slip and handing it to a teller at the counter? Those days are pretty much ancient history, of course, and for all of the progress we've made since Al Gore invented the Internet (smile), that progress comes at a cost, as the saying goes. The cost of the convenience, speed and efficiency that our digital lifestyle gives us is the real or potential exposure we all subject ourselves to by transacting so much of our business and personal lives online.

Just consider that large-scale data breaches have practically become a way of life. A couple of years ago, the average person probably had no idea what a data breach was or why it was potentially significant to them. Now, it's not even shocking any more when we hear that major companies like JP Morgan Chase and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield have become victims, and that sensitive customer data has been compromised. In both of those cases, the personal data of about 80 million customers were exposed.

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

Still Hungry

I usually don't write about economics, but based on some of my recent experiences, this week's column will focus on just one segment of our economy, that of high-end restaurants. And now, before you start sending me emails about the 1 percenters, please accept it as the commentary it's meant to be.

Last Thursday night, I traveled to Miami to attend the Open House we held to celebrate our new office there. It was a tremendous event, attended by both clients and friends of the Firm. Special kudos should be given to our partners Cecelia Garber and Michael Futterman, who were instrumental in managing the process that created our new space. Since I was busy meeting and greeting our guests, by the end of the evening at around 9PM, I was hungry and grabbed another two of my partners, Michael Balter and David Appel, for a quick dinner. I had heard about what was supposed to be a "great" sushi place around the corner from our office, called Zuma, which is located in the Epic Hotel. So we walked over and were nicely told by the host that a table for three would be at least an hour's wait. Needless to say, we passed and walked across the street to the Miami outpost of Wolfgang's (a steakhouse) and were seated immediately.

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Chew On This Marcum LLP | Accountants and Advisors | New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, California and Florida Certified Public Accountants
Chew On This

Last week I had the honor of paying tribute to Ed Kliegman, the co-founder of our firm and the man who gave me my start in the accounting business here at Marcum and who passed away after a long and storied career that touched many, many people besides me. I received many moving notes in response, and to those of you who took the time to share your own thoughts, thank you. That column has stayed with me this week, maybe because Ed is on my mind, but also because I continue to see his imprint on how we run Marcum today. Particularly in the way we are preparing the next generation of leadership - a topic near and dear to Ed's heart, because although I didn't realize it at the time, that's exactly what he was doing with me during the time we worked together.

Very recently, we named new Partners-in-Charge in two of our regions. Jeffrey Zudeck joined the Firm to head up our Philadelphia office in September, and Michael Balter came on board to manage our three South Florida offices in November. In addition, Phil Wilson, who came to Marcum with the WilsonMorgan merger in 2013, became our statewide Partner-in-Charge in California in December. That's three new regional leaders in just about a quarter of a year.

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About Jeffrey M. Weiner

Jeffrey M. Weiner joined Marcum in 1981 and has served as Managing Partner since 1990. Under his leadership, Marcum has expanded from a one-office Firm of 20 employees to a Firm ranked #15 in the United States.

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