Anchin is a full-service accounting and advisory firm that provides a complete range of top-tier advisory, tax, assurance, and financial reporting services. The firm strives to consistently add value to its clients’ businesses by advising them on maximizing opportunities while mitigating risk.
Russell B. Shinsky, Anchin’s Managing Partner, spoke exclusively to CIO Bulletin about how the firm helps clients overcome challenges and achieve their financial objectives with exceptional confidence.
Q. How do you deal with your clients’ most pressing financial and other concerns?
It is our 65 partners’ collective responsibility to keep up with current events and be as proactive as we can be with our clients, which include privately held businesses, investment funds, and high-net-worth individuals and families. We are impacted by a wide range of factors, including banking, tax, and regulatory issues. Therefore, we make a serious effort to keep a pulse on what’s going on around us, and regularly communicate updates to our clients, all while actively listening to their concerns, so that we can best understand and address their needs.
Since the onset of the pandemic, we have educated and helped our clients who are truly in need, learning all the many government programs—including PPP and ERC—and how our clients may utilize these programs to provide much needed liquidity to their business.
Q. For a firm that has been around for a century, investing in technology is crucial. Can you tell us more about your company’s growth in terms of technology and innovation?
It’s clear that a lot has changed since the three founders started the firm in 1923 out of a rented office in the Bronx. I’ve worked at Anchin for 31 years, and I remember when the company essentially acquired its first computer in the early 90s. That was revolutionary. Although certain parts of the profession have remained the same, the way we do our jobs and the way we communicate has completely changed because of technology.
Regarding innovation specifically, last year we named a Chief Innovation Officer who oversees developing and advancing initiatives that will make us better and more productive while utilizing technology whenever possible. There are various instances where robots are working behind the scenes to improve our effectiveness and efficiency.
Q. Can you tell us about your people and what value they add to your company?
Our people are our company and culture. We set the tone at the top - if you don’t treat people well from the top down, it’s not going to filter down to the rest of the firm.
We are thrilled, as we have been named for the 16th time in a row, among SHRM’s ‘Best Places to Work in New York State.’ That’s not just the best accounting firm, that’s the top 3 out of all large companies in New York. This recognition, in my opinion, validates everything we do.
Q. What sets Anchin apart from all other tax, accounting, and advisory firms?
I think a lot about that. I think part of it is simply our culture. Our people service our clients, and our people keep our clients. Beyond the culture we’ve developed, I believe it also has to do with how we manage the business and who we are. When it comes down to it, our six primary industries account for almost all of our revenue. We are specialists in these industries. We train our employees to further their expertise in these areas. We’ve remained focused. We haven’t strayed from our core values or our work. And I believe that our clients and other advisors who often bring us into new situations, such as bankers and lawyers, understand that if Anchin does something, we do it with exceptional industry and technical expertise.
Q. How important are partnerships to Anchin? And could you share a success story where you helped out a client?
We take great pride in how long our client relationships last. There was a statistic that was put out many years ago about how long a client stays with their accounting firm. At the time, our average was more than double what the industry standard was, and we’ve continued to widen that gap.
Shortly after the pandemic struck, one of our clients almost had its operation shut down due to regional and local construction sector closures. Moreover, its bank at the time was unable to set up the necessary technology to allow them to apply for a PPP loan.
We were successful in connecting them with another bank in a time when banks were focused on serving only their existing customer base. The PPP loan application process was then launched by that bank and got underway in less than 24 hours. Our client still gives us credit for having the connections in
the business world to keep them afloat throughout the pandemic since they don’t know if they would have continued to make payroll had they stuck with their previous bank.
We are consistently able to save our clients tremendous tax dollars in doing proper planning and structuring. Every year there are many examples of planning and structuring advice we give our clients that saves them millions and millions of dollars in taxes.
Q. How do you stay consistent despite the changing market demands? And how do you think it has contributed to Anchin’s 100 years of service?
There are a couple of things that we do differently. The first thing is that we have a very consistent management team. We devote a lot of attention to making the transition of the management team seamless for Partners, staff, and our clients. The management team elicits ideas from the marketplace, our people, and our partners.
Second, I believe that staying industry-focused and letting our partners and staff focus on their own fields of expertise, primary industries, and specialties keeps us relevant. We’re in the marketplace, people know that we specialize in certain areas, they see our thought leadership out there, and they see our people at events. Ultimately, none of that matters if you don’t produce quality work. The caliber of our work speaks for itself, and the business community and financial institutions that rely on our work have come to expect that, and we continue to be a trusted advisor to our clients.
Q. What makes Anchin a great place to work?
I think it’s our people and how they interact with one another. We manage with a heart. We don’t just make decisions because they may be best financially. We make decisions that are right for our people, and if we treat our people well and we treat our clients well, ultimately, it’ll be best for the firm.
Q. What is this one thing you want Anchin to be known for?
I want us to be known for providing the highest quality accounting and advisory services in the middle market. We cater to privately held businesses, family offices, investment funds and high-net-worth individuals and families, and we want to be the best in servicing those clients.
Q. And what is your final message to the CIO Bulletin readers and your current and future customers?
There’s been a ton of disruption in our industry, with many firms taking on private equity investors, acquiring, selling, and merging firms. We’re a partner-owned firm, we plan on staying a partner-owned firm, and we think the next 100 years will be better than the first.