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Buying & Managing an Accounting Firm: Craig Field

Rob Brown interviews Craig Field, small US accounting firm owner on the importance of compliance work for CPA or accounting practices & buying or selling.

It’s the “Influencers in Accounting” show, going live every Wednesday to 150 countries and 30,000 accounting practitioners, fintech specialists and influencers in the accountancy, CPA and bookkeeping space.

In today’s episode 17, “Buying & Managing an Accounting Firm: Craig Field.”

***This was a live, in person interview, so apologies for the audio quality***

Craig Field began his career at Cooper & Lybrand (now PWC) in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1983. He started his own practice in 1997 and was involved in several mergers and acquisitions, participated in a public listing and served on the Board of a public listed company as Financial Director. In 2008, he moved with his family to Charlotte, North Carolina. He soon discovered his qualifications meant nothing Stateside so he went back to school, passed the Series 65 exam and also the CPA, ABV and CFP exams. In 2019, he started out on his own and in October 2020 concluded a merger with a well established CPA firm, Ryan Geer & Co PA, to form Ryan Geer Field & Rhodes PLLC where he is an owner and partner.

Key takeaways from this episode include:

➥ how a tax and compliance focus dominates the current accounting profession

➥ what the IRS frustrates many accountants and CPAs with their changing tax regulations and demands

➥ comments on the M&A market and the buying and selling of accounting firms

➥ the biggest factor that makes an accounting practice very sellable with a high multiple

➥ how attractive the ‘hourly-based’ accounting profession is as a career choice for younger professionals

➥ how the career path has become more varied in the last 20 years for newly qualified accountants

➥ the hidden problems associated with growth in accounting practices and with taking on more clients

➥ the kind of freedom and trust that makes a CPA practice or accounting firm more attractive to talent

➥ the difficulties in driving culture in a hybrid working environment for accounting firms

➥ the importance of smaller accounting firms being part of a larger international network or association like Russell Bedford International

➥ the difference between accounting qualifications in different countries

➥ the agenda of software and fintech vendors in driving the accounting profession forward

➥ the difference between more modern virtual vz more traditional ‘relationship focused’ accounting practices

➥ what makes an accounting or CPA practice a good purchase or attractive sellable entity

➥ the importance of sound technical knowledge from accountants serving business owners who struggle with finances

➥ why government led initiatives like ‘Making Tax Digital’ might be the biggest threats to the accountancy profession

➥ best advice for accounting firm and CPA practice owners to stay relevant and competitive

Also on youtube as a visual audio file here:


A reminder of 5 great shows in the Accounting Influencers Podcast Network:

Success in Accounting – MONDAYS. Our flagship main show features panels, live interviews and replays of our most popular shows.

Insights in Accounting – TUESDAYS. The best news, analysis, commercial awareness, news under microscope, podcast mentions and recommendations.

Influencers in Accounting – WEDNESDAYS. Deep dive 1-1 interviews with leaders, experts, influencers from around the world.

Best Practice in Accounting – THURSDAYS. Practice development, growth, management, consulting, examples, stories and practical here’s what works stuff for accountants, bookkeepers and the fintech/software people who serve them.

UK Matters in Accounting – FRIDAYS. A UK focused show featuring UK related topics, news items, events and interviews.

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Imogen Allen