Larry Taylor started at Gallina LLP in 1980 and has seen the accounting industry change dramatically over the last 34 years. A baptism by fire helped Taylor maintain focus during a period of rapid growth. Early interactions with clients taught him to be flexible and quick on his feet. Those traits continue to serve Taylor well as he leads Gallina into domestic and international growth as the firm’s managing partner.
When Taylor joined Gallina, the full-service CPA firm was just eight years old. He has experienced—and learned from—all the ups and downs and trends of the past three decades. Gallina has grown organically and through acquisitions, but what started as a family-friendly firm has kept its inviting culture. “We’ve grown our offerings over the years, but we’ve tried to keep our small-firm feel for our clients,” says Taylor. The expanded array now includes international tax, state and local tax, estate, trust, and retirement and succession services.
Gallina is working to increase and expand its internationally offered services and is a new member of The International Accounting Group. Membership in the global alliance will help Gallina serve clients all over the world. Taylor has also hired an international tax specialist whose focus is attracting, serving, and retaining overseas clients. Mergers and acquisitions remain part of the growth strategy. Recently, Gallina announced the amalgamation of Tueffers, Guckian & Gamon, PLLC in February. By the end of 2015, Taylor plans to acquire a handful of companies alongside ongoing internal organic growth of 15 percent.
While the frenetic pace of the 1980s drove companies to ride their employees hard, Taylor, who works more than 10 hours each day, believes his team should strike a healthy balance between work and life. The company is refining an incentive bonus program that includes mentoring opportunities, team-building activities, and other retention efforts.
Taylor says the industry is in another period of evolution, and continued consolidation presents both opportunities and demands. “Accounting firms are moving away from the days of small, boutique companies,” he explains. “Today’s clients want one-stop shops, and it’s our aim to provide all the services they require.” Price and competition are two other areas of concern, as Gallina places high premiums on efficiencies through processes, procedures, and information technology.
Modern firms seeking to expand must also contend with continuous changes in tax law and accounting standards. The changing requirements (estate and trust, multistate, international tax, etc.) have led Gallina to hire specialists who focus on these growing niche areas. “We are really establishing ourselves as a full-service accounting firm and moving away from operating as generalists. Larger firms have the resources to really meet the needs of each individual client,” Taylor says.
To meet those needs, Taylor tells his employees to go back to a skill he learned during his challenging entry into the field—listening. “We need to really talk to each client so we know where they want to go and what their vision is,” he says. “In doing that, we become true partners that can serve them well, and that is what sets us apart.”