Las Vegas (Jan. 24, 2003) -- The final day of the Winning Is Everything practitioners symposium here featured a pep rally-like panel discussion in which practice management consultants proclaimed that the industry will rise above the current scandal crisis and many firms will realize new opportunities from it.

"We're in a good position because all progress starts with the truth and this has forced us all to be more honest within our firms, with our partners and staff and with our clients." said Gary Boomer, head of Boomer Consulting and a member of the Advisory Board, consortium of practice management consultants, which hosted the conference. Attendees included more than 200 practitioners from small, mid-size and regional firms.

Fellow Advisory Board member Gary Shamis, president of SS&G Financial Services in Cleveland, said new business is being created for other CPA firms as the remaining Big Four focus on servicing Andersen clients they picked when that firm shut down last year. "Their marginal clients will not be served well and that will mean double-digit percentage growth going to the people in this room," Shamis said.

Firms at the event included some already benefiting from Andersen's collapse, such as Smart & Associates, a Philadelphia area firm projecting 50 percent growth this year due to expansion and anticipated new business generated from the collapse.

Advisory Board member Jay Nisberg, who has been a consultant to Smart, noted that most CPA firms have retained good reputations with individual clients, even though the industry overall has been smeared by the scandals. "That's yesterday news, now we're got to focus on where we are going," he said.

-- John M. Covaleski

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