As chief executive of L&R Manufacturing, a 200-employee manufacturing company that sells its ultrasonic cleaning machinery and other products overseas, Jim Lazarus used to rely on the advice of a Big Six accounting firm but found it too costly and too bureaucratic. That created a problem for the CEO of the Kearney, N.J., company. "Because we sell our products in 52 countries, we need accountants who understand the intricacies of each of those countries' tax and accounting laws."
Lazarus solved the problem by switching his company to a regional accounting firm that was part of an international network. Such networks offer a good compromise between the sophistication of a Big Six firm and the corporate hand-holding that comes naturally to partners at small accounting firms.
In L&R's case, the company hired New York City-based M. R. Weiser & Co., one of 107 accounting firms located in 60 countries that make up the Moores Rowland International (MRI) network. For Lazarus, here's the result: "Our accounting firm is M. R. Weiser. So if we've got a problem or question about anything to do with an overseas sale, we call our managing partner there, Stanley Nasberg. Then, if it's necessary, he'll contact someone at one of the overseas affiliates to handle it." (In such cases, clients get charged by both firms at their hourly rates, usually cheaper than those of a Big Six firm.) With offices in Belgium, England, France, and Australia, L&R Manufacturing relies most regularly on accounting firms in the MRI network that are based in those four countries. "Our accounting firms in those countries handle our tax planning, financial reporting, and other foreign matters. But all that information gets consolidated by Nasberg, in New York City, who then provides us with our financial reports. And that's important. Because we want to be dealing with the accounting partner who speaks our language and intimately knows our company." -- Jill Andresky Fraser* * *
To find out about international accounting networks that might operate in your region, try contacting your local chamber of commerce or accountants' group. Or get in touch with the Affiliated Conference of Practicing Accountants International (a group of international accounting specialists; call 508-689-9420), headquartered in North Andover, Mass.* * *