Architecture, Engineering & Planning Specialty (A/E/P)
THE BHL & CO. DIFFERENCE
A/E/P firms are not like other businesses. They have their own special way of doing business and they have their own business vernacular. In 1982, BHL & Co. formulated a strategic plan that included learning as much as possible about the operations of A/E/P firms with the two-fold purpose: being able to provide better traditional CPA services, plus custom, non-traditional consulting services to the A/E/P business community.
The special expertise that BHL & Co. has accumulated over the last 30 years working with A/E/P firms has led to the accomplishment of those objectives -- today, BHL & Co. is truly a different kind of CPA firm, one capable of providing time-tested, traditional CPA services, in addition to serving as a unique source for advice on strategic A/E/P firm business issues, including strategic growth and ownership transition. BHL & Co. is proud of its past contributions to the successes and accomplishments of its A/E/P clients -- our leadership is truly committed to the continued pursuit of the firm's mission: "Guiding Those With Creative Minds".
Our services as business advisors to A/E/P clients often start with an overall assessment of business performance, followed by a "game plan" aimed at addressing the deficiencies we identify, including profitability enhancement. Below are tools we use to help our clients become "best practice" firms.
PROFIT PLANNING: When we first meet an A/E/P firm, we want to know as soon as possible if it is as profitable as it could be. We refer to this phase of our engagement as "Profit Planning" - an assessment of the following:
- Thoroughness and accuracy of the accrual basis financial statements: Accounting cutoffs; Provision for bad debts; Inclusion of work-in-process; Accrual of outside consultant expenses.
- Allocation of labor expense to direct and indirect accounts in the P&L.
- Properly formatted Balance Sheet and P&L statement.
- Utilization of key ratios.
- Properly prepared Back-Log report.
- Utilization of the "Firm Profile" analysis.
- Adequacy of the Job Cost monitoring procedures.
- Utilization of budgets/financial projections.
We typically present our findings in a client report that includes performance improvement suggestions and recommended next steps.
PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT - SCOPE OF SERVICES: When the initial "Profit Planning" assessment has been completed, we develop a game plan with the A/E/P client, agreeing on a plan of action to address and correct any deficiencies we have identified. Our role in the follow-up work is clearly defined and our A/E/P client is in control of the scope of our services at all times. We are dedicated to seek out cost effective solutions and we try to get our client to do as much for themselves as possible.
"FILL-THE-VOID" SERVICES: From time to time our A/E/P clients may have "voids" within their accounting departments that are temporary, recurring or prolonged. Whatever the circumstance may be, BHL & Co. can fill the void with our seasoned professionals for as long as the need exists. Sometimes our A/E/P clients already have the in-house people and capability, but nevertheless want us to do certain accounting tasks. At some point we may recommend to our client that it is time to replace us with a new, permanent hire, in which case, we can assist or take the lead in a related search and interviewing process and any necessary initial training.
TRANSFER OF KNOWLEDGE: BHL & Co. has been performing unique business consulting and traditional CPA services for A/E/P firms over many, many years. In the process, we have developed new ways, better ways, and more efficient ways of compiling and utilizing financial information, and we openly share our methods with our clients. Again, we want our clients to be able to do as much for themselves as possible. We stress teaching and transferring the "know how" and we will continue to do so until the client says "stop". We know that our relationship with our client has progressed satisfactorily when we are "doing less" and our client is "doing more".
NEWSLETTER & SPREADSHEETS: When there is a new "up-side" opportunity or a "down-side" issue effecting A/E/P firms, we write a newsletter on the subject and make sure our clients understand how they can take advantage of the positives or minimize the negatives. Wehn we create a new spreadsheet that can add to or enhance our A/E/P clients' mangement information systems, we share it.
THE A/E/P FIRM PERSONALITY: While there are standardized ways of compiling and persenting A/E/P firm financial information and there are tried and true solutions to the problems that most A/E/P firms will encounter, we know that every A/E/P firm is unique.
OUR INDUSTRY INVOLVEMENT: The professionals of BHL & Co. have been involved in the A/E/P industry in a variety of ways for over 30 years, as follows:
- CPA firm for the Orange County Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
- CPA firm for the Los Angeles Chapter of Civil Engineers & Land Surveyors.
- CPA firm for the California Foundation for Civil Engineers & Land Surveyors.
- Contributed articles to various design firm publications.
- Guest lecturer and panel expert at A/E/P organizational meetins.
- Conducted training seminars for A/E/P firms.
- Helped organize and publish two compensation surveys for Orange County architects.
- Past president of the PSMA Orange County Chapter.
- Past Board Member of the California Architectural Foundation.
- Subscribe to PSMJ, Zweig White, Management Design and other A/E/P industry publications.
- Consulted with other leading contributors to the A/E/P industry in technical areas such as buy-sell agreements, R&D tax credits and DPAD and C-Corporation conversions to Sub-S status.
- Long time sponsor of AIAOC and ACEC programs and events.