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Talking to Your VC about Wolf & Company

Your VC has a lot invested in your success and they want you to have the tools you need to be successful. As a board member, they will have a vote in who your auditor will be. To help you prepare for that conversation, here are a few of the areas we have found VC’s to be particularly interested in understanding and about how Wolf stacks up.

Does the Firm have a tech practice? How big are they? Where is the Firm based?

Wolf & Company has a specific team of professionals focused on providing services to those entrepreneurially-driven, venture-backed companies that thrive in the innovation environment around Boston. Our multidisciplinary Technology Services Team is a part of our larger organization of 200 professionals and 20 owners, meaning we have the management experience and staffing capacity to get the work done effectively. As the largest locally owned, Boston-based CPA firm, with Wolf your VC's can be assured of no second-guessing from a partner in a national office that does not know your specific business and situation.

Has the Firm worked with clients through all stages of development? Have they seen companies through exit events?

Wolf has successfully worked with countless companies in every stage from start-up through exit. We have been involved in many IPOs and currently work for over 3 dozen publicly-traded companies. Whether your challenges deal with early stage revenue recognition, carrying over tax losses, taking advantage of R&D tax credits, or due diligence related to acquisition by a strategic buyer, or pre-IPO, we have seen it all. 

Is the Firm registered with and inspected by the Public Company Accounting & Oversight Board (PCAOB)?

The PCAOB is the standard setting body for CPA firms working with publicly-traded companies. This specific question is getting at the skills, sophistication and quality of the CPA firm being considered.  Wolf & Company is a registered and inspected firm.

Being registered with the PCAOB means the Firm works with publicly-traded companies who file their audited financial statements with the SEC. The inspected part of the phrase points to the rigorous periodic review process. In short, the auditors get audited. This level of regulatory scrutiny means that your audit is more likely to hold up when your company sells. If an IPO is part of your plan, the SEC requires that you use a firm that is registered with and inspected by the PCAOB. Even if you and your VC investors don’t expect an IPO in the future, knowing that you are working with a Firm with these skills and this experience is a differentiator.  

Is there a chance of the Firm being acquired?

The merger and acquisition market related to accounting firms is red hot and will continue to be so for some time as the Baby Boomer partners retire and look for liquidity. As a client, if your CPA firm gets acquired by a larger firm, it can be extremely disruptive to your business.  Therefore, it pays to understand your CPA firm’s succession strategy.  At Wolf, we thought about succession from our founding days by putting in place a defined benefit pension plan allowing for the seamless transition of Firm ownership from one generation to the next.  This provides your VC’s with assurance that the firm you deal with today is the same Wolf & Company who will be there for you at your next big milestone. When choosing Wolf you can be confident that there will be no disruption in your business caused by your auditor going through a merger.

Can the Firm provide the services you will need in the future?

While right now you may only be looking for an audit, the trajectory of your business means you are guaranteed to need more than that down the road. Wolf has been very strategic in the services we have developed to assist clients. We focus on our core competencies of accounting, audit, tax compliance, and IT assurance and security. Once you start generating revenue, you’ll need tax planning and if you have a SaaS offering, a SOC report will most likely be in your future as you go to market. Because of our focus on these core competencies, we can provide that independent third-party view of your business while still delivering the services that are most important to you.

Will the Firm be available to you when you need them?

In our decades of working with entrepreneurial companies, we have had many clients come to us because they can’t get an answer from their current firm. This causes the company to miss filing deadlines, not meet investor expectations, and generally create uncertainty. Not a situation anyone wants to be in. We design our engagements to include a high level of local Wolf-owner involvement. We expect and look forward to you reaching out to us for advice during the year and to encourage that type of interaction, we don’t bill you for that conversation.