Entrepreneurs: Conversations Count
April 08, 2021
Conversations are at the root of entrepreneurship. In this TechTalk podcast episode, EisnerAmper’s West Coast Technology and Life Sciences Practice Leader Amar Bhatkhandé sits down with our CEO Charly Weinstein for a conversation about leading and growing a business. Listen and enjoy; you may come away with a fresh perspective that could influence your next business decision.
AB: Well, you were my first interview by choice.
CW: I'm so glad to be your first guest, Amar. I'm very proud to join you today.
AB:Well, not only because of your experience, Charly, but I also chose you as my guest because of the impact that you have made me personally, always make friends. That's what you taught me.
Charly Weinstein: That's a long time ago, Amar. I'm surprised that you still remember that.
AB: Charly, it's a conversation I have never forgotten. Well, really think about it, conversations are at the root of entrepreneurship. Conversations are where it all starts. It's where we make meaningful connections, explore ideas and build something together. Don't you agree?
CW:Oh, for sure. I have been very fortunate over my career to see the impact that casual conversations can have in business, on people's careers, on good fortune for the firm. And so I'm a great believer in just as much conversation and dialogue as you can have, just keep asking questions and you learn so much from asking questions
AB:That's perfect. I think that's what I have actually learned from you and carried with me for 18 and a half years now. So with that, I'll straight away take you into a few questions. Charly, you of all people know what it takes to build a company. You grew EisnerAmper from a couple of hundred people to couple of thousand people now. What's one thing you can attribute to this group?
CW: As I look back, and many entrepreneurs might feel this way, I just think change is a constant, and we've grown from a couple of hundred people to a couple of thousand people by transforming ourselves over and over again throughout all these years. And it's been through the good graces of the many people that I've come in contact with and learn from, just by asking lots of questions and being curious about their success. That's what's helped us achieve our success.
AB:That's a great answer, but I always wonder, how did you adjust your leadership style as the firm grew? And what has made you an effective business leader in your opinion?
CW: For those folks that know me, the thing that makes me the most uncomfortable is talking about myself. I like to talk about others and I like to hear about their success. I will share with you though that as the firm has grown, I think one of the keys to the success that I've had is learning how to listen and being an even more active listener. There are more voices to be heard. There are more conversations to be had, and the key to success is really listening to other people. And I'm unsure that I've ever had an original idea, I do know for sure that I've heard some great ideas and that I've helped make them better.
AB:Well, I think you really brought a good point and that's another takeaway for me, listening. Yes, absolutely. I have made a note of it. I will take it with me today. So Charly, tell me as the CEO of a very successful firm, what is one of your priorities for this year?
CW:Same priority that we've had from the day that I joined the firm. We want to be a destination for talent. Whatever business you're in, whatever service you're rendering, whatever product you're selling, it's always about your people and becoming a destination for talent has to be your number one priority. I learned that from Dick Eisner, one of our founding partners, even before I joined the firm.
I remember in my interview for joining the firm, 30 seconds in, Dick Eisner made me a job offer 30 seconds in and I said, Dick, how can you do that? We just met. And he said, well, Rick Fisher, who I knew from a previous firm, Rick Fisher was the HR partner. And Dick said, Rick Fisher says you're terrific, and that it would be great for us to have you at the firm. And so I'd like you to join the firm. Just being the destination for talent, believing in people, that's been our first priorities since Dick founded the firm, and it's a first priority every year.
AB:Great. With everything that's happening right now, currently in this world, the world is changing as we know, right? D&I is becoming a priority. Does that change your view in any ways?
CW:For me personally, it's been brought to the forefront in the last year and I would say we have to be more active and deliberate about D&I. We consciously have to be thinking about how we can have our talented people have the same chance of success at the firm, how we can attract the most talented people in the world to join the firm. And so, we have to be conscious and deliberate about making sure that we attract the best people and the best people are all people. So it is critically important and it extends that first priority, which is destination for all talent.
AB:That's perfect. I think that's great. I think all of us, whether you are a CEO or a partner or even a staff, everybody has to remember that our people are everything and we have to move in the right direction. With that, I think that takes me to the next stage of EisnerAmper’s growth. Where do you see it coming from?
CW:That's exciting. Thank you for asking that question. That is really exciting. And so, we're an accounting firm and that sounds pretty boring. Truth is it's really, really exciting. And so what's so exciting about accounting? We have the opportunity to really grow our firm and to grow our business by adding technology to everything we do. And so the future of our firm is service with software. That's what I like to call it. And so how do we embed technology? How do we combine our subject matter expertise, which is so great in areas of tax and business advisory and transaction advisory? How do we add the component of technology to that so we can be more effective and more efficient and add insights and value to our clients? And so this is a really exciting time for the firm. Really exciting.
AB: Excellent. Any parts, why do you think about consolidations? And we really need to get bigger organically. Do we need to bring in firms from outside, talent from outside, what are your views on those?
CW:We have a growth strategy and it's built on organic growth combined with mergers and combinations with other firms in the industry and other advisory firms. And there is the opportunity for us to capitalize on a trend that's happening in the profession. So we're seeing a lot of consolidation in the profession. And if we can capitalize on that trend, I'll say it again, to add more talent to the firm, to add more diversity to the firm, that's just going to be a really good thing for our future.
AB:Great, Charly. I think those are words of wisdom. We really appreciate it. All the entrepreneurs who are listening will appreciate it. Any last words for our listeners?
CW:So to paraphrase a commercial that we see on TV, sometimes I would say, stay curious my friend. The key to growth is to being curious, to learning more, to asking questions and participating in those great conversations that you can have with your friends and your clients and other people who are undoubtedly much smarter than we are.
AB:That's awesome. Thanks Charly. Thank you so much for joining me today and thanks to our listeners for tuning into Tech Talk. Please take a moment to rate us and review us and subscribe if you really like us. Join me in a very accomplished entrepreneur for our next episode or visit eisneramper.com for more tech news you can use.
Transcribed by Rev.com