PDA Q&A: Alan Whitman

Office Managing Partner, Baker Tilly, Southfield
Alan Whitman

DB: Where are you?

AW: Traveling throughout the Midwest, both on behalf of clients and calling on our own offices. I was an international service leader at Baker Tilly for eight years, so I’ve been fortunate to travel all over the world. I’ll be in London and Ireland later this year to attend our International World Congress, and I will also be in Columbia and in Monterrey (Mexico) to visit an auto supplier.

DB: What trends are you seeing?

AW: We traditionally have provided audit and tax consulting and a whole range of other services, but in the last few years we’ve added capital and acquisition specialties to help take companies to the next level. We work primarily with middle-market, privately held companies and help them secure capital for growth, assess partnership opportunities, and assist with succession planning. If a company has a shortfall in its capital requirements, our team can identify opportunities and follow through with everything.

DB: What’s a recent example of that?

AW: Meijer is opening a store at Eight Mile and Woodward in Detroit, and we helped secure $50 million in new tax credits for the project. Without those tax credits, the deal would never have happened. It’s the first major store to move into the city in years, and we think it will be very successful. At various points in a deal like this, we play the quarterback and get all of the team members together — such as the company owners, the bankers, and the lawyers — to get a product or service successfully launched.

DB: How do you find new clients?

AW: It’s all about relationships and following through. We play a part in a number of partnerships, social activities, and charities in the communities where we have offices. It’s (also) about establishing strong, trustworthy relationships. We learn as much as we can about the companies and organizations we work with, and they often recommend us to other companies. We’ve started doing cloud computing for our clients, and we’re seeing quite a bit of activity from nonprofits that are looking at growth opportunities. db

— R.J. King

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