By John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC, BV Staffing + Consulting
Gallatin, TN

Are there BV practices that are laying off talent?  Yes.

Does that mean good news if you’re needing to hire?  Not necessarily.

Because of our national profile and regular communication with practice leaders across the country, we hear stories they have heard about layoffs from this or that valuation practice.  We’ve learned to listen with a skeptical ear.

One of these stories was circulating at the recent AICPA/ASA BV conference.  We were told that “thousands” had been let go from a certain Big 4 firm.  Surely this meant that there must be BV talent available for the picking.

We used our sources to confirm that, although the “thousands” number was reasonably accurate, the actual impact in business valuation amounted to fewer than two dozen individuals, nationwide.  And some offices experienced no layoffs at all.

Lesson One: Remember that the story is probably already third or fourth hand before you heard it.  And likely embellished in the telling.

While the actual numbers of layoffs might lead you to believe your own hiring efforts might be easier, there’s always more to the story.

No practice leader enjoys the process of layoffs.  But when financial constraints dictate cutbacks in a professional services firm, there can be no place else to look except payroll.  Even so, decisions about who – exactly – to let go are not made in a vacuum.

Given the choice between employees who are productive and hard-working – and those who aren’t – who do you think will go and who will stay?

Lesson Two: Although there may be more fish in the pond, they may or may not be the ones you really want to catch.

Are there exceptions?  Of course there are.  It could be that an employer’s choice about whom to let go was dictated more by the loss of certain types of engagements, or the balance of talent at various levels in hierarchy.  Careful interviewing and vetting of candidates is as important as ever.

There was never a time, however, when relying on facts over emotion was more important in your practice management.

John Borrowman