Back to the Future: 30 Years of Change in the Profession

Business Success AbstractEnduring factors: The talent of our professionals in delivering value to our clients. 

Click to see 1988 report
Click to read 1988 report

By Allan Koltin

Recently my clients, Tony Frabotta and Rick David of UHY Advisors, forwarded to me the Summer 1988 issue of The PDI Report. Tongue in cheek, they said to me they were surprised to see that there was another Allan Koltin who also did consulting to the accounting profession. (Needless to say, they were poking fun at me based on my 1988 photo versus how I appear today!)

This issue of The PDI Report was not just any issue; it was an issue in which we gathered together the country’s leading consultants (similar to how I participate in The Advisory Board and New Horizons Group today) and aired their views on the profession and industry trends through what was then called the First Annual Consultants Roundtable.

Some of the issues discussed almost three decades ago are still what we talk about today, including: industry specialization, quality service, the importance of great leadership and management, value billing, and the significance of having a firm vision, mission and core values.

It’s also interesting that back then a mid-sized firm was defined as a firm with $1 million to $10 million in revenues, whereas today a mid-sized firm probably would start at $10 million and potentially go up to $36 million (the cutoff point for being a top 100 firm).

That being said, the following are items that have completely changed since that time or weren’t even on the table for discussion: