When startups and established technology companies alike began expanding their reach beyond traditional tech markets like New York and Silicon Valley, they flocked to DC’s young and vibrant business atmosphere, with its access to power, and favorable economic outlook. According to a 2013 article, Forbes lists Washington as one of the top tech capitals to watch and Aronson LLC agrees. With a growing roster of clients in the technology and life science industries, Aronson’s accounting and consulting practices anticipate big things to come in this space for the DC metro area.
Aronson is no stranger to moving ahead of the ebbs and flows of the DC metro region’s dynamic economy. For more than 50 years, the regional firm has been thinking ahead for its clients by anticipating and proactively addressing trends in the market. As part of its commitment to innovation, Aronson is growing its technology industry practice and establishing new ways to invest in their clients’ success. By building strong partnerships with industry organizations and increasing the size of their practice, including the addition of a new partner, the company is doubling down on the tech industry.
Investment in Client Success
Aronson has long served the needs of entrepreneurial businesses, but the firm is seeing a groundswell in activity. Even before the current boom, Aronson’s work with government contractors and other businesses highlighted this growing trend within the metro area market. Norm Snyder, the partner in charge of Aronson’s Technology Industry Services Group, commented, “We’re really seeing an unprecedented level of growth in tech and life sciences in this area. We’re excited to see and be a part of the innovation that is originating here.”
Aronson recently announced that they were adding a new partner to the practice. Alan Langelli, joined the firm in 2012 and has helped grow the practice in recent years. Said managing partner Jeff Capron, “We now have a depth of leadership in the tech practice that reflects Aronson’s investment in the space.” He continued, “Alan is passionate about technology and venture-backed companies and his work in the market demonstrates that. He not only has strong technical skills, but he’s innovative and enthusiastic about his work with clients.” The firm views the announcement of Langelli’s partnership as yet another example of how they are proactively working with growing businesses to help them succeed.
Partnerships that Drive Success
In early 2014, Aronson announced that they had partnered with 1776, a startup incubator and seed fund that engineers startups for success by connecting them to the political, intellectual, social and financial capital that makes Washington, DC unique. The partnership is a hands-on effort that includes office hours, workshops and events where Aronson’s professional staff provides accounting and tax support to 1776 members. As the partnership grew, so did Aronson’s role with 1776; they signed on to serve as the incubator’s own accounting firm.
Langelli says, “Partnering with 1776 has given us a unique opportunity to connect these entrepreneurial businesses with the companies and resources that will allow them to grow.” He continued, “We work with companies from ground zero all the way through to a successful exit strategy and we understand the unique challenges they face as they evolve.”
Aronson also works with BioHealth Innovation, an organization that connects market-relevant research assets to appropriate funding, management and global markets, facilitating the development of commercially viable biohealth products and companies. As part of this partnership, Aronson is giving companies access to the connections, resources and financial information that they are often lacking in order to move forward.
Langelli and Snyder also work with area membership organizations, including the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) and the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association (MAVA). Says Snyder, “Offering your knowledge on panels and at networking events is not only an opportunity to get out and meet business owners, but to demonstrate Aronson’s unique capabilities in the space. Getting business done nowadays isn’t just about handshakes over cocktails – it’s about showing people that you bring something new and different to the table.”
Knowledge transfer is a key part of Aronson’s strategy in the space. The company’s Aronson Technology Report blog offers free business advice to readers. A 2014 series of articles, “Financials 101 for Startups” is an example of the type of tech-specific accounting advice that the company’s experts offer to the general public.
The Aronson Advantage
While it’s not unusual to see companies addressing the needs of startups or the needs of well-established companies, Snyder believes that Aronson’s commitment to full life-cycle service is unique. “Many of our large, national competitors simply aren’t structured to serve startups and early growth stage companies. At Aronson, though, we see it as an opportunity to build a relationship and really become part of the team. If we help our client’s business grow, our business grows.” He continued, “We’ve seen amazing, transformative evolutions among our clients. One year we’re helping them prepare their financials in order to raise capital, the next we’re helping them set up subsidiaries overseas, and then a few years later, we’re giving them the tools to facilitate their exit goals.”
As the largest independent, locally-owned accounting firm in the DC metro area, Aronson clients have found that working with a firm in their own backyard results in a more timely resolution of questions and issues as they arise. The company’s independent status gives them the ability to choose the type of clients they want to serve and how they want to serve them, with a high level of partner involvement during engagements. This independence, combined with their depth of expertise and fee sensitivity makes the firm a natural fit within the technology and venture-backed community.