PKF Texas - The Entrepreneur's Playbook®

Russ: This is PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Russ Capper, this week’s guest host, and I’m coming to you from the Gulf Coast Regional Family Forum. I’m very pleased to have as my guest now, Richard Gruber, Co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer of MERIT SI. Richard, welcome to the show.

Richard: Thank you, Russ.

Russ: You bet. Tell us about MERIT SI.

Richard: MERIT SI is a two-year-old firm headquartered in Houston. Our focus is developing renewable strategies and solutions for energy, water and chemical companies to help them drive lower costs, reduce their emissions and improve their overall stakeholder awareness.

Russ: Ok. So, renewables, are we talking about solar and wind?

Richard: Principally, solar and solar with battery storage, and typically with advanced controls. And located at their points of demand for these companies, so where they consume it is where we site it.


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Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, and I’m back again with Frank Landreneau, one of our International Tax Directors. Frank, welcome back to The Playbook.

Frank: Thanks, Jen. It’s great to be back.

Jen: We’ve been talking about IC-DISC, and last time we talked about tax reform. What’s changed strategy wise since before tax reform and now after tax reform?

Frank: I think with IC-DISC it’s kind of a Back to the Future type of thing, because when the IC-DISC came out, it was really meant to be a deferral tactic and to really get tax advantages, because you’re deferring the recognition of the IC-DISC income, or really, the export income.
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Russ: This is PKF Texas – The Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Russ Capper, this week’s guest host, and I’m coming to you from the Gulf Coast Regional Family Forum. I’m here with Scott Clemons, Partner and Chief Investment Strategist of Brown Brothers Harriman. Scott, welcome to The Playbook.

Scott: Good morning, Russ. Thank you for having me.

Russ: You bet. Tell us about your firm.

Scott: Brown Brothers Harriman & Company is a rather old firm. We were founded in 1818 as a private partnership, which, in 1818, every bank on Wall Street was a private partnership. What’s unique about us today is that we’ve never changed that ownership structure. Over the past 200 years, one by one, firms have gone public; they’ve limited their liability in some way. We’ve retained that unlimited liability structure. There are 31 people who own the firm outright – no outside capital, no debt on the balance sheet. And those 31 people, all of whom operate the business, carry joint and several unlimited liability for the activities of the business.

Russ: So, that includes you.

Scott: That includes me. It tends to focus the mind. It makes risk management a core competence. What we really like about it is it really does align the interests of the owner operators with those of our clients. Every firm has that alignment, but for us it’s embedded within the DNA of the ownership structure for the business itself. That’s rather special to us.

Russ: My goodness. So, 1818, so this is like a birthday year.

Scott: We had a big party—we had a series of big parties last year. We had big cakes and celebrated the history of the firm and also the future of the firm. One of our events in New York, we had a guest speaker, George W. Bush, former President Bush. We had him because his grandfather, Prescott Bush, H.W.’s father—Houston connection here, was a partner of the firm back in the 1930s and the early 1940s. So, we celebrate that history, and the challenge, of course, is to be informed and influenced by the history and the legacy without having that legacy dictate what you do. We have to weave into our business a certain amount of entrepreneurship for our third century, which we’ve embarked on in 2019.


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Russ: This is PKF Texas – Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Russ Capper, this week’s guest host, and I’m coming to you from the Gulf Coast Regional Family Forum. I’m with Del Walker, Tax Practice Leader at PKF Texas, and founding organizer of the forum. Del, great to have you.

Del: Russ, it’s always a pleasure, my friend. Always a pleasure.

Russ: We’ve completed now, your fourth, and this is my fourth interview with you after the completion.

Del: I know, and we are still so young, aren’t we?

Russ: That’s true, absolutely. But share your perspective from this 2019 version.

Del: We tried some things differently this year, a little bit. We’re always asking for feedback from our participants, and we’ve got some thoughts that were a little different than we’ve done in the past.


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Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, and I’m back again with Kimberly Wood, an Audit Senior Manager and one of the faces of PKF Texas’ Transaction Advisory Services Team. Kimberly, welcome back to The Playbook.

Kimberly: Thanks for having me.

Jen: We’ve talked a little bit about transactions. To prevent the delay of a transaction, what should a seller do?


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Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, and I’m back again with Kimberly Wood, an Audit Senior Manager and one of the faces of the PKF Texas Transaction Advisory Services Team. Kimberly, welcome back to The Playbook.

Kimberly: Thanks for having me.

Jen: Last time, you mentioned getting your financial house in order. What does that look like for a company?


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Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, and I’m back again with Frank Landreneau, one of our International Tax Directors. Frank, welcome back to The Playbook.

Frank: Thanks, Jen. It’s great to be back.

Jen: I know there’s an incentive for exporters: IC-DISC. How has that changed with tax reform?

Frank: That’s a good question. It’s been around for quite a while, as you know, the IC-DISC is nothing new. What propelled its novelty is the tax reform of 2003 where dividend rates were now coupled with capital gains rates. There’s been legislation on and off of repealing it or modifying it or limiting it in some kind of way, but oddly enough, tax reform did not change anything with regard to IC-DISC, so it’s still a viable option for exporters.

Jen: So Frank, how can the IC-DISC be helpful for our viewers?


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Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, and I’m here today with Kimberly Wood, an Audit Senior Manager and one of the faces of our PKF Texas Transaction Advisory Services team. Kimberly, welcome to The Playbook.

Kimberly: Thanks for having me.

Jen: You’re on our Transaction Advisory Services team, and I know you tend to handle due diligence. What is due diligence and why should somebody do a due diligence project?

Kimberly: Due diligence is an investigation of a company or a business, and basically, we are validating the information or assumptions that haven’t been provided, or that should have been provided. It’s an essential information gathering process, whether it’s for legal, operational or financial due diligence.
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Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, this week’s guest host, and I’m here today with Ryan Istre, an audit director and a member of the PKF Texas SEC team. Ryan, welcome back to the Playbook.

Ryan: Thanks for having me here, Jen.

Jen: So, I know there’s new revenue recognition rules coming. What are the SEC’s views on this for registrants?

Ryan: That’s a very good question, Jen. The new revenue recognition rules – or ASC 606 – are going to be effective for most registrants beginning January 1st of 2018.


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