Get to Know – Paul Greilich
Paul Greilich, one of the founding partners of nationally ranked accounting firm Montgomery Coscia Greilich (MCG), pulls off what few others manage: A fluidity between laissez-faire and completely driven; a balance of take-what-may-come with get-things-done.
It comes as little surprise, then, that his life principle fuses the sentiment of Bobby McFerrin in Don’t Worry, Be Happy with an intensity often reserved for Wall Street. “Don’t worry!” he implored. “Do everything in your power to work for and love your family, friends and your work. After that, don’t worry about the things that challenge you. Worrying just sucks the life out of you anyway and makes you incapable of having a positive impact.”
Thus far, this juxtaposition has served him well.
With Paul and other MCG senior partners at the helm, MCG has grown in the double digits year over year. The Dallas Business Journal ranks it as the 6th largest accounting firm in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, and leadership recently accepted a business combination with powerhouse accounting and advising firm Baker Tilly.
So, how did the company get here and what are its plans for the near future? To begin, let’s look at the past three years.
Like all good entrepreneurial stories, this one starts with someone recognizing a deficit. In this case, Greilich and others at MCG noticed that some of their teams lacked the deep expertise that the market called for. While everyone employed was extremely talented, they were better described as generalists than specialists.
Which meant it was time for a change.
Enter a new approach: Start industry-specific teams within the organization. That way everyone does a deep dive into one area, essentially marking them as an expert within that field. From then on, whenever clients request a specialist, they get one.
Fortunately, this path of innovation was well-received among colleagues and clients. After all, the team prides itself on a willingness to think outside the box, to push the envelope. As Paul explained, “People who aren’t making significant changes and investments will get left behind.”
Which brings us to MCG’s recent announcement: An upcoming combination with Baker Tilly. From Paul’s perspective, it is essentially a perfect pairing — a marriage of culture, ideals, and resources.
Looking at it from a practical standpoint, there were clear benefits for both sides of the table. First, MCG brings a robust tax and audit group, as well as a very active team. Moreover, their location is hard to beat. “We’re a significant beachhead that they’ve been trying to get into for many years,” Greilich said.
On the flip side, Baker Tilly adds a notable level of street cred. They have a tremendous body of resources. And they have a full suite of products that will help MCG shine even brighter.
Yet, as Paul pointed out, these factors alone weren’t enough to persuade either team to play ball. They had to have a certain synergy, a chemistry that allowed people in both companies to know this was a good fit. Fortunately, this was something they had in spades. “These guys are very practical, nice, balanced, reasonable. They’re a multicultural firm, which is something we want.”
Greilich paused. Mulled things over a bit before adding, “Big firms get so bogged down in bureaucracy. When you get to that size, it’s hard to touch everyone. It’s hard to see when someone goes off the rails. We didn’t think we could continue to grow in an environment where we paired with a big firm. On the other hand, (Baker Tilly) is right in the middle. They are a very entrepreneurial firm; they’re the right size for us; and they’re good at things we are probably not as good at.”
Which begs the question: Was there any apprehension about the combination? “Oh sure,” Paul agreed. “There’s always a little apprehension with any change, but it’s smart and important to mitigate risk.”
As MCG continues to grow and flourish, facing one of their most profitable years to date, Greilich wants to ensure the focus remains where it has always been: creating an atmosphere where people want to be. With social gatherings ranging from lake parties to ski trips, it seems they’re right on track.