From left to right: Harold Ford, Jr., Rick Lazio, Kit Bond, Joe Crowley, Mike Johanns and Bob Riley
alliantgroup’s Leadership, Technology & Policy Summit took place November 7th and 8th, 2018 at our Houston headquarters. During this event, over 100 VIP guests came to hear from renowned experts in the fields of technology, cybersecurity, business management and tax policy. From discussions covering everything from business management and leadership strategies to the rising importance of cybersecurity to the impact of the 2018 mid-terms on future legislation and tax policy, a few key themes emerged during the event:

alliantgroup Think Tank 2018

alliantgroup CEO Dhaval Jadav
alliantgroup CEO Dhaval Jadav's Quote
Professor Thomas DeLong's Quote
Professor Thomas DeLong

Leadership & Management

Leadership and Management in Professional Service Firms

Insights from Harvard Business Professor Thomas DeLong

The event began with an interactive lecture from Thomas DeLong, a Senior Fellow, former Philip J. Stomberg Professor at the Harvard Business School and author of “Flying Without a Net”—a book recognized by the editors of Amazon publishing as one of the top ten books written on leadership this century. During a lively session, DeLong engaged the audience by asking their thoughts on a range of managerial issues affecting professional service firms.

Pulling from his own personal and professional experiences, DeLong highlighted what he felt were the key managerial and leadership strategies a professional service firm must implement to be successful. Specifically, DeLong highlighted the importance of investing in the career development of each employee and building interpersonal relationships to retain and engage a firm’s developing professionals. As the demands placed on professional service firms have only grown over the years (and will continue to grow as additional responsibilities are added), DeLong emphasized the importance of these strategies in improving performance and in ensuring a firm’s professionals remain satisfied and on a successful career growth path.

“What I’ve been studying is…how do highly-driven, high-need for achievement personalities deal with a situation where they are overwhelmed everyday with these expectations,” said DeLong.

According to DeLong, getting the company’s professionals to completely buy into the organization (to form what he referred to as a “covenantal relationship”) is the key to creating a high performance culture and building a sustainable organization—and such a relationship can only be achieved when leadership invests in and builds those lasting interpersonal relationships with their developing professionals. Creating a culture of professional development often requires pushing people out of their comfort zones, but in DeLong’s eyes, allowing employees to stumble to learn new roles is a necessary step in ensuring organizational and professional growth.

alliantgroup's Cybersecurity Vice President Jon Murphy's Quote

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity & Professional Services – Is Your Firm Prepared?

What once was only a real concern for larger companies and financial institutions, small to medium-sized businesses are now a primary target for cyber-attacks. “Over 50% of the cyberattacks that occur in this country, are targeted toward small to mid-sized companies,” stated alliantgroup’s Senior Vice President of Information & Technology Rizwan Virani during the panel discussion regarding cybersecurity. The panel of experts went on to discuss the arduous journey that alliantgroup has taken over the past several years to ensure the security of the firm’s data, and more importantly, that of its clients.

alliantgroup Senior Vice President Rizwan Virani's Quote

alliantgroup Cybersecurity Vice President Jon Murphy, who has over 25 years of experience in delivering cybersecurity solutions to businesses and governmental entities, knows the reality of the capabilities that these “bad actors” or cyber criminals possess. “The bad actors are now able to crank out four to five completely new attacks per second. It’s much more than just technology, and that’s what the security team brings. It’s about people, process and technology.”

With so many available cybersecurity solutions and providers available, the panel of experts discussed the real need for a solution that was tailored to the needs of professional service firms. Frank Tirelli, alliantgroup’s Vice Chairman of Professional Services and former CEO of Deloitte Italy, voiced his concern for a real solution. “The good news—there are probably 12 to 15 firms with the requisite level of capital and knowledge within the professional services field and cybersecurity industry to be able to provide an adequate solution. The bad news—they will not do a project less than $3 to $5 million dollars.”

From left to right: Jon Murphy, Frank Tirelli, Dhaval Jadav, Rick Lazio and Rizwan Virani

U.S. Congressman Joe Crowley's Quote
U.S. Congressman Joe Crowley's

Legislative Changes

Thoughts from U.S. Congressmen Joe Crowley and Vicente Gonzalez and an Extenders Update

On the second day of the event, U.S. Congressmen Joe Crowley and Vicente Gonzalez covered the policy and political ramifications of the mid-term elections and of the Democratic Party’s takeover of the House. With the Democrats newfound House majority, Crowley highlighted the benefits of bringing political balance back to Washington and in the party’s ability to serve as a check on executive power. “Personally, I think it’s great for the country that we bring some balance back to Washington,” said Crowley.

However, during their keynotes Crowley and Gonzalez stressed the importance of bipartisanship in Congress, with both men seeing the nation’s growing polarization as an enormous obstacle to finding common ground and implementing effective policy solutions. Above all else, both congressmen advised and encouraged their party to work across the aisle, emphasizing that Americans from across the political spectrum wanted to see an end to the partisan gridlock that has plagued Washington in recent years.

“We don’t take the majority from the left, we take the majority from the right,” said Gonzalez. “One of the things I always ask my leadership is to keep us as a party between the 40 yard lines. That is where most of Americans are.”

In addition to Crowley and Gonzalez’s comments on the state of our politics, former Senior Counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and alliantgroup National Managing Director Dean Zerbe was joined by former Counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee Dawn Levy O’Donnell to offer a legislative update on the extenders package and other pending tax provisions. In particular, Zerbe and O’Donnell focused on the 179D deduction for energy-efficient buildings, highlighting alliantgroup’s efforts to keep 179D as part of the final extenders package that is expected to be passed before the end of the year. During the panel, Zerbe and O’Donnell covered the potential for the deduction not only to be extended, but expanded to charitable and tribal properties.

U.S. Congressman Vicente Gonzalez
alliantgroup

From left to right: Harold Ford, Jr., Rick Lazio, Kit Bond, Joe Crowley, Mike Johanns and Bob Riley

alliantgroup’s Leadership, Technology & Policy Summit took place November 7th and 8th, 2018 at our Houston headquarters. During this event, over 100 VIP guests came to hear from renowned experts in the fields of technology, cybersecurity, business management and tax policy. From discussions covering everything from business management and leadership strategies to the rising importance of cybersecurity to the impact of the 2018 mid-terms on future legislation and tax policy, a few key themes emerged during the event:
alliantgroup CEO Dhaval Jadav
alliantgroup CEO Dhaval Jadav's Quote

alliantgroup Think Tank 2018

Leadership & Management

Leadership and Management in Professional Service Firms

Insights from Harvard Business Professor Thomas DeLong

Professor Thomas DeLong's Quote

The event began with an interactive lecture from Thomas DeLong, a Senior Fellow, former Philip J. Stomberg Professor at the Harvard Business School and author of “Flying Without a Net”—a book recognized by the editors of Amazon publishing as one of the top ten books written on leadership this century. During a lively session, DeLong engaged the audience by asking their thoughts on a range of managerial issues affecting professional service firms.

Pulling from his own personal and professional experiences, DeLong highlighted what he felt were the key managerial and leadership strategies a professional service firm must implement to be successful. Specifically, DeLong highlighted the importance of investing in the career development of each employee and building interpersonal relationships to retain and engage a firm’s developing professionals. As the demands placed on professional service firms have only grown over the years (and will continue to grow as additional responsibilities are added), DeLong emphasized the importance of these strategies in improving performance and in ensuring a firm’s professionals remain satisfied and on a successful career growth path.

“What I’ve been studying is…how do highly-driven, high-need for achievement personalities deal with a situation where they are overwhelmed everyday with these expectations,” said DeLong.

Professor Thomas DeLong

According to DeLong, getting the company’s professionals to completely buy into the organization (to form what he referred to as a “covenantal relationship”) is the key to creating a high performance culture and building a sustainable organization—and such a relationship can only be achieved when leadership invests in and builds those lasting interpersonal relationships with their developing professionals. Creating a culture of professional development often requires pushing people out of their comfort zones, but in DeLong’s eyes, allowing employees to stumble to learn new roles is a necessary step in ensuring organizational and professional growth.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity & Professional Services – Is Your Firm Prepared?

alliantgroup's Cybersecurity Vice President Jon Murphy's Quote

What once was only a real concern for larger companies and financial institutions, small to medium-sized businesses are now a primary target for cyber-attacks. “Over 50% of the cyberattacks that occur in this country, are targeted toward small to mid-sized companies,” stated alliantgroup’s Senior Vice President of Information & Technology Rizwan Virani during the panel discussion regarding cybersecurity. The panel of experts went on to discuss the arduous journey that alliantgroup has taken over the past several years to ensure the security of the firm’s data, and more importantly, that of its clients.

alliantgroup Senior Vice President Jon Murphy's Quote

alliantgroup Cybersecurity Vice President Jon Murphy, who has over 25 years of experience in delivering cybersecurity solutions to businesses and governmental entities, knows the reality of the capabilities that these “bad actors” or cyber criminals possess. “The bad actors are now able to crank out four to five completely new attacks per second. It’s much more than just technology, and that’s what the security team brings. It’s about people, process and technology.”

With so many available cybersecurity solutions and providers available, the panel of experts discussed the real need for a solution that was tailored to the needs of professional service firms. Frank Tirelli, alliantgroup’s Vice Chairman of Professional Services and former CEO of Deloitte Italy, voiced his concern for a real solution. “The good news—there are probably 12 to 15 firms with the requisite level of capital and knowledge within the professional services field and cybersecurity industry to be able to provide an adequate solution. The bad news—they will not do a project less than $3 to $5 million dollars.”

From left to right: Jon Murphy, Frank Tirelli, Dhaval Jadav, Rick Lazio and Rizwan Virani

Legislative Changes

Thoughts from U.S. Congressmen Joe Crowley and Vicente Gonzalez and an Extenders Update

U.S. Congressman Joe Crowley's Quote
U.S. Congressman Joe Crowley's

On the second day of the event, U.S. Congressmen Joe Crowley and Vicente Gonzalez covered the policy and political ramifications of the mid-term elections and of the Democratic Party’s takeover of the House. With the Democrats newfound House majority, Crowley highlighted the benefits of bringing political balance back to Washington and in the party’s ability to serve as a check on executive power. “Personally, I think it’s great for the country that we bring some balance back to Washington,” said Crowley.

However, during their keynotes Crowley and Gonzalez stressed the importance of bipartisanship in Congress, with both men seeing the nation’s growing polarization as an enormous obstacle to finding common ground and implementing effective policy solutions. Above all else, both congressmen advised and encouraged their party to work across the aisle, emphasizing that Americans from across the political spectrum wanted to see an end to the partisan gridlock that has plagued Washington in recent years.

“We don’t take the majority from the left, we take the majority from the right,” said Gonzalez. “One of the things I always ask my leadership is to keep us as a party between the 40 yard lines. That is where most of Americans are.”

In addition to Crowley and Gonzalez’s comments on the state of our politics, former Senior Counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and alliantgroup National Managing Director Dean Zerbe was joined by former Counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee Dawn Levy O’Donnell to offer a legislative update on the extenders package and other pending tax provisions. In particular, Zerbe and O’Donnell focused on the 179D deduction for energy-efficient buildings, highlighting alliantgroup’s efforts to keep 179D as part of the final extenders package that is expected to be passed before the end of the year. During the panel, Zerbe and O’Donnell covered the potential for the deduction not only to be extended, but expanded to charitable and tribal properties.

U.S. Congressman Vicente Gonzalez
alliantgroup

THANK YOU!
To all our industry partners and CPAs for making this event one of our most memorable yet.

Contact us today to learn how you can become a partner.