Applying a simple formula of hard work and professionalism
AT ITS VERY CORE, Merves
Amon and Barsz LLC is a traditional accounting firm. It does what one might expect certified public accountants to do: tax returns, financial statements, bookkeeping, audits, estate planning, and financial consulting.
What sets it apart is the human touch that accompanies the partners’ financial acuity. “We provide sound advice and outstanding service at a reasonable rate and in a timely manner,” says partner Peter Barsz. “That’s proven by what I think is a phenomenal client retention rate. We go the extra mile in delivering what is really a simple formula of hard work and professionalism.
”The firm has four partners who work with individuals, businesses, and municipal entities. They represent entrepreneurs, manufacturers, construction, wholesale and retail businesses, restaurants, nonprofit organizations, townships, and municipal authorities. They also serve the community through volunteer positions on nonprofit boards and with civic groups and political action committees.
It was this type of ancillary involvement that attracted Peter to the firm in its early days. “On top of being a good firm and delivering a good product, the commitment beyond office walls drew me in because I have a personal interest in being part of the community and engaging in the political environment,” he says.
Merves Amon and Barsz was founded in 1982 by Stephen Merves and Michael Amon. Peter joined in 1986 and Louis Schiazza in 1996. Now the four partners are supported by a staff of 15, a main office in Media, branch in Lancaster, and a presence in South Jersey. The main area of service stretches west to Harrisburg, south to Washington, D.C., and east into New Jersey.
As Stephen explains the advantages of working in the medium-size, regional firm, “We have daily contact among partners and staff, with more face-to-face time with clients. We’re not locked into the same workspace, doing the same thing every day. There is time to visit client locations and do whatever work is necessary. There’s a great feeling of satisfaction in knowing you’ve helped clients be more successful or resolve troublesome issues. You see it on their faces.”
In some cases, the firm has helped people grow their businesses to the point where they become attractive acquisition targets for publicly traded companies, with the result being well-funded retirement for the founders. In other cases, the firm helps individuals facing difficult transitions. “We get to know people well over the years and are privileged to gain insights into their private lives, because financial matters are typically involved,” Stephen says. “They know we are a resource when experiencing tragedy, such as a death, divorce, or major illness.”
What the firm can do in these instances is help clients understand the financial impact of the situation and even financial products being offered to them. These could include annuities, insurance policies, investment activities, and other proposals. “We pride ourselves on the fact we do not sell these products to our clients, so we can remain independent and impartial advisors to them about whether these products make sense in their situation,” Stephen says.
On its website, the firm acknowledges “The only constant in today’s high-tech, high-priority world is change. Everyone and everything is evolving—including your business and personal accounting needs.”
There may also be one other constant, and that is the partner group behind Merves Amon and Barsz.
With tenure at the firm ranging from 19 to 33 years, longevity seems to be an ingredient in its secret sauce. When talking to prospects, Stephen tells them, “We’ve been here for a long time, you can rely on us being here in the future, and we have expertise in the areas you are looking for.”
On the occasion when additional expertise is needed, the firm maintains a network of contacts with other professionals. “We are not attorneys and do not practice law. Nor are we actuaries who specialize in retirement plans. When our clients need this kind of advice, we bring in whatever expertise is needed to make sure they get the best possible service,” he says. “
This area is a wonderful place to do business. And because of our success, our clients, and the relationships established, we plan to continue