Today we’d like to introduce you to Mark O. Dietrich, CPA/ABV.
Mark, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I earned a scholarship to Boston University upon graduating from High School in southern New Jersey. I completed my undergraduate degree in three and one-half years, graduating summa cum laude, and then earned a Master in Business Administration in one year, graduating with High Honors and passing the CPA exam along the way. Shortly thereafter, I married my High School sweetheart and embarked on a career in public accounting.
In 1990, I started my own firm with Kathie Wilson, CPA, specializing in healthcare consulting and taxation. By the mid-1990s, I was increasingly focused on valuation of physician practices and managed care contract negotiation. In 1996, I embarked on a 24 city tour teaching other CPAs those specialty practice areas. In 1997, I started to write my first book on valuing medical practices, which was published in 1999. It was the first book of its kind, combining detailed knowledge of the healthcare industry with a like amount of business valuation knowledge. That sparked my career through the present.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Being in business for yourself is always a challenge, but the particular challenge in our practice is the need to generate new clients, as very little of my valuation consulting work is “repeat” business. I rely heavily on referrals from other CPAs who know my expertise from my extensive publication and speaking activities, as well as from members of the legal profession who have retained me on behalf of their clients. This is different from the typical CPA practice where one has a base of tax and accounting clients who come back year after year. We do have a small tax practice of long-term clients, but do not take new clients as it may conflict with the willingness of other CPAs to refer valuation and consulting work.
An unusual challenge for me as a CPA is the need to identify new information in the healthcare industry through research, document it, and develop new methods of valuation that incorporate that research. That, in turn, drives my writing of books, articles and seminar presentations. My son once joked I had written more books in one year (2012, when I published four) than J.D. Salinger had in a lifetime. That much writing requires both discipline and inspiration, but I am fond of saying inspiration is fleeting, but algebra rules forever.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
The practice is primarily focused on valuation of businesses in the healthcare industry, specializing in physician practices, imaging centers and ambulatory surgery centers. We also provide tax services, primarily to physicians. We have done valuation work in more than 40 states and also consulted in the United Kingdom on valuation of medical practices and managed care. (Yes, there is private health insurance in the U.K., not everyone uses the National Health Service!)
Our practice is differentiated from others by the focus on a few segments of the healthcare industry where we have specialized expertise. My Guide to Healthcare Industry Finance and Valuation is now in its 4th Edition, and is generally regarded as the leading textbook in that area for the business valuation community.
My cover article in the November, 2005 Journal of Accountancy is one of the highlights of my career; I have since published two additional articles there, one on the Affordable Care Act (I also wrote a book on it) and one on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA, about which I have lectured and written extensively.
Perhaps the most exciting things I have done in my career are to lecture at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs in Nottingham (with the infamous Sheriff of Nottingham’s castle looming on a high hill) and at the Royal Society of Medicine in London. My London trip in 2014 led to an invitation to a private tour of the Houses of Parliament and a reception at the House of Lord’s private veranda on the Thames. The recognition summary at the AICPA’s 2016 Healthcare Conference, which I both chaired and worked on for many years, stands out as my proudest moment as a CPA.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I define professional success as staying at the top of a highly specialized field for what is now 20 years with many very smart colleagues as competitors, while at the same time maintaining the respect and friendship of those colleagues. I have had several protégés who arguably have excelled beyond me and that gives me great pride. Despite being business competitors, we assist one another in complex areas and refer conflict of interest cases to one another. Thus, success is being able to win while your like-minded colleagues win as well.
On a personal level, having a variety of interests outside my career helps maintain balance.
Friendly but intense competition at family gatherings in golf, bowling, archery, target shooting, running 5Ks, kayaking with the grandchildren, cooking and poker along with long evenings at the fire pit simply chilling round out “success.”
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- Phone: 508 877-1999
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