Frequently Asked Questions
Qualifications For Membership
What is the ideal FCG Member Firm candidate?
Firms may be invited to join the Financial Consulting Group if they have a reputation for excellence in business valuation or a related area. Most FCG firms practice public accounting, but we also have members who specialize in other disciplines. The ideal FCG member firm candidate has the following characteristics:
Who can apply for membership? What are the requirements?
Does FCG have exclusive territories? Can there be two FCG firms in the same area?
FCG does not have exclusive geographic territories due to the nature of the business valuation service, which is often driven more by specific expertise than by geography. When determining whether to bring a new member into an area where there is an existing member, we look at a combination of population/business base in the area and at the practice dynamics of the prospective member.
Ideally, new firms are brought into the group by existing firms. Our preference is to have a current member identify another reputable firm in the area and recommend them for membership.
Membership Application Process
What happens after I submit my membership application?
After we receive your application, $3,900 membership fee, and sample report, we will review the report and process the application materials. The process may include a phone interview with the partners at the applying firm, background and reference checks.
Upon approval, you will be sent three copies of the member agreement. We ask that you date, sign and return the agreements. Your membership will become active as soon as we receive your signed contract. The FCG president will sign and return to you a complete original signed agreement for your records. As a new member, you will be provided access to our Extranet and you will be updated on the resources available as a result of your affiliation.
Expectations Of Members
What are my responsibilities as an FCG member?
In order to get the full benefit of FCG membership, members are expected to participate in FCG activities. Members who attend FCG conferences and participate in the forums -- both by posting questions and contributing answers -- will find their membership experience more rewarding.
FCG is only as strong as the contributions made by members, so members are encouraged to make FCG membership activities a priority. While there is no specific activity requirement, failure to attend FCG conferences, failure to contribute to the forums, or failure to take on leadership of projects when requested will be part of the consideration of whether to allow members to renew their FCG membership.
Is FCG one big firm? Will I continue to operate independently?
FCG is an alliance of individual, independent firms. All FCG member firms are independently owned and operated. FCG membership allows firms to align themselves with others in order to take advantage of opportunities to pursue larger clients, develop expertise in new areas, and share staff.
Member firms still issue engagement letters in the name of their individual firms. Both the FCG "brand" and your firm name are actively promoted together.
Must all FCG firms adopt the same policies and procedures and follow a common process?
There is no requirement for FCG firms to adopt new processes. We encourage members to use common processes as it makes joint ventures easier and facilitates sharing staff. But some firms already have excellent systems in place that work well.
We encourage firms that have best practices to share their expertise, and we incorporate those successes in the materials we offer. We offer sample valuation models, checklists, engagement letters, etc., but their use is voluntary.
How much does it cost to join FCG?
Member firms who join in 2012 will pay a $3,900 annual fee. Fees are due upon submission of the application and become due every 12 months thereafter. For example, members joining in June 2012 will renew in June 2013.
Are there any other fees associated with FCG membership?
There are no other mandatory fees for FCG membership. Optional programs and services such as those described below are provided on a cost-sharing basis.
FCG holds our university program annually. All members are encouraged to attend and a conference fee is charged to cover the meeting costs.
FCG members receive a free annual subscription to the Financial Valuation and Litigation Expert Journal as well as free access to webinars developed by Valuation Products and Services (VPS).
FCG members who take advantage of this benefit can earn 24+ hours of CPE annually. Additionally, other VPS products such as the AICPA Standards Toolkit are offered to members at a substantial discount.
How is FCG marketed?
Marketing activities are an important part of the FCG concept. Individual firms use FCG materials in their own reports, articles, speeches, stationary, etc., to promote their FCG affiliation. At the corporate level, FCG retains a public relations consultant who promotes the FCG brand to the accounting, financial, and legal communities. Articles about FCG have appeared in several national accounting publications, and FCG members are frequently quoted in the financial press as experts in business valuation.
The FCG marketing staff has developed brochures, logos, presentations, and press releases for use by FCG member firms. These materials may be downloaded from the Extranet.
What is the FCG Extranet?
The FCG Extranet is a web site with two parts – a public component that promotes FCG members to potential referral sources and a private area that is accessible only to FCG members. It functions as a focal point and a gathering place in our virtual organization. Think of it as a virtual water cooler.
On our Extranet you will find discussion forums where FCG members post questions and hold lively discussions on valuation issues. There is also a library with valuation articles, checklists, and analyses of court cases. The professional profiles section contains biographical information about FCG members. Also on the site you will find a marketing tools section with presentations, brochures, logos, and articles that may be downloaded.
The Resource section of the Extranet is an extensive listing of publications, periodicals, and websites. FCG members who are experts in specific industries and practice areas have contributed many valuable items to the Extranet.
Access to the extranet is available to all employees of FCG member firms. Typically the designated contact at the Member Firm specifies who should have access. Upon receipt of the membership contract, an FCG Staff member will schedule and conduct a tour of the FCG Extranet with the new member firm.