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About Private Company Services

Located in all major US markets, PwC’s Private Company Services (PCS) is a national practice comprised of more than 170 partners who provide customized tax, audit and advisory services to private companies, their owners and high net worth individuals. The majority of America’s largest private companies are PCS clients1. They span a broad scope of sectors and industries ranging from manufacturing to retail to industrial to professional services. A hallmark of PCS is a robust thought leadership program that provides clients with timely, thought-provoking information to help manage and grow their businesses and wealth.
1 Forbes America’s Largest Private Companies 2015

PCS professionals are regularly sought out for their insight and opinion on issues of national and local interest affecting their audience. A number of recent articles featuring people from our Private Company Services practice - including Personal Financial Services (PFS) - are included below, as well as an archive of coverage over the past months.

Featured news

Huffington Post: Financial Stress Surging Among Millennials
April 27, 2016
According to the Huffington Post article written by Kent Allison, partner and leader of PwC’s Employee Financial Education and Wellness practice, Millennials are suffering from the weight of financial fears - an issue that is affecting their job performance and personal well-being. In PwC’s 2016 Employee Financial Survey, this age group - those born between 1982 and 2000 - were more burdened by financial stress than any other age group. The reasons are many including student loan debt and salaries that are not keeping pace with the cost of living. Further evidence of the growing issue, a full 50 percent of millennials think they’ll likely need to use the money in their retirement plans for expenses other than retirement. The good news? More employers are taking notice and looking for ways to assist these employees.

CNBC: Your new office workout - Financial fitness
April 23, 2016
According to the article, 55 percent of employers offer help to employees for a myriad of financial issues including budgeting and debt management to investing, and saving to buy a house. By year end that number is expected to rise to 77 percent of large- and mid-sized companies that will provide at least one such financial wellness program and 52 percent will offer programs around three or more categories. Why?

This interest comes as a result of reports of the growingly gloomy picture of employees’ financial health. Over half of workers say they are stressed about their finances and 45 percent saying that their worries have worsened over the past 12 months. "Companies recognize that there's an issue," said Kent Allison, partner and national leader of PwC's Employee Financial Wellness practice. Yet with the high number of companies offering help, participation rate is low - a frustration to employers. 

Accounting Today: Financial Stress Climbing among U.S. Workers
April 19, 2016
Fifty-two percent of respondents to PwC US’s 2016 Employee Financial Wellness Survey said they are feeling stressed about finances, while 45 percent said their stress has climbed over the past 12 months. According to Kent Allison, partner and PwC’s leader of the Employee Financial Education and Wellness practice, “When we looked at some of the underpinnings of what was causing concern, they centered around not having enough cash flow to deal with any type of emergency. We’ve been having some instability in the marketplace, and we’re still dealing with challenges around stagnant wages. Being an election year, there’s uncertainty around who is going to driving us going forward.”

Washington Business Journal: The Donohoe dynasty
March 18, 2016
The Washington Business Journal recently ran a story and accompanying video on The Donohoe Cos, a fifth-generation family business in the Washington, D.C.-area. Leadership challenges were discussed, particularly transitions from one generation to the next. The article highlighted PwC’s 2014-2015 Family Business Survey’s statistic that 73 percent of family businesses lack a formal succession plan. The current CEO and Chairman of Donohoe then discussed how his family approached the issue. “The key? he said. “Having ‘somebody defined in the next generation that wants to lead'."

PwC rated as a Vanguard Leader in Financial Wellness by ALM Intelligence
March, 2016
In March 2016 PwC's Financial Wellness practice was rated as an advancing Vanguard Leader in financial wellness. This rating is awarded to those firms that demonstrate either market-leading depth in a specific area or meaningful depth across a range of areas. PwC is "particularly strong in its financial wellbeing capabilities...“PwC’s Employee Financial Education and Wellness practice has a well-developed financial wellbeing advisory offering that is ahead of the curve, as companies begin to embrace wellness beyond the physical, drawing upon the firm’s significant financial advisory capabilities and tailoring them to the individual to make smart decisions.

PwC Honored at the Family Wealth Awards
March 11, 2016
The Family Wealth Report announced the winners of the third annual Family Wealth Awards held in New York, NY on March 10, 2016. More than 400 were in attendance at this gala event which annually recognizes high quality service and achievement at both the individual and institutional level.

Brittney Saks, PCS partner and Personal Financial Services leader, accepted the award PwC received for Tax Advise under the Private Client Category.

SHRM: U.S. Job Growth Remains Positive, Wages Still Down
March 4, 2016
The March issue of the Society for Human Resource Management’s online publication discussed that although the latest labor market report showed higher than expected job growth, wages are troubling according to economists at the online job sites Indeed and Glassdoor. In the article, Ken Esch, PCS partner and leader of the Trendsetter report added to the discussion. “Finding qualified workers continues to be a challenge for many companies. Highly targeted hiring is a common tactic we’re seeing among many of our private company clients. It points to demographic shifts in the workforce and to core changes in U.S. manufacturing, where employees with specialized skills are increasingly replacing workers who typically manned pre-recession factory floors. This dynamic could eventually lead to an uptick in wage growth.”

Accounting Today: IRS Experienced Identify Theft of IP PINs
March 2, 2016
In the March 2 edition of Accounting Today, Personal Financial Services managing director, Bill Fleming was interviewed for a piece about theft of IP pin numbers.  According to Fleming, his clients are experiencing other problems with the IP PINs as well. He said the problem with the IP PIN notices has turned out to be a big mess for the IRS. “We should be sympathetic to them because I think they’re getting a lot of electronic stuff that been filed incorrectly so they’ve got to work to clean all that up, and that’s a major job,” said Fleming. “I have a lot of sympathy for them, but we’re just waiting to see what’s going to happen and wondering how much of it is going to be OK and how much of it is not going to be OK.”

Virtual-Strategy Magazine: AFS 401(k) Announces Launch of Personal Finance Tool, MoneyNav™
February 24, 2016
In the piece which announced a new online financial wellness platform launched by a retirement consulting firm, PwC's 2015 Financial Wellness Survey result that "45% of employees find dealing with their current financial situation stressful and distracting" was stated as a primary reason for the new venture.

New York Times: Wages Rise as U.S. Unemployment Rate Falls Below 5%
February 5, 2016
PCS's fourth-quarter 2015 Trendsetter Report findings were included in the research discussed this New York Times article about the increase in wages that has been recently seen. According to the article, companies were budgeting salary raises of nearly 3 percent in 2016 - the biggest annual increase since the recovery began.  More than a third of the executives interviewed for this Trendsetter Report expressed concern about labor costs eating into profits. “No doubt about it, I’m hearing that executives are seeing wage pressures and not just in a few pockets of the country,” said Ken Esch, a partner at PwC. “It’s pretty broad-based.” Businesses Plan to Keep Hiring, But Not Paying More
February 3, 2016
PCS's fourth-quarter 2015 Trendsetter Report's finding that U.S. companies are planning to add workers in the coming year but do not plan to increase wages was the focus of a story in Inc. Growth prospects and wage pressures are two concerns that were revealed in the quarterly report. According to PCS partner Margaret Young, "Many employers would hire more people if they could find applicants with the right skills but many of them simply can't."

Human Resource Executive Online: Healthy, Wealthy and Wise
January 27, 2016

This story discusses how a new retirement and financial well-being report revealed a desire among employers at large companies to provide financial well-being tools and resources to help their employees with their savings goals. PwC's 2015 Employee Financial Wellness Survey was cited in the article as follows," insufficient saving and planning for long-term goals is a result of "shifting greater responsibility for retirement funding to employees in the face of stagnant wages, disappearing defined-benefit pensions, changing Social Security and Medicare benefits, longer life spans and rising healthcare costs."

Crain's New York Business: Executive Moves
January 27, 2016
The Executive Moves section in Professional Services News section of Crain's New York Business included the appointment of Shawn Panson to U.S. Private Company Services Leader.  

Wine & Vines: Bonus Depreciation on Vines Extended
Growing Grapes Under the PATH ACT
January 6, 2016
PCS tax partner David Pardes was interviewed for a story that ran in this wine industry trade publication about the new PACT legislation signed into law in December. The legislation included new provisions that could benefit vineyard owners who are planting new vines. According to Pardes, the bonus depreciation of vines will be phases out in five years. This should encourage those vineyard owners who plan to plant new vines to do it while this benefit is still in effect.

Bankrate: Why real estate investing in a selff-directed IRS makes no sense
December, 2015
The article discussed using real estate in IRAs. In the piece, Bill Fleming, Personal Financial Services managing director, explained that if you are going to invest directly in real estate, you will lose substantial tax benefits by doing it through an IRA. These include the ability to deduct mortgage interest payments from your taxes and the ability to write off the value of a residential property over 27 years.

Forbes: Five Ways To Keep A Family-Owned Business 'In The Family' For Generations
December 12, 2015
This story by Brian Luster and Steven Abernathy discusses the unique challenges facing business owners who wish to preserve multi-generational control within their family.  In the piece, they drew from PwC's 2015 Family Business Survey to discuss how shareholder agreements are the most widely used mechanism to address conflicts within the family.

Wall Street Journal: Financial Gifts for kids these holidays...or a present for the IRS
December 11, 2015
Leading up to the year-end, reporter Laura Saunders wrote about the "the kiddie tax," the IRS's extra levy on investment income earned by young people up to 24 years of age. In the piece, Mark Nash discussed how these rules present challenges as well as planning opportunities.  

Barron's: How to Lower Your Audit Risk
November 28, 2015
This story, which ran in Penta, a news site within Barron’s that provides advice for wealthy individuals, discussed the IRS' emphasis on auditing those with more than $5 million in taxable income. In the piece, Mark Nash, Personal Financial Services tax partner, discussed how a client of his was involved in a protracted audit that involved six+ specialists, lasted over a year, and required the taxpayer to come up with more than 1,000 pages of data. The investigation resulted in no back taxes being owed.

Reuters: PwC appoints Shawn Panson as U.S. private company services leader
November 17, 2015
In the Move section of the US edition of Reuters a piece was included on Shawn Panson's appointment as Private Company Services leader. The site features live updates on top economic, business and political news.

Bloomberg Business: Economy 2016:  Here's What You Need to Know by Peter Coy
November 5, 2015
Bloomberg Businessweek's Economics Editor used Trendsetter's Q3 2015 report for his discussion about wages in this economic update. In the story, he stated, "Wages are expected to grow a bit faster in 2016: Private companies surveyed by PricewaterhouseCoopers in the third quarter predicted they’d raise wages next year by 3.1 percent, the first time since 2008 the number hasn’t been below 3 percent."

SME Insider: The importance of having an exit strategy as a mature entrepreneur
October 30, 2015
This piece discussed the lack of preparation more than 60 percent of business owners undergo when passing on their businesses to the next generation and the steps they should take before retiring to ensure their companies stay on track. PwC’s 2014-2015 Family Business survey finding that only 12 per cent of family businesses survive into a third generation of ownership and the recommendation to beginning the succession process several years before the planned departure were included in the story.

Forbes: How to Take Advantage Of Your Company's New Obsession With Your Financial Wellbeing
October 28, 2015
PwC’s Financial Wellness study was mentioned in this article about the expanding financial wellness benefits that companies are offering.

Wall Street Journal: How a Survey of Private Employers Offers a Peek Into Wage Growth
September 15, 2015
Anna Louie Sussman discussed the PwC’s Trendsetter Barometer, which in its 20th year, has 80 quarters of survey data on historical economic performance that can be used as an indicator of wage growth according to Oxford Economics. 

According to the article, from the end of 2010 through Q1 2015, the private companies surveyed for the report expected average annual wage increases of between 2.1% and 2.9% for their hourly employees. That’s slightly higher than the actual rate that private employers have raised wages and salaries for the same period. This difference could be attributed to the range of businesses represented in the survey. In Q2 2015, the average expected annual salary increase rose to 2.97%, its highest level since 2008.

“When our surveys are telling us that people are going to go out and hire…that information is predictive as to what’s going to happen over the next year. So based on what we’re hearing from these companies, we would expect to see continued moderate increases in the number of people hired and continued moderate increases in salary,” said Ken Esch, the PCS partner who oversees the Trendsetter Barometer report. He added that privately held companies can often react more nimbly to economic conditions than their publicly traded counterparts.

Time Magazine: Here’s What Private Companies Know About the Economic Recovery
September 15, 2015
“If you want to know where the economy is heading, don’t look at the S&P 500. Look at what private companies are doing,” according to the Time magazine piece written by Rana Foroohar. The article discussed the 20 years of data provided by Trendsetter Barometer and how private companies have accurately predicted the GDP and other key economic indicators. The article went on to discuss that the US economy, according to the private companies interviewed for the report, is in a continued recovery by not one that can be described as lackluster.

A two percent uptick in hiring and modest wage increases are representative of this. “The private companies we survey want to hire more, but given the numbers of long term unemployed in the US, there has been a lot of skill atrophy, and firms either can’t find people with the skills they need, and aren’t willing to offer big pay hikes to those they do hire given this,” says PCS partner Ken Esch who oversees the report. Apple Gets All the Attention, but private Companies Are the Real Economic Indicators
September 15, 2015
PCS partner Ken Esch appeared on TheStreet and discussed the important role that Trendsetter Barometer plays in understanding what to expect in the economy. This was determined after Oxford Economics analyzed 20 years of Trendsetter data and found that the report is predictive of certain economic results. For example, the views of the private company leaders interviewed predicted the 2008 recession. Information to pay attention to now? Trendsetter is showing that growth will continue, albeit slowly.

Baseline: Lack of Skilled IT Pros May Slow Business Growth
August 19, 2015
PwC’s Trendsetter Barometer was used for the basis of this article that discussed how confidence in business growth and a shortage of qualified workers are creating job opportunities for technology professionals.

Business Observer: Giant accounting firm: Florida is hot
August 7, 2015
The August 7, 2015, Business Observer which specializes in reporting on economic trends, emerging companies and leaders in Florida's Gulf Coast (Tampa to Naples), interviewed David Zimmerman, PCS marketing and sales leader, about growth opportunities and Private Company Services' expansion into Florida. "We've been looking really hard at Florida," Zimmerman told the publication. "The last three years have been an explosion of business in Florida." Zimmerman went on to say that some of this growth is the result of the state's pro-business environment and the economic rebound.

Think Advisor: Will 2015 Be the Year Financial Wellness Finally Takes Off?
August 5, 2015
Kent Allison, PwC partner and Financial Wellness program leader, was quoted in this story about the state of financial wellness programs. While there has been much talk about the benefits of financial wellness programs, a minority of companies offer programs. 

“The reality is there are relatively few true financial wellness programs in place today but many financial education or financial literacy programs,” says Kent E. Allison, a partner at PwC and a national leader in its Employee Financial Wellness Practice. “But there is a lot of talk and interest in financial wellness programs.”

According to the article, the difference between financial education/literacy and financial wellness is like the difference between reading articles on saving for retirement and developing a personal financial plan to do that, with or without a financial advisor.

Tampa Bay Business Journals: 3 questions with PrincewaterhouseCoopers’ Tampa leader for private company services
August 3, 2015
David Zimmerman, PCS partner and leader of the new PCS Florida practice was interviewed by the Tampa Bay Business Journal for this story about the growth of private companies across the US and in Florida. Private Company Services new Florida practice opening served as a back drop for the piece. Zimmermann said that he expects to see the practice grow by 50 percent in the next three years in large part because of this growth which is resulting from a number of factors: public companies are going private, there is an active startup market that is fueled by an increase in private equity investment. According to Zimmerman, “The company’s private equity firms are buying average $200 million to $1 billion in revenue, and we see a lot of those in Florida.”

Another reason for the growth of private companies is the increased access to capital. Banks are lending and more private equity money is available with favorable terms. “While it used to be that a private equity firm wanted a majority position for its investment, now they will take a minority position, because they see the opportunities for growth.”