Janet Tyler Johnson of Clifton Gunderson Financial Services, the advisory unit of a 150-partner regional accounting firm with 12 offices throughout the Midwest, has helped to spearhead the firm’s transition from Advent to TechFi over the past year. Johnson had been an Advent customer since 1993, while at previous jobs at another advisory and CPA firm. Here is her view of Advent’s TechFi deal:
I was absolutely flabbergasted when Matt Abar called to give me advance notice of the deal. What hit me the hardest was that I had made a decision to fire a company, Advent, and then I find out we’ll be working with them again.
TechFi’s mission in the beginning was to put Advent out of business. That’s gone and we’re back to two major players again. Part of the reason TechFi caught my eye was that they were young, ambitious, creative people who said they were going to build a better mousetrap. TechFi was a company that wanted to make a difference and they were going after the giant in the industry. They wanted to knock Advent off its pedestal. That was the way they positioned themselves.
We joined the cause. When TechFi turned down Advent’s $25 million offer two years ago, I really thought that they were on a mission and that’s why this [the acquisition] blindsided me.
I can’t blame Matt. He needed to make a business decision and I think he did the best he could for himself and the company. But I felt heartbroken because TechFi was doing what they said it would: they were developing a product that had open architecture. You could do whatever you wanted with the data you had. They were service oriented and when there were problems would do whatever it took to get them fixed.