Tuesday, December 20, 2016

With $1B in revenue on horizon, Dallas' global tax firm Ryan could go West


Real estate sources say Global tax firm Ryan has a 5-acre tract under contract with plans to build an office tower totaling 30+ floors at the hard corner of the Dallas North Tollway and the Sam Rayburn Tollway, within the $3.2 billion Legacy West corporate magnet.

The land deal is expected to close early next year, sources say. No one knows exactly how much Ryan plans to pay for the land, but it will likely go for a premium, with Toyota North America's corporate headquarters and regional hubs for Liberty Mutual Insurance and JP Morgan Chase within walking distance.
Ryan, who spoke to the Dallas Business Journal in an exclusive interview about the tax firm's growth, declined to comment on the speculation within the real estate community.

The office tower could help house the majority of Ryan's 175 corporate employees and the firm's growing Dallas practice. In all, Ryan has about 450 employees in its Dallas office.

The tax firm has been aggressively growing its business with the company's sights set on reaching $1 billion in revenue by the end of the decade, which will double the company's worldwide operations.

"We have a near term goal to reach $1 billion in revenue by the end of the decade," G. Brint Ryan, founder, chairman and CEO of the Dallas-based tax firm, told the Dallas Business Journal."We have doubled the organization in the last four-year period, so I think this is a reasonable expectation."

That growth pushed Ryan to rapidly expand the firm's footprint within Three Galleria Tower in the last few years to upwards of 150,000 square feet of office space into floors left vacant by FedEx Office, which moved its Dallas headquarters to Plano's Legacy West in 2015.

Before FedEx Office moved to Plano, Ryan was reviewing the company's real estate options with little room left to expand in the Galleria Towers, a three-tower office property totaling 1.4 million square feet at the Galleria Dallas mall.
The corporate employees help support Ryan's 75 locations throughout the world, which includes operations in Singapore, Australia, Brazil, the United Kingdom and many other countries.

Ryan expects to finish the year with annual revenue of nearly $500 million and expects to add employees as the firm's business grows in the future.

Growing market share
Even though Ryan has been buying up other companies (with another undisclosed acquisition occurring about a week ago), this year's organic growth rate has outstripped the firm's M&A activity.

"Taxes are not going away and they are becoming more complex for big organizations that deal with continued pressures from an earnings perspective," said Ryan, who has previously described his firm to me as the tax-consulting equivalent of global management consulting firm McKinsey & Co.
With the global market estimated at $20 billion in U.S. dollars, Ryan, who founded the firm in 1991 after leaving public accounting, said there's plenty of room for the firm to win market share.

"If you look at us right now, we have about a 2 percent market share," he told me. "We can continue to grow aggressively for a long time and I think we can even achieve a 10 percent share, which would be a wonderful outcome for us."
With President-Elect Donald Trump expected to aggressively attack tax reform in the next four years, Ryan said he still believes the tax firm will see benefits moving into the future.

In part, it's because of appointments like billionaire investor Wilbur Ross Jr. and other business geniuses that make the Dallas CEO bullish on the country's future economy, he said.

"We have gone through tax reform initiatives throughout the world and it's almost always been beneficial," Ryan said. "In some cases, it has had some near term loss of opportunity, but in the end it's good for the country and will ultimately grow the revenue base.

"We take the long view, taxes are like death and they will be with us forever," he said. "We might find a cure for death, but not taxes."


Brint Ryan, CEO of Ryan, is pictured in the lobby of Three Galleria in Dallas.

A war plan
Since the departure of FedEx Office, Ryan has been able to expand by two floors or nearly 45,000 square feet within Three Galleria Towers — which has been the firm's home for nearly two decades — to accommodate its growing employment base.

With the completion of the LBJ Express and being centrally located in North Texas at the Dallas North Tollway and the LBJ Express in Dallas, Ryan said it's been an ideal place to grow the tax firm.

"Being part of the Galleria complex and without having to deal the traffic congestion to get downtown helps when we are recruiting people," he told me. "Our employees see being next to the restaurants and shopping as a significant amenity."

Placing a workplace within a center of amenities, such as the Galleria Dallas area, has been important as Ryan — like other major companies — seek to attract talented employees, said Ryan, who also chairs the Board of Regents for the University of North Texas System.

Finding a solution to solving an education system that has fallen behind the rest of the world also will be imperative to businesses moving forward, he said.
The bigger the talent pool of a strong and educated workforce, the better for companies that are currently vying for top talent, he said.

For Ryan, he wants to make sure his employees want to come to work or have the flexibility to be successful.