Russ: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I am Russ Capper, this week’s guest host, and I’m here with Brian Baumler, Energy Practice Leader at PKF Texas and the Chair of the upcoming 14th Annual Houston CPA Society Energy Conference. Also with us is Casey Stewart, Chief Accounting Officer of Deep Gulf Energy Companies and Coordinating Director of the Energy Committee for the chapter. Guys, welcome to the Playbook.
Brian: Pleasure to be here Russ, thank you.
Casey: Thanks for having us.
Russ: Ok, so I want to talk about the upcoming conference but before we get there I still think it must be kind of extraordinary times to be an accountant in the oil and gas space.
Brian: Very interesting times for sure.
Casey: Yeah, you know, there’s a lot going on in the industry. People think oil goes from $100 a barrel down to $26 a barrel and we stop; well actually there’s a lot of activity going on.
Russ: Well I would imagine maybe that the accountant activity picks up.
Brian: Well, we’ve definitely seen some. We’ve seen others looking for different cost options in the services they’re receiving and exploring opportunities with different accounting firms for sure.
Russ: Okay, and there might be M&A opportunities that you get involved in as well, is that right?
Casey: That’s right Russ. We’re seeing deals all across the industry, whether it be from new meal coming into the space or just money changing hands between firms.
Brian: Absolutely Casey that’s a very good point. There’s quite a bit of money on the bench right now looking for opportunities to place that money into very good cost, return on investment opportunities.
Russ: That’s interesting, so that might be an indicator that the investment community at least thinks that we’ve bottomed out on the pricing.
Brian: I think there’s been some stability; I’m not going to say $50 is where it’s going to sit, there may be some wiggle room in that, but I think it’s definitely looking a little more optimistic about the direction of where pricing may be going.
Casey: Yeah, that’s one thing, the fundamentals are getting better but they’re certainly not shooting up. It’s a slow creep back to being in a good market.
Russ: This is the 14th conference. I got to attend the 13th with you; in fact that’s where the keynote speaker was the guy that was trying to put Halliburton and Baker Hughes together. It was a real interesting presentation and sounded very exciting and that thing just kind of evaporated, what’s in store for the 14th conference?
Brian: The conference is organized and sponsored by the Houston Chapter of CPAs and it’s actually put together by a very committed team of CPAs who are committed to the energy industry. There’s about 30 people represented in the energy committee. It’s been going on for 14 years, we’re real excited about where we’re at and it’s been gaining a lot of momentum the last few years as far as a lot of attention; the number of attendees have grown from 200 3 years ago to most 350 last year and I think that’s a testimony to those committed to the event and putting it together and gathering really some great speakers and covering some very diverse topics about what’s going on in the energy industry right now.
Casey: That’s right Brian. We’re really trying to change the focus from being just a pure technical accounting conference into one that’s more market-based so it caters not just to your line CPA, but also to individuals in treasury, valuation and all professional services really.
Russ: Okay. I would guess that the Houston chapter of CPAs focused on energy might be one of the largest energy focused organizations in the country.
Brian: I would agree with you, it is definitely becoming one of the more premier events here in Houston and I think our goal of moving the event from the Norse Conference Center down to the Hilton Americas has been a step in definitely in the right direction to creating more of a premier event for energy in the country.
Russ: Okay, so the location is the Hilton Americas, what’s the date?
Brian: The date’s going to be August 23rd this year so make sure you mark your calendars.
Russ: Okay, and if somebody’s interested how do they find out more; how do they register?
Casey: They can go to www.houstoncpa.org to find out more information online and also they can also register online. Additionally walk-ins are always welcome. The cost is $275 for Houston CPA site members and $325 for none members.
Russ: Okay. Brian, Casey, really appreciate the update and you sharing your perspective.
Brian: Thank you Russ, we appreciate it too.
Russ: You bet. And that wraps up my discussion with Brian Baumler and Casey Stewart.