IF THEY WERE SUPER HEROES, you might compare them to Batman and Robin. Sure, most people might be hardpressed to find anything "super" about the world of accounting, but make no mistake: In the accounting industry, Bert N. Mitchell and Robert P. Titus are more than mere mortals.
Over the last 20 years, the co-founders of Mitchell, Titus & Co. have built what started out as a six-client, two-partner firm in 1973 into the largest minority-owned, certified public accounting frim in the nation. In what industry insiders describe as the most competitive market in years, the $17 million firm ranks 37th in the nation among all accounting firms. No easy feat in an industry that has never had more than 1% black representation.
The success of this dynamic duo has been achieved without the Wham! Bam! of their caped counterparts. Strategically planned growth, long hours and a dedication to "doing what's best for the firm" has Mitchell, Titus prepared and poised to challenge the Big Six accounting firms (Arthur Anderson & Co., Ernst & Young, Deloitte & Touche, KPMG Peat Marwick, Coopers & Lybrand, and Price Waterhouse).
In celebrating 20 years of business success, Mitchell, Titus continues to provide demonstrable evidence of the type of topnotch quality and performance available from black-owned businesses today. BLACK ENTERPRISE began chronicling the struggles of Bert Mitchell and other accounting professionals in 1972. Through the years, we've sought Mitchell's business wisdom: He was the subject of a cover story in 1986. Now, the founding partners, Mitchell and Titus, must successfully transfer to the next generation of leadership the business principles and savvy that enabled their firm to survive and thrive.
From the height of his Wall Street office with a view that stretches from the World Trade Center to far beyond the Statue of Liberty, Bert Mitchell presides over his 16-partner firm. The well-groomed chariman and CEO is a force in the industry with celebrity status. He moves effortlessly among the power brokers of the accounting profession. The 56-year-old Jamaican immigrant and Baruch College graduate is the "head" and "heart" of Mitchell, Titus--the visionary, the guru. Thinking ahead as he always does, Mitchell believes that the firm is at a critical transition point.
"Over the next five years, we're going to have a good opportunity to broaden our business base," says Mitchell. He feels the hotly competitive market can help Mitchell, Titus gain stronger representation among Fortune 500 companies and increase its share of minority-owned businesses. With proper decision making, the firm's future opportunities could be as vast as the view from Mitchell's window.
Robert Titus, 53, chief operating officer of the firm's three offices, sees the opportunities as well. A disciplinarian with impeccable organizational and administrative skills, the Brooklyn native, who received his degree from Brooklyn...