Meet Yelena Epova, Leader of Aprio’s International Practice
August 24, 2022
Welcome to Aprio’s International Spotlight series, which gives you an opportunity to learn more about our international leaders and team members’ expertise, the businesses they serve and the challenges they overcome for clients. For the second segment of our series, we sat down with Yelena Epova, the founder and leader of Aprio’s International Practice.
Thanks for sitting down with us, Yelena! How much has Aprio’s International Practice grown in recent years? Are there any notable trends you’re seeing?
Yelena: I joined Aprio more than 30 years ago as the firm’s first foreign-born employee. I am proud to say that since then, our practice has grown to over 350 international team members who speak more than 35 different languages and serve more than 1,500 multinational clients. The global practice’s revenue accounts for 30% of Aprio’s total revenue. Our practice focuses on numerous countries, with team members readily available to serve clients who speak in their native language. In addition to serving international inbound clients in all 50 US states, we serve US companies doing business abroad in over 50 countries.
Aprio’s International Practice has consistently grown 20% on an annual basis in terms of revenue. We expected to see a downturn in our growth during the pandemic, particularly due to travel restrictions and mandates that could inhibit certain aspects of our business — however, that was not the case.
One of the biggest trends that has gained traction in our space over the past few years has been the advent of remote work. In the past, corporations would need to recruit internationally and hire professionals from other countries to do business across borders. But post-pandemic, our clients are hiring employees who can work from anywhere, which has helped facilitate more growth and innovation. The composition of the work we do for clients has changed due to the pandemic, but companies have adapted to those changes, and in turn, we have adapted our services to better meet clients’ evolving needs.
The percentage of companies embracing globalization has also increased significantly in recent years. When we onboard clients who tell us their market is purely domestic, we know it is only a matter of time before they go global to expand their reach and workforce.
Due to this rapid globalization, global mobility has become a more significant client need. We are proud to have a robust Global Mobility Practice that minimizes tax risks for companies and individuals. Our dedicated Global Mobility team provides the expertise you would expect from a large global provider, delivered with personalized service and senior-level attention. It has been exciting to see how the various different areas of our International Practice have grown in response to trends and our clients’ needs.
What is unique about Aprio’s International Practice?
Yelena: Our people make our practice what it is. Not only do we have several partners who are foreign-born, but we also have several women in leadership positions. Our focus on diversity is appealing for many of our clients because we are able to pair them with professionals who come from similar cultural backgrounds. It’s this, coupled with our deep technical expertise, that makes us unique in the marketplace. Aside from cultural and language similarities, we also have a breadth and depth of services that clients can’t find at many firms in our space. We are proud to have a wide range of diverse consulting offerings that give our clients a level of specialized and personalized expertise that is unparalleled in the industry. We know how to create solutions and provide services that are efficient, minimize risk and maximize benefits for our clients. We are proud to have a robust Global Mobility practice that minimizes tax risks for companies and individuals.
Aprio is truly a one-stop shop for every service an international business needs to operate across borders and grow successfully.
What attracts inbound and outbound companies to Aprio?
Yelena: Aside from our expertise, cultural background and language proficiencies, we also have a strong reputation in the industry and in the international business community. Many of our referrals come from existing clients who have been happy with their experience at Aprio and want to spread the word. We routinely introduce our clients to strategic partners with whom they can collaborate and strive toward future goals. What’s more, our team is connected to other reputable service providers who are working in the same space and who make similar types of transactions or come from the same countries as our clients. This is an invaluable benefit and a reason why clients continually choose Aprio as their preferred CPA and business advisory partner.
What types of clients and industries does Aprio’s International Practice serve?
Yelena: We serve international inbound and outbound companies, all the way from the startup phase through the exit phase. In fact, we work with many serial entrepreneurs who have successful exits and then start new international businesses.
The majority of our clients come from the technology, manufacturing and distribution (M&D), pharmaceutical, biotech, life sciences, professional services and real estate industries. We often see industry consistencies in certain countries — for example, many of our M&D clients come from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Denmark, and many of our technology clients come from the United Kingdom. We are proud to serve clients all over the globe and to support them in achieving their goals for growth and expansion. With our cultural background and service offerings, the value Aprio provides is unmatched in the industry.
About the Author
Yelena is the partner-in-charge of Aprio’s International Services practice. She specializes in advising domestic and international companies on international tax issues and tax planning strategies regarding inbound and outbound operations. She also assists clients with domestic tax issues by providing tax planning and compliance services.