Ashland's guys knew what they were doing before they got here and then they asked questions that took them in the right direction...they did not monopolize our time. They probably had 50 or 100 issues that they were looking for and when they showed up. It was very different from the big accounting firm approach. These guys are experts.
When the Ashland guys talk about tax issues that they've seen in a certain state, you put a little bit of weight to it. The difference between the Big 4 and Ashland is the depth of knowledge in a specific area. It's that experience that they bring to the table through retired auditors.
I would say that it definitely was worthwhile. I didn't believe there was anything left on the table to find, but these people found a lot more than I ever would have expected, and I think it's because they have senior folks from these departments of revenue. They come and do a targeted review and they know what to look for.
They were very specific. When they reported back to us, they had all the cites there, they had all the explanations and it was very well laid out. It was a very good process. They are very low key, not high pressure, and very knowledgeable. The guys they sent out knew what they were talking about. Good communicators.
The process was very clear. It was an excellent experience. How they work with the client is just fantastic. You don't have to reach out to the state to find out what's happening because sometimes that's just a black hole. They reach out and call the auditor and line everything out.
Ashland had a very deep and broad knowledge base that surprised me. The differentiator with Ashland that I found was that their guys worked in the state audit offices, and after working for the state for 30 some-odd years, they know the ins and outs of the state, and what the state will accept or not accept. Very specific targeted ideas.