In this issue: Spring 2020

Supplemental

Accountancy Town Hall Answers, ‘Why Denver?’

townhall

Colorado natives have long known the appeal of the Mile High City—from our majestic mountains and year-round sunshine, to our numerous parks, breweries and options for outdoor recreation.

But for the companies that relocate their businesses—and hundreds to thousands of employees—to Denver, several key selling points stand out.

On Oct. 2, 2019, the School of Accountancy at Daniels hosted its eighth annual Accountancy Town Hall to discuss Denver’s appeal as a business hub. Daniels and community attendees gathered for the panel discussion among four financial executives from companies that recently moved their headquarters or major operations to metro Denver.

Those panelists were Kent Clark, senior vice president, brokerage product services at Charles Schwab; Rick Seidlitz, vice president and corporate controller for Arrow; Scott Roe, vice president and chief financial officer of VF Corporation; and Randy Lynch, senior vice president, finance, treasurer and corporate development at Maxar.

J.J. Ament, chief executive officer of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, moderated the panel. The executives’ reasons for moving their companies and staff to Denver fell into
four main categories:

  1. Central location with proximity to stakeholders on both coasts
  2. Availability of quality talent and easy recruitment for relocation
  3. Outdoor, active Rocky Mountain lifestyle
  4. Alignment of Denver’s culture and diversity with brand values

Ament asked about the role of state and local tax incentives in panelists’ decisions to choose Denver, explaining to the audience that Colorado offers modest, performance-based corporate incentives that don’t put taxpayers at risk. All four panelists agreed that while incentives helped cover the added expenses of moving facilities and rebuilding a talent base, they weren’t the primary reason they chose Colorado.

Truth in Accounting sponsored the town hall. The nonpartisan nonprofit helps governments produce financial report cards that are easy to understand. In 2019, Denver received a “C” letter grade for fiscal health while Colorado received a “D.” Truth in Accounting’s report cites the city’s and state’s shortfalls of $1.1 billion and $14.5 billion, respectively, for the grades (most of the debt is due to unfunded retirement obligations).

Panelists also urged the city to increase affordable housing options close to where employees work, and to continue expanding public transportation to combat the challenges that come with Denver’s skyrocketing popularity.

Despite the negative balance sheets and competition from states like Texas, Florida and Washington, which offer lower taxes and costs of living, Denver is a place where employees want to live and work. Retaining good talent helps sustain companies’ bottom lines.

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