Prager Metis CPAs has a new headquarters that is out of this world

Prager Metis CPAs has a new headquarters that is out of this world

By   –  Senior Reporter, The Playbook
March 10, 2022

Accounting and advisory firm Prager Metis CPAs has a new headquarters that is out of this world — literally.

The firm has hundreds of employees and more than 100 partners and principals spread across 24 offices around the world, but it’s newest headquarters exists solely in the so-called “metaverse” — part of a concerted effort by the company to push into new areas and offer clients the best possible advice on emerging technology.

The metaverse — a growing collection of interconnected virtual reality and digital platforms with online personas, real estate and businesses — is a new frontier for the company, which has traditionally served clients in entertainment, music and the art world, said Jerry Eitel, Prager Metis’ chief metaverse officer and partner emeritus at the firm.

The new location is in the digital world of “Decentraland,” where users can buy virtual plots of land and other items as non-fungible tokens (digital items or images with ownership verified on a blockchain) through its MANA cryptocurrency. Prager Metis purchased its own land for its new virtual headquarters, which it finished in March with a grand opening expected in April, Eitel said.

“To understand the space, you have to be in it. There is no other way,” Eitel said, adding it was the only way to truly advise clients on the ins and outs of the rapidly-evolving digital ecosystem. “We help artists get into the space and we help with branding, and we basically learned so much because we are involved in it. It’s helped our business tremendously.”

Prager Metis purchased the digital land in December and hired House of Tang and metaverse architect Tangpoko to design and build a three-floor structure that it will share with its affiliate Banquet LLC, specializes in strategic planning, marketing and branding in the metaverse. The first floor consists of an open floor plan that doubles as a gallery space for client NFTs, the second floor will be meeting spaces and conference rooms, while the third floor will be an events and live entertainment space. An avatar can answer visitor questions as well, Eitel said.

What it won’t be is just a digital version of a traditional office.

“We are not going to have little guys with visors doing bookkeeping In this office, that I can assure you. It’s definitely a bit of marketing, but that’s not the purpose. It really is to build our own community,” Eitel said. “You used to have a website. But now it’s not necessarily a website, instead you develop a community in the virtual world.”

That community will eventually also include a discord server, essentially an online series of chat rooms organized around a specific topic or group of topics, in which people can discuss the complexities of accounting for blockchain, or working with cryptocurrency and its taxation. Or how NFTs are taxed, Eitel said.

Ultimately, the firm’s foray into Decentraland and the metaverse is much like opening an office in a new country, he added. The metaverse is here to stay, Eitel said, as brands large and small look to establish their own presence.

“You have to keep evolving with the times. Otherwise, even the biggest businesses just go the way of the dinosaurs,” Eitel said.

He said the firm has been approached by liquor companies looking to offer virtual items tied to real-world drinks and even a lumber company that has expressed interested in its own metaverse presence. Decentraland continues to see its own parallel business community too, with its own fashion week and retail presences, Eitel said.

So how much will it cost to get into the metaverse?

“I think the answer might be fairly cheap for some. The marketing power goes a long way,” Eitel said. “For very little. I think you can do a lot.”

Prager Metis didn’t disclose how much the company paid for its metaverse HQ. A search shows some parcels ranging from $10,000 up to the millions.

Meta Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) the parent company of Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg made headlines when he introduced his vision for a “metaverse” and even changed the company’s name to reflect what he thought was the future of interpersonal interaction. Some companies are already betting hundreds of millions of dollars on virtual real estate. Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL) subsidiary company Youtube is floating the idea of watching gaming events in the metaverse.

But experts say the metaverse should be approached with caution, and small-business owners need to be savvy about it. 

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