IPA Spotlight On … Bruce Zicari

Name: Bruce Zicari

Firm: The Bonadio Group

Title: OMP, Rochester, N.Y., Small Business Advisory Practice Leader, Management Committee Member, Board of Directors Member, CEO-Elect

Accomplishments:

Bruce Zicari

Bruce Zicari

  • Specialist in special project consulting, strategic planning, financing, mergers and acquisitions, and business valuations
  • Past Chair, Wilmot Cancer Institute; Past President, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council; President, Nancy & Friends Fighting Cancer Inc.; Board Member, Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
  • Rochester Business Journal Forty Under 40 Honoree
  • Bachelor of Science in accounting, Syracuse University
  • Harvard University Executive Education Program—Leading Professional Service Firms

You’ve been elected to serve as CEO, but not until 2019. Why was the leadership transition announced so far in advance, and what role will you be playing over the next few years?

Advance planning is one of the hallmarks of our firm. Preparation is critical in a transition such as this one – especially when we’re talking about replacing a founding partner of 40 years. We know that people inside and outside the firm take comfort in knowing that we have a well thought-out plan. My role until May 2019 will be to maintain my leadership roles in the firm while Tom continues to transition more of his responsibilities to me.

What goals have you set for yourself during the transition, and what is the biggest challenge you think you might face during this period?

It’s a balancing act of three challenges. While I will continue to maintain several key client relationships, I need to continue to move the majority of my client relationships to others in the firm, and that’s difficult at times because some clients I’ve had my whole career, and they’ve become close friends. I need to spend time with my partners across the firm to understand their goals, challenges and opportunities, while our CEO Tom Bonadio and I work together with our management committee to run the firm and ease the transition along. It’s also important that I put in some time to think strategically about the three- to five-year horizon for our firm and the profession.

Taking over for a founding partner is no easy task, especially since Tom Bonadio will not be retiring. How do your leadership styles differ?

Tom has done a masterful job building this firm, and he is extremely well respected here and throughout the profession. He is very outgoing and gregarious, and I’m a bit more reserved, but even though our personalities may differ, our leadership styles and views of the future are similar. We both believe that we must continue to grow, innovate and provide opportunities for the many great people that make up the Bonadio team.

Tom Bonadio has already said he envisions you remaining as CEO for 15 or 20 years. Can you make any predictions on what the accounting profession will look like at that time?

The accounting profession will change more in the next five to 10 years than it has in the past 30. It’s all about how technology will be applied to what we do – from tax and audit to consulting. How we and our clients use big data will change our capabilities, and a wide range of technology advancements will alter how we deliver services to clients. It’s definitely an exciting time to be in this business, no matter where you are in your career.

Final thoughts?

I look at the situation that I’m inheriting over the next couple of years, and I realize that I need to work hard every day to earn the trust of our partners, employees and clients. There is constant change and innovation that is required in our business, which makes things very challenging and exciting. I love this business and our firm and wouldn’t have it any other way. I suppose for a while I will be the new CEO, but I want to quickly get to be the leader who productively builds on the great firm and foundation that Tom Bonadio started, and along with so many people, worked so hard to build.

Do you know someone else who would make a good Spotlight? Contact Christina Camara.