ConvergenceCoaching Announces the Graduates of Transformational Leadership Program

Tamera Lorerzel

ConvergenceCoaching has announced the 2017-18 Fall Transformational Leadership Program™ (TLP) graduating class.

“Leading the TLP participants in their leadership journey this past year is some of the most rewarding work we do at ConvergenceCoaching,” says Tamera Loerzel, partner at ConvergenceCoaching. “These TLP participants courageously developed new skills and behaviors to take their leadership to the next level, allowing them to take on new roles and responsibilities in their firms.”

Shannon McCain, senior manager at HoganTaylor, says, “I realized from my leadership assessments at the beginning of the Transformational Leadership Program (TLP) that I wasn’t always the most approachable leader. So, in my TLP journey, I set out to become the kind of leader that people say, ‘Yay! I get to work on a project with Shannon!’ ” The TLP has helped me enhance my communications and approach to others to move closer to the inspiring leader I aspire to be.”

Congratulations to the graduates of the fall 2017-2018 program:

  • Andrew Grice, manager, BerganKDV
  • Michael Chrichton, manager, Burdette Smith & Bish LLC
  • Kevin Hamaker, manager, Burdette Smith & Bish LLC
  • Jill Bosnjak, firm administrator, Echelbarger Himebaugh Tam & Co.
  • Jenny Hashley, senior tax manager, Echelbarger Himebaugh Tam & Co.
  • Gloria Zhao, principal, George Johnson & Company
  • Brian Ray, partner, Hertzbach & Company
  • Shannon McCain, senior tax manager, HoganTaylor
  • Ashley McAdams, partner, Horne
  • Jessica Gooch, shareholder, Huselton Morgan Maultsby
  • Kimberly Lyons, shareholder, Huselton Morgan Maultsby
  • Katie Davis, partner, James Moore & Co.
  • Stacy Joyner, partner, James Moore & Co.
  • Eric Troyer, shareholder, Kerkering Barberio & Co.
  • Mike Varner, partner, Kruggel Lawton CPAs
  • Alex Schaeffer, senior manager, Kruggel Lawton CPAs
  • Heather Lewis, director, Marvin and Company
  • Darrick Lamb, partner, Sallan Nemes Lyman & Strakovits
  • Karl Wolpert, tax manager, Weinstein Spira
  • Mike Lamb, principal, Wessel & Company
  • Chris Weir, principal, Wessel & Company

The Evolving Employee DNA

By: Tom Barry, Managing Partner, Green Hasson Janks

Tom Barry

DNA is the genetic code of organisms. The dictionary defines it as “the fundamental and distinctive characteristics or qualities of someone or something.”

What does this have to do with accounting? Is this article about science? Not exactly. It is about the science – and art – of identifying and understanding an accounting firm’s evolving “DNA,” or culture, as the foundation for a successful organization and thriving employees. We are exploring how the future of the industry is requiring us to examine how we hire, develop and nurture our talent.

The Future of Accounting

An accounting firm’s DNA had typically been based on a historical legacy, carried over from an era where the profession looked far different than today – and certainly not reflecting where the profession is headed. Accountants were essentially historians, who were paid to look back at books and records and identify issues and errors. Fast forward, the role of accountant has evolved to that of a trusted advisor, one who can accurately provide clients with insights to illuminate good decisions. But with the advancements of technology, big data and the pace of technology commerce, accountants need to be trusted futurists. As my predecessor, Leon Janks, stated well:

“It’s now our job as advisors to sort through this data, analyze and determine the best practices to help our clients reach their potential and grow their business. Businesses exist in a very dynamic environment and management needs to be agile in order to make changes and anticipate the future.”

There are three main factors related to the evolution of accounting firms: technology, generational differences and diversity of thought.

Accounting Firms and Technology DNA

The accounting profession is 7,000 years old. The AICPA was founded in 1887. We can rest assured that change and evolution of the profession has occurred more times that we can imagine. So how is today different? In a word: technology. Technology is considered to be an evolutionary process in that it evolves exponentially, known as Moore’s Law. Each generation of technology speeds up the subsequent generations’ advancements, which causes accelerating change. It does not just feel like the rate technology changes is accelerating, it actually is. Therefore the DNA of tomorrow requires accountants to be well versed in their “toolbox”: the computer, and the impact of technology.

The Generational Impact on DNA

Now that a majority of a firm’s employees are in different generations from its leaders, old rules do not apply. Your business, your clients and your talent continue to evolve, so staying ahead means keeping vigilant on evolving trends, client needs and talent needs. One trend to watch is generational differences. Younger workers want a reason to come to work. They want to feel that they matter, that their work matters and that they are contributing to something bigger than themselves.

In 2017, millennials (born 1981-1996) made up 38% of the nation’s workforce, more than any other generation.[1] Going forward, millennials will dominate the accounting industry, comprising 75% of employees by 2025.[2] Generation Z (born 1996-present) will continue the evolution. We hear some older generations complain about the needs of younger workers, but their needs are now the business’s needs, and leadership has an opportunity to create an environment in which employees understand their generational differences and work together effectively.

The DNA of the Diversity of Thought

Our industry’s client experience is evolving from compliance to an advisory mindset. This is a change that involves aligning ourselves with the client’s needs and helping them reach the right solutions. Making this change takes a new skill set, and recruiting the right talent becomes even more important.

Creating teams that bring diversity of thought increases the opportunity to deepen the client experience and cross-pollinate internal learning across different backgrounds and levels of business acumen.

We are in a war for talent, and the need for people with a consultative mentality makes it even more difficult. We can look at this as an opportunity rather than a challenge, however. Defining your firm’s DNA includes defining what type of employee you need and want.

Having a diverse team is key for creating a consultative approach and developing the ability to ask the right questions. When employees asks questions that come from understanding the client’s culture, strengths, challenges, best practices and industry sector, they are more effective as consultants and advisors and provide a more meaningful client experience.

At Green Hasson Janks, we seek people who are genuinely curious and ask insightful questions. Our candidates are collaborative and like working as part of a team. They are problem-solvers. Candidates who match our DNA are not always easy to find through traditional means, and a broader perspective makes sense.

One reason for the smaller candidate pool is that the unemployment rate for accountants and auditors was 2.0% in the second quarter of 2018, much lower than the 4.0% national unemployment rate, according to the latest quarterly report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).[3]

To find alternative talent pools that match a firm’s DNA, some are looking to individuals with disabilities, older workers, veterans, freelancers, apprenticeship programs, former employees or customers. Bringing in new types of employees adds diversity of thought and also can add new cultural or regional perspectives that can speed innovation.

Making talent acquisition changes based on your firm’s DNA also adds more roads to tomorrow’s success. For example, it has the potential for adding creativity and innovation to your business and the client experience. It has been proven that more diverse teams increase innovation and business outcomes. Innovative approaches and solutions may emerge through idea generation, teaming and collaboration. A wider range of people and thought may also lead to new product and service offerings that differentiate your firm and the client experience.

Where We Go From Here

To attract, develop and retain employees that are the right fit, a firm must be able to articulate its culture. Most can define somewhat random keywords (e.g., friendly, businesslike, conservative, liberal, technical, and specialized, etc.) but may not have an overarching definition that touches all aspects of the business. Agreeing on a definition is core to redefining a firm’s DNA. A culture is unique to every firm, and one size does not fit all.

We went through a yearlong process at Green Hasson Janks to define our culture in a way that reflected our values and could take us well into the future. We embraced the principles of Simon Sinek, who asks organizations to define “What is our Why?” The Why is our DNA. Each firm is different, with values that roll into their own unique Why. When those values are applied to behavior, the result is culture. Each individual also has their own Why, which is a filter through which they make choices, at work and at home, that lead to fulfillment.

With this in mind, we have been able to create a much more specific profile of the person that fits our DNA, our Why, our culture. A strong definition of the person we want in our organization streamlines the hiring process and aids in retaining and developing our talent as their careers unfold. That reduces HR cost and supports the employee’s happiness in working at our firm.

Employee DNA will continue to change, and accounting firm culture will continue to adapt and change to meet new worker and client needs. Firms that frequently define and redefine their DNA have an advantage.

Tom Barry is a CPA and Managing Partner at Green Hasson Janks, a Los Angeles accounting and consulting firm that specializes in nonprofit, food and beverage, health and wellness, and entertainment and media companies. Barry’s role is a combination of entrepreneur, partner, consultant, mentor and business advisor. He provides audit and accounting, tax and general business consulting services to clients in a variety of industries including waste management and recycling, manufacturing, distribution and the restaurant industry. He can be reached at tbarry@greenhassonjanks.com.

 

[1] https://www.accountingweb.com/practice/growth/millennials-now-make-up-largest-workforce-generation-in-us

[2] https://karbonhq.com/accountant-resources/articles/8-traits-of-millennials-that-will-benefit-your-accounting-firm

[3] https://www.roberthalf.com/blog/job-market/a-look-at-the-quarterly-accountant-unemployment-rate

RKL Wealth Management Announces Change in Leadership

Laurie M. Peer

RKL Wealth Management (RKL WM), a subsidiary of Lancaster, Pa.-based RKL LLP (FY17 net revenue of $67.9 million) today announced Laurie M. Peer has been named president. Peer succeeds Sarah Young Fisher, who led the firm since 2005. Fisher has assumed the role of president emeritus.

“We are grateful to Sarah for her leadership in evolving RKL Wealth Management into the respected investment advisory and financial planning firm it is today,” saus RKL CEO Edward W. Monborne. “Laurie has been an integral member of the RKL WM executive team and will continue to deliver the collaborative and highly personalized client experience that is a hallmark of RKL WM.”

In her new role, Peer will oversee firm operations, drive its growth strategy, lead the team of more than 20 professionals and continue to enhance the integration of client experience between RKL WM and RKL’s CPA and business advisory services. Peer previously served as the firm’s executive vice president and is also a partner of RKL LLP.

During Fisher’s 13-year tenure as president, RKL WM experienced tremendous growth, surpassing $1 billion in assets under management/advisement at the end of 2017. In her new role as president emeritus, Fisher will continue to serve the wealth management needs of her clients full time and also serve in an advisory capacity to the RKL WM team.

Three Earn Partnership Status at HBKS Wealth Advisors

Brittany Taylor

HBKS® Wealth Advisors, the wealth management division of Canfield, Ohio-based HBK (FY17 net revenue of $80 million), announced that three professionals have been named principals of the firm.

“We’re pleased to welcome these three great people into our principal Group,” says CEO and MP Christopher Allegretti. “They have worked effectively in their respective markets, demonstrating the entrepreneurial character so essential to our success, growing their businesses and furthering the HBKS® reputation. They are proactive, insightful professionals dedicated to our clients’ goals and mindful of their holistic financial circumstances and objectives.”

The new principals are Brittany Taylor, Brian Mallette and Tom Taranto.

Taylor helps her clients, mainly individuals in or near retirement and their families, preserve and grow wealth. She serves clients in many states from her office in Erie, Penn. Brittany started with the firm in 2001 and has helped many families and individuals through major life-changing events by providing guidance on how to move forward financially.

Mallette joined HBKS® in June of 2008. He has worked with team members Dan Baer and Brent Wauterlek on client relationships and asset management. His focus has been on the construction of customized asset allocations as well as portfolio analysis and risk management with the goal of delivering portfolios that meet each client’s unique needs. He also oversees the trade executions for the team. He works in the Naples, Fla., office.

Taranto has been with HBKS® since 2011. He has extensive experience working with high-net-worth families on comprehensive financial planning, estate planning, insurance planning and asset management services. He has worked with a wide array of clients, including institutional investors, major donors, small businesses and non-profit organizations. He has helped many clients capitalize on oil, gas and other energy-related investments in order to maximize the yield of their ventures.

Morrow Wins Boomer Consulting Award

Chris Morrow

Birmingham, Ala.-based Warren Averett (FY17 net revenue of $133.3 million) has announced the CIO Chris Morrow has been honored with the Bridging the Gap Firm Management award from Boomer Consulting.

This honor is awarded to someone who is not only a leader in a firm, but someone who has demonstrated effective efforts, through working with the firm’s IT group, to integrate IT strategy, IT leadership and IT resources with the firm’s vision, plans and goals.

“Technology continues transforming our world and the way that we conduct business, and utilizing technology to its full potential has been a great benefit to our firm,” Morrow says. “Technology is what I am passionate about. I’m fortunate to be in a position where I can pursue that passion while helping Warren Averett thrive.”

The firm announced that Morrow has championed several initiatives that have positioned Warren Averett as a leader in IT for the accounting industry, and that he helps establish firm-wide consensus about the value of technology within the firm and its operations.

Morrow led development of an app that is used to manage the flow of accounting projects. The workflow tool prevents deadlines from being missed and contributes to higher profit realization. The firm has also developed a custom client portal that streamlines information requests, delivery of sensitive data, and, soon, it will allow clients to electronically sign documents and tax returns.

“These awards showcase the individuals and firms that are leading the charge to link firm management, technology and talent,” says Sandra Wiley, president of Boomer Consulting. “To stay ahead of the curve and remain future-ready, firms must have the right leaders and players in place. It’s an honor to be able to recognize some of the brightest and most influential people in accounting.”

HHM CPAs Names New Chief Operating Officer

Pam Morris

Chattanooga, Tenn.-based HHM CPAs (FY17 net revenue of $24.4 million) announces the appointment of Pam Morris as chief operating officer, a new position within the firm.

Morris began her career at HHM in 2013 as partner and served in her role until 2015 when her passion for small businesses led her to co-found Freight Depot Accounting, an affiliate company of HHM. FDA launched in 2015 to provide startups, small to medium-size businesses, and nonprofits with professional accounting services.

As HHM’s COO, Morris will oversee daily operations and administrative processes of all departments including recruiting and service organization.

Donnie Hutcherson

Morris will set comprehensive goals to drive growth and continue improving client experiences while encouraging high performance and retention. Morris will continue her involvement with FDA, leaving the operations manager to oversee day-to-day processes.

“Pam has been a key member of HHM’s management team for many years,” says Donnie Hutcherson, HHM MP. “She has been vital in the success of the firm and will execute operations as we continue to grow. When I decided to fill the COO position, I realized the person who knew our firm well and had the qualifications we needed was already in the building.”

 

EisnerAmper Names Two New Leaders

Lori Reiner

New York-based EisnerAmper (FY18 net revenue of $360.7 million) announces that Lori Reiner is moving from her role as PIC of the firm’s Philadelphia office to the newly created role of chief people officer.

She will be responsible for designing and implementing cutting-edge human resource strategies to cultivate lifelong learning, personal and professional skill-building, respect, recognition, collegiality and collaboration – all hallmarks of EisnerAmper’s culture, the firm says.

Reiner has more than 30 years of leadership experience, including as a current member of the firm’s executive committee. “Our people are by far our greatest resource, so it’s tremendously exciting, as well as a great responsibility, being at the nexus of where staff development meets client service,” Reiner says.

In addition, Paul Dougherty was named PIC of the firm’s fast-growing Philadelphia office, where he will oversee the continued growth of the practice, engagement in the local community and talent acquisition. Dougherty, who was the national leader of the firm’s corporate tax group and created its health care consulting group, has more than 30 years of industry experience.

He is a former member of the firm’s executive committee. With the advent of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Dougherty took a leading role in the EisnerAmper team charged with creating communications and educational programming on the impact of the legislation on businesses and individuals.

“I welcome the chance to build upon Lori’s tremendous legacy at the Philadelphia office,” Dougherty says. “And I look forward to working with staff, clients, business leaders and local organizations in the greater Philadelphia area to continue EisnerAmper’s growth and its role as a valuable member of the community.”

“I can’t think of anyone better than Lori and Paul – each with their unique and varied skill sets – to disrupt the status quo and take a fresh approach to staff development and client service,” says EisnerAmper CEO Charly Weinstein.

Prager Metis CPAs Opens Bergen County Office

New York-based Prager Metis CPAs (FY17 net revenue of $82.5 million), ranked No. 56 on the 2018 IPA 100 list, announces the opening of a third office in New Jersey.

The Aug. 1 opening of the new Hackensack office was facilitated by Whitman Business Advisors. The firm also has offices in Basking Ridge and Cranbury.

“The Prager Metis presence in New Jersey continues to grow significantly,” says New Jersey Regional MP Lori Roth, “and opening a third location allows us to continue to provide excellent service to our existing and increasing client base. It also underscores our unwavering commitment to the diverse businesses and individuals throughout the state. We are excited to expand our footprint into Bergen County and extend our presence throughout northern New Jersey.”

The firm will welcome a number of new team members, including partners and principals. Ronald Friedlander will serve as OMP. The firm is also expanding service lines and industry expertise, including public companies, litigation support and international engagements.

“Prager Metis strives to be the ‘go-to’ firm in New Jersey, and our increased expertise in these particular areas strengthens that reputation and brings us one step closer to that ultimate goal,” Roth says. The firm prepared a video announcement.

Grant Thornton Names New Houston Office MP

Georgene Britz

Chicago-based Grant Thornton (FY17 net revenue of $1.75 billion) has named Georgene Britz as Houston OMP.

“Georgene has had an impressive career at Grant Thornton – one during which she has worked successfully across multiple industries, including financial services, hospitality, construction and health care,” says Wally Gruenes, a Grant Thornton regional MP. “She brings remarkable leadership qualities and a great passion for recruiting young people to accounting. We know her industry acumen and significant experience in audit engagements will foster continued success for our clients.”

Assuming the role from Michael Bennett, who recently retired from Grant Thornton, Britz will focus on client service, growth and talent development in the fourth largest marketplace in the United States. During her time at the firm, Britz has assisted clients with M&A work, IPOs, equity security and debt offerings, and SEC filings. For the past three years, she also served as the firm’s audit practice leader in Houston.

EY Appoints New MP for the New York Office

Herb Engert

EY today announced the appointment of Herb Engert as the new MP of the New York office.

Engert, who recently led the firm’s Global Private Equity practice, will now be responsible for the overall client service and internal management at one of the region’s largest professional services organizations. The New York area offices are home to over 9,000 assurance, tax, transaction and consulting professionals.

“I am honored to be named the managing partner of the firm’s largest U.S. office, and eager to drive the continued expansion of the EY footprint in New York,” says Engert. “EY has supported me both personally and professionally throughout my career at the firm, and I’m looking forward to giving back by enhancing our already outstanding client service in the New York area.”

In this role, Engert will bring over 28 years of experience to guide market growth, regional strategy, people engagement, client services and operations in New York. As the firm continues to bolster its presence in the region, with the recent announcement of the move of its U.S. headquarters to a new office at 1 Manhattan West, Engert will oversee the current flagship location at 5 Times Square as well as the new location.

“Our firm will be going through some exciting, transformative changes in the next couple of years, and I’m thrilled to be a part of the change, and help bring innovative solutions to our ever-expanding client base,” says Engert.

Rich Jeanneret, Vice Chair and Northeast Region MP, says, “We are very excited to welcome Herb to the Northeast region’s leadership team. With his market tenacity, forward-looking approach, and ability to unite people and create communities, we are keen to see the positive impact he will serve in accelerating the office’s growth and culture.”

Engert will assume the role held by Mark Besca, who will work in EY Americas Assurance focusing on accounts and with the Professional Practice Quality and Regulatory Matters (PPQRM) group.