Employee satisfaction

More than 40 years ago, with a shared desire to be entrepreneurs, college friends Jim Kaufman and Jay Rossin decided to start their own CPA firm.

Today, Kaufman, Rossin & Co. has grown to nearly 200 employees and is South Florida’s largest independent accounting firm.

With offices in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton and the Cayman Islands, Kaufman, Rossin & Co. caters to clients throughout the United States and internationally. Recently, the firm was named the 2005 Business of the Year and the Best Place to Work by a local publication.

“I think our innovations, technology, lack of employee turnover and internal growth all really contributed to that award,” says Kaufman, managing principal.

In addition, the company has been on Inside Public Accounting‘s “Best of the Best” list for the past eight years.

Although Kaufman, Rossin & Co. has been steadily successful in its 42 years of business, the company has gone through a growth spurt in the past few years as its revenue increased from $25.2 million in 2002 to 34.9 million in 2004.

Smart Business spoke with Kaufman about the challenges of running a fast-growing company and how he maintains a positive work environment as the firm grows.

How did your company grow from two employees to 200 without any mergers or acquisitions?

We were in the right place at the right time, and I think it was consistency and looking out for our people. All these companies say they do that, but we actually demonstrate it in a way that has attracted and retained great talent over the years.

Kaufman, Rossin & Co. was recently named the Best Place to Work in South Florida. How do you make the company a great place to work?

We have the same philosophy now as we did when we were a really small company. Just five or six years ago, we were about half of our size. We do put our employees first. We trust them. We give them a lot of freedom. We provide them with security. We think it benefits our clients.

That contest was really an employee questionnaire driven by an independent site. Some 140 of our employees responded. We had the highest rating of any of the companies who entered.

I was surprised myself, frankly. Again, I think it has to do with consistency. Also, when you’re together with people a long time, you know each other. So I think integrity might have had a lot to do with it, too.

How do you create a positive corporate culture?

Our expansion gives people a lot of opportunity to grow and learn. We put a lot of emphasis on education and training. We put a lot of emphasis on the environment. We have a gym. We emphasize individual health and fitness. And we are competitive and we pay well.

As time goes on, it becomes very apparent that the workplace really has a special opportunity to improve the quality of life for your employees and your clients.

What has been the biggest challenge with such rapid growth?

One challenge is really retaining the culture and the values as we expand. We have had to add many new people over the past couple of years, which has made that difficult. That’s the biggest challenge.

But the biggest obstacle we have is the difficulty of finding people in this environment.

How do you do it?

We do a number of things. We do everything from innovative outreach to just spreading the word. We have an edge because we are prominently known for winning these awards and young people in the profession come to know us.

People tend to be motivated to come talk to us after looking at our Web site. We are still in a tight market. There are also a lot of changes going on in the profession. It has been very challenging.

What are your goals for the future?

We would like to try to continue to improve the productivity and value of each individual so we can continue to grow without necessarily increasing employees. We want to improve productivity per person so that we can do more with our same resources. Then everybody prospers.

How will you increase your employees’ productivity and value?

Training, education, technology and stability are all the things it takes to achieve that.

HOW TO REACH: Kaufman, Rossin & Co., (305) 858-5600 or www.krco-cpa.com

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