A good accountant is hard to find

People want to join a growing organization, something directors Mark Goldfarb and Bob Littman keep in mind as they work to attract new employees to SS&G Financial Services and retain the ones they have.

Since 2000, the number of employees at the firm’s four offices in Ohio offices and one in Kentucky has grown from 235 to 283, and revenue firmwide has increased 60 percent over the last five years in its four business units.

In spite of the demand for accountants due to the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the limited supply of CPAs in the marketplace, SS&G’s Akron office has grown so much that last fall, the firm relocated 30 employees to a new building on property adjacent to its Springside Drive office.

“We moved over our health care consulting business,” Littman says. “It really provided an opportunity for our health care business to grow, as well as the accounting firm to grow by giving us additional space.” SS&G has added nearly 400 clients in the past year, and having the best available talent to service them is key to successful growth. Goldfarb and Littman grow the company through four main avenues, starting with encouraging employees to find a niche that adds value to the firm’s services. Goldfarb says in today’s financial world, no one person alone can service a company well due to the wide array of technical specialties.

“To really give a company superior client service, you need to have a group of professionals that have different expertise working together as a team,” Goldfarb says.

To keep employees on board, SS&G works to accommodate them as their interests change. Goldfarb cites the example of a long-time employee who worked in one technical area of the firm and wanted to move into another technical area.

“He was a very valuable employee,” Goldfarb says. “We wanted to work with him, and we transitioned him out of one area into another area. Hopefully, in the end, it’ll be a win-win because we’ve got a happy, loyal employee, and he’s doing something that really is more of his passion now.”

SS&G also retains employees by offering incentives. Goldfarb says his firm was one of the first in the country to implement an employee stock ownership plan. And employees appreciate flexible schedules and the opportunity for additional days off in the summer. The firm also offers a financial incentive to employees who bring other people into the firm.

To attract employees, SS&G’s internal human resource department uses professional recruiters and runs ads in The Wall Street Journal online.

“We are taking a multidimensional approach like we do with a lot of things. We are networking like heck with everyone that we know,” Goldfarb says. “We really want to cover all the bases in terms of trying to find employees.”

Growing the firm into the future is another challenge. SS&G works with Ohio’s universities to hire eight to 10 interns each year. The internships give students a taste of the business world, and Littman says the company evaluate each intern to determine if he or she is a good fit with SS&G. Many receive job offers upon graduation and are able to hit the ground running.

“Bob, the other two senior partners in the firm and I have been together now as a group working very synergistically for close to 20 years,” Goldfarb says. “You don’t find that in a lot of companies, and I really do think one of the strengths of this organization is the leadership and the vision that we all share.

“We always want to surround ourselves with the best people we can find. We have a very aggressive marketing culture that starts right here at the top.”

HOW TO REACH: SS&G Financial Services, (330) 668-9696 or http://www.ssandg.com