Identifying strategic objectives that lead to firm growth!
Firm Name: Baldwin CPAs
Location: Richmond, KY
# of Offices: 5
# of Partners: 12
# of Employees: 47
The year was 1984, and Alan Long had just been laid off from his first job in public accounting. Being the entrepreneurial sort, rather than turn to the help wanted ads, Long started his own practice in the spare bedroom of his rented condo. A year later, he purchased the oldest firm in Richmond, Kentucky. Today, Baldwin CPAs is also the largest firm in Richmond, and one of the largest in the state.
That growth did not happen by accident. In 2007, Long ran into Gary Boomer at a training session for presidents of local CPA societies. Familiar with Boomer’s experience in helping firms with strategic planning, Long asked for help. With Boomer’s help, Baldwin CPAs worked through their first strategic planning session in January of 2008.
One of the objectives of that first strategic plan was to open an office in Lexington. They finally realized this goal when they merged with a Lexington firm in November of 2016. Long notes that, although it took eight years to achieve that particular goal, their strategic plan provided a roadmap. Baldwin CPAs may have deviated from the roadmap when new opportunities for acquisitions in Maysville, Louisville and Flemingsburg came up, but that roadmap ensured they never lost sight of their goals.
The firm continues to go through the strategic planning process annually. Long credits Boomer with giving them the courage to do things they needed to do to realize the growth they’ve achieved, including raising fees. Now, they’re considering getting rid of timesheets and moving to value billing.
Advice for young professionals
Long has two pieces of advice for young professionals today. First, don’t take every client who walks through the door. Long said when he started out on his own, he took on small, aggravating clients by telling himself that their fees would pay the electric bill this month. Over the years, he’s had to weed those clients out, and Long believes keeping those clients held him back.
Second, get involved in professional organizations early in your career. Long waited to get involved and feels he missed out on some huge opportunities. Today, he receives many referrals from “competitor” firms for work that they don’t do. He credits those referrals to being known and trusted by other members of his local society. “If you’re doing the job you should be doing, you don’t need to worry about your clients leaving.”
Get to know Alan
Long has been married to his wife, Teresa for twenty years. They have two kids and one seven-year-old grandchild, who he spends time with every weekend. Outside of work, he enjoys fishing and attending basketball and football games at his alma mater, Eastern Kentucky University.
-- Boomer Strategic Planning
The Boomer Strategic Planning process will help identify your firm’s objectives and set a path for growth. We provide partners and management with the tools to identify dangers, opportunities and strengths while offering instruction on integrating strategic, technology and marketing plans.
We will estimate potential costs relative to long-term value and provide direction as you shape a vision and strategy to maximize the return on your firm’s technology investments utilizing a robust yet simple one-page strategic plan. Our Strategic Plan offers direction for your firm’s most vital growth initiatives. Don’t move ahead without it!