“One Firm” and continuous improvement make everyone’s jobs easier!
Client Spotlight - Tom Luken
Firm Name: Sikich LLP
Location: Naperville, IL
# of Offices: 21
# of Partners: 106
# of Employees: 750+
Rank of Firm: 31
Thomas Luken, Partner and Chief Operating Officer of Sikich LLP, has more experience with Lean Six Sigma than your average accountant. Back when he was heading up the tax practice for Kolb+Co, he worked with Dustin Hostetler on a Lean Process Improvement for their business tax returns.
That project resulted in a 9% throughput increase for business returns, realizations improving by 10-15%, the elimination of two copiers , reducing their paper costs by 75%, and the firm was down three FTEs from normal attrition earlier in the year. With those results they were able to get more output as a result of better processes.
After that success, the firm tried to do a Lean project over the Audit department on their own, but soon realized the truth in the old adage, “you need a consultant to tell you what you already know.” They brought Hostetler back to help with that project as well. Then they used what they’d learned from the business tax returns to implement Lean for individual returns, their time and billing and proposal processes.
Kolb+Co merged into Sikich in 2013. Two months later, Jim Sikich asked Luken to take on the COO role. With 20 offices around the country, the firm has been working toward being “one firm,” implementing standardized processes and software to make everyone’s jobs easier.
Last year, Luken engaged Hostetler once again to do a Lean Process Improvement Project for their business tax returns and audit department for Sikich as a whole. This year, they took the continuous improvement mindset to heart and did refreshers for both, as well as Lean projects for individual tax returns and client accounting services.
Luken notes that with so many offices, implementing firm-wide change comes with some challenges, but he says having a few detractors is actually a good thing. “If you manage to win them over,” he says, “you’ve managed to answer your why. They’ll become your biggest proponents.”
Get to know Tom
Luken has been married to his wife, Dawn, for more than 35 years and jokes that she deserves a Saint title for putting up with the challenges of his profession all these years. They have four grown children and one grandchild on the way.
Luken played competitive basketball and hardball until the age of 45, but a knee replacement means he’s now a spectator. He enjoys golf and boating and hopes to spend more time at his home in Marco Island, Florida in retirement.
Boomer Flowtivity Process
Your firm combines people, knowledge, software and hardware to produce a product - audits, tax returns, financial statements and payrolls every day. Are your processes efficient and consistent? Do they produce the same results with the same amount of work every time?
The Flowtivity Process can help you find and eliminate inefficiencies in your firm’s processes by applying Lean Six Sigma to eliminate non-value added steps, improving the flow of work, and building quality into every process. The result? You’ll maximize the value of your work and improve your bottom line.