• Heather Robinson, Marketing Manager

Moving in the right direction – as a team! – with strategic planning and accountability.

Client Spotlight: Elliott Friedman, Managing Partner, Friedman + Huey

Firm Name: Friedman + Huey

Location: Homewood, IL

# of Offices: 3

# of Partners: 14

# of Employees: 68

Moving in the right direction – as a team! – with strategic planning and accountability.

Shifting demographics and transformative technologies are driving major change in the accounting profession, requiring firms to set priorities, focus energy and resources and ensure all members of the team are working toward a common goal.

Elliott Friedman, Managing Partner of Friedman + Huey, realized his firm could use some help in getting his team rowing in the same direction. While the firm was enjoying a high level of success, Friedman recognized that they were functioning more like a collection of individuals than as a team.

“We were very cognizant of needing to work toward the future,” Friedman says. “Several of us recognized while sitting in Sandra Wiley’s class at Synergy that we understood what was needed for forward-thinking, but we weren’t necessarily all thinking forward.”

It was that realization that led the firm to engage Sandra Wiley of Boomer Consulting, Inc. for Strategic Planning and Visioning. The strategic planning process started well before Wiley facilitated a two-day planning session. Friedman worked to get buy-in from all 14 partners that they needed a strategic plan, as well as a commitment to be honest with Wiley.

During the sessions with Wiley, Friedman says all partners were extremely blunt about potential minefields – which partner might be less connected to the team, who might have trouble accepting constructive criticism or react negatively to a particular issue – so Wiley could anticipate and navigate potential hurdles.

“If you don’t do that, you’re delaying the process considerably,” Friedman says. “You won’t get there as fast as you could if you are committed to owning up to where the wounds are. She had our confidence to use that information in an appropriate way as opposed to making it a list of complaints.”

At the end of the two-day process, everyone committed to taking certain steps and, more importantly, everyone did them. Friedman credits Wiley for not only getting the commitment but getting everyone moving forward right away.

Some of the actions the firm has taken since that session include:

  • Formalizing the management structure of the partnership

  • Implementing a better firm-wide communication plan

  • Developing a new marketing plan

  • Creating a technology committee

  • Rethinking how they’re using existing technologies

“Everything is happening that’s supposed to be happening,” Friedman says. “If you’d have told me two months ago that all of this would be done on time, I’d have told you you’re nuts.”

Ongoing accountability after the initial session was key to ensuring the firm kept moving in the right direction. It was made clear to everyone involved that they couldn’t make excuses due to vacations, client emergencies, tax estimates, etc. They all understand they’re committed to meeting their goals.

“What we basically have now is 14 partners who are all looking forward instead of a handful looking forward and the rest on the sidelines,” Friedman says.

Get to know Elliott

Elliott Friedman was born and raised in Chicago, IL. He formed Friedman + Huey in 1985 with one partner and one administrative person.

Friedman considers himself a theater aficionado. He is also a part owner of a boys’ sports camp, and during the summer he runs softball, volleyball, basketball, football and tennis competitions during the last week of the camp each year.

Does your firm need clarity and understanding so you can focus on the right objectives at the right time?

The Boomer Strategic Planning & Visioning process helps firms develop a clear, one-page strategic plan or strategic vision that will lead to a high-performing, engaged firm focused on your most critical business objectives. Complete an interest form today, and one of our Solutions Advisors will reach out to schedule a short call to discuss how your firm can benefit from to get your entire firm rowing in the same direction.

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