Client Spotlight: Dennis Sherrin
Firm Name: Hartmann, Blackmon & Kilgore
Location: Fairhope, AL
# of Offices:4
# of Partners: 5
# of Employees: 60
For Dennis Sherrin, Managing Shareholder of Hartmann, Blackmon & Kilgore, it’s all about progress, not perfection. Seven years ago, firm leaders recognized they had an issue with employee engagement and wanted to improve training and development. Each year, the firm would compete for Best Companies to Work for in Alabama, but they were never honored and, unfortunately, weren’t receiving very good feedback.
Recognizing that something needed to change, Sherrin turned to Gary Boomer for strategic planning and joined the Boomer Managing Partner Circle (formerly CEO Advantage).
As a result, the firm began changing the way it does things, moving from a pyramid to a flatter style of management. Now, HB&K makes it into the Top Five Best Companies to Work for in Alabama every year.
And while such recognition is nice, it’s hardly the only benefit Sherrin says the firm has realized over the years. He can hear and feel the difference in the day-to-day discussions he has with employees who have been with the firm through the changes. “We’ve come a long way, and now they feel like they are a part of where we’re going, “ Sherrin says.
Sherrin also says he loves being around the group of visionaries in the Managing Partner Circle. “They’re a group that tells you what you need to hear, challenges and supports you and shares resources,” he says. Recently, the HR Director from another member firm gave a presentation on flex time policies to the group. HB&K already had a flex time policy, but Sherrin recognized it was not as formal as it needed to be. After the meeting, Sherrin returned to HB&K with fantastic resources to take back to the firm.
Another new project HB&K is excited about is Project 40, a goal to transform how professionals work in a public accounting firm. Instead of “overtime, overtime, overtime,” they are questioning how they work during busy season. This most recent busy season was their first year using Project 40, and they were able to reduce overtime by 18%, giving employees their time back while still providing excellent service to clients. The firm recognizes that 40-hour work weeks may not be possible during the busy season, “but progress toward that goal is fun,” Sherrin says.
Get to know Dennis
Sherrin grew up in Fairhope, Alabama and has two sons, Kyle and Kody. When this Alabama native isn’t working, he’s “required” to love college football. He also enjoys hiking, backpacking and enjoying fine dining in New Orleans.
Sherrin’s wife, Amy, works for the local humane society and they are what Sherrin laughingly refers to as “failed fosters” with three dogs and two cats as permanent members of the family.
He became interested in accounting in high school when he found out the father of one of his friends was a CPA. “I heard his dad was making $75 an hour, and this was in the 70’s,” he says. “Of course, I later realized that was his billing rate, not his pay rate.” Despite that realization, Sherrin has stayed in the profession because he loves the relationships he builds with his clients.
The Boomer Managing Partner Circle
The Boomer Managing Partner Circle is a community of MPs who act as a collaborative think tank to challenge, encourage and propel each other to a higher level of success. These hand-selected groups are limited to 15 members with no competitive overlap. Members are dedicated to improving firm performance and personal leadership and management skills.