The Indiana CPA Society’s CPA Center for Excellence has steered its first CPA firm through its new advisory services program.

The CPA Center of Excellence's advisory services involve a hands-on approach to helping firms manage complexity, examine their values and culture, develop strategic management processes, identify gaps within the critical success skills, and enable more effective teamwork, group learning and transparency amongst all staff. The 12-month program includes an online collaborative workspace for firm staff.

The first CPA firm to complete the advisory services program was Kruggel Lawton CPA, a midsize CPA firm with offices in South Bend and Elkhart, Ind. The firm has a staff of more than 50, including eight partners and is the largest locally owned CPA firm in its region.

The firm called the effort the KLarity Project (KL standing for Kruggel Lawton) and formed what it called the Frontier Team, a cross-section of firm staff at all levels who redefined the firm's values, standards, goals, decision-making, policies and processes that will enable growth and stability for the firm in the future.

"The project helped us rethink our business processes and clarify our values, mission, vision and standards that we want to operate under," said managing partner Barry Hall in a statement.

The advisory services were conducted by David Griffiths, a Welsh knowledge management expert who has served as the knowledge management and complexity advisor to the Indiana CPA Society since 2011.

With several Kruggel Lawton partners approaching retirement, one of the firm's biggest challenges was succession planning. "Our hope was to perpetuate the firm and develop our partners internally,” said Hall. “We had struggled to do that.”

The project helped develop a culture that allowed for better succession planning among partners and managers.

"As business owners, you get so involved in the day-to-day of taking care of your customers or clients, you become less efficient if you are not able to spread the responsibility around," said Kevin Kruggel, a partner in the firm. "Creating a safe-to-fail environment where we can trust our people based on the processes we've put in place to make appropriate decisions will end up yielding great benefits."

An Indiana CPA Society-produced video, "The Kruggel Lawton Story—The Transformation of One CPA Firm," tells the story of the project. The video is available on the INCPAS YouTube channel.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access