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SPECIAL REPORT: Small Company Specialist Grows With Clients

Managing Partner, TWHC, Burbank Years at firm: 23 Residence: Sherman Oaks What is your firm’s primary specialty? We are a multi-disciplined, full-service firm that serves many small businesses and high net-worth individuals, but also specialize in providing a full suite of services to financial institutions. In addition, we provide IT consulting services that help improve network security for financial institutions, hospitals and other large organizations. Who are your typical clients? Our clients include financial institutions, hospitals, hardworking businessmen and women, and individuals from all walks of life. Can you name some? On the financial institution side, we work with a large number of credit unions. Chances are that if you can think of one, we have at some point done work for them or are currently working with them. How did your firm establish its specialty? We started with the vision to serve financial institutions, small businesses and individuals and stayed the course over 28 years. You have to commit to the industry you specialize in and make valuable contributions to it. It’s like a tree; the more you take care of it, the more fruit it will bear. Has your firm expanded beyond traditional accounting services? As our clients grow, so do their needs. For our larger clients we provide compliance services and IT security audits. The service offering continues to grow. We spend a lot of resources on training and research, and this is what drives our continuous evolution. Does the firm have additional expansion plans? Yes, we continue to evolve as our clients evolve and have been lucky enough to grow during times where most other firms experienced a decline. Much of our expansion is and has been organic, although we have made a few strategic acquisitions over the years. What is tax time like at your firm? It’s a time for bonding and teamwork. While we have overtime, we try to balance it so that it is sustainable. We are very aware of the staff’s temperature and we treat it as a marathon, not a sprint. We make sure not to over-extend our staff, which motivates them to be productive and give their best effort. What is one change you would make if there was substantial tax reform? That’s a tough question to answer briefly. I will have to pass on that, mostly because I don’t think the SFVBJ would give me an extra three pages to present an answer on this topic. If history is a benchmark, there could be substantial technical reforms that may require having to invest heavily in training to keep up with the updates and alert our clients for immediate tax planning so they can react accordingly. How has accounting changed during your career? The profession has improved financial reporting and implemented fair value reporting on various components of the balance sheet. The industry is working to converge U.S. standards with International standards. Technology has also transformed the field with programs that assist with reporting and by governing internal controls through access restrictions. When I started all of these were in their infancy. How do you recruit new partners? We do this through internal training and talent acquisition (or the hiring of new people). How do you recruit young accountants? We find that recruiting from colleges is the best way to acquire young talent with promise. What was the best day of your career? The day I made partner. What was the worst day of your career? The day I made partner. Is there something personal your colleagues don’t know about you? There is not much they don’t know. You can’t keep much from your colleagues and remain successful. You have to be open and transparent. Although if really pushed for an answer, sometimes I pretend to be asleep on the couch so my wife does not make me help with the dishes. What career advice do you like to give? Do what makes you happy. Don’t follow money; don’t follow the crowd. Follow your heart. – Jacquelyn Ryan

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