June 20, 2013

State of the Firm – Taking It on the Road

State of the Firm – Taking It on the Road

Over the last month or so, I’ve traveled to Marcum’s six operating U.S. regions to conduct State of the Firm meetings – our version of town hall gatherings for all of our employees. Joining me on this road trip were Greg Giugliano, our firmwide Partner-in-Charge of Assurance Services, and Joe Perry, our firmwide Partner-in-Charge of Tax Services. Greg, Joe & I were able to interact with virtually everyone in every U.S. location who works for Marcum LLP or one of our affiliated companies.

For me especially, this was a tremendous experience. When I started at Marcum 32 years ago, it was a much different place. There were six people in the Firm at the time; I was number seven. And then we started to grow. By 1995, we were a 40-person, one-office firm located on Long Island, NY. In 1996, we opened a second office in New York City and continued to grow the business. We remained a two-office firm until 2008, with about 500 people, when we expanded into New Jersey. Up to that point – and I’m not exaggerating when I say this – I knew the majority, if not everyone, by their first names. Then came South Florida, Philadelphia, New England and California. Today, we are 1,200 strong in 16 domestic and five international markets. And I must admit, I no longer know everyone personally, and many don’t have firsthand knowledge of me either. A lot of Marcum people know only what goes on within the four walls where they work each day. This is one of the challenges of growth. Through no fault of their own, a lot of people on the expanding Marcum team haven’t been able to develop a clear sense of the Firm as a whole, who we are, what we do and where we are headed.

So back in January, our HR group, with which I meet twice a year, asked me to go on the road, to visit all of our domestic regions and help spread the Marcum gospel. We started in front of 150 people at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut for our New England region on May 7, and finished yesterday in front of 450 people at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. The reaction around the country couldn’t have been better. For me, it was a real opportunity to get out in front of everyone who works for Marcum and to connect with the entire Firm. These 1,200 people are more than just names on an employee census or payroll run. They are the ones who determine whether or not our clients feel about us the way that we feel about ourselves.

Part of what we were able to accomplish with the State of the Firm roadshow was to conduct an employee survey during each of the meetings to find out if people like working at Marcum, to see if they feel properly compensated, to determine if they think our benefits are competitive or not, and whether they envision a future at Marcum. Since the survey was both real-time and anonymous, we received candid replies which were instantaneously displayed on large screens for the entire room. It was a valuable and insightful exercise. In some respects, it confirmed our expectations, and naturally there were some surprises as well. I have to say I was gratified that the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. But for better or worse, we now have data from each of our regions that we can compare and leverage to determine what we’re doing right or not, and where. It will help make for a better Marcum going forward.

The best part of all was getting to interact firsthand with most of the 1,200 people who make up the Marcum team. I would venture to say that there is no longer anyone in the Firm who doesn’t know the Managing Partner, or what makes Marcum Marcum, or where Marcum is headed and what it’s going to take to get us there. Leadership may start from the top, but those still on their way up are the leaders of tomorrow. They are part of the mission, and I am honored and privileged to work with them, to know that they are the future of the Firm, and to have each of them know that I am their biggest fan.

Go team!