MARCH 31, 2015 -- In 2014, Kruggel Lawton served as the first CPA firm to complete a new advisory services program offered by the Indiana CPA Society's CPA Center of Excellence®. The program involves a hands-on approach to helping CPA firms manage complexity, develop strategic management processes, identify gaps within critical skills, and enable more effective teamwork.
"Internally we named it the 'KLarity Project' - KL for Kruggel Lawton," explained Managing Partner Barry Hall, CPA, CGMA. "It helped us rethink our business processes and clarify our values, mission, vision, and standards that we want to operate under.”
A cross section of firm staff at all levels was formed into a group called the Frontier Team and empowered with equal input throughout the process. The team jointly outlined a decision-making framework, policies, core competencies, and a long-term strategic plan that will enable growth and stability for the future. It also established a culture of trust and transparency throughout the firm.
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. We had struggled to do that,” Hall added. The project helped develop a culture that the future of the firm is in the hands of the managers and aspiring partners.
“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, CPA, CGMA, 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.”
The Indiana CPA Society produced a video titled “The Kruggel Lawton Story – The Transformation of One CPA Firm.” It tells the story of the project through the words of members of the Frontier Team.
Advisory services were conducted by David Griffths, Ph.D., a Welsh knowledge management expert who has served as the knowledge management and complexity advisor to the Indiana CPA Society (INCPAS) since 2011. The CPA Center of Excellence® was created through the work of more than 100 INCPAS members under Griffiths’ guidance and direction. The Center is built on the foundation of advancing the CPA profession’s critical success skills, and offers a variety of tools, resources and creative educational opportunities to improve those competencies in order to meet future client, employer and environmental needs and demands. It emphasizes a competency-based learning model and intelligent collaboration.