By: Max Crampton-Thomas
2 min read May 2020 — In a crowded accounting and consulting services marketplace, it can be hard to differentiate from the masses. Kenneth Rosenfield, managing partner of Rosenfield & Company PLLC, is accomplishing this by putting a greater investment into his people and by creating a culture that is strong enough to be listed among the “Best Places to Work” for CPA firms last year. He also speaks to his firm’s adaptability as being key to navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, and while most businesses have seen a major slowdown in activity, his firm is experiencing an influx of demand as it works to process SBA loans for its clients.
How is the Orlando market conducive to your firm’s success?
Orlando’s economy has been doing really well and has been a great place to work. The workforce is plentiful and the universities here are fantastic. We are lucky to have access to the largest university in Florida, which has been really great for recruiting to our firm. UCF has been fantastic to work with. The manufacturing industry, which is one of our core industries, has been doing really well in Orlando as well. A lot of people have the perception that Orlando is Disney World, but that is actually the third-largest industry in this region behind healthcare and manufacturing. We are big in the automotive retail industry, and Central Florida is the third-largest automotive market in the country. We have a variety of car dealerships in Orlando, including some of the largest in the country, which are all clients of ours, and is one reason our headquarters is located in Orlando. The automotive retail sector is usually the first to go into a recession and the first to come out of it.
In searching for a new office space, what have you identified in regard to vacancies in the Downtown area?
Downtown is challenged due to the consolidation of space. There are a lot of vacancies in Downtown Orlando. A lot of this is caused by banks and law firms downsizing in that area. I’m not sure what the exact cause is because everybody seems to be doing well. I believe this could be because the thought process has changed. Everyone used to want a big office, but now everyone is going more toward a collaborative workspace, which takes up a lot less space. That has created a big hole in the market and it has caused the rate per square foot to come down. So much space is now available.
How do you remain competitive with firms of your size and the larger national firms?
We compete with the big national firms for staff and clientele. We have to offer the same level and more creative types of compensation while also offering a completely different work atmosphere that those firms don’t supply. We also have to be different from all the firms our size and price competitive with the large firms. Ultimately, this leads us to making a greater investment in our people. We don’t have the “grind them up and chew them out” environment that the big firms have. We also have made the investment with the local colleges to acquire the best available interns. We have to maintain a really great intern program that allows them to do exciting things and also receive practical work experience. If you don’t provide that environment, you won’t get to participate in that talent pool. Having a great work environment leads to more productivity and ability to serve our clients better. We are really proud to have won, Best Places to Work for CPA firms last year. We also invested heavy into technology over the years, and we are much more efficient than our competitors in serving our clients.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your operations?
Today, we are extremely inundated with processing SBA loans for our clients. Other people had also heard about us doing this, so if they are big enough we have algorithms to figure out the best method to accomplish this. We then put together loan packages and submit them to the banks. We have already completed over 150 of them and these are big SBA loans valued at over half a million dollars, at least. Tax filings were pushed back, so we are still working on those but not as much as we are working on these SBA loans. We also do SEC work, so we have a lot of quarterly and annual filings coming up that we are still working on. Our audit team is very busy. We are going to see a lot of merger and acquisition activity in the coming months, which we are also proficient at.
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