Spotlight On: Rick Slater, Managing Principal – Palm Beach & Broward, Kaufman Rossin

Spotlight On: Rick Slater, Managing Principal – Palm Beach & Broward, Kaufman Rossin

2022-10-18T16:21:58-04:00October 18th, 2022|Accounting, Palm Beach, Professional Services, Spotlight On|

2 min read October 2022 Palm Beach County’s economic diversity continues to serve as a solid launching pad for professional services firms. Rick Slater, managing principal for Palm Beach and Broward at Kaufman Rossin, spoke with Invest: and shared why he believes South Florida deserves to be dubbed ‘Wall Street South’.

How would you characterize the growth of Palm Beach County in recent years?

Palm Beach County has been the No. 1 county in the state for growth in both people and net income over the past several years, and we don’t see that slowing down. The media is referring to West Palm Beach as Wall Street South due to all the investment firms moving to the area – many from New York. And the pandemic was an impetus for growth in some family-owned companies, broadening their reach.

This growth has sparked office openings by large accounting firms from outside the state, but they can’t come close to Kaufman Rossin’s position in the market. We have roots in South Florida and we’re embedded in the local community. From our firm’s perspective, we continue to have a good, strong growth rate of organic growth in Palm Beach and globally. We continue to see increases in production and in revenue, not just for our firm but for our clients, and we are excited about continuing to grow with Palm Beach. 

Are there any industries that stand out in Palm Beach from your standpoint? 

Real estate, manufacturing and distribution, and investment firms and funds are our Top 3 standout industries here. While the growth in real estate and investment firms has been well-documented in the media, the increase in the manufacturing and distribution industry is exciting and less reported. The dynamism of manufacturing in the area relates to the significant supply chain issues that have continued across the world. We have seen a ramp up in production and certainly in the distribution of products, not just in the United States but worldwide.

What global and national risks are you watching over the next 12 months?

After 60 years of helping clients navigate the dynamic business climate of South Florida, we have an eye for risks and have developed practice specialties to help mitigate them. 

For high-net-worth clients, for example, we’re helping them understand the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act, which granted $80 billion to the Internal Revenue Service over the next decade, aimed at funding stepped-up enforcement. These enforcement efforts will not target small businesses or the middle class; they will likely result in more audits and overall IRS scrutiny of high-net-worth individuals. 

Other risks we’re concerned about include supply chain risk, more regulatory obligations and operational risk in banking, and changing regulations and risk controls in the investments industry. And of course, cyber risk is everywhere, and it’s continuing to grow.

What are the advantages and challenges of doing business in Palm Beach County?

The climate is a starting point, of course, for the attraction of talent and businesses that make Palm Beach and all of South Florida ripe for continued growth and expansion. That helps our business and our clients’ business. One challenge for us is the growing competition we face, as firms from other markets discover the South Florida we’ve known for 60 years. It’s good to have competitors to shine against. They are challenged to match us as we continue the evolution and expansion of our services to meet clients’ needs. 

What is your take on the ongoing M&A activity within Palm Beach County’s professional services space?

We will continue to see activity in that arena, although it is moderating somewhat. During the pandemic, firms were wondering if they could make it through or not. If they were able to make it through, did they want to deal with something like that again? We found out during the pandemic that some firms were really ready, while others were not. Infrastructure, technology and innovation and the right culture are key to professional firms during highly adverse times. 

What is your outlook for Palm Beach over the next three to five years?

We are excited about Palm Beach and the way it is growing. Our firm’s initiatives put us in the sweet spot to continue to grow with the market. These include our people-centric focus, collaboration in our offices, and the development of our future leaders.  

Perhaps most important is our continued investment in diversity. We have been deeply immersed in diversity initiatives since 2015. Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council just launched a new sponsorship program for our women executives to give them a better path to success and leadership in our firm. We have also established Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to keep employee engagement at an all-time high, including groups for women, black employees, and LGBTQ+ employees. We are proud of these efforts and we are convinced they will add to the vibrancy and the culture of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade. 

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