Learn how Bill and Jennah Purk’s Focus on Retaining a Talented Staff and Providing Top-Notch Customer Service Led Them to Winning the Small Business Team of the Year Award
After 26 years, the accounting firm that Bill Purk and a colleague founded in 1983 had grown beyond Bill’s expectations. While the firm’s growth might sound ideal to most business owners, Bill and his wife, Jennah Purk, who was also a partner at the firm, saw many components that came along with growth as interruptions to what was important to them.
“We were two of 12 partners at our old firm,” says Jennah. “We spent a significant amount of time on administrative duties and in partner meetings. It was a distraction from our client service.”
Wanting to change the way they were doing business and depart from the usual accounting industry practices, the Purks left their longtime firm and founded Purk & Associates in May of 2009. Although 11 team members from their old firm were confident enough to join the Purks in their new venture, their initial goals were modest. “Our goals were to meet payroll and maintain our standard of living,” says Bill. “When we split, we thought our clients were coming, but you never know until it happens. We had about 97% come with us.”
With the majority of their clients in tow, the Purks were able to turn their focus to hiring practices. “The accounting industry largely mass-recruits and trains recent grads,” says Jennah. “This leads to high turnover in firms. We took a new approach with hiring by looking for experts – those with experience. We didn’t do any mass recruiting. We recruit for the individual.”
While finding the right individuals for their firm, the Purks made sure they were improving their employees’ quality of life and the environment in which they work.
“We wanted to focus on what’s important,” says Jennah. “We didn’t want to be worrying about imposing a dress code. Because we have an experienced team, many of whom were entrepreneurs, we don’t micromanage. They know how to dress and handle themselves.”
Having built and retained a team of experienced accountants and a strong company culture, the Purks were able to provide unparalleled expertise and proactive services to their clients.
Another team achievement is that Purk & Associates is a referral-based business, which all team members, not just the owners, contribute to. “Everyone is involved with business development because of the service level they provide,” says Bill. “And our customers’ businesses keep growing, so their growth is a growth opportunity for us too.”
The Purks were offered another reassurance from their employees when their twins were born in March of 2011. With newborns at home, Bill and Jennah were out of work into April of 2011, but their team didn’t miss a beat. “The proof was in the pudding there,” says Jennah. “It allowed our team to shine. It gave us a great reassurance that we had been doing the right thing.”
Today Purk & Associates has grown to 26 people and from $1.9 million to $4 million in revenue.
The Purks believe they will continue to rise above the competition with CPAs that average more than 15 years of experience and technology built for their business. “We have set ourselves apart from the technology perspective,” says Jennah. “Technology came up under our industry. Firms had to integrate technology into their existing businesses. We put our technology in place and built our firm around that. We are hosted instead of relying on servers all around the office. We can work anywhere we have an Internet connection. There’s no delay. And we can provide cloud-based solutions to our customers too.”
What stands out most to Ann Marie Mayuga, a partner at AMM Communications LLC and the Purks’ nominator, is the firm’s commitment to the region. “As a group, the Purk team continually looks for ways and opportunities to give back,” says Mayuga. “From encouraging employees to be involved in the passions of their hearts to seeking out entrepreneurs to advise and consult, their passion is evident.”
As the Purks look to continue providing careers, not just jobs, as well as service that’s a step above, they view the Small Business Team of the Year award as an affirmation of their hard work and a renewal of spirit. “I have been practicing for 22 years, and Bill has been a lot longer,” says Jennah. “It’s easy for us to get hung up on the consulting and compliance aspects of our business. This award gave us the opportunity to look at our firm as a business. Being singled out is remarkable.”
Submitted 9 years 33 days ago