Growing Together: A Year In Review
To our clients and friends of the firm,
It’s hard to believe that another year has passed and we’re standing at the beginning of a new decade. As we reflect upon 2019 accomplishments, like all of you, we’re also preparing for a new “roaring 20s”, where we expect the pace of change will only steepen.
Technology, automation, and efficiency are top of mind as we look to 2020 and beyond. When I entered public accounting, I never would have guessed that I’d be writing about robots, but one of Johnson Lambert’s most exciting projects in 2019 was implementing our first robotic process application (RPA) tool. Currently, we’re using it for internal processes and operations, but we’re strategizing other ways we can use the RPA tool to drive efficiencies in the delivery of our services. Additionally, we’ve completed numerous projects to better manage information and data that have touched nearly every element of our practice – from HR to marketing to finance. While it feels clichéd to even say it these days, technology and innovation are key to the success of our organization and our clients’ organizations, so our focus on continually improving our processes, operations, and services will remain sharp.
Perhaps a less flashy topic but of equal importance, our audit practice embarked on phase one of an efficiency, workflow, and automation project in 2019. We evaluated our entire process to ensure that we have the optimal workflows, tools, templates, and training for our audit teams to deliver more efficient audits while never compromising our high-quality standards. We have rolled out the first round of improvements to our approach with hands-on and thorough training for our teams, and the feedback so far has been excellent. In 2020, we will continue investing time and resources on the workflow and automation elements of this project.
As we close out 2019, all of our practices had strong years. We have seen continued growth of the firm, which comes in large part thanks to you, our valued clients and friends, and also thanks to our Johnson Lambert team who work hard to serve our clients and who contribute toward the constant progression of our firm. Evidencing the professional development and growth of the team, we proudly announced 35 promotions, and we welcomed three professionals to the partnership in 2019: Allan Autry, Lane Miller, and Lauren Williams.
Another way our firm progressed in 2019 was through joining DFK International/USA, an association of independent public accounting and consulting firms with offices throughout the United States. The association is affiliated with DFK International, with over 300 offices in 80 countries. As a firm, we push ourselves to always be on the cutting edge of developments and trends that affect our services and our clients. In that pursuit, we enthusiastically joined DFK International/USA to further develop our network of bright, innovative, and diverse professionals with whom we can challenge the status quo, exchange ideas, and share knowledge and expertise. Thus far, our independent membership has proven valuable, and we are pleased to have more resources we can call upon to enhance our services to our clients.
I hope you noticed the words “independent membership” above. In the frenzied M&A climate that permeates our industry, we remain steadfast and committed to our independence, our business plan, and our culture. The most important tenets of our culture are SERVICE to our clients, to our profession, and to our communities; RESPECT of our clients, of each member of our team, of our competitors, of our profession, and of ourselves; and GROWTH of the firm, of our practices and niches, of our clients’ successes, of individuals and careers, and of relationships. Yes, growth is in there, but it is strategic growth that benefits our clients and the industries we serve. We were founded on the idea of being deeply rooted in the select industries we serve, and we continue to believe that adds real value to our clients. And so, it is as important today, at the dawn of this new decade, as it was 33+ years ago when Debbie Lambert co-founded this firm.
Which brings me to the most bittersweet of news to share. After more than 33 years with our firm, Debbie Lambert will enter retirement in Summer 2020. While it would be impossible to even begin to explain the legacy of Debbie, we did our best to honor and celebrate her at our most recent Partner Meeting. Many stories, memories, and toasts were shared, and I hope that if you know Debbie, you are smiling as you read this, thinking about a great memory or even a friendly, inspiring, or knowledge-filled conversation you had with her. We are very thankful for all Debbie has done for the firm, for our clients, for the profession, and for all of us as individuals who have been mentored or inspired by her work, her vision, and her unbelievable passion. We are also thankful she’s agreed to stay for one more busy season!
I’m sure Debbie will have that bittersweet feeling at the conclusion of her final busy season, too, but we know she’ll be happily enjoying the best things in life: family, friends, golf, skiing, and travel. She’ll leave us to handle the next chapter of this prospering, evolving, and even award-winning firm. (That’s right, award-winning! In 2019 alone, we received three prestigious awards specific to the industries and communities we serve.)
Our awards and achievements are certainly sources of pride for us, but our greatest sources of pride are our partnerships with our clients and the development of our people. Johnson Lambert continues to make me and all of my fellow partners proud, and it has been wonderful this past year to hear great client success stories or ways we’ve been able to help our clients through challenges.
Hoping everyone’s successes continue, I wish you a prosperous, rewarding, healthy, and happy new year – and decade – ahead.
Managing Partner, Johnson Lambert LLP