Leading Partner, Maxwell Locke & Ritter LLP (a 2020 IPA Best of the Best firm)
Years in Business: 30 as MLR, but with roots that date back to the 1960s
Main Office: Austin, Texas
Staff Size: 145
What is the single biggest challenge facing your firm right now? Managing growth. We have tripled in size since I joined the firm in 2004. We must continue hiring quality team members to keep pace with our revenue growth, ensuring that our people remain balanced while our clients remain completely satisfied. Additionally, even with 145 people, our people love that our team feels like a family, so it is important that we keep that feeling at the firm regardless of our headcount.
Where do you expect to be focusing most of your attention in the next two to three years? Internally, we’ll be working on our partner succession plan and ensuring that we have appropriate bench strength across the firm. Externally, we need to continue to build relationships in the greater Austin community and promote the firm’s brand.
For decades, the profession has encouraged a move toward partners delivering advisory services beyond compliance. What has been your biggest success in this endeavor? We have had tremendous success with our wealth management practice, and we continue to grow our due diligence and IT security and compliance areas as well.
What’s the best advice you have ever received from another leader? To listen.
What one piece of advice do you wish someone told you before you stepped into your current leadership role? I think I was told, but I wish someone would have more strongly emphasized that you cannot always make everyone happy.
What has been the biggest surprise in your role as CEO? No major surprises…yet.
How has your leadership role changed over the past five years? I don’t think my role has changed much. The pandemic and a snowstorm/blizzard that shut down Austin for a week in February have certainly made the last 15 months interesting. But we have an amazing firm with great leaders. I am simply here to assist and support them and make sure that we have what we need to continue to take care of our people and our clients.
What advice would you offer to someone entering the accounting profession today? It is a great professional avenue that can lead to many, many opportunities.
How do you stay on top of the profession? I’m active in our firm’s network affiliation, CPAmerica, the AICPA G400 and the University of Texas accounting department advisory council.
Where do you see the accounting profession in five years? How do you see it changing/developing and/or how would you like it to change? More regulation is on the way, technology will continue to be the key to increased efficiency and effectiveness, and remote work will be more prevalent than ever before.
What is your proudest achievement? I am very proud of the history, tradition and culture that our firm holds in the central Texas region. The firm has been built on doing three things well – providing exceptional client service, building and fostering deep and long-lasting relationships, and being an active and involved member of our community.
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