IPA Profile: Aaron Swiggum, William Vaughan Company

Years in Business: 63

Main Office: Maumee, Ohio

Staff Size: 100

What is the single biggest challenge facing your firm right now?

Transitioning our revenue stream from compliance-driven services (audit and tax compliance) to advisory/consulting services.

Where do you expect to be focusing most of your attention in the next two to three years?

Continued efforts toward developing non-traditional service offerings, as well as overall firm growth.

What is the biggest and sometimes missed opportunity for your firm and/or the profession?

Investment in staff development to ensure effective succession of the firm to the next generations. William Vaughan Company has been able to capitalize on several recent acquisitions of firms that have not invested in a plan for succession.

What was the best advice you received as a young up-and-comer in the profession?

Own your career. From day one at William Vaughan Company, I was provided with the ability to own my career, and never felt micromanaged. Setting the tone for our team to feel this same level of ownership gives them the opportunity to thrive, but they must demonstrate the ability to own their career.

What’s the best advice you have ever received from another leader?

No two team members are created equally, so don’t create firmwide standards for everyone to perform similarly – especially as team members transition into firm management. Find the place where they can thrive, feel valued and provide the most value for the firm. Every career path is different.

What motivates you most as a leader?

Watching the team work together, develop and succeed in helping our family of clients to achieve better outcomes.

 How has your role as MP changed over the past five years?

Due to the growth of our firm over the past seven years, my focus on client work has been reduced substantially, and the majority of my time is focused on firm growth initiatives, client relationships and community relations.

What advice would you offer to someone entering the accounting profession today?

Get the CPA exam passed as expediently as possible. If you are not a strong communicator, find a way to improve. Also, invest early in development of relationships within the firm and in the community.

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?

We will see continued technology impacts that will result in fewer hours needed on compliance-related services and a shift toward more consulting/advisory services. We will also see growth in non-traditional CPA service offerings, such as IT, wealth management, CAS and M&A.

What is your proudest achievement?

Leading one of the best CPA firms in the country and providing an example for our team that family time and commitment is important. This profession is demanding and comes with sacrifice, but you must maintain a healthy balance because life is too short.


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