IPA Profile: John Kirsch, Kirsch CPA Group

Years in Business: 32

Headquarters: Hamilton, Ohio

Staff Size: 48

Net Revenue: $8 million

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

The demand for services continues to stretch our capacity to recruit new team members. Related to this is the training needed for new graduates to get to a point of competence and confidence.

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

Developing the next generation of firm leaders.

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

Not truly focusing on forward-looking advisory services. Many firms hold themselves out as doing this type of work, but very few actually execute. It is definitely a challenging set of services to offer, but it can be extremely rewarding. Too many firms continue to focus on compliance work because it’s in their comfort zone.

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

Don’t be afraid to look at the world differently – very few people do and, accordingly, that space won’t be crowded. You’ll have some interesting experiences and meet some interesting people on the journey.

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

It is a fabulous profession from many perspectives – a wide variety of challenging work, exposure to a variety of businesses and service areas, and the opportunity for economic reward. That said, there is a lot to learn in the first year. Stick with it.

What motivates you most as a leader?

Seeing others develop and grow is the greatest satisfaction I get as a leader. This applies to both our team and our clients. I have had the pleasure of meeting some exceptionally smart, creative and caring people in both categories.

 How has your role as a leader at the firm changed since you first stepped into the CEO position?

Our organization began as a firm of one, so I have experienced all the transitions required to grow to a firm of 50. My focus now is on working with our leadership team to develop an organizational structure to support a doubling of our size and developing the next two generations of firm leaders.

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?

There are nearly limitless opportunities for the accounting profession to help businesses in an advisory capacity. My hope is that new entrants into the profession will capitalize on technology to automate many recurring accounting tasks, allowing them to be open to more advisory opportunities.

What is a book you’d recommend to other leaders?

True Professionalism by David Maister. I first picked it up when it was published 30 years ago, and I read a couple of chapters every month. It is every bit as relevant today as it was when first published.

What is your proudest achievement?

Being married to my wife Kim for 35 years and raising four children who are successful and fantastic human beings.


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