Spotlight on Andy Armanino, CPA


AccountingWeb Profile
Andy Armanino, CPA
Partner
Armanino McKenna LLP

Retention Methods are the Name of the Game at this San Francisco Firm

Andy ArmaninoArmanino McKenna has a simple, yet rock-solid firm philosophy: recruit good people and treat them well. End of statement. End of discussion.

That’s all there is to it, according to Partner Andy Armanino, who at the age of 29, was the youngest member ever to become a partner. His spirit, hard work and continuous homage to the firm mantra has helped put Armanino McKenna on the map to become the 11th largest accounting firm in the San Francisco Bay Area.

One of the reasons for growth is the firm’s benefits program, and lately, the firm has gotten a bit of press coverage for its mortgage lending program, a benefit for newly hired managers and current employees promoted to managers. The firm will pay up to $50,000 on a down payment for a primary residence, and expect the loan to be paid back—with very favorable terms—through annual bonuses and other methods.

When asked what happens to the payment of the loan should someone leave the firm, Armanino is candid to say that they are encouraged this won’t happen.

"The program is designed to keep and attract people to our firm," he says. "If someone wants to leave, the loan will be due and payable; they’re going to have to refinance at higher rates or get a good signing bonus with the next employer."

Before anyone begins to think this has the makings of the next John Grisham thriller, Armanino is quick to say that the real crux of the benefits program is to keep people from leaving his firm for greener pastures, and the trend right now is to go work in the dotcom world — so immensely popular in Northern California and so attractive to firm professionals for various reasons.

"The competition for our people isn’t other accounting firms – it’s the high-tech world," he says. "This is based on our geographic location, but hopefully, we have put into place a positive and rewarding working environment, and a benefits program that will retain employees for the long haul."

The firm, too, has had to change with the times. He explains that going to work for a dotcom is based on aspects more than just financial gain.

"We have many clients in high-tech, so when our staff goes into one of these offices, they say it’s so neat because of the atmosphere, but the bottom line is that people are getting taken care of, and it truly is a different feel than a stuffy accounting firm," says Armanino. "We’re certainly not stuffy, but we’ve adopted a stance that enables us to maintain better retention of staff than the industry average by implementing various approaches."

One of the ways this happens is what he calls the "pre-emptive" method. A typical firm has monthly partner meetings in which voting members meet and make decisions. Staff hears about these decision after the fact, which doesn’t bode well in boosting morale. "At our meetings, managers are included and there is a real feeling of inclusion and empowerment. In the past five years, for example, we’ve only lost five people in audit, which equates to only 15-20 percent of our staff over a five-year period."

Based on data collected from the U.S. Department of Labor, Armanino's tenure rate seems to be less than the national average, where most professionals in the professional services arena stay about four years with their employer. Armanino says the firm wants to continue remaining ahead of the curve, and remaining on the cutting edge of what accounting firms offer to clients and to its staff.

"If our staff is energized, they are going to sell more work, and people are going to be happier. It’s just a fact of life."

Contact Armanino at andy@amllp.com. For more information on the loan program visit Armanino McKenna LLP.

===============================
Each week AccountingWEB will spotlight one individual or firm or organization that has made a unique contribution to the field of accounting. We encourage all of our members to recommend firms or individuals or organizations for consideration as a Spotlight focus. Recipients of this recognition will receive a press release they can send to colleagues, associations, local media, etc, and an official AccountingWEB Spotlight icon which can be placed on their own web site for a direct link to the feature story. Send recommendations to Gail Perry at gperry@accountingweb.com, and enjoy our newest addition!

You may like these other stories...

By Deanna C. White Indiana CPAs who want to learn about hot topics, financial news, best practices, and other pressing issues affecting the accounting profession have a new tool at their disposal.  On February...
To say that James Doty has had a lot on his plate during his first six weeks as chairman of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) would be an understatement. Jason Bramwell reports. "I would like to...
Realizing the full benefits and rewards of being a Certified Public Accountant comes when the CPA is involved with the profession and its future, said Conrad Davis, newly appointed chairman of the California Society of CPAs....

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Jul 31
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom helps beginners get up to speed in Microsoft Excel. However, even experienced Excel users will learn some new tricks, particularly when David discusses under-utilized aspects of Excel.
Aug 5
This webcast will focus on accounting and disclosure policies for various types of consolidations and business combinations.
Aug 20
In this session we'll review best practices for how to generate interest in your firm’s services.
Aug 21
Meet budgets and client expectations using project management skills geared toward the unique challenges faced by CPAs. Kristen Rampe will share how knowing the keys to structuring and executing a successful project can make the difference between success and repeated failures.