After 14 years as managing partner of what became the largest regional CPA firm based in New England, Carl Johnson has established CRJ Consulting to share his knowledge and lessons learned with small to mid-size CPA and professional service firms and closely held businesses.
What Carl enjoyed best about his years as managing partner was the shared future vision his partners embraced. The firm’s growth was organic, planned and opportunistic, including key lateral hiring, acquisition of major practice groups, and mergers with seven geographically diverse firms. Ongoing strategies included a strong focus on the client, vigilance in quality control, firm visibility building, and business development activities in key markets. The firm grew from a $14M practice with about 100 employees in one office, to a $72M business with 430 employees across three states and six offices.
Carl received his dual degree in accounting and management from Susquehanna University and spent two years in a local corporation before joining Blum Shapiro in 1984. Focusing on his audit practice, he primarily served middle market, privately held companies, many in the construction industry. Through his efforts, this became one of the fastest-growing of the firm’s specialized service areas. In his early years with the firm, he also observed a major generational transition from the original founding partners to a new generation of accountants and firm leadership. He was elected to partnership in the mid-1990’s, moved into the newly created position of Chief Operating Officer in 2000 taking the reigns as Managing Partner in 2002.
From 2002 to 2015, significant growth was accomplished through strategy and vision, while always following the firm’s mission and staying true to its ethical and quality values. Along the way, Carl led the building of a sophisticated infrastructure to support the firm’s accountants including technology, human resources, marketing, and finance. Focus on the client, quality control, firm profitability, and positive employee culture was emphasized. Hallmarks of the firm were recruitment and retention of top talent, mentoring and training of employees, along with an emphasis of utilizing people’s strengths and creation of a team or “we” culture.