Jeanie Price, Partner and Director of Administration at Gaithersburg, Maryland-based DeLeon and Stang, CPAs and advisors, recently was recognized as the top CPA firm administrator in the nation. Price, an Accredited Administrator in Accounting Practice Management (AAAPM), was announced as the recipient of the CPA Firm Management Association’s Ace Administrator Award at CPA FMA’s national conference in Baltimore in June.
Cornerstone of firm strategy and development
A champion of innovation and strategic planning, Jeanie was recognized for her outstanding contribution to her firm and the profession.
“Since her first day – September 30, 1991 – Jeanie has taken the lead on managing the day-to-day needs of the firm,” said DeLeon and Stang co-founder Richard Stang, CPA, ABV, PFS, in nominating Price for the award. He adds that having Jeanie oversee firm operations and engage in client development and business development has freed up his time and that of all the CPA partners at the firm so they can focus more on client service.
Talent development is valued at DeLeon and Stang, and Price has been a key part of that strategy. “Jeanie’s involvement on our learning and mentoring committee has been strategically significant to DeLeon & Stang this year,” says Stang, noting Price is a member of the AICPA’s Private Company Practice Section. He adds that she encourages everyone at the firm to teach as well as learn, beyond the required CPE. “She has driven the firm to make hiring decisions and create mentorships based on the longevity of the firm beyond the careers of its founding partners This has resulted in a robust, talented staff of accountants and administrative personnel who seek to carry on DeLeon & Stang’s vision and mission.”
One of the most valuable – and often scarce – commodities in our professional and personal lives is time. CPAs, CFOs and other professionals, feeling challenged just to ‘keep up’ in these fast-changing times, can sometimes put off planning for the future. Jeanie Price makes sure that doesn’t happen at her firm.
“Jeanie keeps the other partners moving forward even as we grow weary of taking time to meet about strategy instead of serving clients and working billable hours,” says Stang, who adds, “Because she takes time to orchestrate all of this, the firm has gained bigger clients and the talent pool has grown in size and breadth. This has led the firm to additional successes and led the firm into a phase of high growth that continues today.”
Price’s personal reflections
We asked Price, a MACPA member, what it felt like when she learned she was the ACE award winner. “How do you describe laughing and crying at the same time?” shares Price. “But really, I was overwhelmed and so appreciative of the support of my partners and our staff, and of course my husband and daughter, for getting me to this point in my career. And so grateful for the support of my fellow administrators in our CPAFMA DC Chapter that mentored and supported me.”
She believes her involvement in spearheading strategic planning at her firm played a role in her being recognized with the ACE award, in terms of her “keeping the partners and the firm thinking forward, growing and being open to new ideas that take us to the next level.”
Culture is also at the top of the list of things of what makes a firm successful, says Price. “Our firm has a strong culture, and Al DeLeon (a former MACPA Chairman) and Rich Stang, our founding partners, have always thought outside the box, hence the fact that they asked me, a non-CPA, to be a partner in the firm.”
Keeping up with the changing environment is also a priority at her firm. “One of the cool things we did last year was to get all our staff involved in the Anticipatory Organization program,” says Price, referring to the Anticipatory Organization-Accounting and Finance edition (AOAF), created by leading futurist and consultant Daniel Burrus, and customized for the accounting and finance professions with the MACPA and BLI. Price’s firm, DeLeon and Stang, was one of the first firms in the country to adopt AOAF training program. AOAF helps firms become future ready through a series of quick-study modules combined with interaction throughout the firm, and helps professionals recognize and leverage hard trends (such as changes in technology, demographics, and regulation) to their advantage, rather than being disrupted by those trends.
“Everyone on the staff participated in the AOAF program,” says Price, “which has allowed us all to share thoughts about the future and find ways for all of us to do our jobs better, think about better ways to anticipate the future and look for opportunities both within the firm and for our clients.” She adds, “ We’re developing teams to continue the discussions and further engage the staff. “
Top 3 tips
Lastly, we asked Price for her top 3 tips for firm administrators. Here’s what she said:
- Get involved with the CPAFMA, it’s a top notch organization with tons of resources for growing your firm. The networking with other firm administrators is also key; why re-invent the wheel! Get involved with the local chapter and the national organization.”
- Keep the lines of communication open with your firm’s partners, make them think outside the box, make sure they know all the things you do for your firms, don’t assume they know. Learn and grow, read the accounting blogs, and be open to change.
- Get to know the folks at your state society,” says Price. “For me, the MACPA, Tom Hood and his team have been awesome resources and great supporters of firm administrators. Our state societies know that we are the lifeblood of our firms and can often bend the ears of our managing partners.
We here at the MACPA and the Business Learning Institute heartily congratulate Price on winning the Ace award. See also Tom Hood’s related post in the BLI blog, The Four Essentials of a Future-Ready Firm.