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The Corner Office: Brian Baratz, CPA

by Editorial Staff--South Jersey Biz

Brian Baratz, CPA
Founding Partner, Baratz & Associates, P.A.
Brian Baratz founded his eponymous accounting and consulting firm in 1982, starting with its origins of just four accountants and growing it over time to a total of 38 employees. Today, Baratz & Associates represents a full spectrum of the business world from individual proprietors to publicly traded corporations, always maintaining the firm’s mission to be “large enough to provide clients with a diversity of services, yet small enough to care.”

South Jersey Biz spoke with Baratz about what has led to his company’s success, as well as his best business advice and what he enjoys most about his days; plus a lighthearted glimpse into what life as a grandfather is like in today’s technological world.

How has your company handled the ups and downs found in this economy?
As an accounting firm, you need to service your clients’ needs when things are good and bad. We had to have patience to work with our client base and it has paid off in the long run.

What are your short-term and long-term goals?
Both goals are the same: to continue to grow a high-quality client satisfaction firm. Our approach is to not be historians but planners of your future.

Describe your management.
Close personal involvement and constantly guiding my staff and clients from my knowledge and experience.

Describe your business approach and how you ensure your clients’ needs are met and strong relationships are built.
We approach our clients as a team and not a single individual. Today’s world is too complex and you need the expertise of many people’s strengths to properly service your clients’ needs for their business, their personal and family lives. We welcome questions in every area of one’s financial life. To the extent possible, we use today’s technology to communicate efficiently and timely.

What’s the best business advice you ever received, or could give to others?
The world is round; what you do today to help or improve someone’s situation will someday come back to benefit you as well.

What are the major challenges in your industry? How do you approach them head-on?
This profession has constant significant changes both to the obvious constant changes in taxation and accounting principles. We are constantly learning to be able to understand these changes and communicate and apply them to our clients’ situations. We look for alternatives, not to just keep things as they are because it has always been done a certain way.

What’s the best part of your job?
Knowing that my advice truly benefited someone.

If you had to give one key to success, what would it be?
Be nice to everyone and never burn bridges.

Describe the corporate culture in your workplace.
We realize that we cannot avoid the seasonal nature of our profession and the hours and sacrifice our employees’ needs to make. We try to recognize that and make it as least painful as possible.

What do you like to do to unwind at the end of the day?
This may sound sick, but I like to read tax changes and answer e-mails through my iPad in a leisurely manner. A number of my clients and I have interesting e-mail conversations.

Book recommendation.

Favorite TV show.
Restaurant Impossible. I enjoy the management issues uncovered to make it a successful business.

Favorite movie.
Most recently—Lincoln.

Proudest career moment.
Any time I testify as an expert witness and prevail.

What gadget can’t you leave home without?
iPad; my grandchildren don’t want to see me without it!

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Biz, Volume 2, Issue 1 (January, 2013).
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