Mentorship, relationships, and joy for our clients
Business Consulting Services team goes beyond traditional consulting to deliver results
Throughout Kaufman Rossin’s 60th anniversary year, you’ll see viewpoints in this space from firm members sharing how our Joy at Work culture translates into our commitment to client relationships and service. In my story, you’ll see how our business consulting team delivers more than good, one-time advice.
Kaufman Rossin’s business consulting services group was formed in 2014, 18 months before my arrival. Historically, the firm had provided general advisory services to clients, as part of other engagements, but the newly formed department focused on delivering management consulting services, primarily targeted towards distressed companies. When I started, the case team was typically tasked with solving a temporary problem, not building long-term relationships. But I saw an opportunity right away to create additional value for both clients and the firm through building longer-term relationships across a more diverse array of service offerings.
Mentorship helped build my foundation.
With a background in business analysis and corporate finance, I had joined Farmer & Co., a consulting firm led by Michael Farmer (former market lead in multiple countries at Bain & Co.). Under Michael’s mentorship I spent about eight years traveling around the globe consulting with some of the world’s biggest companies. He’d go with me, spend a few days at the client site together to show me the ropes, and then he’d park me there (often for months) to finish the engagement. Sometimes there was another consultant or two, but in many cases I operated autonomously. These early engagements with F&C are what built my foundation as both a management consultant and client relationship manager.
I eventually became CEO of Farmer & Company, based in New York, with an incredible team and proprietary, internally developed, SaaS-based software that we marketed primarily to Fortune 500 companies. After the 2008 financial crisis took its toll, I moved on to build more skills at Citigroup, then at a boutique corporate advisory and investment banking firm based in Miami, and then as CFO at one of their clients. That business focused on mobile banking for underserved markets – Fintech.
Based in Austin, it paid like most startups (low salary with considerable upside). With a third child on the way, my wife suggested I explore local opportunities that required less travel and where compensation was a bit more predictable. So I started reaching out to my Miami network and came across Kaufman Rossin.
South Florida’s growth economy was perfect for me.
Joining the firm’s consulting team was a huge opportunity, especially given South Florida was on the precipice of becoming one of the world’s most important growth economies!
After the prior leader, who introduced me to Kaufman Rossin, left to become CFO of a local, middle market business, I was determined to provide a broader range of services that growing companies needed. I wanted to build relationships with companies that would come back to us again and again, to see their goals become reality and then set new ones. As they reached the summit of one mountain, I wanted our team to help chart their course up the next peak. And that’s what we’ve done with our M&A Transaction Advisory, Corporate Finance, and Integration & Transformation practices over the past eight years.
Client needs drive growth and learning for our team.
My approach has been to hire talented people with varied backgrounds and give them such great experiences that they provide a level of service that can’t be found among competitors. One example stands out.
Several years ago, we landed two of our biggest clients on the same day. Our team was still small but mighty, and we knew we needed to divide and conquer to help these important South Florida institutions. I needed to be hands-on at one of them – the work was very challenging, and their dynamic leader is the kind of CEO I have decades of experience helping.
The other key account was an opportunity to try the model my mentor, Michael Farmer, used with me. Carlos Diaz had been with us just a few months. He’d had key corporate roles in Fortune 500 companies, which gave him a great background for consulting. So I was there with him for the first quarter of the two-year engagement, and then he took over. With a measured and sure approach, he led the engagement and delivered the transformation they needed. This accomplishment remains one of our best achievements as a department and has served as inspiration to other young professionals who are eagerly awaiting their turn to shine. (Worth noting, Carlos Diaz is now a principal and leads our Integration & Transformation team.)
Our team is an incubator for new Kaufman Rossin services.
Ian Goldberger, now a principal leading our transaction advisory practice, was there with me from the start. We began with corporate finance and strategy services, a great base for building ongoing relationships. We added general mergers and acquisitions advisory. When other partners suggested the firm should get a bigger piece of the tremendous M&A activity in our market, I raised my hand, and we began offering buy–side and sell–side due diligence. This became our transaction advisory services offering, which eventually spawned our sell-side representation practice. Like other firm departments, we focus on niches and industries – and now we’re one of the top firms in the country for transaction advisory in healthcare. We’ve built lasting relationships with clients who trust us, deal after deal.
Digital transformation is another area we’re now formalizing as a service offering, with leadership including Carlos Diaz, whose knowledge of finance and technology are key to this initiative. We’re already helping clients use digital solutions for enterprise resource planning (ERP) and make data-driven decisions using business intelligence tools. This is an area where we can deliver true business value.
We deliver real impact, not just reports.
Many times, when consultants deliver their reports, they’re passed up the chain of command. The consultants’ mission is completed – and their job isn’t to implement the recommendations or measure their impact. That was often my experience in prior consulting roles.
Our approach is different. We don’t just see Act I – we’re asked to stay around for the rest of the action. With many of our clients now, we see them make their first money. We see their years of effort validated. We feel the real joy of the impact we deliver.
And then we ask the client, “What’s next?”
James Wolcott is a Principal with Kaufman Rossin, leading the firm’s business consulting services (BCS) practice and mergers & acquisitions industry advisory group. He has provided consulting services to many of the world’s leading organizations on issues of strategy, capital advisory and financial planning and analysis. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org