“The most important thing is finding a person that has a strong work ethic — someone I can trust and believe will be around for the long term,” he said. “I can teach people skills and how to perform certain tasks, so particular skill sets aren’t at the top of the list. A business loses twice during employee turnover: paying to have someone train another person being paid to train, and lost productivity. I would rather run a thin ship and work the extra hours than hire the wrong person.”
One example of this philosophy was the hiring of his current head bookkeeper, who at the time had no direct accounting experience. He trained her while she went to school in her spare time, and she is about to complete her AA degree, giving the single mother and her family a more secure future. Terry’s overall philosophy resulted in the firm receiving the 2005 Manatee County Small Business of the Year Award, which recognizes contribution to the community, customer service and other factors.
Terry knows that he spends too much time at the office and is trying to scale
back a little, but the work ethic is left over from the days when he was just
starting out and had to spend most of the workday out meeting business owners
and individuals, leaving the real accounting work for his clients to do during
non-business hours. But even with workweeks that still average 60 hours, and
an average 85 hours per week during tax season, Terry remains active in his
church and with several community organizations, including being deacon and
treasurer of his church, a board member of the local YMCA and involvement with
Compassion International. He is also a member of the AICPA, FICPA and ASCPA.
He says he has made more of a point to share time with his family and two sons by coaching the youngest’s athletic teams, taking more vacations, decreasing work by about 15 hours per week and setting aside a day of the week for Family Day.
As for the future, he never expects to fully retire. He loves the work and interaction with clients too much to give it up completely, but he does expect to gradually continue to cut back the time he spends at work and devote more of it to his family and faith. After all, Terry says, “The fruit of your life is the result of your walk.”