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Sean Hanthorn – 2014 40 Under 40 Honoree


Sean Hanthorne – 35

Director of Education Services
Rootworks, LLC / Root & Associates
Ferndale, MI


What are the key areas of your firm that have seen the greatest change/challenge in workflow over the past few years? (Or, what are the key challenges you see firms facing?)

I would have to say the biggest change/challenge in workflow is really perfecting and constantly refining a paperless bookkeeping and tax processes. It’s easy to say “let’s be totally paperless” which I believe you can be close to “totally paperless” but it involves careful and constant adjustments to keep both clients and staff happy while making these changes.

To what extent have you and your practice/company embraced cloud computing?

We keep our clients in a collaborative environment so we both have 24/7 access to their data. Whether it be the software or just the documentation delivered to the client.

In what ways have you contributed to your firm/company to make it a better place?

By advancing the services we provide clients. The accelerated growth of our company has a lot do with the advancement of the education component of the business.
In what ways do you participate in either the professional community or your local community to help others?  

Just the nature of my position contributes to the professional community, helping firms accomplish their goals, creating a better work-life balance, move forward and focus on running a successful business without having to be involved in every aspect of the day to day work. Local community – I volunteer for organizations I trust and like their purpose and also donate each year various local charities.
What major changes do you foresee in the accounting profession of the near future (3-5 years)?

I see technology in the industry changing rapidly. Whether it be getting electronic signatures, collaborative accounting models, using tablets and smartphones to do day to day items, the technology is something we need to embrace. Firms need to embrace this to be able to attract new clients and especially new staff.

How do you see yourself participating in shaping the future of the accounting profession?

Through consulting with 100’s of firms and making them more efficient, less reliant on the owners/partners involvement in the day to day and still be successful, I see more and more firms seeing this happen and it becoming the norm and changing firms from doing things the way they have always been done.

What is your career philosophy?

To help people and firms become or continue to be the best of the best in the industry. To never give up.

Not including your current employer, what company do you most admire and why?

Quicken Loans – They took a chance on moving their operations from the suburbs of Detroit and moved to Downtown Detroit and have been a major contributor to the comeback of Detroit. They also are growing at an outstanding rate shown by increasing jobs by 46% in one year. They also have a huge focus on health and fitness of employees by providing workout facilities and gym membership access.

Describe one person who has been an important mentor to you and how that person helped change your life.

Darren Root – Working for and with someone with the strategic mindset along with the technical knowledge has made me understand and help our members get their businesses in better places.       I’ve learned some key things from Darren…

  1. Surround yourself with the right people in the business
  2. Don’t create a business that relies solely on you (business owner) to do the work
  3. Create a good work environment and provide that work-life balance to staff
  4. Don’t be complacent
  5. Bloomington is always 70 and Sunny (in an effort to get me to relocate!)



Read more about this year’s 40 Under 40 Honorees.