Firm Spotlight - Roy & O’Connor CPAs, Inc.

Small Firm in Paso Robles, CA

PCPS Member Since 2001

Handy PCPS Tools We Use: “We use the full range of PCPS resources.  At a price of $35 per CPA, it’s the best bargain out there,” says Rusty Roy, CPA. But at 63, Roy particularly appreciates the many tools available in the PCPS Succession Planning Resource Center. “The firm has had four generations of owners, and each one until now has been an outside sale to a new owner,” he says. “I am the first one to do an inside sale. I have been selling my interest to my partners over the last 15 years. The firm is relatively small, so the transition has been easily manageable. Right now, I am a 65% owner and the other two CPAs have 20% and 15%, respectively.  The next change will be to one-third each, at which time my interest will start to phase out. But I won’t ever stop doing what I do. I’ll do more rainmaking. And when you’re the old guy, you’ve survived more wrecks than anybody, so you’re good to have around.”

Fun Facts about Our Practice:
“We are in an agricultural area where many farms and ranches have been for over a hundred years.”  Since Roy bought the practice, the region has become a grape-growing and winery area, with over 200 in the north county today, when there were once about a dozen. “We have the opportunity to work with multigenerational family businesses. In farming and agriculture, the family influence seems to last longer. We see them last into the second and third generation in most family businesses. But they still have the same challenges. Sometimes successive generations have a sense of entitlement and see the business as a candy store. Many of the businesses are land rich and cash poor, however. Some have estate issues and face problems with estate taxes when they have hundreds of thousands of acres of cattle land.”

Why They Work So Well as a Team: “We have an annual staff day where we pile into a limo for an outing. One year we did a team building exercise at a nearby winery,” Roy says. “After getting some spa treatments, we had a corporate trainer walk us through a fun approach to learning team work. Her husband was the winery’s executive chef, so we started out by learning how to use knives! Then he assigned us a task: We had 90 minutes to prepare a four-course meal. I did a lot of menial tasks, like chopping onions and washing dishes. Both the husband and wife told us they’d never seen a group that worked so well together. But we weren’t surprised, because teamwork is what gets us through each busy season. I also attribute my focus on teamwork to my background in offshore sailing. I sailed with my family to French Polynesia in the South Pacific when I was 14 and I sailed my own boat to Hawaii at 21. On the South Pacific trip, we had one passage where we had to bail water out of the boat during some heavy weather. All of us were part of a bucket brigade, even the youngest, my eight-year-old sister. That taught me that when something urgent comes up, it’s all hands on deck. Every person is crucial to success and teammates can’t be afraid to get dirty.”