Firm Spotlight - Ray, Foley, Hensley & Company, PLLC

PCPS Member Since 2009
Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Ray, Foley, Hensley & Company serves a variety of areas, including governments and not-for-profits, contractors and financial institutions, and it has a sizable tax and consulting practice.  They take pride in their concern for quality and personal attention as they assign a partner to every engagement, not simply for liaison, but for active supervision of the work.  This personal attention by senior management results in more sensitive and immediate attention to client needs. 

Regarding internal culture, they use firm events to bring them together, including a staff and partner outing at the end of busy season.  According to managing partner Jerry Hensley, “we all gather at a country club or similar venue to relax and commiserate.  In the summer, we have an outing in which we go to a local lake for golf in the morning, then have a cookout and go boating in the afternoon.  Everyone enjoys being together.  We also work together on community activities, including not only volunteering with local charities but also participating as one of the sponsors of the public policy forum of our local chamber of commerce.”

Handy PCPS Tools We Use
The PCPS Succession Planning Resource Center has been invaluable, Hensley says.  The firm is relatively young, having been launched eight years ago when three small firms came together to address succession issues at each original firm.  “Our biggest concern is and has been succession, which is what made me investigate the PCPS Succession Planning Center,” says Hensley.  “We have five young managers and two non-equity partners.  The other five partners are all over 58, with three staring at retirement, so we’re preparing for a massive change.”

Helping promising future leaders understand the complexities of ownership is another key concern.  “Understanding how to value a firm is difficult for those younger employees who have never owned a firm,” Hensley says.  The PCPS succession resources on how to value a firm are extremely helpful because they offer both sides of the issues involved, covering both the buyer and seller perspectives and the strengths and weaknesses to consider.  When we were rewriting our partnership agreement, I gave those resources to our managers as educational material, attorneys as background material, and even shared with our partners and managers.  Everyone has found these resources very helpful.” 

Considering the Future
The firm is the largest single office local firm in Lexington, while all the other area large firms are part of multi-office practices.  “We are struggling with how we want to position ourselves, whether we want to stay the largest firm under one roof or open other offices,” Hensley says.  “As part of that effort, it’s important for us to develop a performance management system that gives everyone a clear understanding of where they fit and what is expected of them.  We want people to know what it takes to advance in the firm and how they can match their own goals with the firm’s overall goals.” 

The partner accountability resources in the PCPS Human Capital Center have been very valuable in this effort. “I’m preparing to recommend to my partners that we use the performance management tools as our model,” Hensley says, “so that the firm can establish the responsibilities and expectations for each level, up through partner, and monitor ongoing performance.”