Firm Spotlight - Gould Killian CPA Group, P.A.

Medium firm based in Asheville, NC
PCPS Member Since 2013
Shon Norris, CPA – Vice President
Taking Client Service and Relationships to the Next Level
Gould Killian CPA Group was formed in 1998 through the merger of Gould, Mayo & Towson, P.A. and Killian, Cole & Marshall, P.A., firms that can both trace their origins back to the mid-1960s. One firm was focused primarily in tax and the other primarily in A&A. This was truly a merger of two equals. After joining forces, the firm quickly began creating new processes, combining best practices and methodologies and striving for a one firm concept to move forward. I started with the firm as an intern shortly after, in 2000, and worked my way up to partner in 2007. Currently, the firm has six partners and 38 staff and administrative personnel. 

One of the primary core values of our firm is recognizing that the financial information and advice we provide has a direct impact on the financial well-being of our clients and the decisions they make. It is critically important that we are doing our work in an accurate, reliable, clearly communicated and timely manner. We deeply value the relationships we have created with our clients and we strive to consistently take quality and client service to the next level. We take a planning based approach and emphasize client relationships, focusing on their goals and objectives. We aim to take on the role of a true trusted advisor by placing this consultative approach first, while also handling compliance needs they may have.

Integrating Collaboration and Community
The most important way that we are able to protect our client relationships and stay true to our firm values is through the people who work for us. We have a strong focus on training and education, while also striving to maintain a culture of collaboration. We have been creating individualized development programs and want our people to take an active role in their personal development. The partners and managers meet with employees several times throughout the year and suggest training that we feel would be valuable, while also encouraging them to seek out their own opportunities for growth. We also have a strong mentor program that new employees begin on their first day with the firm. The mentor works closely with the new employee to get them acquainted with our systems, processes and culture, but it doesn’t stop there.  The mentor/mentee relationship grows and is comforting to our employees to know they have a person vested in their success. Finally, we are constantly requesting feedback from all of our employees to identify areas for improvement. This keeps our people engaged and invested in the firm, and shows them that we are able to listen and adapt to their needs.

Another key element of our firm’s culture is maintaining a family and community friendly environment. We stay on the leading edge of technology which enables our people to work in the most effective and efficient way. Our employees have the ability to work remotely and, though we do have some core hour requirements, we also are able to offer flexible work schedules. This allows them to better balance their work commitments with their personal priorities, like family or hobbies. We also provide quite a few opportunities throughout the year for us to have some fun together as well.  These include events for employees and their families to join each other for some fun after major deadlines, holidays and at firm picnics and other occasions during the year. Because we are a local firm, we also make an effort to foster deep roots within the community. Community involvement is a key part of who our firm is and we want our people to be engaged in this manner. The firm participates in various activities with local non-profits as a group, and we also encourage our people to get involved on an individual basis. We are more than willing to give employees time off or help fund a community involvement activity.

Why We Joined PCPS
I was introduced to PCPS by Vickie Martin, CPA, CSEP, CGMA, PFS of Martin Starnes and Associates, another NC based firm located in Hickory. We met while serving together on the board of directors for the North Carolina Association of CPAs, and Vickie told me about the benefits of PCPS membership—specifically her firm’s participation in the Medium Firm Networking Group. As I began to do my due diligence and find more information about PCPS, I quickly decided that joining was the right decision for our firm. There are a number of resources and toolkits available on a wide range of practice management topics, and we often refer to the PCPS website for guidance. However, the most valuable aspect of membership has been our participation in the networking group. The collaboration and idea sharing that occur at the meetings is truly incredible. All of the firms are open, honest and really desire to help one another. If a firm is having a specific issue, they can bring it to the group and receive objective advice. Often there will be members who have dealt with the same challenges and can provide the insight of their experience. The value and takeaways I have received from participating in this group far outweighs any other associations or memberships used by my firm.