By Sophia Bennett
Sophia is a freelance business writer based in Eugene, Oregon. Her work has appeared in Oregon Business, 1859 Oregon’s Magazine and many other publications.
For many Oregon business owners, running a company is about living out their values as much as earning a living. They support other small, local companies because they know how hard they work to stay in business. When they have an opportunity to give back to their employees and the causes they believe in, they do. This attitude is one of the things that makes Oregon such a great place to live and work.
Jones & Roth CPAs and Business Advisors reflects many of these same values. Given how deep their Oregon roots run, that isn’t a big surprise. The firm got its start in Eugene as Haggerty, Ruff and Company in 1946. As the original partners retired, the firm changed its name to Jones, Griesel, Noah and Lewis a few years before its 1982 merger with Roth and Rice in Eugene. Later, Jones & Roth purchased small CPA practices in Hillsboro and Bend to add offices in these regions.
The firm’s mission has always been “to have a positive impact on people’s lives.” To managing partner Doug Griesel, that means helping local businesses, Jones & Roth’s employees and the community.
From the beginning, the company’s leadership outlined a plan to provide more in-depth services than clients would find at the average CPA firm.
“We wanted to roll up our sleeves and get to know their business, help them be more profitable, and consult more on a year-round basis rather than just seeing them once a year when we did their tax return,” Griesel says.
Jones & Roth provides standard CPA services such as tax preparation, financial statement preparation, auditing and business consulting. However, the Firm has branched out into specialty areas as well. Jones & Roth has one of the largest business valuation practice of any CPA firm in Oregon, and one of the only business valuation practices outside of Portland. The financial advisory service arm helps business owners address issues like handling debt, retirement planning and wealth management. Specialists within the firm can also set up and manage retirement plans for companies, and help with investment advice and education. Combining all these services creates a one-stop shop where businesses can access multiple services with one phone call.
In addition, Jones & Roth has established nine niche practices within the firm. CPAs in these practices develop very specialized knowledge in areas such as construction, healthcare, nonprofits and affordable housing. The Firm recently added a startup and emerging business niche to support entrepreneurs in Oregon’s fertile startup ecosystem.
“We know these areas better than the average CPA,” Griesel says, noting that the firm is recognized across the state and the nation for some of its niche practices. Evan Dickens’ employee benefit plan audit team offers this specialized assurance service to more companies than any other Oregon-based firm. Brian Newton with the Federally Qualified Health Center niche practice is a sought-after speaker at conferences. Jeremy Prickel and others in the dental niche have worked with dentists from New York to California.
Jones & Roth’s focus on small business is another thing that differentiates them. “There are firms our size that shun small businesses,” Griesel says. “They’d rather wait until they’re large and then go after their business. We like to work with those companies and help them grow. And they like working with us because they know we will spend the time with them to help them succeed.”
True to their desire to be a year-round partner, the firm’s CPA’s regularly check in with clients to find out what they’re working on and help them talk through challenges before they become problems. Nicole McOmber with the healthcare niche stays up on regulatory changes so she can help doctors prepare for them before they’re implemented. Kari Young often sends her nonprofit clients links to articles or training seminars that might interest them. With a full-time staff of about 80 that grows to nearly 100 during tax season, the firm has plenty of resources to meet client needs anywhere in the state.
Jones & Roth recognizes that their experienced, caring employees are one of the biggest reasons for their rise to one of Oregon’s largest locally-owned CPA firms. As a result, they invest a lot of time and resources into their staff. Besides supporting new folks through the process of taking the CPA exam, the firm provides more opportunities for ongoing professional development than most firms.
The niche practices give many of the firm’s CPAs an opportunity to work in fields they’re passionate about. Fritz Duncan finds great satisfaction that affordable housing providers build homes for working families, seniors and people with disabilities. Carrie Fortier, whose parents owned a construction business, enjoys sharing her knowledge with other family-owned companies across the state.
Jones & Roth actively encourages employees to become board members or volunteer for organizations they’re passionate about. “As a business that’s successful, it’s our responsibility to give back,” Griesel says. “We do well and it’s in our best interest for our community to do well.”
Becoming active on a board can also be a great way to attract new clients, Griesel believes. He recently told an incoming group of Jones & Roth interns, “If you go out and really give yourself to the community and get actively involved, people will see how hard you’re willing to work for an organization they care about. They will naturally expect that if they become your client, you’re going to work just as hard for them.”
Jones & Roth’s philosophies are a direct reflection of the partners’ desire to do good. “I like helping people,” Griesel says. “It gives me a lot of satisfaction to see people achieve their dreams and their goals.” That’s something every Oregonian can get behind.