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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Business of Business Management


Mise-en-Scène, when applied to the cinema, refers to everything that appears before the camera. It is the composition, the set, the props, and overall influence of a film in the eyes of the viewer. We will set before you the Mise-en-Scène of how, 47 years ago, Roy Kaufman entered the world of business management and came to be the well-regarded and respected business manager he is today.

Interestingly, Roy did not plan nor start out in a career bound for business management. It was in the streets of New York where he first began as an accountant working for Arthur Andersen & Co., then one of the “Big 8” accounting firms. Within three years of working for Andersen, he concluded that large firm accounting was not for him.

In 1964, determined and eager for a change, Roy packed his bags, jumped into his car and set his “course” due west landing in the city of beautiful celebrities, packed freeways and perpetual summers: Los Angeles, California.

Los Angeles became the “set” where a business partnership and friendship with Howard Bernstein began. Howard and Roy would later co-found one of the most prestigious business management firms in Los Angeles, Kaufman + Bernstein, Inc. “Meeting Howard has been life changing both personally and professionally” explains Roy. The two have worked side by side for 50 years and continue to do so.

Roy and Howard, both accountants at the time, first met while employed at a large local accounting firm where they practiced accounting. One day after three years of employment, an announcement was made which served as the catalyst in shifting the paradigm for their careers. The big announcement — the firm would be merging with Touche Ross & Co., another “Big 8” firm. Having already experienced Big Firm accounting, when the opportunity to join a small yet successful local business management firm presented itself, they did not hesitate to join, despite never having worked in the business management field previously.

“It was serendipitous” is how Roy explains his start in business management; “we happened to be in the right place at the right time.” Without a backward glance, both Howard and Roy said goodbye to the world of large accounting firms and entered the world of business management. Within the walls of this small firm, the two friends would learn the “business” of business management.

Relocating to Los Angeles proved life changing for Roy. He was now enjoying profound success as a business manager and better yet, met his lovely wife, Judi Kaufman. The two were married in 1966 and have spent every year together since, happy they did. In fact, it was Judi who initially introduced Roy to the man/mentor that gave he and Howard their “big break”. Sadly, three years later their mentor passed away. As he was a sole practitioner, it was an opportunity for Roy and Howard to take over the practice. They were both in their late twenties and had been told that in order to be successful, grey hairs were required. Despite their youth, they persevered and in 1970 they went on to establish the business management firm – Kaufman + Bernstein, Inc. (K+B).

After starting with eight employees, K+B quickly grew, gaining momentum in the industry. They established a strong reputation and set high standards representing both entertainment professionals and high net worth individuals. That is why, when the talk of succession planning was introduced, they did their due diligence in searching for a firm that would carry on their same core values and share the continuity of their practice.

Roy states, “We interviewed several firms looking for the one whose standards would align with ours.”

On January 1, 2014, K+B merged with Armanino adding 19 new members to Armanino’s business management practice. As it has been noted, with more than four decades of experience, Roy and Howard, bring a wealth of expertise to Armanino. Roy confirms their ultimate goal was accomplished with the merger, “We wanted to make a contribution and add to the Armanino practice.” Indeed, they have.

Whomever the client, it is clearly evident when speaking to Roy that there is an art to becoming a trusted advisor. Roy sums up the true business of business management, “There is no one piece of advice for success. You must truly care, be a forward thinker and constantly look for ways to be pro-active. We are responsible for our client’s financial affairs and when their careers are over, our challenge and satisfaction comes from their ability to continue living at the standard of life to which they are accustomed.” These words attest to Roy’s true character and the influence he has had on the world of business management.

We look forward to many more incredible scenes ahead.

The End.

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