LIVINGSTON, NJ - The economy may still be fragile and many companies are still curtailing their hiring, but the Livingston-based CPA firm Levine, Jacobs & Company is continuing to grow, helping clients with tax, accounting and other matters.
“One of the biggest issues for companies with 50 or more employees is the new federal healthcare regulations,” said Michael H. Karu, member in charge of the firm’s business valuation and litigation support, health care and food groups. He also heads the firm’s estate and trust practice. “It’s a moving target, and we’re helping client companies to understand and comply with the regulations in a cost-efficient manner.”
In June, the White House announced a one-year delay in the employer mandate, which will require companies with more than 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance or pay a penalty.
Levine Jacobs also helps smaller companies that are facing fierce competition and pricing pressure from competitors. “We’re helping them to control costs and boost sales by expanding into new markets,” Karu explained. “For small business owners, we are part of their management team and get involved with all aspects of their business lives.”
Karu has been qualified by the Superior Court of New Jersey, Family Part, as an expert witness in business valuations, and Levine Jacobs & Co. has been appointed by the court to perform business valuations and the verification of the existence of assets, as well as other matters. Karu also is a certified divorce mediator and, as the co-managing member of the firm, his duties include overseeing the firm’s continuing professional education, public relations, personnel and day-to-day administration.
The firm’s expanding workload is driving growth and Levine Jacobs recently hired additional staff, says Karu. “We believe that bringing aboard talented people allows us to continue to provide great service to our clients,” he said. “It also gives us the ability to take on new clients without compromising the high quality of service for which we’re known.”
The nine-partner firm currently has a total of 34 employees, including professional and investment management staff, administrative, and information technology.
“Our professional staff has a wide range of expertise, which enables us to assist clients in a lot of different industries,” Karu said. “We can handle niche businesses like companies in furniture or food. We also work with medical, legal and other practices, and not-for-profits. We offer services that range from basic accounting and tax work to business valuation, litigation support, audit, estate and trust services, to personal management. Most of our clients connect with us through word-of-mouth referral from satisfied parties.”
Karu and other Levine Jacobs professionals are also deeply involved in the community. In addition to his professional responsibilities, Karu, for example, is active in the local Rotary Club, while other firm members are involved in the Kiwanis Club, volunteer firefighter units, the Chamber of Commerce, Little League and soccer teams, and other volunteer activities. Karu also serves as the head coach for the girls’ volleyball team at Golda Och Academy in West Orange.
“It’s all about being a good neighbor as well as a business professional,” he says. “We want to show our appreciation by giving back to the community.”
Levine Jacobs members are also committed to constant self-improvement as a way of ensuring that they continue to deliver the best possible service to clients.
“We make it a point to satisfy professional continuing professional education requirements,” he said. “But we then go beyond that. Our members are always taking professional courses. We do in-house seminars, in addition to outside seminars and webinars. We’re also fortunate to have a variety of specialists in-house who make sure we’re up to the date on the latest tax, accounting and other developments.”
Looking ahead, Karu sees continued growth for the firm, but at a controlled pace.
“We’re expanding both organically as well as through mergers and acquisitions,” he explained. “This past winter, we bought the book of business from a retiring practitioner, and some time back we took on a Union-based practice that included the solo partner and his staff. We’re always willing to look at adding a smaller firm, but the personalities, skills and other issues have to mesh. We’re pleased with the way the firm has grown and our clients continue to be pleased with the advice and services we provide on their behalf. You can’t get a better match than that.”