Moore or Less: The Bonadio Group’s New CEO, Bruce Zicari, Focuses on Purpose, Opportunities and Growth

MOORE-or-Less-Graphic_Bruce-Zicari.jpgUnder founder and former CEO Tom Bonadio, The Bonadio Group experienced tremendous growth and success over the past 40 years. With revenue of more than $115 million, 800+ employees, and offices in upstate New York, Metro New York and Dallas, the firm ranks as a top 40 accounting firm in the U.S. Now, Bruce Zicari, who took the helm as CEO on May 1, looks forward to collaborating with colleagues across the organization to build on that strong foundation by focusing on the firm’s culture of purpose, promise, opportunity, and growth.

Zicari’s career started in 1990 when he passed up opportunities with the Big Four accounting firms to join his family’s small accounting company. He took over leadership of Zicari and Co. in 1995 and merged the firm with The Bonadio Group in 1996, joining as a principal. He held a series of senior-level positions, including serving as a member of the firm’s management committee since 2011. Zicari most recently was the Rochester Office Managing Partner and partner in charge of the Small Business Advisory Group.

Bonadio-Inspired-Circle-Transparent_May-2019.pngOver the next five years, The Bonadio Group intends to double in size, expand its footprint, offer new and expanded services, and provide more professional growth opportunities for its people. A clear direction for achieving these goals is included in Bonadio’s five-year strategic plan, which will roll out at the firm’s &More Day in June. Named for Bonadio’s &More philosophy of going above and beyond, the annual event brings everyone in the company together at one place and plays an important role in the firm’s culture, making it the ideal venue for introducing the strategic plan.

“While the strategic plan provides the roadmap, it’s the combination of our people and our culture that will take us where we want to go,” Zicari says.

Bonadio’s culture reflects the firm’s purpose, which is to provide opportunity, strengthen community, and inspire growth. Indeed, opportunity and growth are what The Bonadio Group is all about, and the two go hand in hand with Bonadio’s purpose.

“We believe that great things happen when we deliver on and stay true to our purpose,” Zicari says. “There are incredible opportunities for our people because we’re always growing, and we’re always growing because we’re always investing in our people.”

Those investments take many forms, such as providing employees with the best technology and technical training to help them stay ahead of the digital curve. Professional growth and development programs include Bonadio University, which allows employees to self-select a curriculum based on their interests and career path, the “Maximizing Your Career” series of eight webinars, through Upstream Academy, and an online change-management course for team leaders.

In addition to providing top-notch training and development, Zicari says the key to Bonadio’s culture is its emphasis on the growth and success of each employee. The firm puts a strong emphasis on understanding an individual’s interests and aspirations in order to provide tailored resources and support based on that input.
Among the innovative ways The Bonadio Group will bring this individual-centric approach to life is through a formal mentoring program that will roll out as a key initiative of the five-year strategic plan. From day one, every person in the firm will be connected with a partner who helps with career planning, serves as a sounding board, and provides other guidance. To ensure they’re well-equipped in their roles, partners participate in training on how to be an effective mentor. And Bruce recently visited all of the firm’s offices to talk about the new strategic plan and the opportunities people have at Bonadio, including the benefits of being a partner and what it takes to get there.

“It’s all about helping each employee develop and follow a path from where the person is now to wherever he or she wants to go,” Zicari says. “We want people to think entrepreneurially about creating opportunities for themselves and pursing what they love.”

Encouraging individuals to follow their unique path means embracing flexibility and creativity. For some employees, flexibility might mean moving into nontraditional areas of the firm or transitioning from one team to another as ways of gaining new experience. For others, it could be a truly customized work schedule. The firm also provides unlimited PTO as another way it demonstrates its commitment to supporting the unique work-life needs of each individual.

In fact, “maintaining balance” through features such as unlimited PTO is one of several shared core values, along with people, respect, opportunity, integrity, service “& more,” and entrepreneurship, which contribute to another guiding principle of the firm’s culture, the Bonadio promise: At the Bonadio Group, we promise to deliver the highest-quality business advice to individuals and organizations by consistently exceeding our clients’ expectations in the tradition of our “&More” philosophy and by providing our people with a rewarding professional environment. In doing so, we create business growth opportunities for our clients and professional growth opportunities for our employees.

“Through our culture, we’re saying to each employee, ‘You’re already good at what you do; we’ll give you the tools to make you better,’” Zicari says. “Our goal is that our people are happy and really want to be here.”