Leading With Humanity

Brand Story – Aldrich Advisors reflects on 50 years of servant leadership and success

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When the pandemic was shuttering businesses in March 2020, CEO John Lauseng and partners at Aldrich Advisors told their employees that they had made a decision. There would be no layoffs, furloughs, or pay reductions. The partners would take pay cuts while continuing to serve their clients and communities. 

“We decided to prioritize our people and create a sense of safety in a time of fear,” Lauseng says, noting that the firm’s culture provided the roadmap. “One of our tenets is we do the right thing, even when it’s not easy.”  

CEO John Lauseng

Lauseng had anticipated that the decision would hurt the accounting firm financially. By retaining top talent and driving thought leadership on how businesses could navigate the pandemic, however, demand increased, and Aldrich experienced the highest growth years in its history. The firm’s net promoter score doubled, and it brought in 100 new employees last year. 

This ethos of servant leadership was passed down from founder Kent Aldrich, who opened the firm in Salem, Oregon, in 1973. “He wanted to create something different, both in the way that clients were served as well as what the organization would mean in the lives of its people,” Lauseng says.

Aldrich’s innovative strategy was to create industry niches within the firm to help clients achieve their goals and build relationships with tax professionals who have real knowledge of their industries. As the firm added industries, it also created new companies dedicated to wealth management, benefits, and transaction advisory services under the Aldrich Group umbrella. It’s a core company belief that this entrepreneurial spirit positioned Aldrich to be a long-lasting business — the firm celebrated its 50th
anniversary this year — and they’re counting on the next generation to keep it alive. 

“We’ve succeeded by taking risks, investing in our future, and giving people early in their careers opportunities to launch new services or businesses,” Lauseng says. That investment starts with offering new graduates diverse experiences through Aldrich’s Promoting Opportunities and Outstanding Leaders (POOL) program. While new graduates in the profession typically start their careers by choosing between tax and audit, Aldrich gives them exposure to all types of services, industries, and teams before they decide where to focus. 

“We’re working hard to break the mold of a traditional career path,” Lauseng says. “We provide opportunities for people not just to pursue partner status, but to choose career paths that are more technical or more relational in nature, to create new businesses, to allow them to change their focus mid-career, and to flex up or down based on where they are in their lives.” 

Looking ahead to another 50 years, Lauseng wants to see the firm maintain its reputation and independence, as well as expand into new geographies and establish a succession plan. Aldrich is always looking for exceptional people to join their team, and to keep serving clients with integrity and innovation.

Aldrich is more than a CPA firm. See what services our firm offers at AldrichAdvisors.com.

Brand stories are paid content articles that allow Oregon Business advertisers to share news about their organizations and engage with readers on business and public policy issues.  The stories are produced in house by the Oregon Business marketing department. For more information, contact associate publisher Courtney Kutzman.