He turned to Couto DeFranco Certified Public Accountants and Advisors and has never looked back.
“Couto DeFranco and my company, The Solutions Group, started in business about the same time,” Ferrigno said. “I was their seventh client. I have stayed with them all these years because they understand my business and have good insight into what we are trying to accomplish.”
This year, as Couto DeFranco celebrates its 20th anniversary, Partners Nelson Couto and Anthony DeFranco reflected on two decades of helping a diverse client base of individuals and business owners ranging from doctors and lawyers to architects, consulting firms, printers, insurance agencies, restaurants, real estate companies, construction companies and more.
“We have always focused on developing a good rapport with our clients by getting to know them and understanding their business,” DeFranco said. “Our industry knowledge is one of the keys to our longevity. We want all our clients to have a high comfort level with us.”
The firm’s core services encompass accounting, preparation of tax returns and tax planning. They also offer comprehensive financial and wealth management services, including planning for education, retirement, business owner transition, and estate tax.
“This has been a huge growth area for us driven by our clients’ desire to plan for their future,” Couto said. “These days, the emphasis goes beyond mere accumulation of assets to doing the planning required to assure an income stream that allows them to live comfortably in retirement.”
In a span of 20 years, Couto DeFranco has experienced a variety of economic conditions but none more challenging than the deep recession of the past three years.
“The period since 2008 has definitely been the most difficult time most of our clients have ever experienced,”
How has the accounting industry changed over the past 20 years?
“Good accountants take a much more holistic approach now,” DeFranco said. “In earlier days, we might have just focused on a tax return. Now, we look at the total picture and how all the factors ultimately affect an individual or business owner’s financial life.”
“It used to be more simplistic,”
Couto cites another sea change in the industry over the past two decades – the move to a paperless environment driven by strides in technology.
“We pride ourselves in staying ahead of the technology curve,” he said. “This allows us to be more responsive, timely and proactive in serving our clients.”
What lies ahead for this 20-year-old company?
Couto says the firm will continue to invest in fast-moving technology and will continue to attract highly qualified team members to ensure a high level of client service. They will also focus on maintaining long-time loyal clients while growing the business with new ones.
“Our success is directly attributable to the success of our clients,” Couto said. “We work hard to help them achieve their goals which is one of the main reasons we have long-lasting relationships.”
In addition to a wide range of businesses, Couto DeFranco’s client list also includes a number of satisfied individuals – people like Fred Picini, who has also been a client of the firm from the start.
“I’m an individual, not a business owner, but I really like the way Couto DeFranco treats me,” Picini said. “They spent a lot of time getting to know me, my history and my needs. They treat me like family.”
“I find them to be very responsive, and I’ve referred them to a lot of people,” he added. “I don’t know of a single person who hasn’t been happy with them.”
Fred laughs as he recalls what may be the firm’s greatest compliment. He says his wife once told him: “If anything ever happens to you, all I have to do is call Nelson.”