Money men go out on own.
Accountants are creating a niche for themselves in local industry.
Mary ChaoStaff writer
John Rizzo and Brian DiGiacco were on the partnership track at Bonadio Group, one of the largest accounting firms in the region. That’s not a bad place to be, and they said their work was interesting.
But the two men wanted to create an accounting company that could also delve into business opportunities such as real estate and franchising.
So Rizzo, 32, and DiGiacco, 29, have opened their own company in Webster.
“We left for the freedom,” DiGiacco said. “We wanted to do other things besides accounting.”
Since October, Rizzo & DiGiacco has been able to create its own niche in the local accounting industry, mainly through small business consulting.
The market is filled with small Accounting Firms that focus on the tax returns business, Rizzo said. Offering an array of services is what the two hope will differentiate the firm, he said.
Starting up their own practice at 661 Ridge Road cost about $20,000 in computers and other office equipment. But the partners met their annual sales goal and have been able to hire two support staffers.
While it’s not yet as lucrative as being a partner at a large firm, DiGiacco finds it personally more rewarding.
“We like working with small businesses,” DiGiacco said, adding they mostly worked with larger corporations at Bonadio. “We like the feeling of helping them.
Scott Provvidenza, the owner of Point-N-Click Computer Solutions in East Rochester, was referred to John Rizzo by a friend and became one of the firm’s first clients.
“I was looking for a chief financial officer to come in on a part-time basis,” Provvidenza said, noting that Rizzo helped him automate processes at work as well as apply for a training grant. “He gives us what I need to know as an accountant.”
Both Rizzo and DiGiacco spend time marketing their services with networking groups, meeting small-business owners.
Right now, they have to reinvest much of what they make back into the business, so they’re not making as much as if they were partners at a large CPA firm.
“Eventually it will be as lucrative,” DiGiacco said.
An entry-level partner at a CPA firm could make about $130,000 a year and a senior partner about $250,000 a year, DiGiacco said.
For young accountants such as Rizzo and DiGiacco, entrepreneurship makes sense, said Bob Barbato, professor of entrepreneurship at Rochester Institute of Technology.
“They’re at their peak,” Barbato said. “Entrepreneurship gives you the chance to grow in the way you determine.”
Timing is everything when it comes to breaking from a large firm to start your own, said CPA Brian DiGiacco. Here is some of his advice for would-be entrepreneurs:
Wondering if you can get rid of some papers in your file cabinets? If you clean out your cabinet at the end of the year, you may have a storage unit filled with old paperwork. The question often comes up of what you can trash and what you need…
RDG+Partners wants to be the primary advisor for motivated business owners. The firm is committed to providing boutique level accounting, tax and business consulting services to the Rochester, NY community.