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Kaufman Rossin Group is counting on its employees

Accounting firm Kaufman Rossin Group’s move into fund administration happened almost serendipitously.

Eighteen years ago, a client in Latin America asked the firm to take over the back-office administration of his hedge fund. “We knew a little about it because we knew a little about the hedge fund,” says James Kaufman, co-founder and CEO of the firm. “One thing led to another.” It wasn’t even until two years later than the firm hired its first employee dedicated to fund management. Now more than 100 employees in six offices from Boston to San Francisco manage hedge funds, private equity funds and broker-dealers.

Fund admisitration is hardly the largest part of Kaufman Rossin’s business, but it’s a unique offering from the  firm, which in 2012 had more than $53 million in revenue. It expanded into that field in much the same way as it has expanded into areas such as forensic and litigation services, estate-planning and high-net worth services and bank compliance: An existing client asked for assistance, the firm later hired a leader in that specialty, and a new practice area took off. That was especially true during the recession that began in 2008. Faced with 250 employees and slowing business, the firm was “forced to start thinking about offering new service lines,” Kaufman says. Between 2008 and 2013, it grew from 250 employees to 375.

Demand for accounting and related services is high these days, and competition for business is stiff. “We keep our edge by being very service-oriented and having a very stable core group of personnel who’ve been with us for many years,” Kaufman says. “Accounting is about people. This is a people business, and we figured it out a long time ago.” Half of the firm’s employees have been with it more than five years.