The Pathways to a Strong Accounting Team

Posted on February 21, 2019

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On a recent trip to New York City, a dream team consisting of Charles Jonas, Jason Holwerda, John Ball and Justin Ruby met with 12 different companies in less than 48 hours (surely some kind of world record, right?). Some of the meetings were with existing clients, others with institutional real estate investors we’d like to have as clients. During one of those meetings, the main question from a future client was, “Tell us about your accounting team and capabilities.” Probably not the lead question you’d expect from a potential client, but accounting is becoming a heavy focus in our industry.

Accounting services are critical for an owner of real estate because they touch everything: tenants, vendors, investors, even the government. Accounting is the common thread that weaves everything together like a tapestry and we’re grateful to have one of best accounting teams in the country here at Foundry. 

Make no mistake, our accounting team is essential to the ongoing growth and success of our company.
After speaking with some of our accounting leaders, it became apparent that our team has the “it” factor—something unique that sets it apart from others in the industry and goes against stereotypes typically associated with accounting professionals. This team is arguably the most creative and collaborative group in the company. No joke. And it turns out there’s a recipe to its success, which they’re boiled down to five simple words:

1. Talent

2. Trust

3. Process

4. Collaboration

5. Culture

Foundry has a total of three accounting departments: client reporting, business unit, and development and investment (D&I). The client reporting team is led by Mary Beth Paris, Patti Riley and Darlene Squires. They focus on all things accounting for clients who hire us to manage their assets. Every month, this team alone pumps out 220 financial reports ranging from 15 pages to 300+ pages.

The business unit team is lead by Ryan Gilliland. They focus on our internal accounting needs, processesing close to 1,000 brokerage transactions annually.Our D&I team, lead by Rayanne Charles, focuses specifically on accounting for our investment activity. For example, when Foundry’s developing a large industrial project, the D&I accounting team is responsible for paying consultants, vendors, municipalities and draws, as well as managing the budget and project bank accounts in accordance with specific requirements laid out by our joint venture (JV) investors.

Given this complexity, you can now see why the five words listed are crucial to a successful team. You have to have talented professionals who can meet the needs of a business growing across the Southeast and serving a diverse set of clients. You have to trust each other to create workflows that are efficient, thorough and fluid. Processes must be clear, communicated and controlled. With a team of 45 individuals, collaboration is crucial to getting anything done. And culture is what builds a common sense of purpose and enjoyment.