CPA Norman LeBlanc is a shareholder in KLR, an accounting and business consulting firm with offices in Providence and Newport, as well as Massachusetts offices in Boston, Cambridge and Waltham.
LeBlanc has more than 15 years in public accounting and leads KLR’s tax dispute resolution and state and local tax practice. He works with a broad range of clients, including private equity, emerging business, technology, hospitality and high net work clients.
LeBlanc has a bachelor’s in accounting from Johnson & Wales University and a master’s of taxation from Bryant University. He is a member fo the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Rhode Island and Massachusetts Societies of Certified Public Accountants.
PBN: What were your goal when you joined KLR? What was your route to becoming a shareholder?
LEBLANC: My goals in joining KLR were the same as they’ve always been – that is to be the absolute best at what I do and to it at a place that provides great opportunity and appreciates extraordinary effort. That’s what made KLR a great fit. The route to shareholder in any company is one of providing something beyond the ordinary, so it’s natural that my overall goal led me on the right path.
PBN: You have long-term client relationships. How do you go about developing and maintaining those relationships?
LEBLANC: I’ve always been a believer of looking forward and being straight to the point, even when it’s uncomfortable. There’s no doubt that clients appreciate the candor and in the long-run, come to rely on my good, honest foresight. Maintaining relationships is easy – be responsive and have compassion for what the client is experiencing.
PBN: You’re known as a resource for encouraging and training employees at all levels in the firm. How did you evolve into that role? How has that helped you develop in your career at KLR?
LEBLANC: I’ve always been passionate about what I do and that seems to translate well into teaching and training others. Over the years, I’ve also developed a great level of skill in taxpayer defense, and defending taxpayers provides a unique opportunity to experience many variations of fact pattern and how the tax code applies to each specific set of facts. Later, when it comes to training and teaching these same topics, there is an incredible differenc e when the audience can sense the excitement and relate to the overall story.
PBN: Your home office is in Providence, but you’re known as a vital participant in all five offices. How do you maintain your input across the region?
LEBLANC: Technology has allowed us to be in multiple places at the same time. We are a paperless office and with the use of central networks and electronic communication, I’m able to see exactly what the other person sees while having a discussion via telephone, e-mail or instant messaging. Of course, nothing replaces the occasional need for personal face-to-face meetings and conversations, so by design, I can be at any one of our offices within 50 minutes.
PBN: Among your specialties are state and local taxes, so you understand the issues important to businesses of all sizes. What’s your perspective on the business climate in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts? With the slow economic recovery, what are you seeing in the marketplace?
LEBLANC: We have clients in all 50 states, and in comparison to other sections of the country, generally the clients in New England are trailing other regions when it comes to economic vigor. Despite this, we are seeing pocket so clients right here in Rhode Island and Massachusetts that are doing very well, while others are still just hanging on. The clients that are doing the best are the ones that ship products or provide services outside the local region. Conversely, the ones that need to grapple the most are the ones who cater solely to a local market. The exceptions to this are the local businesses that do things better than anyone else – those are the ones that can make it anywhere.