In his position at Providence-based Kahn, Litwin, Renza & Co. Ltd., Alan H. Litwin helps lead the largest accounting firm based in Rhode Island. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics at LaFayette College in 1979 and a master’s degree in taxation from Bryant University in 1987.
Litwin began his career in public accounting in 1980 with Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. In 1983, he joined Lawrence I. Kahn to form Kahn, Litwin & Co. Ltd. Kahn retired in 2014. Today, Litwin works with businesses in life sciences, health care and technology. He also serves as chairman of the firm’s Healthcare Services Group.
In addition, he serves as vice chairman of the board of directors, as well as chairman of the finance committee for Providence-based Lifespan Corp., the state’s largest health care provider and its largest private employer.
PBN: How did you become one of the firm’s namesakes?
LITWIN: My career in public accounting started out at a “Big Four” firm. It wasn’t until 1983 that I decided to join a former colleague, Larry Kahn, and form Kahn, Litwin & Co.
Fast forward 36 years and I am very proud to say that the company I co-founded has achieved these milestones; has expanded into Massachusetts; and has been recognized as the 88th-largest CPA firm in the U.S. Our team has expanded to 250 people who are not only committed to serving our clients, but who recognize the importance of community involvement and giving back.
PBN: What do you feel is the key to KLR becoming Rhode Island’s largest “homegrown” accounting firm?
LITWIN: Being connected to the marketplace is one of the keys to our success. I am from Providence and have continued to live here and be an active community member. My wife and I raised our two children in Providence and have a strong belief in helping the community thrive.
I know that my colleagues share that same dedication. Our strength is in our people and we’ve always been committed to investing in our future. We know that our colleagues are our most important asset and we continually invest in their education, environment and well-being.
Without our clients and colleagues, we would not be in business. Every KLR colleague is committed to delivering the best possible experience for our clients.
PBN: As KLR has grown through the years, how have its services changed?
LITWIN: The firm became a major player by hiring the very best talent in the industry, when available, across a wide range of disciplines. Rather than waiting for clients to request different services, we strategically planned what services the clients and the marketplace would need and then built a team to deliver those services.
KLR has grown through several mergers over the years, which enhanced its expertise in real estate, health care, not-for-profit, private equity, venture capital, technology, international tax, and private client services.
KLR now has offices in Boston, Providence, Newport, Waltham, [Mass.,] and Shanghai, as well as several sister companies, including Envision Technology Advisors, KLR Executive Search Group, KLR Wealth Management and KLR Cloud Accounting.
PBN: Do you see any advantages that regional accounting firms have over the “Big Four” firms?
LITWIN: The biggest difference is work-life balance. Leaders at the Big Four try to maintain this balance, but due to the nature of the clients and amount of work, it’s difficult to adhere to and most people end up working nonstop.
At KLR, we are very focused on the lives of our employees, both professionally and personally, and want them to be equally rewarding. This has resulted in KLR having some of the lowest employee turnover in the industry, which allows us to better serve our clients.
The other area where we feel we have a competitive advantage is our ability to make decisions locally and decisively. We are able to assist clients with a very talented and experienced team of professionals who are all based within the region and are able to quickly deliver the highest level of service and expertise without having to turn to a national office to complete tasks or develop new procedures.
PBN: Which lines of business in accounting hold the best opportunities for future growth?
LITWIN: The accounting profession is evolving quickly and KLR is striving to be a leader in that evolution. We feel that we cannot focus all of our energy on traditional services, such as preparing tax returns and performing audits.
Clients want to partner with advisers who are always working hard to help them grow their businesses. We are constantly looking at services that help our clients stay ahead of the curve. Some of these services include cybersecurity, data analytics, digital transformation, technology consulting, international tax services, executive recruiting, wealth management, and strategic planning for both individuals and businesses.
Scott Blake is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Blake@PBN.com.