When you’re talking about the business of human resources, it’s all about the people. But when you’re talking about the business of accounting and advising, people may not be the first things that come to mind. Jeff Donovan, a partner at Donovan Certified Public Accountants and Advisors, a Servant HR client, says that is what sets apart his firm from many others.
“The key to our success is that we are focused on developing close relationships with people,” he says, and not just people who own big businesses or small businesses. Donovan, based in Avon, Indiana, has clients that include startups and large corporations, high-net-worth individuals and students.
One such individual has been a client of Jeff’s father, Bob Donovan, for more than 40 years. It was Bob who founded the firm, purchasing a small “tax shop” in Danville, Indiana, in 1972. “A lot of other shops don’t have that kind of loyalty,” Jeff says. Through the years, Bob developed his business into a premier, full-service firm.
Jeff joined his father in business in 1994 after working at KPMG Peat Marwick LLP. At KPMG, Jeff cut his teeth working in Guam and Saipan, gaining an international outlook and invaluable experience in the fields of tourism and international accounting.
Donovan’s payroll and footprint grew quickly when it merged with another firm in Plainfield, resulting in two offices. When the Danville office outgrew its parking lot four years ago, Jeff says, the firm consolidated its staff and moved to Avon.
As a smaller firm, Jeff says they had kept a lot of administrative responsibilities in house. The internal payroll, for example, was being handled by his wife. But she was becoming overburdened with all of the HR aspects such as health insurance and payment deadlines. In the meantime, things such as management training were not getting the attention they deserved, and the quality of the employee handbook left much to be desired
“We knew about Jeff [Leffew] and Servant HR,” Jeff says of Servant HR’s founder and president. Jeff Donovan had heard about Servant HR’s services but they didn’t seem necessary at the time, but with the growth of Donovan came more HR requirements and wants that they couldn’t easily handle on their own. Donovan became a Servant HR client in 2009.
By taking responsibility for many of Donovan’s HR needs, Servant HR helps Jeff and the 23-person Donovan staff focus on their clients and their needs. For example, Servant HR helps Donovan keep its payroll confidential, administers health insurance and manages benefits such as a 401k. Servant HR also upgraded Donovan’s antiquated handbook from a 10-page document of dos and don’ts to a comprehensive handbook that guides Donovan’s modern-day workforce.
Servant HR has also trained Donovan’s management team on performance appraisals during lunch-and-learn sessions and consulted them on the value of outsourcing HR so they can share that knowledge with their clients when appropriate. “It’s nice to have that expertise in your hip picket,” Jeff says.
Jeff says Servant HR is a good fit for Donovan’s culture. Being guided by Christian-based values and a servant attitude are in line with the way Donovan treats people and does business.