Many give pause at the end of each year to reflect on recent accomplishments. And while progress is certainly worthy of discussion, in some respects an “accomplishment” seems, to me, to indicate a conclusion of some sort. When I think about our firm and its progress over the past year, I think in terms of ongoing efforts that are driving sustainable improvement and momentum. Our sole focus every day at Cohen & Company is to provide more value to our clients. We need to be smarter, more creative, more responsive and completely in tune with what our clients need today, as well as what they may need in the future.

A prime example of an ongoing effort to understand and advocate for our clients’ needs is the role our Partner and Co-technical Director Pat Piteo played as a member of the national task force that developed the new AICPA Financial Reporting Framework for Small- and Medium-Sized Entities. This effort, which came to fruition in 2013 but was years in the making, will have a significant impact on a number of privately held companies both locally and nationwide.

Continually improving and succeeding within our own firm walls is also an ongoing process that will inevitably result in our ability to identify even more opportunities for our clients moving forward. And 2013 certainly did result in some exciting initiatives for Cohen & Company. We hired more than 50 new associates, including those right out of school and loaded with enthusiasm, as well as experienced professionals that came to us with equal enthusiasm and remarkable expertise. Our three “pillars” of service — Cohen & Company’s private company accounting and tax practice, Cohen Fund Audit Services’ investment industry practice and Sequoia Financial Group’s wealth management practice — all made strides in leadership development, client acquisition and enhanced service offerings. In Akron, we doubled our physical footprint when we moved into our new office space.

Continuing the expansion of resources to our clients, in 2013 we saw top attendance at our CPE and other client-focused events. We significantly increased business and industry content provided to clients via our Never Miss Blog, and we published the second and third issues of our client-focused Taxonomics magazine.

In addition, throughout the year we were fortunate to receive some prestigious and humbling recognitions such as Weatherhead 100, NorthCoast 99 and Best Accounting Firms to Work For.We found great opportunities to serve our communities at Firestone Park YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs of Lorain County, Cleveland Foodbank, Antrim Park, Northern Kettle Moraine State Forest, and Easter Seals Adult Day Center, among others.

This past year was truly one of increased momentum, which has us looking at 2014 with great excitement and optimism. We will continue to attract the best and the brightest professionals, collaborate with clients to identify valuable opportunities and find new ways to serve our communities.

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