By Sarah Shurge – Three Cleary University graduates and one of their professors decided to create a small business in 1961. 60 years later, that business has grown and is still going strong.
Post, Smythe, Lutz & Ziel, LLP (PSLZ) was originally founded as an accounting firm with the mission to provide the best for its clients with a full range of services from accounting, auditing, tax compliance, bookkeeping, to business planning services.
Today, PSLZ LLP concentrates mainly on the areas of accounting, tax planning, and management consulting while still providing the best for its clients. But there is another focus that has played a large part in why the business has lasted so long: family.
“Our work atmosphere is family focused. A lot of firms are run by the numbers. We have a great client base but it’s family first,” said Ron Traskos, PSLZ LLP partner. “We always say ‘Raise your kids. Your family comes first. You only get one chance to raise your kids. But somehow get your work done and keep your clients happy.’ And it’s worked.”
Putting “family first” has created a loyalty with PSLZ and its employees. Traskos explained that the seven employees of PSLZ have been working together for 25-30 years.
“We have very little turnover here,” said Traskos. “Our employees have the flexibility to put their family first. They have the availability to go to PTA meetings or sport events. They have the flexibility you can’t find anywhere else.”
That flexibility is what drew Traskos to PSLZ in the first place many years ago.
After graduating college, Traskos began working for Arthur Andersen LLP. Fast forward eight years into the firm, and Traskos came to the realization he was working too much. He realized he was missing out on watching his kids grow up. He decided to leave the firm to find something local to stay close to his family and be more present for his kids.
Frank Smythe opened PSLZ in Wayne in 1961. Harol Post had an office between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. Ronald Lutz and Harvey Zeil opened an office in Plymouth.
Traskos joined the Wayne firm in 1976. There he gained the flexibility he was looking for and after finding that, he wanted to pass it on to everyone else. That was when “family first” truly became the focus of PSLZ.
“My work has never been work. I love my client base. I love what I do,” said Traskos.
After Frank Smythe retired, Kathy Billings joined the firm as a partner, and then Wendy Leung joined the firm as a partner alongside Traskos.
“After 60 years, our business goal is to stay alive and stay in the community,” said Traskos. “We have a great client base. We just need to add fresh blood to the organization to work alongside Wendy and me. We’ve had everyone on board for over 20 years, we need some fresh people here.”
“We are very interactive with our clients. I don’t put up any barriers. I’m available anytime,” said Traskos. “Back in the day, when you left the office, you were done working because there was no communication connecting you to the outside world. Then we went to pagers, then bag phones in the car, now we have cellphones. I get calls on Sunday afternoons. It doesn’t bother me. We have excellent relationships with our clients.”
Being available with no barriers has created a deep loyalty with PSLZ and its clients.
“We get very personal with our clients, you get embedded into their personal lives. If you bond with your client, then you have a lifelong client. We have had clients for 20-40 years. They stick with us and never leave,” said Traskos.
Communication isn’t the only change PSLZ has gone through over the last 60 years.
“When I first started, we did tax returns on paper. Now we use a software program for changes. I couldn’t imagine in today’s area doing tax returns on paper still,” said Traskos. “We’ve gone from pencil and greenbar paper to digital, that’s for sure.”
Over the years, where they do business has changed too.
“It went from leaving to go to the office, to going to the conference room office, to online video,” said Traskos.
PSLZ is currently in its fourth location in Wayne. PSLZ LLP is located on South Wayne Road and the hours of operation are 9AM through 5PM Monday through Friday.
For more information, visit www.pslzllp.com, or to schedule an appointment, call (734)722-9190.