Shinn & Co: Past, Present & Future
Bradenton native Byron Shinn founded Shinn & Co in 1993. With an entrepreneurial spirit and deep roots in the community, Shinn expanded the view of what a traditional accounting firm offers beyond simple tax preparation services. He and his team provide big-picture views, act as strategic planners and trusted advisors, and deliver complex accounting, audit, tax and advisory services.
In the beginning, Shinn & Co employed six in a small Bradenton office. Today, the firm has grown to 33 employees with two offices. In downtown Bradenton, its suite overlooks the Manatee River and the Sarasota office, which opened in 2012, is in the heart of the growing downtown just blocks from the water. “At the end of the day, we differentiate ourselves by our passion for helping our clients and the integrity with which we approach them and the regulatory agencies,” Shinn says. “We are straight shooters and bring honest talk to the table. If we don’t have the answers, we bring in the additional expertise that is needed.”
Now, Shinn & Co (941.747.0500/shinnandco.com) is a multigenerational, family-owned firm serving diverse clients across the U.S., including high-net worth individuals, businesses that range across highly regulated industries, such as aviation and agribusiness, manufacturing, real estate, government and non-profits. “We deal with all types of clients, from billionaires to small start-up businesses and everything in between,” Shinn says. “No matter the client, we offer a strategic approach and tailor it to their needs, whether that is tax strategy or helping make decisions regarding mergers or acquisitions.”
The firm recently launched a unique suite of business consulting services, Shinn Strategic Planning, to better serve large multigenerational companies and high-net worth individuals. Shinn Strategic Planning (SSP) ensures clients have the best business expertise and investment advisors for their needs, provides neutral oversight to confirm that commitments are honored, and certifies the clients’ interests are at the forefront. “We’re not investment advisors and don’t want to be,” Shinn says, “but we help families figure out how to go forward with structure. We also help them decide among planners, and then we hold those third parties accountable.”
Shinn believes one of the firm’s key differentiators is its people. “We provide a service, and doing that well is all about attracting great talent with engaging work,” he says. “Many of our employees are native to the Bradenton and Sarasota area, gained experience elsewhere, and then brought that expertise back home. Because of the type of work we do, our people have a technical and well-rounded skillset, and we compete with the large firms to bring in the best talent. We are a youthful organization and bring a different optical view. Millennials are very accepting of changes in technology and process improvement. They help management think through technology-driven changes to processes and procedures that can streamline their businesses.”
Shinn & Co has been following its own best practices regarding succession planning and is in the process of transitioning to the next generation of owners. Leading the company forward along with Shinn are his son, Garrett, with expertise in tax planning and preparation, Christy Cardillo, who has a background in human resources along with her accounting experience, and Tim Gruters, who brings experience in audit and public accounting.
Since day one, the firm’s moral compass and values have consistently been something it is known for across the community and within their client base. Shinn & Co’s strong culture of giving back, both professionally and in the community, has constantly put them in the spotlight. In addition to testifying in Washington, D.C., to promote tax reform for partnerships and S corporations, Shinn has 10 years of service – more than any other CPA – on the Florida Board of Accountancy Probable Cause Panel, which oversees licensure and guides the direction of the profession. He has also served on the FICPA Federal Tax Committee for nearly a decade and chaired a task force on identity theft with the IRS that has helped protect taxpayers.
Shinn is not the only one who serves the community. Locally, everyone in the firm is involved in one or more community organizations. “We are all believers in giving back to the community, whether it’s financially or donating time. The community is one of the reasons for our success, so it’s crucial to show our appreciation. Our people get involved where their passion lies, and we support that,” Shinn said. “Many people are less fortunate. If everyone did a little to help, the world be a better place.” Shinn serves on the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Board of Trustees, and the firm is heavily involved with the United Way, Rotary and Kiwanis. Shinn & Co also places a special emphasis on helping children who are abused or in need through organizations like the Child Protection Center.
“We are family-oriented in our core values, and that is reflected in how we do business,” Shinn said. “We have the expertise and bandwidth to handle larger companies, but at the same time are dedicated and responsive so clients don’t feel like just another number. We like to say that we are all about the ‘and’.”