Helping the Community Shine

TVT_4412If there is one number that means a whole lot to local accounting firm Monroe Shine, it’s 90. That’s because this year sees one of the city’s oldest accounting firms celebrate its 90th anniversary. Local independent firms such as Monroe Shine often survive so long for one key reason: generations of trust built in the community.

“Accounting is all about principles and rules,” explains Roger Harbeson, president of Monroe Shine. “But what I like most about it is working with the clients. It’s a people industry, and it’s all about relationships – knowing that you saved your client money or helped them through a problem.”

Harbeson joined the accounting firm in May 1981, so he is indeed a veteran of the industry. But Monroe Shine has been around for much longer, and in order to survive and thrive, it has had to adapt to an ever-changing world of business and accounting.

“We have a lot of clients who have been successful in transitioning their business through the generations,” adds Harbeson. “And because of this succession, they have been around for many years. We still serve those folks, just like we served their grandparents. We’ve seen a complete history of how the industry has evolved.”

But in order to keep moving up, change is necessary. That’s why Monroe Shine is relocating to Louisville’s East End to be closer and more available to its clients.

“We’ve been in the current Louisville space for seven years, and here in New Albany since 1968.” explains Harbeson. “We’re not planning any moves here [in New Albany], but we are planning on relocating to the East End and moving into the 500 North Hurstbourne Building. We’ve outgrown our current space because we have a wealth management business and we’ve added additional advisors, and it means we can work both sides of the river for our clients.

TVT_4378Adds Harbeson: “It’s nice for the client to have a relationship where they can do everything in one place and eliminate any communications issues that you may have. So if you have an advisory account but have activity in your other account, we have our accountants there as well.”

One more thing that Harbeson is passionate about is charity, something that Monroe Shine is heavily involved in. Harbeson names Hosparus as one particular favorite cause, but there are countless ones that they support.

“We have our ‘Casual for the Cause’ program that we started here around seven years ago,” explains Harbeson. “It’s where we invite our staff to nominate charities and allow them to have a casual Friday, where they can dress down, all while donating money to their causes.”

Adds Harbeson: “We like for staff to be volunteering time and be involved because we like to give back to the community, especially when we have clients who are heavily involved in the community, and that only strengthens our relationships.”

Education is also important to Monroe Shine, with the firm having given thousands of dollars to college scholarships over the years. According to Harbeson, Monroe Shine believes in the importance of education for the future of our youth, which is why they created the Monroe Shine Scholarships at several local universities. These scholarships help in providing a college education to students majoring in accounting. Through their endowments, as many as four $10,000 annual scholarships are awarded to qualifying accounting students at Indiana University and as many as five $7,500 annual scholarships to qualifying students at Indiana University Southeast. They also give annual accounting scholarships to students at the University of Louisville and Bellarmine University.

The reason for doing all this? To keep going for another 90 years – becoming an even more indelible part of the community.

“Being around for 90 years is very significant,” concludes Harbeson. “Being one of the oldest accounting firms based in the Louisville metropolitan area is great, but our effort is very much now focused on bringing young people into the firm too and continuing the succession of the firm so that it remains independent and a part of the community.” VT

For more information, visit monroeshine.com.