For Roderick Harvey taking care of your business is his bottom line
By Charles Moseley
As a young boy Roderick Harvey was smitten by the entrepreneurial bug as he observed his grandfather run a neighborhood store, which just happened to be strategically located adjacent to Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale. As he grew older he discerned a few lessons about the family run business, not the least of which is that he too someday wanted to run his own business.
While a number of his peers dreamed of becoming the next Michael Jordan or Snoop Dog Harvey set his sights on a more practical and far more attainable goal. He began accomplishing his dream of being a successful businessman the old fashion way. He enrolled in a special business program at Plantation High School which offered courses designed for students interested in careers in business. The program included courses in accounting, management, marketing, and finance.
After graduating from Plantation High School in 1986 Harvey later enlisted in the United States Navy in 1988 and served his country for three years, as a Petty Officer 3rd Class. Harvey continued building upon his educational foundation by earning several business degrees: an associate of arts in business Administration from Broward Community College in 1993, a bachelor of arts in accounting from Florida State University in 1995, and a master’s in professional accounting from The University of Texas at Austin, Texas in 1997. Harvey has been a practicing Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Florida since 1997.
Roderick has over 18 years experience in management and accounting, having served in several capacities including managing member of Harvey, Covington & Thomas. Roderick founded Harvey, Branker & Associates in February of 2000. Prior to the inception of Harvey, Covington and Thomas Roderick worked for one of the “Big 4” firms, specializing in the governmental, manufacturing, Retail, and Distribution sectors. While at the Big 4 accounting firm, Roderick advanced from an assistant accountant to supervising senior accountant. He was in charge of large for profit and not-for-profit corporations, handling millions in federal, state, local funded contracts.
Harvey has conducted many seminars for College Business Courses at Florida Atlantic University. He has served on several Municipal Boards throughout South Florida and has been the Treasurer for a number of not-for-profit organizations.
Harvey agree to share some insights in business with the Westside Gazette (WG) Newspaper
WG: What made you decide to pursue a career in accounting?
Harvey: I was fortunate to discover my talent and passion for Accounting at a very early age in my life. In 1986 I was accepted in the Academy of Finance, a special program that affords high school students the opportunity to enroll in business related courses, at Plantation High School. As a matriculate in this program, I successfully completed accounting, banking, finance and marketing courses in addition to the state required core curriculum courses. The Academy of Finance is dear to my heart because it established the professional course of my life even until today. Fortunately, I have been blessed to keep my focus and stay on track and make enormous strides in accounting, taxation and auditing. I have the confidence of knowing that I am “ahead of the curve” because there are very few practicing CPAs who boast the wealth of knowledge and experience that I bring to the table in this discipline.
WG: What has been the most difficult aspect of running a small business?
Harvey: Operating a corporate business can be an arduous task at myriad levels and dimensions. Consequently, I have very high expectations of my staff and independent contractors because I strongly believe that “the firm” must be more than twice as good as our top competitor. Ultimately our goal is to deliver sterling quality products and services to our clients. As the principal manager, I also face the challenge of educating clients on the imperative need for a CPA at a certain level of financial gain. To be specific, I face challenges on a daily basis, but the rewards overshadow the obstacles when clients are satisfied and staff earns the intrinsic satisfaction of a job well done.
Please note that we exist in a professional business environment where communication in verbal and written formats, clothes, swag and connections all assist with getting positive results for clients. The levels of difficulty come into play with educating people on the need for a CPA when you hit a certain level of success or revenue. We also encounter people who automatically discount “the firm” as something less since it is being managed by people who they consider as educationally inferior and less able to raise capital and compete at a high level for the largest contracts. We employ a military style of management so employees and independent contractors are sometime taken aback by the level of expected precision, accountability and the need for fewer excuses as to “why they did not deliver”
WG: What advice would you give to other small businesses who are really feeling the pinch in the midst of an economic recession and do you have reason to feel optimistic about the economy’s recovery in the near future?
Harvey: This is a two part question. Entrepreneurs must work harder and smarter than others. As an entrepreneur, you must stay focused on your talents and most of all ask God to “show me my lane and how to stay in it”. I find that many people spin their wheels and focus too much on the small targets, which is a distraction: always keep your mind and focus on the big picture. Business owners and managers must be willingly to change and stay engaged in their chosen market. Finally, please keep your mind focused on your goals and do not let allow others to sway you. Any person can add value to the mission but I think that the overall mission should come from the “chosen leader”.
WG: What have been some of the most rewarding aspects of your career to date?
Harvey: The most rewarding aspect of a life as an accountant is helping people, families and businesses with real life issues. . My goal is to assist others to grow in wealth and not just high income. I like to see investments generated for the second and third generations. To be selfish for a moment, it is truly re-warding to consistently engage and surpass the competition. I think that we need people from South Florida who can and do compete at a regional and national level.
WG: What are some keys to success in running a small business?
Harvey: The main key to success to running a small business is to “treat every person” that you meet like a million dollar client.
WG: What advice would you give to students with respect to for planning for their future?
Harvey: My advice for students is to travel wide and far and as often as possible. Our students should endeavor to experience the pathways in order to experience the many other cultures and understand how others live and conduct business to understand others perspectives in order to see and understand that there is more than one way of getting something accomplished and that there are other minorities who are struggling striving and succeeding. The cross section of ideas and the connections help to develop and complete a strong person and allow the young students to interact with all types.