PRINCETON, N.J. – The top-30 nationally ranked audit, tax and advisory firm WithumSmith+Brown, PC (Withum) recently named nine employees as the recipients of its Strength Awards in six different categories. The honorees were recognized by more than 800 of their peers at Withum’s annual State of the Firm meeting, where a yearlong Strength Stories employee appreciation campaign also was announced.

“At Withum, our responsive, talented staff has established an extremely high benchmark for industry expertise and client service and these individuals have elevated our standards to an entirely new, impressive level,” said Bill Hagaman, the firm’s managing partner and CEO. “Their unwavering creativity and commitment help their peers and clients achieve a position of strength – for which these awards are so aptly named.”

The following Withum employees are the 2016 Strength Award recipients:

  • Fred S. Withum Outstanding Achievement Award – Jarrod Rhen of Croydon, PA, senior manager/Princeton office

Recognized for his ability to teach complex issues, particularly in the area of derivative transactions, Rhen has demonstrated a successful track record for assuming critical audit areas and providing services that build team-wide consensus.

  • Withum Administrative Strength Award – Keishla Rodriguez of Orlando, FL, office manager/Orlando office

As the backbone of the Orlando office, Rodriguez demonstrated consistent and outstanding internal and external client service associated with assimilating another large Orlando firm into Withum’s Florida office. In addition, she designed and implemented a financial statement approval process and created a centralized system for handling job requests.

  • Withum Marketing Strength – Joe Cassano of Aberdeen, NJ, senior manager/New York City office

By exhibiting sustained marketing excellence, Cassano is directly responsible for generating nearly $250,000 in revenue, with almost as much in outstanding proposals. In addition, he has written three industry-related articles and is a co-contributor of Withum’s Alternative Investment Fund Prof-Forma Financial Statement Reference Manuals and Emerging Manager Desk Reference Manual.

  • Withum Innovative Strength – Anurag Sharma of Pennington, NJ, principal, SOC/Cyber Advisory Services/Princeton Office

When one of the firm’s largest clients had concerns regarding cyber vulnerabilities, Sharma recommended the newly issued NIST Cybersecurity Framework and a full complement of technical methodologies. He led methodology implementation and provided a multi-tier reporting structure, which enables a detailed technical-personnel reporting framework. The executive summary, which featured an impressive one-page graphic illustrating the current and targeted state of the client’s cyber readiness, was presented to the audit committee and full board.

  • Leonard H. Smith Strength of Client Service – The Audit Services Team of Stephen Antenucci of Jamesburg, NJ, manager/Red Bank Office; Solomon Feraidoon of Jersey City, NJ, senior/Morristown Office; Sumit Pal, of Plainsboro, NJ, principal/Princeton Office; and Salvatore Franchino of New York, NY, staff II accountant/New York City office

During an engagement involving an all-encompassing ACL/Data mining project, followed by financial statement construction and a reconciliation project, this group provided over 10,500 service hours spanning 10 months. Collectively, the team completely reconstructed a company’s financial statements spanning two years and five countries.

  • Withum Community Strength – Christina Lazaro of Toms River, NJ, manager/Red Bank office

Lazaro’s involvement with St. Jude began in college and continues today. Since 2012, she has been the event chairperson of the Monmouth/Ocean St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer, which raised $160,000 for the second year in a row. In addition, she also attended the Volunteer Leadership Conference at St. Jude in Memphis, TN this year.

Throughout 2017, Withum is hosting a new Strength Stories campaign, an employee recognition nomination program for staff, clients and those external entities with whom they work to submit candidates for consideration. Employee winners will have the opportunity to appear in a radio commercial aired on Bloomberg Radio to share their strength story.

Categories and their nomination requirements include: Innovative Strength, for developing/improving methods, processes and procedures; Administrative Strength, for internal or external customer/client/colleague service, professionalism, performance and commitment beyond the normal responsibility scope; Client Service Strength, for providing our clients with service that goes above and beyond expectations; Entrepreneurial Strength, for developing a comprehensive business plan to scope, manage and achieve team objectives; Culture Strength, for fostering a positive, creative and collaborative workplace culture to enhance performance and drive growth; and Community Strength, for voluntarily lending time, energy and expertise to a community service organization.

Established in 1974, Withum is an accounting, audit, tax and advisory firm committed to providing quality services and innovative solutions to businesses, non-profits, individuals and communities. The firm, through its 14 national and international-based offices, provides clients with the benefits of a larger organization without compromising the attention and personal service associated with a local business. Ranked among the nation’s 30 largest public accounting and consulting firms, Withum is a member of HLB International, a worldwide network of independent professional accounting firms and business advisors committed to assisting clients build and expand globally.