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North Hills Monthly

HBK Cares

Oct 01, 2016 02:08PM ● By Vanessa Orr

Seated (l-r) Jeremy Hartzell, JD, MBA; Jeffrey V. Yannuzzi, CPA; Robert D. Spears, CPA, JD; top row (l-r) Sean Kocan, CPA, CFE; Richard E. Spence, CPA, CVA, CCIFP; Edward J. Goncz, CPA, Photo by Alicia Photography

For more than 65 years, HBK CPAs & Consultants, a full-service financial advisory firm, has helped clients meet financial goals and plan for the future. By maintaining focus on their clients and understanding that their success is based on what they can help clients achieve, they have developed scores of long-term client relationships, which in turn has led to exponential firm growth. The firm, which was established in Youngstown, OH, operates out of 13 local offices in four states: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida and Ohio, and includes the Pittsburgh office which has been located in Wexford for 25 years.  

The word “local,” might be the most essential aspect of its culture. Despite its breadth of region and network of more than 400 financial professionals providing the widest range of tax, accounting, audit, business advisory, valuation, financial planning and wealth management services, HBK offices operate as local businesses—its advisors working closely with their clients and with the autonomy to make thoughtful, timely decisions in those clients’ best interests. 

The firm holds to a culture of local, caring service and proves it in promoting professionals who best live up to that promise. Such was the case on September 1, when Jeremy Hartzell, JD, MBA, was promoted to principal-in-charge of the Pittsburgh office, taking the reins from Jeffrey Yannuzzi, CPA, who has served in that capacity for 16 years. 

“I’m very excited to have Jeremy take over as principal-in-charge; he has fresh ideas and the leadership skills to take us to the next step,” said Yannuzzi, who will continue at the firm as tax principal, serving his longstanding North Hills’ clients. “I think that Jeremy will bring multigenerational strength to the position—not only serving our current clients, but generation Xers and millennials.”  

Hartzell joined HBK in February 2015, after spending 13 years at Deloitte Tax and three years in the industry prior to joining the firm. He specializes in high net worth individuals, including estates and trusts, and tax planning for individuals and privately held companies.

“My goal is to focus on our clients and our people. I want HBK CPAs & Consultants to be the firm that clients want to come to, that employees want to work for, and that the community wants to be associated with. I am focused on moving us generationally to be around and relevant for the next 65 years.” – Jeremy Hartzell, tax attorney

“One of the reasons that Jeremy was interested in joining the firm is that he truly believes in our tag line—working together sets us apart,” explained Gregory J. Sorce, CFP®, MSFS, principal and senior financial advisor, HBKS Wealth Advisors. “It makes us not just rare, but unique; we have the ability to help clients with their tax issues, financial and estate planning, and wealth management concerns by putting all of the right people around the table, and working together. That’s a very powerful thing.”

Yannuzzi pointed out that HBK’s client-service model with its emphasis on long-term relationships also sets HBK apart from other firms. “I’ve had many of the same clients for more than 35 years, which gives me a deep understanding of their business,” he explained. “When you’ve worked with a company for that much time, you know that it goes through a lot of different cycles; you know its background.”

“Our clients are our top priority; they get a lot of attention from our principals and senior management, and because turnover is very low, they see the same advisors year after year,” added Ed Goncz, who joined the firm with Yannuzzi and Richard Spence 16 years ago. “When they call, we answer.” 

“When you have a personal relationship with a client, they know that they can call you to talk about anything,” added Hartzell. “You become their trusted advisor, and they feel comfortable calling you, even if it’s just to ask your opinion.” 

One of the ways that the firm lives up to this culture is through service to its communities. Throughout HBK, in every office, there are dedicated, local HBK Cares initiatives. From supporting organizations that deliver school supplies to underprivileged children and local Humane Societies, to serving in local business nonprofit organizations, members of the firm take active roles in the communities where they do business. 

HBK Cares, a committee of team members from all levels of the organization, was organized to promote community involvement and support local office charitable activities. Many of the company’s employees serve on nonprofit boards, and the firm is also involved in everything from food drives to writing letters to the troops.

Hartzell himself maintains a busy community schedule. He was active in the Pittsburgh area’s Susan G. Komen for the Cure for more than a decade and served as a member of the partners board of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. He currently serves on the Duquesne University alumni board and is a past treasurer of Pittsburgh Filmmakers.

When asked for examples of how the Pittsburgh HBK office works with charities, Hartzell offered: “Last month, we took half a day off work, and 17 people went to Family Resources Center in Warrendale (a nonprofit that works with abused children) to help strip and paint a building. We also got involved in Toys for Tots last year, and plan to make it an annual event. Giving the kids toys that we collected was really a great experience for all of us.”

The office also works on industry-related charitable projects such as food drives conducted by the Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs. 

“Community service isn’t just a once a year thing or even a special occasion,” Hartzell explained. “It is a part of our culture.”

Evidence of that culture can be witnessed every Friday at any HBK office. Historically, Friday is “jeans day” at HBK. But wearing jeans comes with a price. Each team member in jeans must donate to a fund, which is then divided each quarter between two charities selected by the HBK Cares committee.  

“There are a lot of folks in jeans every Friday, and nobody objects to donating,” Hartzell said. “It goes back to the saying, ‘To those whom much is given, much is expected.’ We’re doing well, and it’s our passion to help those who are not as fortunate.”

To learn more about HBK CPAs & Consultants, and the services that it offers, visit or call 724-934-5300.