A Lasting Legacy: Former Squire Managing Partner, Tim Larsen Looks Back on His 40-Plus Year Career
After more than 40 years at the only firm he’s called his place of employment, former Squire managing partner Tim Larsen has entered retirement.
Larsen, who first entered the doors of the Utah Valley-based accounting firm as a BYU graduate student in January 1980, will still be working on a part-time or project basis at Squire but will be taking the opportunity to spend more time on his own schedule. He’s looking forward to more outdoor adventures and travels with his wife, Elise, and getting out on the golf course at least a few times a week. However, he adds he’s doing so with a bit of trepidation.
“It’s a little nerve-wracking,” Larsen laughs while discussing his retirement.
While he has some plans for how he’ll enter the next chapter of his life, leaving behind the only workplace he’s ever known won’t be a clean break.
Larsen plans on easing into retirement by continuing to be a figure in the accounting industry. He hopes to join an IRS steering committee to help the Internal Revenue Service find ways to improve its services. He’ll still punch in and out on a part-time schedule at Squire. He plans on remaining a key voice in the local Chamber of Commerce.
Working is just in his nature, Larsen says. It’s what he enjoys most.
“The passion is to try and build the profession and help everybody,” he explains. “There’s that old adage that when the water in the harbor goes up, all the boats go up. I’m just interested in making things better.”
Anyone who has built a relationship with Squire and Larsen over the last four decades would attest to that. He makes things better. Under his leadership, Squire has gone from a small-scale locally owned and operated accounting agency to a pillar of the business community in Utah County and abroad.
Larsen witnessed that growth from a front-row seat, very quickly going from a staff accountant at Squire to a partner in less than six years. Once he took over as the managing partner in 2004, the company’s growth went to a whole other level.
Under Larsen’s leadership, Squire accountants went from being generalists or accountants with a solid understanding of basically every possible industry, to specialists, or highly trained experts in a particular field of business.
The switch to a hyper-focused approach took a bit of adjustment, but now that the systems are in place, Larsen feels the accounting services at Squire are now second-to-none.
“In certain industries, there’s nobody that’s more expert than we are,” he states proudly, citing direct selling business practices as an example. “We have more tools than any other CPA firm because we’ve gone out and developed them. It wasn’t just me, that took everybody to make that happen.”
Some may be surprised to hear that Larsen, who is so clearly passionate about the accounting industry, didn’t consider it to be his first love or career choice. When he first began studying at Brigham Young University, he was planning on becoming a physician. However, after finding that many in that line of work didn’t find much fulfillment, he switched his major based on a memory he had of his mother.
“My mother was a bookkeeper at a real small telephone company down in Emery County,” Larsen recalls. “And she used to talk to me about the CPAs that would come and audit her books and she always referred to them as the smartest people that she knew. And so I thought, ‘Well, my mom thinks CPAs are smart. So maybe what I’ll do is take an accounting class.’”
A few years later — with quite a few accounting classes under his belt — Larsen was ready to enter the workforce. Although he had his choice of offers from all of the Big Eight major accounting firms, he chose to take the offer the then-tiny Squire extended to him, with a hunch that the company would grow into something bigger and better. At the time, one of his professors attempted to dissuade him from his choice, but Larsen says it was a practically ‘spiritual’ decision that he and his wife had made.
More than 40 years later, Larsen still thinks he made the right call.
“And I tell people now, I think you have a choice, you can decide to build yourself by moving around and getting exposure to more people, or you can make the opposite choice and stay in one place, still get the same exposure to people, but build something better and beyond, build something that has a lasting legacy,” Larsen says. “And that you can’t do that by jumping around, you’ve got to stay engaged, and you’ve got to help to grow and develop whatever it is you’re trying to build.”