Q&A Alumni Spotlight
Deloitte Retired Partner Mike Fritz
Chair, National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA)
How would you summarize your career at Deloitte?
I began my career in July 1979 with Touche Ross in Columbus, Ohio. The small office of 50 people was led by three partners. From day one, I was encouraged to take on new responsibilities and learn new things. I was promoted to audit partner after nine years. After the merger with Deloitte, we became the largest office in Columbus with over 250 people serving the most public companies in the city. I served private and publicly held clients primarily in the retail, manufacturing and public sector industries. For 20 years, I was the Japanese practice leader in the Columbus office and had the honor of working with five Japanese expatriates, all of whom became audit partners with Tohmatsu in Japan upon their return. During my last 10 years with the firm, I was the Industry Professional Practice Director for the public sector, where I served some of the firm’s largest clients in that industry.
What inspires you when looking back at your time at Deloitte?
The culture of the firm is unlike any other experience that I have seen at other organizations. It is the one thing that I miss the most since I have retired. I was fortunate to have several mentors/sponsors in the firm who counseled me and provided opportunities that I never would have considered. I was also fortunate to have many “partner’s partners”, people who would stand firmly by your side in a foxhole and help you through any issue, as opposed to a culture where people only looked out for themselves. I can think of many “moments that matter” where I was able to reach the right person in the firm who I could consult with to help with a difficult client situation.
“Mike was an exceptional audit partner during his career at Deloitte. His leadership within the profession, commitment to the public interest, and service to the community are a strong testament to Deloitte’s core beliefs and to our culture of making an impact that matters.”
Joe Ucuzoglu, Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte US
How have you stayed connected to the Deloitte alumni network?
I still check in with the younger PPMDs who I mentored and worked with to see how they are progressing. This past year, I was invited to one of my former team’s annual holiday party, which meant a lot to me. In my role at NASBA, I have been able to work with many more Deloitte professionals, as we consider changes to regulation and standards for the accounting profession. The retired partner webcasts are great. I continue to learn new things that are beneficial to me, my family and my friends. The Central Ohio PPMDs periodically get together for lunch/dinner to stay in touch.
“NASBA is an influential stakeholder in our profession. Mike’s many years of service on the Accountancy Board of Ohio and on various NASBA committees have been invaluable in preparing Mike to lead, with commitment and resolve, as Chair of NASBA. We are very much appreciative and proud of his continuing dedication to the profession.”
Nancy Juron, State Regulatory Managing Partner
What else are you passionate about? What drives you at work, at home, in your community?
Deloitte’s involvement in the community has instilled a passion in me of “paying it forward”. I have been very active in the Ohio University School of Business advisory program. I encouraged an audit professor to work with the OU Foundation management and start a “Sox/404 internship program”. This is still a vibrant ongoing program where students work under the direction of a professor to monitor and test internal controls at the Foundation, for which they receive a scholarship and college credit. I am also very active in my local church, participating in a men’s church group, monthly prayer breakfast and have been Treasurer over 10 years. The church is currently working on its 15th Habitat for Humanity house. This past fall, I volunteered three days a week. When I was still working at Deloitte, people would ask me what I did over the weekend and I told them I loved spending my Saturdays pounding nails and cutting wood. Throughout the years volunteering at Habitat for Humanity, I have learned many skills that make me pretty handy around the house.
In 2002, I was one of the co-founders of the Gahanna-Jefferson Education Foundation. The Gahanna-Jefferson Education Foundation was created to “Promote Excellence” throughout our school district by funding innovative projects that are beyond traditional school district expenditures such as providing scholarships and grants. Our first fundraising event was a silent auction at a community event during a snowstorm. We raised $3,200. This past month we hosted our 18th gala where we had gross proceeds of over $200,000. Since inception we have provided over $1.1 million in grants and $790,000 in donor designated projects and scholarships. Our net assets were over $5 million at the end of 2021. In my role as Treasurer of the foundation, I worked with the Gahanna-Jefferson School District which provides support and resources for the district pupil service staff in addressing personal student needs, to establish an investment club, where students work with an advisor to understand financial markets and make active trades. Their returns have historically outpaced those of the school district’s external investment advisor. The club now has advisory control of over $50,000 of investment assets.
During my travels, I love to take pictures of sunrises and sunsets. Just like playing golf, each day is different and provides a new perspective on enjoying life.
What advice do you have for the next generation?
I would tell recruits considering a career at Deloitte that I was fortunate to find a career where I could continually learn new things, meet new people and do what I liked to do. I would also mention to them that if that ever stopped, I would look for other opportunities elsewhere. Fortunately for me, that never happened during my 40-year career at Deloitte. Life is too short to not do what you are passionate about. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Ask questions if you don’t understand what you are being asked to do. Maintain relationships with your college classmates and get involved with a volunteer organization that you have an interest in. As you progress in your career, these relationships will pay off personally and professionally.