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Updated: March 6, 2023 / 2023 Business Leaders of the Year

WBJ Hall of Fame: Shepherd built up two cornerstones of the Worcester community

Photo | MATT WRIGHT Terry Shepherd, managing partner, S&G LLP

Terry Shepherd was just 27 years old when he found himself a restless employee.

With a wife and young daughter at home, the Bentley University graduate decided to try to make it on his own as a tax accountant in January 1980. The economy was in recession, and the prime interest rate was 18%. Shepherd was undaunted, and maybe a little naive.

“You go out, and you want to make it on your own. You want to do things your own way,” said Shepherd, managing partner of S&G LLP, an accounting and business consulting firm in Worcester.

The son of English parents, Shepherd worked for a couple of firms, first in Boston and then in Worcester. At the Worcester accounting firm Joseph Cohen & Associates, he met his future business partner, Carl Goldstein. They started out with a skeleton crew in the early 1980s, but today the firm of 35 employees caters to other small-to-mid-sized companies, most with revenue between $5 and $50 million.

For Shepherd, it’s a sweet spot.

“They have some revenue and budget to spend to improve themselves,” Shepherd said.

Today, Shepherd leads the former Shepherd & Goldstein (rebranded to S&G in light of the pair’s eventual retirement) on a reduced schedule of 40 hours per week alongside his new co-managing partner, Matthew Allison. With no air of fatigue, Shepherd highlighted constant IT investments to improve the customer experience, the addition of 200 new customers in 2022, and a steady annual sales growth rate of around 13% over the last five years, bringing annual revenue to nearly $13 million.

What has secured S&G’s spot as the industry leader in Central Mass., and a major player in New England, is an emphasis on maximizing value for clients, Shepherd said. Other firms spend about 12% of resources helping clients with tasks other than tax compliance. For S&G, it’s close to 40%, and the goal is 50%.

Value growth and planning for the future have been Shepherd’s business passions from the start. He’s brought his ideas, particularly for succession planning, to business owners across the country through seminars on the topic, and he hopes he’s made a lasting impact on retiring Baby Boomers and their families.

“I wanted to help businesses analyze their financials and help them to make good choices,” he said.

With his own succession plan in place, Shepherd’s idea of slowing down is clearly a little less than average, both in and out of the office. He published a book in October with co-author Ronen Shefer. The pair lead ROCG, a Florida-based international consulting firm.

In their new book, “The Graduate Level of Business Ownership: The Secrets to Business Success and Personal Happiness,” Shefer and Shepherd offer a roadmap to strategizing and planning, offering case studies and stories to encourage business owners looking to elevate their success. The book lingered in the No. 1 spot for business venturing and coaching on in early 2023.

Why Me

More important to Shepherd is his work at the nonprofit Why Me and Sherry’s House. The two-part nonprofit includes Why Me – an acronym by his daughter, Sherry, which stands for Worcester Helping Youth, Memories Everlasting – and Sherry’s House, a lodging home and community gathering center for pediatric cancer patients and their families going through treatment in Worcester and Boston.

Shepherd said the nonprofit was his daughter’s idea. They founded it together just one month before Sherry died of cancer at the age of 13 in August 1985, and it became his passion. In his younger years, Shepherd led many road races as far away as Paris, including an eight-day run he made from the New York border to Boston, to raise more than $1 million to support programs and construction at the home at Pleasant Street in Worcester.

As chairman of the board, Shepherd helps create and oversee myriad programs, from bereavement groups to Christmas parties, family outings, and sibling support groups, meeting nearly every family. He is hands-on, hosting families on Cape Cod or taking them out for a night in Boston.

Shepherd has instilled the idea that families facing childhood cancer need moments of joy, said Danielle Sikonski, director of family services and events at Why Me & Sherry’s House.

“He has never burned out from his passion for the organization and the mission,” Sikonski said.

The WBJ Hall of Fame Class of 2023:

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November 15, 2023
Wonderful, inspiring article.
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