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Michael Russo

Managing Director, Freed Maxick, CPAs

Years in current role: 14

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I enjoy seeing a job well done. It starts by training and motivating our staff to use the tools we have and their competencies to meet and exceed our client’s needs. In light of changing economic and financial uncertainties that have arisen over the past year and a half, it was truly amazing to see our services seamlessly delivered to our clients without missing a beat.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve dealt with over the past year?

Certainly COVID has made it difficult to maintain the previous in-person collaboration and chemistry that we had developed over many years. We were fortunate that we were able to recalibrate and re-engineer that in a virtual environment. Initially the focus of day-to-day activities was a small distraction. However, through mutual trust on both ends that this was the new normal, we quickly used the virtual environment for our employees to enjoy their time previously used for commuting and other office duties into newfound opportunities for them to spend on items that benefited them and the community.

What is the No. 1 tip you would give to people or companies about planning their finances amid uncertain times?

Be prepared for what’s ahead by not losing sight of history but be mindful of what’s around the corner. It is amazing to think about the current fears for inflation and then realize that the newest generation of workers have never experienced real inflation. They have virtually lived with inflation rates under 3% for their entire life and are now seeing large increases in gas and food prices. Should inflation continue at a higher rate this could have a large impact on their spending habits moving forward and in turn the economy as a whole.

This profile is part of Rochester Business Journal's Power 30 Banking & Finance list for 2021. Information used in this profile was sourced from the honoree. View the full list at


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