The Journey to Specialization

professionals pursue passions and offer clients more expertise

When the lights in the office fade, it’s often hard for accounting and tax professionals to power down their brains for the day. It’s easy to feel a sense of unfinished business; there’s always more that can be done for each and every client.

Working within the public accounting world (accounting services, tax and audit) requires a wealth of knowledge and unprecedented commitment to clients. These professionals act as a guiding force, leading clients through assurance procedures, business consulting, cash flow analysis and many other tax-related tasks. But when it comes down to it, there’s only so many hours in the day.

That’s where specialty services come into play.

As a firm, Eide Bailly understands a business requires more than a helping hand in the tax realm. Financial planning, wealth management, technology consulting and many other services all play a part in a business’s success. With tax, audit and assurance staff representing more than 75 percent of the Firm, it’s their job to be the ears for the company, listening for challenges and providing clients with resources that lead to a solution. That is how success is cultivated and translated into growth.

Specialty Services Offered
Some CPA firms draw a line at providing accounting, tax, audit and assurance services.  But Eide Bailly breaks the mold. Eide Bailly offers clients specialty services including cost segregation, cyber security, financial services, forensic and valuation, health care reform, international services, outsourced services, risk advisory services, technology consulting, transaction services and wealth management.

Eide Bailly recognizes that it takes staff with a certain skillset and adequate training to provide superior specialty services within the firm. But often passion can pave the way.

Take Ross Manson, for example. For 16 years, Ross built experience in public accounting where he was quickly drawn to working with health care clients. When the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, Ross made it his mission to add a new specialty service area to the firm: health care reform.

“It was clear the Affordable Care Act was going to affect everyone—our clients, our staff, all individuals. People were going to need help to navigate these changes,” Ross says.

Ross may have kicked off his career in traditional services, but as he grew Eide Bailly encouraged him to pursue his passion in health care, ultimately providing yet another beneficial service for the firm’s clients.

Shannon Lemmon enjoys the challenge that comes with developing new services. Hired with the task to establish a strong international tax practice, the International Services Director knew she would have to be dedicated to the firm’s vision in order to succeed. Today, the impact of her work is undeniable.

“We’ve been able to demonstrate that there’s a very high demand for our specialty services and that the growth of our practice brings value to our client relationships,” Shannon explains.

Being able to provide clients with trusted international tax advice—backed by both experience and expertise—has allowed the firm, staff and clients to grow throughout the years. Shannon couldn’t be prouder.

Jason Olson is yet another shining example of how specialty services have helped not only meet clients’ needs on a broader scale, but to also create opportunities within the firm. During his first year of college, Jason discovered a passion for forensic accounting—investigating criminal activity tied to money. Soon after, he learned he could specialize at Eide Bailly and, within five years, was given the opportunity to manage and build the forensic practice in one of the firm’s metro offices. He is now a firm partner.

“With the firm’s support, I excel at what I enjoy most—‘grilling’ suspects in a forensic accounting case, with personal time remaining to refine my skills at the barbecue grill,” he says.

Pursuing genuine passions within the workplace has ignited personal passions as well. When staff love what they do, everyone benefits.

Trading Knowledge Through EB Xchange
In 2016, the Firm created EB Xchange In order to internally raise awareness about specialty services. The program allows audit and tax staff the opportunity to be removed from day-to-day work to learn from others within specialty service departments.

When accepted into the program, staff members are immersed into a specialty department for 6 to 12 weeks between May and December. In some cases, staff are able to temporarily relocate with housing costs covered by the firm.

“The intent is when they go back to audit and tax during busy season—as they’re interacting with clients—they’re listening for different things,” says Lauri Dahlberg, HR Consultant. Having a better understanding of specialty services allows staff to better serve their clients.

EB Xchange also allows staff to explore other career paths without having to fully commit or leave the firm to do so. Someone from tax may discover they enjoy cost segregation and decide to take their career path in that direction.

“It just opens their eyes to different career options for them here at Eide Bailly,” Dahlberg says.

Pairing specialty services with traditional accounting, tax, audit and assurance services means Eide Bailly is able to provide well-rounded expertise and consulting to clients. By cultivating that knowledge through EB Xchange, the firm empowers staff to broaden their experiences and skills to go beyond what’s expected in order to serve their clients.