7 traits of effective mid-sized business accounting firms
While small businesses and larger organizations each face their own set of challenges, mid-sized businesses often grapple with a unique blend of the two—encountering ‘small-business’ issues like limited resources and thin margins, as well as ‘big-business’ challenges, like taxation on interstate trade and the planning of larger investments.
And just as large organizations can’t fully understand the nature of operating a small business – and vice versa – it’s impossible for a person or firm to grasp the unique reality of managing a mid-sized company unless they have first-hand experience.
When it comes to selecting an accounting firm, mid-sized businesses deserve to be picky. Their challenges are unique to both their size and industry, and the only way they are going to get the attention and services they need is if they find a firm with a deep understanding of businesses like theirs.
At Dugan & Lopatka, our team has provided a wide range of financial services for mid-sized businesses since 1974. We understand that mid-sized businesses face a unique set of challenges and therefore require a unique set of expertise from their accounting firm. That’s why, when searching for accountants for mid-size businesses in Chicago, accounting firms in DuPage County, or accounting firms in Chicago’s suburbs, it is critical to find one that suits your unique needs.
With that said, here are some of the signs that an accounting firm is a good fit for your business:
They are, themselves, a mid-sized business.
Effective accounting firms often mirror the qualities of the businesses they serve. For a mid-sized business, you usually want to work with a mid-sized accounting firms, because they often offer the blend of comprehensive services and personalized attention that your business needs.
There’s nothing wrong with small accounting firms—they are often staffed by attentive, personable, and talented people. The problem is that they often lack the depth of resources, staff and expertise demanded to serve a mid-sized business. They likely won’t be able to provide all of the services your business needs – such as outsourced accounting – or the around-the-clock attention it deserves.
Large accounting firms, meanwhile, often have armies of accountants on staff and a wide range of services. However, these firms tend to concentrate the majority of their attention and resources on their biggest clients, which means that mid-sized businesses such as yours are often put on the back burner.
Mid-sized accounting firms are usually the best route for mid-sized businesses. They understand the challenges you face, because they often face the same or similar challenges themselves. And they can back up that knowledge with the resources and capabilities required to serve a business of your size.
They have deep experience working with mid-sized businesses.
A firm can only truly understand mid-sized businesses if they have worked with a large number of them, over a long period of time.
At Dugan & Lopatka, we have nearly 50 years of experience working with mid-sized businesses from a wide variety of industries. We are constantly drawing on past experiences. And, by working with numerous mid-sized businesses, we have tailored our services and fees to maximize the impact of our work. Those years of hard-earned experience made us the accounting firm we are today—there really is no substitute.
They have a dedicated middle-market team.
The nature of mid-sized businesses is different from that of small or large organizations. Therefore, when it comes to business accounting, you want a firm with a team dedicated exclusively to mid-sized businesses.
At Dugan & Lopatka, we have a dedicated team that specializes in mid-sized businesses, receiving specific annual training on the unique financial and technical issues these companies face.
They are industry thought-leaders.
Accounting firms that specialize in serving mid-sized businesses demonstrate their knowledge by sharing it.
By sponsoring seminars, hosting webinars and publishing articles and newsletters tailored to specific industries within the middle market, these firms show that they are keeping up with the middle market and thinking about the issues their clients face.
An example of good thought-leadership content tailored to mid-sized businesses is Industry Upgrade. These articles, published by Dugan & Lopatka, go in-depth on key issues faced by mid-sized manufacturers, providing valuable tips and how-to guidance. It’s both a valuable tool for their clients and a demonstration of their expertise.
They are active in middle-market professional groups.
You can learn a lot about an accounting firm by its affiliations.
As a middle-market business, look for firms that are affiliated with middle-market professional groups. Our firm, for example, is a member of the AICPA Group of 400, representing middle-market CPA firms in the U.S.
They encourage communication—and they don’t nickel-and-dime you for it.
While it’s true that conditions can change quickly for organizations of all sizes, mid-sized businesses walk a particularly thin tightrope.
Whether it’s a full-on crisis or simply a question about the business’ finances, it’s important for mid-sized business owners – who often don’t have full-time accountants on staff – to be able to pick up the phone and talk to an expert who understands their business. And they shouldn’t have to pay exorbitant fees for this.
At Dugan & Lopatka, our fixed pricing structure ensures that our clients have ongoing, on-demand access to their accountants. At any moment, they can call our team for advice related to accounting, taxes, and their business—at no additional charge.Business is ongoing, and that’s why we believe it’s an accounting firm’s responsibility to provide ongoing guidance. Whether it’s routine accounting advice and tax-related questions or help in a financial emergency, we want you to call us.
They give back to the communities where they serve.
While all organizations should give back to the communities where they do business, mid-sized businesses are often the stewards of their community. They are small enough that they feel emotionally attached to the places where they operate, yet large enough that they have the resources to make a difference.
People like to do business with organizations that give back—for good reason. The same goes for accounting firms. When vetting accountants for mid-sized companies in Chicago, look for organizations that demonstrate their good character by making a positive impact within their community.
At our firm, we get involved by providing pro bono tax and accounting services, volunteering for various initiatives, and sponsoring numerous organizations and community events. You can learn more about our involvement here.
About Dugan & Lopatka
As you continue your search for an accounting firm, look for firms that mirror the best parts of your business. Look for experience, good character, people you can trust. Find a firm that has the resources to support your business, but make sure they will consider you their top priority.
At Dugan & Lopatka, we have specialized in serving mid-sized businesses in the Chicagoland region for more than 40 years. During that time, we have accumulated hard-earned, first-hand expertise on the nature of running a middle-market organization. We have leveraged that expertise to hone our services, so we can offer the support, guidance and resources that our clients need.
Industries we serve:
- Family-owned businesses
- Professional Service Firms
- Real Estate
- Service Providers
Our core services:
- Accounting Services
- Tax compliance and planning
- Mergers and acquisitions
To learn more about what Dugan & Lopatka can do for your mid-sized business or NFP organization, contact our team today.