Dane County Small Business Awards: Small business, big impact
We honor six local companies that embody the best in Dane County small business.
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Berndt CPA: Floating on the cloud
Bruce D. Berndt saw the future more than four years ago and reinvented the accounting model. Seeking to make his profession, or at least his own practice as paperless as possible, the owner of Berndt CPA LLC launched his firm to emphasize mobile accounting.
In so doing, Berndt CPA has set itself apart from other CPA firms, growing at an average annual rate of 32% and increasing his staff from three to 16 employees and counting. With almost 100% of its interaction with clients cloud based, it still delivers tax returns and financial statements, but entrepreneurs now approve invoices from their smartphones, pay bills on the fly, and access real-time financial data via secure dashboards.
“With all the great businesses in and around Dane County, just to be recognized as one of them is great for our firm and our team members. Everyone here is just happy as can be, and we’re looking forward to sharing [this award] with our friends and our community.” — Bruce D. Berndt, owner, Berndt CPA
“We basically said the future for all small business clients is going to be the cloud,” Berndt states, “and so we went 100% in and said our whole service model is going to be working with people in the cloud so they can get their business information 24/7.”
One of the reasons that cloud-enabled, mobile accounting is gaining traction with clients is that it’s difficult to find and retain employees, so they are open to outsourcing various accounting functions. “What we find is that many clients look at this and say, ‘Okay, we have a hard time keeping good internal people, so if we have an outsourced model for this accounting function, and have a team at Berndt CPAs doing this, we’re not relying on any one person,’” Berndt explains. “The other major issue is people are living through their PDAs and their phones, so desktops for many business owners are a thing of the past.”
When it comes to employee benefits, Berndt CPA emphasizes the family needs of its employees, especially protection from financial hardship. The firm provides financial planning training for employees and families, it supports employees’ children in their activities through sponsorships and fundraising, employee spouses receive flowers and candy on April 10 for their support during tax season, and it allows employees to be in attendance for any of their children’s activities during normal work hours.
The family emphasis stems from Berndt’s appreciation for the sacrifices that his own family has had to make to support the business. “My daughter and son were in the business, so they understand the process, as do their spouses and loved ones,” he says. “Thinking about the support structure that’s needed, it’s critical that we recognize the families are doing as much or more as the employees are.
“In our own small way, we try to make their lives better and make it possible to spend quality time with their families when we’re not in the tax season.”