Good Ideas Continue to Add UpAmina Vila
When you’ve been anchored in Michigan’s Great Southwest for 54-years running and are part of a highly-respected accounting firm that has garnered significant recognition as being among the Top 100 Best Accounting Firms to Work for in America as tabulated by the industry publication Accounting Today, there’s little wonder businesses and individual seek you out and hire your talent base to handle a wide range of business services related to tax, accounting and finance.
Such is the case for Hungerford Nichols CPAs + Advisors of St. Joseph.
Good Ideas Continue to Add Up for clients of St. Joseph Hungerford Nichols CPAs + Advisors
Less than five years ago the team at Hungerford Nichols merged the highly-regarded team from Gerbel & Company into the fold, and together they’ve continued to grow both organically and through additional acquisitions. In fact, the Hungerford Nichols team now sports a staff of more than 140 professionals spread across five locations including their slot in the 800 Centre Building on Ship Street in St. Joseph.
Brian Wisneski is one of the shareholders for Hungerford-Nichols who came to the team from the Gerbel & Company merger. He’s proud of the firm’s long heritage in Michigan’s Great Southwest, and says, “This is my 35th tax season and I’ve gone through all of them with either Bob Gerbel or more recently my colleagues at Hungerford,” and adds, “I went to Lakeshore from kindergarten through high school. I am a local kid from the very start.”
While the Hungerford Nichols moniker may be a newer tax and accounting reference point for those of us in Southwest Michigan, the company’s track record dates back more than 80 years now, and thanks to the acquisition and retention of professionals from the Gerbel team you may run into them on any given day as long-time members of our community who are giving back to the region every day.
Heather Halligan is the Marketing Manager for all of Hungerford Nichols, and is proud of the wide array of services they provide all across West Michigan and beyond. She explains, “We do tax, preparation and audit, business advisory services, fraud and litigation work, wealth management, IT services, and more,” adding, “We’re a full-service CPA and advisory firm, and can regularly offer all of those capabilities for clients of the firm.” To see the full scope of what the team at Hungerford Nichols brings to the table for your business, click this link:
Brian and Heather are quick to point out that even though they now have locations all over West Michigan, “You still have that hometown feel, because you’re still working with your St. Joe representatives handling your business.”
Both are also extremely proud of how deeply engaged the firm is in the community, and tell me, “We love to give back to the communities in which we live and work, that’s really important to us.”
Thanks to direct employee support through volunteering and the generosity of discounted auditing services, Hungerford Nichols CPAs + Advisors in Berrien County have assisted the likes of:
- United Way of Southwest Michigan
- Berrien County Cancer Services
- Meals on Wheels of SW Michigan
- Bridgman Foundation for Educational Excellence
- Humane Society of Southwest Michigan
- New Heights Christian Community Development Association
- North Berrien Historical Society
Additionally, the team has collaborated with the Bridgman High School Art Competition and are active members of the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber.
Hungerford Nichols recently announced the addition of a Holland location with the firm merging in Ferris Busscher & Zwiers effective on May 1st. Thus, with a track record surpassing eight decades and roots in five West Michigan communities including Grand Rapids, St. Joseph, Greenville, Muskegon, and their arrival in Holland, the Hungerford team currently has 13 shareholders across the region.
A unique service that Hungerford Nichols brings to the table for clients everywhere is the talent found on their Accounting Solutions team. Heather explains, “Those experts can be more or less an outsourced Chief Financial Officers (CFO) for your firm. We can be your comptroller, and provide services ranging from handling everything for you, or just stepping in quarterly to oversee your data.” As businesses everywhere struggle with finding employees to staff operations, the Hungerford team can step in to whatever degree your firm needs assistance. Heather notes, “Essentially, we can be a CFO for your firm at considerably less than hiring a CPA,” and adds, “We can do everything from training on QuickBooks to just going in and using QuickBooks Online, or going in monthly and performing your reconciliations. We help through bill pay, or we can just help analyze things at the end of the month or quarter and say, ‘Hey, here’s what’s looking good, or here’s what we think you need to do.’”
Hungerford can help with recording of invoices and receipts, cash receipts and cash disbursements and the like. Literally most everything up to payroll, but Brian Wisneski says, “We outsource all of our payroll, to a firm that we have great confidence in.” He explains, “It’s just the way of the world right now that payroll is becoming such a specialized thing that it’s better off to give it to somebody that handles nothing but payroll. We have a firm we work with for a lot of our clients, and we’re confident with them. We wouldn’t put any client with somebody we don’t trust fully.”
Brian’s longevity with the firm is a huge asset, inasmuch as he is very knowledgeable about the marketplace and the business community here and what they’re typically looking for, and what they need. He has a team of eight local employees in the St. Joe office who have all the resources necessary to pretty much answer any accounting question that might arise, but even Brian admits, “While none of us individually has the answer to everything, there is a vast number of people we can reach out to that have the experience if we don’t individually have it.”
Heather backs that up, suggesting, “There’s a lot of collaboration across our teams, and I think one of the best things about the pandemic, (there’s not a lot of them) but one of them is it forced us to utilize increasing technology. Zoom, WebEx and Microsoft Teams and the like have allowed us to be able to collaborate more effectively and efficiently. Drive-time has gotten shorter, because we can hop on a call with one another to work through a problem. We can hop on a call with our clients and people are a lot more comfortable using the technology, whereas before I don’t think that they were nearly as comfortable. I know, I wasn’t for sure. So that’s really helped us to help one another.” She concludes, “The major benefit is the trust level in technology has soared.”
The Hungerford Nichols team has enjoyed a very low turnover rate through the years. In fact, some associates have been on board for their entire careers, from intern to retirement. As a client, you’ll get the same person, which means you’re not ending up every year working with somebody new. You get to know them and have peace of mind knowing that that person is in your community and understands the specific needs of your community.
Having said that, Brian notes, “Nevertheless, we are definitely looking for people here in the St. Joe office. Truth be told we’re looking for an Audit Manager and a Tax Manager and honestly somebody that wants to be a partner someday because someday I, too will be retiring, which means if somebody wants to be fast-tracked to that type of position, it could happen for the right person who wants to join our team.” If you’d like to explore the possibility of joining the accounting team at Hungerford Nichols, you can start by clicking this link for more:
Additionally, if your team is looking for help with the books, or perhaps find that you’re not exactly enamored with your experience this tax season with your tax provider, Hungerford frequently is contacted right after tax season looking for a better experience in the coming year. As this story was headed to press, Heather said, “Tax season is at hand and by now, you’ve probably got all the work done, but if at the end of the line, you realize that you’re not satisfied with what’s going on, Hungerford-Nichols offers a great opportunity to you going forward.” You can find the firm’s introductory welcoming video on YouTube: