Fine Point Meet & Greet: Allie LaFleur

Meet the Fine Point Consulting staff and learn a little bit about what makes them tick. This week: Accounting Manager Allie LaFleur.

 

Talk a little bit about your background and what drew you to accounting.

Allie LaFleurI earned my Associate’s degree in Business Management from Madison Area Technical College, along with some certificates in Small Business Entrepreneurship and Human Resources Management. Business Management was a nice, broad degree that would allow me to do any number of things, and the certificates were just something I added on. It’s great to have a little background in something like Human Resource Management when you’re an accountant and doing things like processing payroll, so those certificates have been helpful.

A few years later, with [Fine Point Owner] Luella [Schmidt’s] encouragement, I decided to go back to school at night to earn my Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. Getting my bachelors was something I had always wanted to do, but it helped to have my boss encouraging me and cheering me on from the sidelines!

During this time, my husband and I also purchased a small business. To help save money, I assumed the bookkeeper role. A friend of mine helped me set up payroll and I learned QuickBooks on my own. It was a great first-hand experience that forced me not only to put my accounting classes to work and learn on the job, but it also gave me the perspective of being a small business owner and what that means for Fine Point clients.

As far as accounting, I enjoy figuring out a reconciliation that’s been stumping me. Accounting is one of those fields that there’s practically always a “right” way of doing things. You want to make sure your balances tie, for example. It’s a repetitive job, but there’s enough new stuff that comes up from month to month that keep you on your toes.

What is your role at Fine Point, and what do you enjoy about working there?

I started at Fine Point in 2011 as a staff accountant, where I oversaw reviewing profit and loss statements. Now, as Accounting Manager, I oversee some of the other accountants and am responsible for things like reviewing balance sheets; specifically, assets and liabilities.

Working at Fine Point has given me a lot of great experience working in a variety of industries. For example, this morning I’m doing some work for a nonprofit client, but this afternoon I will be working with a small personal fitness business we work with. Every day is like this, and I enjoy the variety. The culture at Fine Point is great, too. The people I work with here feel more like friends than coworkers. And Luella is a fantastic teacher. She’s not only a great accountant, but I’ve learned a ton from her about prioritizing and organizing work. She’s a pleasure to work for.

What’s something others may be surprised to learn about you?

I lived in Holland as a young child. My mom got a job as a teacher on a military base there. I was too young to learn the language and my parents weren’t immersed in the language when we were there, but my sister, who is two years older than I am, picked up the language very quickly through school there. Even though she was also quite young, she quickly became our family translator.

When you’re not working, you…

My husband and I just bought our first house in April, and we’re working on a never-ending list of household projects. And my sister just had the first grandchild in our family, so between the projects and visiting the new baby, that’s pretty much all we have time for!

 

Visit Fine Point Consulting to learn how our knowledgeable staff can help your business succeed.

Fine Point Meet & Greet: Steph Breunig

Meet the newest Fine Point Consulting staff and learn a little bit about what makes them tick. This week: Firm Administrator Steph Breunig.

Tell us a little bit about your background and the work you do at Fine Point.

Steph BreunigMy background is actually in English and Education. I worked for a number of years as a Library Media Specialist in a couple of school districts. I’ve known Luella for years and have always joked with her that she should hire me to work for her, especially as teaching in this state has become more difficult in recent years. But Luella told me one day she wasn’t kidding anymore and she really did want to hire me, and it’s been a great experience.

I do a little bit of everything. My role here is part office manager, part bookkeeper, part technology manager, plus whatever else Luella asks me to do. I also coordinate HR and benefits. Luella has been really great at letting me tailor the job to my strengths; for example, I’m setting up “Lunch & Learns” a couple times a month through AstUtemy, so our staff can learn more about business and accounting. As a former teacher, I can’t help myself but to teach!

What’s the transition been like going from a career in Education to working in Business—and what do you like most about working for Fine Point?

As I’ve been educating myself more about the business world through webinars and other resources, I’ve just started looking at things through a different lens. Business articles in the newspaper grab my attention now—and what I notice in the world around me is just different. Working with startups is exciting, and I really love that so many of these companies we work with are really making a difference in the world.

The people here at Fine Point are great and the environment here is very fun. The Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) that Fine Point employs was also a major draw for me as a working mom. I like being able to take time off when I need to for my family—and I like that not all of my days off are tied to the school schedule!

When you’re not working, you…

I have three children who are 10, 11, and 13. All three of them play lacrosse, so that eats up a lot of my time. I’m a huge sports fan, which doesn’t necessarily fit with my library persona! I’m one of those crazy parents who yells from the sidelines of my kids’ games—though I keep it positive. My son calls me the “Third Ref.”

 

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Fine Point Meet & Greet: Matt Loewi

Meet the newest Fine Point Consulting staff and learn a little bit about what makes them tick.

Tell us a bit about your role at Fine Point and what you like best about working there.

Matt LoewiI started in January of 2016 as a staff accountant, so I work on accounts payable and receivable, reconciling statements, running payrolls, and that sort of thing. I’m actually working on completing my BS degree in Accounting at Edgewood College and finish up this Spring. I was looking for an internship-type position and a mutual connection who knew Luella told me about Fine Point. I really like the relaxed environment we have here and the ability to learn about a variety of companies that are in different stages of development. Plus the fact that we work largely with more casual start-ups means we have a casual atmosphere and dress code, too. (I have one co-worker who got teased by a client for wearing a suit!) Fine Point also has a really open environment for learning and sharing information.

(Fine Point Owner) Luella is a big reader. Any favorite books, blogs, or podcasts?

One podcast I’m enjoying at the moment is called Surprisingly Awesome. It’s two guys and one guy will come up with a topic that’s often considered boring (think adhesives, pigeons, broccoli), and over the course of an episode will try to convince the other guy that the topic is not boring by talking about the history and just random facts about the subject. I like random trivia, so I think it’s really interesting. The episode about concrete, for example, talked about the history of concrete and how it impacts our society, and how many fatalities from natural disasters are actually “concrete disasters” in that the cement or concrete used in construction is often not up to standards.

When you’re not working, you…

I do quite a bit of woodworking. My family has a Christmas tree farm, so I work on the farm and we mill all our own wood. I’ve made tables, cutting boards, and benches. I also like to garden, and I play a lot of sports, mostly pickup soccer and basketball games.

 

Visit Fine Point Consulting to learn how our knowledgeable staff can help your business succeed.

Fine Point Meet & Greet: Zach Miller

Meet the newest Fine Point Consulting staff and learn a little bit about what makes them tick.

Tell us a bit about your background and what drew you to accounting.

Zach MillerGrowing up, I always liked math, so accounting was a natural fit for me. I’d always thought I would own my own business someday, so accounting also made sense as a career path. I earned BS degrees from Edgewood College in both Accounting and Finance, and my first job out of college was as a Revenue Accountant in Chicago for Merge Healthcare, a health tech company. I wanted to get back to Madison, so I then took a job as a Field Examiner for First Business Capital, where I conducted reviews of existing and prospective clients. I’ve been at Fine Point Consulting as Assistant Controller since December 2015.

What do you enjoy most about working at Fine Point?

I like the fact that we work largely with newer startups and entrepreneurs. It gives me the opportunity to work with some of the brightest, most innovative people in Madison. And we work with our clients one-on-one: we’re not just crunching numbers for them in a back room—we’re collaborators. Also, the atmosphere at Fine Point is really great. We use the ROWE (Results-Only Work Environment) management strategy, which means we’re not required to come into the office to work. But the people here are so great, I find myself wanting to come in more often than not.

(Fine Point Owner) Luella is a big reader. Any favorite books?

I don’t do a ton of reading, but I do like Dan Brown’s books. They’re just fun and interesting—I’m not a treasure hunter or anything!

When you’re not working, you…

I played soccer for Edgewood College and I still play sometimes for a men’s indoor league—when my body allows it! I also bought my first house last May and it’s a fixer-upper, so I spend the majority of my non-work time fixing it up and taking on DIY projects.

 

Visit Fine Point Consulting to learn how our knowledgeable staff can help your business succeed.

Fine Point Meet & Greet: Bailey Green

Meet the newest Fine Point Consulting staff and learn a little bit about what makes them tick.

Tell us a bit about your background and your role at Fine Point Consulting.
I graduated from Montana State University–Bozeman with a BacBailey Greenhelor’s degree in business with a major in accounting and a minor in entrepreneurship. I moved to Tennessee for awhile after graduating before coming back to Wisconsin, where I’m originally from. I love the structure of accounting, but I also enjoy creative, out-of-the-box thinking, so when I saw the position for a staff accountant at Fine Point I was really excited because it offers the best of both worlds. Much of my work is bookkeeping: entering bills, making sure bills are paid on time, and accounts receivable to ensure we keep money flowing in for our clients. I love the variety of clients we work with here at Fine Point, as well as the people I work with. Both the clients and my coworkers are a lot of fun.

(Fine Point Owner) Luella is a big reader. Any favorite books?
My two favorite books are Walden by Henry David Thoreau and Wild by Cheryl Strayed. They’re both about adventure and connecting with nature, and I’m an outdoorsy person. Something about reading these books is very relaxing for me and keeps me grounded.

What’s something others may be surprised to learn about you?
I live in a tiny house – it’s 220 square feet. My fiancé and I started building it about a year ago, and we’ve been living in it since July. We chose to live in a tiny house because we wanted to live with less and get a greater control of our finances. It’s been a great way for us to pare down our lives and make time to do more things outside of the home. We love living in it, but traveling with it can be very stressful so we plan to stay where we are for awhile!

When you’re not working, you…
I love hiking, canoeing, and camping, and my fiancé and I spend a lot of time putting finishing touches on our house. I also love spending time with my dog, Sahara, a Heeler and the third resident of our tiny house. She is my brindle baby!


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Fine Point Consulting to learn how our knowledgeable staff can help your business succeed.

Fine Point Meet & Greet: Brad Hubele

Meet the newest Fine Point Consulting staff and learn a little bit about what makes them tick.

Brad Hubele

Tell us a little bit about your background and what drew you to accounting as a career.

I earned my associate degree in Business Administration from Madison College, then finished my bachelor’s degree in Accounting at Upper Iowa University. I’m currently working on my master’s degree and hope to take the CPA exam one day as well. I enjoy accounting because I’ve always been analytical, and accounting is a place I can be analytical without driving everyone else crazy because it’s expected. It’s also a great field for learning new things because rules and practices change every year, so you have to keep up with that. I also love numbers and am happy to sit in front of a computer all day, so this career is a good fit for me.

What’s something others may be surprised to learn about you?

I’m a beer connoisseur. I love studying brewing, microbrews, and what it takes to make unique beers. I’d love to be a Brewmaster some day–what a cool title!–and start my own microbrew.  A few months ago, I toured Schlafly Beer in St. Louis. The tour and the tasting were great, and I really learned a lot from the tour guide. I also love Wisconsin microbrews; a favorite beer right now is the Staghorn Octoberfest from New Glarus Brewing.

(Fine Point Owner) Luella is a big reader. Any favorite books?

I recently read The Martian by Andy Weir. They’re making it into a film soon, and it’s getting good reviews. One thing I liked about it is that even when this guy was trapped on Mars and it seemed like there was no way out, he kept trying. I think that’s a good lesson. I also learned a bit about science along the way – it’s a great book!

What do you enjoy most about working at Fine Point?

I really enjoy being around the account managers and CPAs here. I’m learning a lot from my coworkers and I have the opportunity every day to ask questions and learn new things. The Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) we have here is also great as it allows me to spend time with my four-year-old son. It was a little hard to get used to the idea that I could work when I wanted at first – I kept thinking, “Can I really leave right now?” as I left the office early in the day. But sometimes you just need to get out of the office to do your best work, and it’s great to have that flexibility.

 

Visit Fine Point Consulting to learn how our knowledgeable staff can help your business succeed.