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: 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.

Case Study: Automating Financial Reports & Educating Managers

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“Outsourcing accounting to Fine Point enabled us to centralize accounting functions, upgrade our financial expertise to a CPA level, and benefit from improved financial performance visibility for the management team.”

Pat Wall, CEO, A-R Editions

A-R Editions publishes music and the research of musicologists for university libraries and major collections around the globe. In 1998, they founded sister company, MusicNotes.com, the world’s largest e-commerce sheet music retailer and publisher. But when it came to reporting on their financials and understanding what those reports meant, A-R Editions was a little out of tune. Fine Point Consulting stepped in to help A-R Editions automate its monthly financials, and educated managers on how to read and interpret those monthly reports to better run their business. It’s a cost-effective solution that has enabled the company to make sound financial decisions and plan for the future. Music to our ears!

 

Visit Fine Point Consulting for more information about the great tools and services we use to help businesses like A-R Editions 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.

Case Study: Converting Business to Accrual Accounting

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“We have been particularly pleased with Fine Point’s diligence, technical competence, and responsiveness as we made the shift from cash to accrual-based accounting. Their involvement and continued work has allowed FHG to focus and refine our financial processes with greater speed and efficiency as we rapidly expand our business.”

Charlie Sloan, Interim CFO, Forward Health Group

Forward Health Group helps health care providers improve outcomes via population health management thru its PopulationManager data visualization and analytics. Fine Point Consulting began working with Forward Health in late 2015 to serve most of their accounting processes, including payroll, receivables, payables, and reconciling. As a partner in helping them grow their business, Fine Point also helped convert their accounting from a cash basis to the more-common accrual basis, and guided the development of accrual reports for board members and investors. The shift to accrual accounting not only provides Forward Health with a more accurate picture of their company’s financial health, but also allows them to respond quickly company revenue and expense trends and prepare for the future, whatever it may bring.

Visit Fine Point Consulting for more information about the great tools and services we use to help businesses like Forward Health Group succeed.