October 1, 2020

Derek Barnard Named a Best Accountant by St. Louis Small Business Monthly

Derek A. Barnard, CPA, CEPA has been named to St. Louis Small Business Monthly’s Best Accountants list. Each month, St. Louis Small Business Monthly (SBM) asks readers to help identify the best in the area in a particular industry as part of the SBM Best in Business Awards. The 2020 SBM Best Accountants list features 26 local accountants voted the best in St. Louis.

About Derek Barnard

Derek is a tax partner at Anders and member of the firm’s Business Transition Planning practice. As a Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA), he engages privately held companies with strategic planning, business transition and succession planning, and integrating value drivers. His ultimate goal for his clients is to significantly increase the value of the company for the owner, lenders, investors and successor ownership groups. Derek consults with business owners on tactical business transition planning to help them maximize business value and streamline business processes, minimizing transaction risk and maintaining control of the process. Derek is a frequent speaker at succession planning and business growth events. He works with clients in the manufacturing and distribution, real estate and professional services industries, as well as labor and not-for-profit organizations.

Derek is a member of the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants (MOCPA), American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Missouri Venture Forum and the Turnaround Management Association. He serves on the Accounting and Business School Advisory Boards for his alma mater, Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville. Derek is also on the board and Manufacturing Steering Committee for the Leadership Council of Southwestern Illinois.

Read the full list of Best Accountants in the October 2020 edition of St. Louis Small Business Monthly.

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September 11, 2020

Understanding Employee Benefits: A Guide for Recent Graduates

Most college students are not offered a class that teaches them about employee benefits. This can leave students feeling lost upon graduation with their first job offer because they don’t understand what the benefits package means or what they need to be looking for. Benefits are just as important, if not more, than base salary when looking at a job offer. Benefits vary greatly by company, but this guide will lay out the basic terms and a variety of benefits information that will be helpful when it’s time to evaluate your own benefits package.

What to Know Before Starting a Job

Waiting Period

Some companies have a waiting period between when employment begins and when the benefits become effective. For example; the first of the month after 30 days of employment. If employment starts on June 6th, the benefits would be effective August 1st.

Payment

Benefits are elected when employment begins and deducted out of the employee’s paycheck.

How to Select Insurance

Consider personal health and current needs, what may become a need in the future, do research, and ask questions.

Benefits Terms to Know: Medical Insurance

PPO: Preferred Provider Organization

In this plan participants pay co-pays for office visits and prescriptions until they meet the deductible. Monthly premiums and out of pocket costs are typically higher with this type of plan.

HDHP: High Deductible Health Plan

In this plan participants do not pay co-pays, but instead pay a discounted rate for services until they meet their deductible.

HSA: Health Savings Account

An HSA allows participants to put aside pre-tax dollars into a savings account that they can use towards medical expenses. There are annual contribution limits based off the participant’s medical coverage type and there can be investment options for the account for the savings to grow. The HSA account rolls over year to year and individuals have ownership of their HSA dollars even if they leave their current employer.

Deductible

The amount the covered individual pays for medical expenses before the insurance starts to pay out. If the deductible is $2,000, then the individual pays the first $2,000 of covered services out of pocket.

Premium

The amount the individual pays per month for their insurance coverage. This cost will be deducted out of the employee’s paychecks.

Out of Pocket

Out of pocket is the amount the individual pays each calendar year for healthcare including co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance. If the $2,000 deductible is met, the individual continues paying co-pays until the out-of-pocket maximum is reached.

In Network vs. Out of Network

Each insurance provider has certain health care providers that are “in network” or accept their plan. Going to providers that are in network then will result in a lower rate for services.

Open Enrollment

The annual time period when employees can enroll in benefits for the next year. If employees do not elect certain benefits at the time of hire or during open enrollment, then there are other events that occur that can qualify an individual to enroll at that time.

Qualifying Events

The other events that can occur to make it possible for one to enroll in benefits outside of an open enrollment period. Events such as; turning 26 – the age when individuals can no longer be covered under their parent’s insurance; a change in family situation including birth of child, marriage, divorce, death of dependent; or if a spouse loses their group benefits.

Dental

Insurance to cover any dental healthcare needs including services from regular cleanings to major dental work.

Vision

Insurance to cover any vision healthcare needs such as regular checkups, glasses, and contacts.

FSA: Flexible Spending Account

An FSA is a type of savings account that employees can contribute pre-tax dollars to and use for qualified expenses such as medical expenses or dependent care expenses. There are annual contribution limits and the account does not build year after year, the money must be used within the specified time period – typically the calendar year.

Other Benefits Terms to Know

Long Term and Short-Term Disability

Disability insurance is used when a medical issue prevents an employee from being able to work. With this insurance employees can receive a portion of their salary while being out of work. Long term disability typically starts whenever the short-term disability ends.

PTO and Holidays

Paid time off and holidays. Paid time off can include personal days, sick days, and vacation days. The amount of PTO varies among employers and the schedule for which employees accrue PTO varies as well. In some cases, a new hire may receive 5 vacation days, 3 personal days, and 1 sick day at the time of hire or the individual may have to work a few weeks or months before they have accrued vacation days, etc. Holidays are discretionary by employers- some may close the office for every calendar holiday, while others may stay open on holidays depending on the nature of the business.

Wellness

Wellness is relatively new to employee benefits and varies by employer. Wellness programs can range from the reimbursement of a gym membership to a full year of events and activities to attend with incentives from the employer.

Education Reimbursement

Employers may offer education reimbursement. Some pay for employees to get their master’s degree others pay a percentage of the tuition. In certain industries, employers pay for certifications like an accounting firm paying for their employee’s CPA exam expenses. Some employers do not provide education reimbursement of any kind.

401(k)

A defined contribution plan offered by companies that allows employees to set aside tax-deferred income for retirement purposes. Employers often match a portion of the contributed amount for each employee. If the employer does match funds, then there is often a vesting schedule for the employer contribution. For example, if an employee has worked at a company for three years, then all of the money they contributed towards their 401(k) will always go with them at termination, but they may only receive 75% of the employer match amount.

Maternity/Paternity Leave

Maternity leave is the amount of paid or unpaid time off a new mother receives when she has a baby, and paternity leave is the amount of paid or unpaid time off a new father receives when his partner has a baby. Many maternity and paternity leave policies also include time off after a family has adopted a child.

Flexible Work Schedule

Some employers offer flexible work schedules that are different from the typical 9:00am-5:00pm office schedule. This means that the employee may be allowed to work from home on some days and in the office other days. It may be a set flexible schedule that is decided for the employee based on their individual needs, or it may be at the will of the employee to work wherever and during whatever hours are best for them.

Extras: Paid Parking, Food, etc.

There are other benefits that are important to consider although they may seem like a small detail. Paid parking that is close to or attached to the building, free food twice a month, discounts on products/services, etc. These extra perks are the ones that can make a big difference in employee satisfaction at work and set a company apart from others.

The main key to getting the most out of your benefits package is to educate yourself as much as possible prior to and after electing benefits. Utilize the Human Resources department to answer your questions and make sure to attend open enrollment meetings. It is a best practice to check your deductions on your paystubs and address anything that looks incorrect. Choosing benefits for the first time can be overwhelming, the more educated you can be on the offerings and what you elect, the better off you will be!

Learn more about the different benefits Anders offers, and check out our current openings.

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August 5, 2020

Anders Ranks #104 on IPA’s Top 200 Accounting Firms List for 2020

Anders jumped up two spots to #104 on the 2020 Top 200 Accounting Firms list by INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA). IPA 100, 200, 300 and 400 firms are ranked by U.S. net revenues and are compiled by analyzing the more than 540 responses received this year for IPA’s Survey and Analysis of Firms. This is IPA’s 30th annual ranking of the largest accounting firms in the nation.

In the 11th annual ranking of the IPA 200, this list picks up where the IPA 100 left off, identifying the largest firms in the country ranking from #101 to #200. For the most recent fiscal year, IPA 200 firms range in size from $20 million to $39.5 million.

INSIDE Public Accounting reports and analyzes the news, trends, strategies and politics that affect the nation’s public accounting firms and provides information and resources to compete and operate more profitably.

Download the full list of IPA Top 100, 200, 300 and 400 firms.

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July 29, 2020

Anders Named a 2020 Top Workplace by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has honored Anders as a 2020 Top Workplace. The Top Workplaces list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by research partner Energage, LLC. The anonymous survey measures several aspects of workplace culture, including alignment, execution and connection. Anders has been on the Top Workplaces list several times, and was ranked at the top of the Midsize Employer Category in 2016 and 2017 and second place in 2018.

“Top Workplaces is more than just recognition,” said Doug Claffey, CEO of Energage. “Our research shows organizations that earn the award attract better talent, experience lower turnover, and are better equipped to deliver bottom-line results. Their leaders prioritize and carefully craft a healthy workplace culture that supports employee engagement.”

Attributes that make Anders a top workplace include the open, collaborative work space reflecting the culture of the firm, a generous PTO and benefits package, flexibility and extensive technical and professional training programs. Anders supports and encourages employees to follow their passions in the community, and provides development dollars to help them do so.

The complete list of Top Workplaces can be found in the August 2 issue of the Post-Dispatch. Meet the 2020 St. Louis Post-Dispatch Top Workplaces.

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July 6, 2020

David Hartley Inducted as 2020-2023 MOCPA Board Member

David E. Hartley, CPA, CISA, Anders Partner and Director + Advisory, was sworn in as a Member of the Board of Directors for the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants (MOCPA) for a three year term effective July 1, 2020.

About David Hartley

Dave has been an active member of the MOCPA throughout his career. Most recently, he has held leadership positions in the organization as an Educational Foundation Board Member and a Transformation Committee Member since 2019.

As a partner and the Director of Advisory at Anders, Dave has over 25 years of experience in C-suite leadership roles and consulting with privately-held businesses on technology planning and enterprise risk services. He has experience defining the technology strategy and roadmaps for middle market businesses. At Anders, Dave oversees the strategy of the firm’s advisory services practice, identifying areas to enhance existing services and expand into other areas. A former Chief Information Officer (CIO) for a St. Louis-based public company, Dave participates in various CIO knowledge-sharing and collaboration forums and frequently offers his thought leadership at industry conferences and in publications.

About the MOCPA

Established in 1909, the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants (MOCPA) is the premier professional development organization dedicated to CPAs in Missouri, representing more than 8,000 members in public practice, industry, government, and education.

Membership in MOCPA provides a professional advantage by enabling CPAs to stay current on rapidly changing technical issues, improve the quality of their work, and advance their careers.  In turn, MOCPA members carry this advantage on to the individuals and businesses they serve.

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June 24, 2020

Anders Announces 2020 Promotions

2020 promotions were announced at the Anders virtual firm meeting on June 24th. Those promoted include Auditors Brad Soderstrom, Brian Loose and Kailey Johnson. Tax promotions include Ryan Huff, Jane Maddox, Nathan Stonner, Pam Ditch, Valerie Fohne, Erin Mueller, Adam Bauer, Chrysa Cousley, Claire Rogers, Darin Winkelman and Dalton Zieser. In Outsourced Accounting, Sam Burton and Skylar Trankle were promoted. Tyler Kaberline, Alex Grosse, Rob Kotsybar, Cory Gegg, Jon Ciembronowicz, Brett Hodges, Kris Nye and Michael Mitchell from Anders Technology received promotions. Ally Bruening in Marketing, Gretchen Best in Finance and support staff member Jen Bettag were also promoted.

Click on the individual’s name below in blue to read more.

Jennifer O. Bettag has been promoted to Facilities Coordinator.


Samantha N. Burton, MBA has been promoted to Senior + Outsourced Accounting.


Skylar E. Trankle has been promoted to Senior + Outsourced Accounting.


Kailey M. Johnson, CPA has been promoted to Senior + Audit and Assurance.


Adam T. Bauer, CPA has been promoted to Senior + Tax.


Chrysa A. Cousley, CPA has been promoted to Senior + Tax.


Dalton R. Zeiser, CPA has been promoted to Senior + Tax.


Darin L. Winkelman has been promoted to Senior + Tax.


Brett M. Hodges has been promoted to Senior Systems Administrator + Technology.


Jon M. Ciembronowicz, MBA has been promoted to Senior Systems Administrator + Technology.


Kris R. Nye has been promoted to Senior Systems Administrator + Technology.


Michael C. Mitchell, CCNP has been promoted to Senior Systems Engineer + Technology.


Gretchen A. Best, CPA has been promoted to Accounting Supervisor + Finance.


Stephen S. Kohler, CPA has been promoted to Supervisor + Audit and Assurance.


Ally L. Bruening has been promoted to Marketing Manager.


Brian C. Loose, CPA has been promoted to Manager + Audit and Assurance.


Erin E. Mueller, CPA has been promoted to Manager + Tax.


Pam E. Ditch, CPA has been promoted to Manager + Tax.


Valerie S. Fohne has been promoted to Resource Manager + Tax.


Alex P. Grosse, VMTSP has been promoted to IT Manager of Infrastructure and Security + Technology


Tyler A. Kaberline, CHSP, VCP-DTM has been promoted to IT Manager of Applications and Customer Service + Technology.


Rob A. Kotsybar, MCTS, MCP, MCSA has been promoted to Service Manager + Technology.


Cory N. Gegg has been promoted to Service Desk Manager + Technology.


Bradley R. Soderstrom has been promoted to Senior Manager + Audit and Assurance.


Jane M. Maddox, CPA has been promoted to Senior Manager + Tax.


Nathan P. Stonner, CPA has been promoted to Senior Manager + Tax.


Ryan M. Huff, CPA has been promoted to Senior Manager + Tax.


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June 19, 2020

Anders Ranks #5 on St. Louis’ Largest Accounting Firms

Anders is ranked #5 on the St. Louis Business Journal’s largest accounting firms list by number of professionals. With 93 CPAs as of January 2020, Anders is ranked #6 in St. Louis on total number of local CPAs.

View the largest St. Louis accounting firms ranked by CPAs.
View the largest St. Louis accounting firms ranked by local professionals.

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April 21, 2020

Tips for Acing Your Next Virtual Job Interview

As recruitment processes for many companies continue to change due to COVID-19, virtual interviews are becoming a normal part of the process. There are many similarities between interviewing in-person and virtually, and ultimately, the end goal is the same. Whether your next virtual interview is done via Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts, below are some tips to consider to help ace your next virtual interview.

Prepare Your Setup

There are many things you can do ahead of time to help get prepared for your virtual interview. First, get yourself comfortable with the technology you will be using for the interview. There are many videoconferencing tools out there today, so be sure you know what system you will be using and that it works properly on your computer. Test out your camera and microphone capabilities and ensure that your internet speed allows for good video quality. It is also important to put yourself in a professional setting. Finding an area where there is a blank wall or a professional scene in the background is best. Most video software allows you to set your own virtual background during your session – if needed, you can always pick a professional virtual background. It is also important to pick a spot where there will be minimal distractions (background noise, lighting issues, etc.). If you are in a shared living space (roommates or family members) it might be a good idea to let them know what time your interview is so they will not interrupt.

Do a Test Run

If possible, ask a friend or family member to do a virtual interview test run with you. Not only will you be able to test the video/audio capabilities, you will also be able to ease some interview nerves by doing a mock interview.

Dress Appropriately

Although it might be hard to get dressed up with nowhere to go, it is important you still dress professionally for your virtual interview. Dress the same as you would if you were going in for a face to face interview. Business professional attire would likely be expected unless otherwise stated in interview instructions.

Prepare Yourself

Same as you would do when going into a face to face interview, be sure you are prepared for the interview. Think about what questions might be asked and how you would respond. Know your resume and be able to speak to your qualifications and skills. Do your research on the company and interview team and be sure to have questions prepared to ask the interview team and what the next steps in the process might be.

Think About Your Body Language

Interviewers can still get a sense for body language in a virtual interview just the same as they can in an in-person interview. Be sure to sit up straight, talk clearly, and maintain eye contact throughout the interview. It can be easy to look at yourself in the computer screen, so try your best to not let that distract you.

Be Yourself

In the end, an interview is designed to get to know the candidate and if they would be a good fit for the team and culture. Be yourself and don’t be afraid to initiate some small talk to get to know one another. This will help you relax and feel more comfortable throughout the interview.

As an interviewer, we understand things happen – kids may rush in at any moment, dogs might be barking at something outside – know that we understand there may be things out of your control, especially during times where you may be playing the role of parent, teacher, and employee. Do your best to eliminate the things that could go wrong, but if they do, apologize and continue on!

Following these tips will hopefully help you ace your next virtual interview and get you into the next round of the recruitment process, or even an offer! By being prepared and being yourself you are sure to make a lasting impression.

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March 25, 2020

What Recruiters Look for in a Resume

If you are just beginning your career, you may have recently had a professor or advisor help you with your resume. If you already have years of service under your belt, it has probably been a while since you edited or received feedback on your resume. In either of these situations, you may not have ever had a professional recruiter give you tips on how to maximize the impact of your resume for the firm you are applying for.

The Anders recruiting team is comprised of Jenna Morris, who focuses on university recruiting, and Trey Meier, who focuses on experienced recruiting. We asked Jenna and Trey what they look for in the resumes that come across their desks.

Resume Tips for Recent Grads

Jenna suggests these tips for recent college grads:

  • Include your college GPA. This is important to university recruiters when looking at students for internships or entry level positions.
  • Pay attention to formatting. Everything should be lined up, uniform, and consistent.
  • Include school and activity or athletic involvement and leadership roles. If you don’t have a lot of professional experience this will help show leadership, teamwork and initiative.
  • Include previous internship experience, job shadows, leadership programs and dates of experience and involvement for each.
  • It’s okay to have high school job experience, but if there is more current, relevant experience to your field/major, include that instead.
  • It’s not necessary to put the name of your high school or your high school GPA.
  • Include any awards, scholarships or accolades that help you stand out.
  • Make sure your contact email address is current. It’s okay to put your school email, but if you are getting ready to graduate or graduated recently you may want to put your personal email address in case your school email gets shut off.

Resume Tips for Experienced Candidates

Trey suggests these tips for more experienced professional hires:

  • There is no set standard for resume length but be mindful about your decision on what to add to a resume. Only include what is relevant about the role you previously held and the role you are applying for. Long resumes may get skimmed through while shorter resume highlight key areas.
  • Formatting is very important. If it isn’t well organized or is hard to read, that can be a red flag to a recruiter.
  • Start with an overview or summary. This can be just a few sentences on who and what kind of candidate you are that the rest of the resume will give further information on.
  • Include the month and year at your previous employers. For example: May 2019 – September 2019. This is especially important for project or contract work that was less than a year. Noting that a position was a short-term job and including the months worked shows that the position was not cut short for some reason.
  • Include skills that apply to the position you are applying for. Buzz words are always going to be helpful for the candidate and recruiter. If a job requires certain experience in a specific area, elaborate on any experience you have in that area. For example: if the job description includes ‘experience in scanning documents’ and you have experience with this, specifically state it in the resume “Scanned 50 employee’s personnel files into the company’s HRIS system”.
  • Include any achievements, accolades and promotions obtained at previous employers due to the work performed that is relevant to the role you are applying for.

Interested in learning about the open positions at Anders? Check out our current openings.

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March 3, 2020

How Anders is Focused on a New Decade of Wellness in 2020

As a firm, we strive to inspire people to be the best they can be, both personally and professionally. To help empower our employees’ overall health and well-being, each year Anders has a Wellness Initiative that focuses on helping improve employee’s well-being in all aspects of their lives. The initiative offers activities and programs to improve health while working towards an incentive based on points earned by attending and participating in these events and activities.

For 2020, the theme is ‘A New Decade of Wellness’ because we are revamping the initiative and introducing several new factors.

2019 Wellness Initiative

In 2019, 140 employees – about 72% of the firm – participated in the wellness initiative. The program was a points-based system where a certain amount of points were awarded for events and activities such as running a 5k, preventive health care visits, or attending a wellness lunch and learn.

There was also a six-week walking challenge where employees were put into teams and they tracked how many steps they got collectively each week. At the end of the six weeks, the winning team was announced and recognized. 105 employees – about 54% of the firm – participated in the walking challenge in 2019.

Employees were responsible for entering their points and steps into a wellness points tracking system set up in the firm’s intranet. The points would then go to HR for approval. At the end of the program, HR downloaded all of the point data from the intranet to determine which employees qualified for each incentive level based on the points they earned.

Changes for 2020

For 2020, we have partnered with CHC Wellbeing to use the CHC Wellbeing online portal to track points, steps, and to offer a wide variety of new ways to earn points.

One of the great benefits of using the portal is that it can be accessed from any mobile device, meaning employees can enter points for activities and events as they occur instead of waiting to get to their desk at work.

The employees are also able to link their tracking devices such as Apple Watches or Fitbits to the portal so that their steps are tracked without them having to manually enter numbers. This has allowed us to expand the walking program to be year-round instead of a six-week walking challenge. On top of earning points for their average daily steps, we will have a few two-week distance-specific walking challenges throughout the year.

The portal also offers health webinars and e-learning courses to help employees make up points for any onsite activities they may miss points for because they are out at clients or working remotely.

Why a Wellness Initiative

The benefits of investing in our employee wellness initiative is first and foremost about the wellbeing of our employees. The healthier and happier our employees are, the better they will perform at work. The onsite activities offer a fun way to build employee engagement and encourage team building throughout the firm. This is also a way we can get employees from all departments together throughout the year.

In addition to all of the positive effects the wellness initiative can have for our employees, it can also help the firm’s bottom line by lowering insurance claims and the amount of lost time at work due to illness.

Overall, the Anders Wellness Initiative helps promote positive habits for our employees which helps the continued success of the firm. If you’re interested in working for a firm that values wellness, check out current job openings at Anders.

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