Bland & Associates is a locally-owned certified public accounting firm. They assist clients with a team approach to help them run a successful business. They provide clients with services such as financial statement preparation, tax compliance, tax planning, budget preparation, forecasting and valuations. But they also strive to go Beyond Accounting. They introduced a new concept called Blend, an alliance of professional service providers. They want to go beyond just doing the bean counting and want to work side-by-side to fulfill all their clients’ needs when running a business. Blend provides partners that satisfy those needs in banking, financial planning, law, technology and marketing.
How long have you been in the Omaha area?
Bland & Associates has been in business in Omaha since 1976. We are currently in our 2nd generation. The founding partner, Jerry Bland, retired in 2006 and was succeeded by Jason Tonjes, Troy McKinney and Jeremy Vokt.
What do you think makes you different from other companies similar to yours?
Quite a few things make us different from our competition. We pride ourselves on our client service. The best way to validate that is that nearly 3/4ths of our new clients come from existing clients. They refer the people they do business with. Another difference is we are in our second generation. Our 3 shareholders are poised to assist our clients for another 20 years whereas a lot of firms are or will be going through transition issues in the next 3-5 years. And lastly, it’s that energy, team approach and drive that we bring to the table to our clients. They can see we want to help them and help them by not just doing tax returns and financial statements but guiding them in the appropriate direction. This differentiation has helped us grow from 17 employees to 45 in the past 5 years while revenue has also tripled in that time.
What do you like about doing business in the Omaha area?
Easy, bottom-line is the Midwestern values. Everyone is sincere, laid back and works hard. Nothing is taken for granted.
What kind of community organizations/groups are you involved with?
Our firm is involved with quite a few nonprofit organizations here in the metro. We are involved with Easter Seals, Angels Among Us, The Red Cross, and Project Harmony to name a few. We sponsor the annual golf outing for Angels Among Us that raises funds for families in need of financial support while their child is fighting cancer.
What do you see happening with the business in the next five years?
I see us expanding our presence here in Omaha and expanding our services to our clientele. We are constantly looking at our firm wondering what we can provide to our clients that is Beyond Accounting. The one caveat with that is we don’t just jump into new lines of business without 100% confidence we can do it well and not sacrifice quality.
What is one of the biggest challenges that your company has faced?
The biggest challenge was becoming known in the Omaha marketplace. There are dozens of CPA firms in Omaha and a lot of them were the same size as our firm was when we started our 2nd generation of ownership in 2006. We needed and wanted to set ourselves apart from other firms. We have accomplished this with the team of three owners that have the drive to succeed surrounded by an excellent team of professionals and a marketing team that helps us differentiate us from other firms. We are not complacent in this regard and constantly see this as a challenge.
What has been your most important achievement as a business?
The numerous national and local awards we have won the past two years. You can get the details on our website at http://blandcpa.com/awards.php. These awards are centered around our only two assets, our clients and our employees. We would never be recognized for those awards if we did not have a great group of professionals in our office that believe in our vision and strive to be the best.
What was the biggest turning point in your business?
Probably 12-18 months into our transition into our 2nd generation of ownership we started to see some of the benefits of our hard work and started to see our firm’s plan come to fruition. Our client base was growing by leaps and bounds.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about your business that most people don’t know?
Our three shareholders actually started their careers at Bland & Associates out of college but two of them left and tried other ventures returning together as a team seven years later.
What is one goal for your business that you have yet to accomplish?
We have a revenue goal we set a few years ago that we wanted to attain by 2013. It appears we are on target to accomplish that goal.