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The CPA Sharpshooter

We're resharing a popular post from around this time last year written by GJM Partner Ken Saggese. Ken made some changes to the article, so it is updated as of late December, 2019.

Next month brings my favorite of all our many firm activities, the GJM Pistol Team and our entry in the Winter Pistol League.

Ever since I was 12 and got my first air rifle (similar to the Daisy Red Ryder pictured above) and my Dad started teaching me the basics of marksmanship, I have loved target shooting. Back then, it was usually shooting tin cans off the backyard fence. One time I used a beer bottle instead, but this makes a terrible mess and is not recommended. Eventually I learned a little bit about real target shooting, got a couple of pistols, and now I’m the Equipment Manager and general Sherpa for the firm’s own pistol team.

We’ve been doing this for a while now – this will be the ninth year we’ve fielded a team, and interest and participation in it continue to grow. Team Healthcare won the Grand Interdepartmental Championship last year, edging out Team Audit in a dramatic finale that will doubtless be talked about for years, while individual honors were split between Team Tax (Hannah Nowak winning the regular season) and Team Audit (yours truly winning the championship invitational). All three departments sharing the trophies is an outcome that is a great example to summarize the level of involvement the whole firm has in our team. Last year 32 different shooters joined us at least once, and once again by the end of the season we had to turn people away for lack of available roster spots.

This got me to thinking, why I and so many accountants enjoy target shooting, and why some of us are pretty good at it. In shooting and in accounting there is a mindset of being able to break a problem down into its components. For a seemingly simple process (point and squeeze!), target shooting has a lot of little details to it. “Go and shoot bullseyes” is not too helpful as coaching goes, but helping a new shooter see that there are separate components of a good shot – sight picture, grip, breath, trigger control, consistency, and finally physical conditioning – is a lot like helping a client understand why operations cash flow isn’t what it could be. The golfers at the firm probably feel the same way about breaking down the parts of their swing – but if you’ve ever seen me golf, all I can say is, sorry you had to see that, and I do better with the shooting at saltines than I do swinging at the little white ball. 

One of the concepts we like to emphasize in client discussions is continuous improvement – there is a gap between where you are and where you want to be, and it’s usually not possible to bridge that gap in a single stride. So what do we do? Instead of stressing because of the distance to travel, we break the process into more manageable pieces, tackle them in succession, and strive to be making continuous improvements that will get us there eventually. I’m nowhere near where I’d like to be as a shooter, but in the past year I’ve worked on my grip – mainly just how hard to squeeze the pistol, and doing it consistently shot after shot. My breathing and trigger control are finally reasonably good, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this season goes now that I’ve (hopefully) improved my grip consistency as well. Continuous improvement!

We all excel in different ways and I appreciate the fact that the firm supports our participation in a sport that’s a little outside the norm for an accounting firm. If we’re honest I probably enjoy the coaching these days more than the shooting itself, harking back to when my dad taught me the basics of marksmanship when I was 12. So if your son or daughter starts plinking tin cans or crafts a homemade slingshot, just know that it’s harder to shoot out your eye than the movies would have you believe, and that you may have a future accountant on your hands!

Gilmore Jasion Mahler’s Ken Saggese contributed this blog to kick off winter pistol league, in an yearly custom that is quickly becoming an annual tradition. Ken is a partner in the Assurance Department who joined Gilmore Jasion Mahler in 2006. A member of the firm’s Construction and Real Estate Specialist Team, Ken’s area of expertise is affordable housing, though he works with many clients across the construction industry. He is a member of the National Leased Housing Association.

Established in 1996, Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) is the largest public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio, with offices in Maumee and Findlay. Locally owned, GJM offers cloud-based accounting and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business advisory, tax, risk advisory, healthcare management and outsourced accounting. The firm’s professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution and utilities

Technology Impact on Business Valuation

Just as with so many industries, technology is transforming the accounting industry. Gilmore Jasion Mahler CPA Jeff Denning works with many different business owners to determine the value of their businesses. He says there’s no question technology and artificial intelligence, or AI, are changing things. The real question, he says, is whether or not those changes are a good thing when it comes to trying to figure out what your business is worth.

Jeff Denning has over three decades experience as a CPA. His expertise is business valuation and forensic accounting.

Established in 1996, Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) is the largest public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio, with offices in Maumee and Findlay. Locally owned, GJM offers cloud-based accounting and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business advisory, tax, risk advisory, healthcare management and outsourced accounting. The Firm’s professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution and utilities.  

Get to Know GJM’s Molly Wolf

Molly Wolf Gilmore Jasion MahlerThere are some news faces at GJM this fall. We like to share a bit about our new team members to welcome them to the Gilmore Jasion Mahler family and to give us all a chance to know them a bit better. Today we would like to introduce you to our new Accounting Services Manager Molly Wolf. Enjoy this Q&A with Molly as we ask everything from why she chose the accounting industry to her favorite type of music. Welcome, Molly!

Describe your role at GJM: Administration assistance, compliance, reconciliation and reporting for retirement plan clients. (still working on my role)

When did you start with GJM? September 10, 2019

Why did you choose the accounting industry? During high school I took a few accounting courses, which I enjoyed. I was lucky enough to find a passion for retirement plans.

What do you like best about accounting? Accounting is just a big puzzle, I enjoy finding each piece’s purpose and seeing the bigger picture.

Are you from the Toledo area originally? Yes, originally from Sylvania  

What do you like about living in Northwest Ohio? That you can have all four seasons in one day

Anything you’d like to share about your past professional experience? I have 13 years of retirement plan accounting.

Do you have any pets, hobbies, family? I am married to PJ Wolf and we have a 5-year-old son named Philip. We have two cats, Oliver and Karli. Hobbies include curling (the winter sport) tennis and softball. 

How do you like to spend your free time? Playing board/card games

Favorite song or music? Alternative and folk rock

Favorite book or movie? On Moonlight Bay

What is something people may be surprised to find out about you? I wish I could have met Doris Day.  

Anything else you’d like to add? I live in Portland, OR for the past 4.5 years and moved back to Ohio a few months ago.

Welcome to the team, Molly!

Established in 1996, Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) is the largest public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio, with offices in Maumee and Findlay. Locally owned, GJM offers cloud-based accounting and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business advisory, tax, risk advisory, healthcare management and outsourced accounting. The Firm's professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution and utilities.

Get to Know One of Our Newest Team Members

Jason Shepherd Gilmore Jasion MahlerWe are pleased to welcome a new member to the GJM family. Enjoy this Q&A with our new risk consulting senior associate Jason Shepherd.

  1. Describe your role at GJM – I am joining Matt Hoverman’s GJM team as a senior associate to help grow our risk consulting practice for the firm. I intend on leveraging my perspective from the internal audit experience I possess to build relationships with our current and future clients. Additionally, I will be handling work ranging from SOX/ITGC’s, Data Privacy & Cyber, and other areas the team pursues in the risk consulting practice.
  2. When did you start employment/will you start at GJM? Monday, August 5, 2019.
  3. Why did you choose the accounting industry? Originally took accounting in high school because a favorite teacher of mine was the teaching the class. Ended up really doing well in it and knew I wanted to pursue a business career in college, so I continued the path of accounting at BGSU.
  4. What do you like best about accounting? The wide range of opportunities in different specializations. I originally had no intentions of being in the IT industry of accounting, but the amount of exposure and great working experiences I have been blessed to be apart of in such a short time has really been exciting.
  5. Are you from the Toledo area originally? If not, where are you from? I grew up in Clyde, OH and spent about 5 years or so in the Bowling Green area. Most of my family is from Bowling Green, Monclova, and Maumee.
  6. What do you like about living in Northwest Ohio? Being back near friends and family is the biggest win for me and my wife. I lived the city life being in Cleveland and metro Detroit for the past few years and there is nothing better than being able to take the back roads home and enjoying the openness.
  7. Anything you’d like to share about your past professional experience? I graduated the Master of Accountancy program at BGSU in 2017 and then started my career within the IT Internal Audit department of Sherwin Williams in downtown Cleveland. I was blessed to be exposed to many great opportunities within that network. At the time my girlfriend was with a big four accounting firm in Detroit, with a home we were renovating together, so I worked at finding a new opportunity in Michigan to relocate and propose. In the Spring of 2018, I accepted a similar role as IT Compliance Analyst within Masco Cabinetry in Ann Arbor, MI. I have spent the past year and a half revising their ITGC framework and Key Report testing, among other things. Fast forward to today, my wife and I got married this past May and are currently in the process of selling our home in Michigan and settling down in this area!
  8. Do you have any pets, hobbies, anything to share about family? My wife and I have two dogs and a cat, all of which are rescues. Hobbies include recreational sports, training with friends, binge watching Friends on repeat before they cancel on Netflix, video games, traveling, and just enjoying the married life!
  9. How do you like to spend your free time? I love to spend a lot of time with my dogs, Thor & Loki. When I’m not with them I love to do anything sports/fitness related. Also, I’m a big moviegoer!
  10. Favorite song or music? Anything 90s is a go to.
  11. Favorite book or movie? I’m a huge comic book/superhero geek, so I have to go with Man of Steel as one of my favorites. Another go to in the comedy genre has to be The Big Lebowski.
  12. Are you involved in any community organizations, do any volunteer work? Currently no, due to relocation. However, I intend on getting involved more with Habitat for Humanity and other volunteer work with our church this coming Fall.
  13. What is something people may be surprised to find out about you? Last May I competed in an MMA caged bout here in Maumee to cross it off my bucket list of things to achieve in life.
  14. Anything else you’d like to add? I’m looking forward to beginning my journey with the firm. I have always known GJM to have a great culture and a very team-oriented environment. It’s a very exciting time here with a lot of growth happening. I feel blessed to be part of such a great organization! 

Established in 1996, Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) is the largest public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio, with offices in Maumee and Findlay. Locally owned, GJM offers cloud-based accounting and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business advisory, tax, risk advisory, healthcare management and outsourced accounting. The firm's professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution and utilities.

Tim Schloz Joins GJM Team

Tim Schloz Gilmore Jasion MahlerGilmore Jasion Mahler recently welcomed a new member to the team. Well, he’s not exactly new as you’ll see when you read this Q&A with GJM’s Tim Schloz.

What is your title? Risk Advisory Manager

Describe your role at GJM: My role consists of helping clients in the areas of information technology (IT), enterprise resource planning (ERP) system implementations, business process and IT process designs, and internal controls over financial reporting.

When did you start at GJM? March 25th was my first day back at GJM!

Anything you’d like to share about your past professional experience? I worked nearly four years at a large public accounting firm serving clients in the IT audit and business process control testing space. I spent a lot of my time serving publicly traded companies helping them understand and optimize their IT and business process risk profile through numerous audits, and post and pre-implementation assessments. In college I had three internships with GJM in the tax department.

Why did you choose the accounting industry? Accounting is the language of business. I learned and found it very important early on that in order for a business to be successful, one must understand the ins and outs of accounting. After taking a few classes in high school and college I found accounting to be a great fit along with information systems. The two majors really complemented each other as we are truly experiencing an innovative time in the accounting world! 

Why did you specifically decide that GJM was a good fit for you? After completing my first internship with GJM, I really got a great sense of the culture, fun, and family atmosphere. I knew one way or another I would make my way back to GJM. With a growing risk advisory practice and a great team, I knew GJM was now the perfect fit for me.

Are you from the Toledo area originally? If not, where are you from? Born and raised in the Toledo area.

What do you like about living in Northwest Ohio? Northwest Ohio is really a unique place. Its big enough to suit all your needs and wants, but then small enough to get to know the community. There has been a revitalization in the area the past few years which is really exciting to watch and take part in. I also have several family members in the area and really find the area appealing and a great place to call home.

Where did you go to school? University of Toledo

Would you like to share any info on family, pets, etc.? I have two cats, Behr and Boston! They are brothers and really have two different, unique personalities.

How do you like to spend your free time? I enjoy the outdoors, whether its running, biking, playing golf, basketball, volleyball and occasionally swimming.

Are you involved in any community organizations, do any volunteer work? Is there a particular cause you feel strongly about? If so, why? I have recently been active with the United Way, Salvation Army, and Junior Achievement. I am looking to join a nonprofit board in the near future.

Favorite song or music? I am all over the place with music, but I enjoy a mix of current pop, country and techno.

Favorite book or movie? “How to Win Friends and Influence People” - Dale Carnegie

What is something people may be surprised to find out about you? Born and raised in Toledo, but a passionate Chicago Cubs fan. Go Cubs go!