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Welcome Back to GJM, Lauren

Lauren Webber Gilmore Jasion MahlerA familiar face has returned to Gilmore Jasion Mahler. Lauren Webber is back on board as a Tax Supervisor and member of GJM's Construction Specialist Team and Manufacturing Specialist Team. Enjoy this Q&A. Welcome back, Lauren!

When did you start employment at GJM? 10/28/19 – formerly employed 2015-2017

Why did you choose the accounting industry? I like working with people and numbers.

What do you like best about accounting? Helping people solve problems/reach goals.

Are you from the Toledo area originally? If not, where are you from? I am from Toledo.

What do you like about living in Northwest Ohio? I love the greater Toledo area!  It’s a community-minded and engaging place to be.

Anything you’d like to share about your past professional experience? I am proud to have been the Owens Corning Volunteer of the Year in 2018.

Do you have any pets, hobbies, family? I have way too many pets- cats, dogs, fish, reptiles, small mammals, you name it.

How do you like to spend your free time? With pets/family/friends.  I also enjoy running, painting, reading, playing piano.

Favorite song or music? That’s too hard to pick!

Favorite book or movie? Book- A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving | Movie- Donnie Darko

Are you involved in any community organizations, do any volunteer work? I am the treasurer for Paws & Whiskers Cat Shelter and for Toledo Streets Newspaper.

What is something people may be surprised to find out about you? I hope to have farm animals one day.   

GJM’s Mary Jo Pitzen Promoted to Partner

Gilmore Jasion Mahler’s (GJM’s) Mary Jo Pitzen, CPA has been promoted to partner with the firm. Mary Jo has been with GJM for over 12 years. She is a member of the firm’s Construction Specialist Team. Mary Jo provides tax planning, compliance and business advisory services for individuals and all types of businesses in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, construction, healthcare, and professional services.

“This is a very well-earned promotion. Mary Jo provides great client service and has done an excellent job in helping to continue growth in our construction practice,” says GJM Managing Partner Kevin Gilmore.

Mary Jo is a member of the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) Northwest Ohio chapter. She is also a member of the local chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), holding a board position with the organization for the last four years.

A graduate of The University of Toledo, Mary Jo joined GJM upon graduation and has been with the firm ever since.

“I love who I work with, both within the firm and the clients we serve. We have a great group of people at all levels who work well together, share and encourage each other to grow. I love our team-oriented atmosphere.”

Mary Jo is also a graduate of Leadership Toledo and will soon be a graduate of the Partner Development Program (PDP) through the RSM US Alliance. The program offers training to improve leadership skills.

“My biggest take away from PDP is a better understanding of who I am. It will make me a better coach for young people coming up in the firm and allow me to better serve my clients as well.”

Mary Jo lives in Waterville with her husband and 6-year-old son.

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. GJM’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.  

The 8 Steps of Business Succession Planning

Jeff Denning Business Valuation Gilmore Jasion MahlerIt’s one of those issues that you may feel you don’t have time for because you’re too busy actually running your business. But it’s an important question you need to ask yourself. What are your plans for the business once you’re out of the picture? It’s surprising how few business owners actually know the answer. Statistics show that almost half of family businesses have absolutely no succession plan.

Gilmore Jasion Mahler and Croghan Colonial Bank recently teamed up to present a business succession planning workshop for area business owners. They offered some valuable takeaways including 8 steps to ensure a successful transition to new leadership.

First and foremost, be realistic about how long it will take to sell your business. Croghan’s Paul Wannemacher says the average time to sell a business once it’s listed for sale on the market is 6-11 months. He says one should also factor in 2-3 months to close once an agreement is reached.

“Make sure you’re ready when that prospective buyer does come along,” says Wannemacher. “Create a descriptive listing of the business as well as an overview. Just like when selling your house, you need to think about “curb appeal”. You may need to resurface the parking lot, freshen the landscape or painting to make it look more attractive to a potential buyer.”

Once you’ve tended to that first impression of your business and informed your key management, here are the 8 steps to succession planning:

  1. Get a handle on the marketplace. What’s the climate in your industry, the local economy and the national and international economies? Are there potential buyers out there?  Maybe your family members, managers within the company, maybe competitors?
  2. Pull together a team of advisors. This team should include your CPA, lawyer, wealth advisor and commercial banker.
  3. Get your business ready for transition
  • Review metrics
  • Make sure your records are accurate and up to date

It’s smart to anticipate some challenges along the way as you get your business ready for transition. Some of those challenges could include:

  • Normalizing your income statement
  • Cash flow/debt service history and capacity
  • The condition of your balance sheet
  • Collateral

Who is in the pool of potential buyers?

  1. Get a valuation

Gilmore Jasion Mahler CPA Jeff Denning is an expert in business valuation. He says the first question you need to ask yourself before getting a business valuation is: what are you offering to sell?

“Are you selling all of the transferable assets of your business or a fractional interest or equity share? What about your client and customer relationships? Your contracts? What about your workforce? We’re in the midst of a critical workforce shortage,” says Denning. “Many businesses are interested in acquiring other businesses right now to acquire their workers.”

Another challenge can be landing on an asking price for your business. Denning offers these questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you have a CFO or controller to assist in this process?
  • Do you have an outside CPA with valuation experience?
  • Do you need a business broker to help assess market potential or handle the entire sale process?
  • Do you need a real estate appraiser?
  • Grade your business against other comparable businesses
  • Is the business transferable? Owner-operated? How much risk of retaining customers?
  • Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes- your advisors should help with this perspective
  1. Create a personal financial plan: What amount of sale proceeds do you need to be satisfied? Look at your living expenses, vacations and spending you anticipate, family and charity goals. Don’t discount the emotional toll of finally leaving a business you’ve nurtured and built over the years.
  2. Prepare your family for the transition: The sooner you can let family members in the business know your plans the better. You may consider family wealth transfers through trusts or partnerships.
  3. Work with prospective buyers: Some things to keep in mind as you consider bids: how will loyal managers and employees be treated? Will the new owners continue with the company, improve it, or close it down?

“The buyer may want you to stay for a period of time after the sale. Just be very clear what that continuing role might be and how long will it last,” adds Croghan Bank’s Chris Kelly.Succession Planning Chris Kelly Paul Wannemacher Croghan

  1. Structure and close the sale

“Once you’ve identified a buyer, be aware that the final stretch can be as difficult as all the other steps that led you to this… and maybe more frustrating,” says Croghan’s Paul Wannemacher. “Will the business organization change? Will there be a reorganization? Are non-compete agreements needed?”

And, what type of financing is available?

  • Seller financing (you take on all the risk)
  • Conventional bank financing
  • SBA 7(a)
  • Collateral enhancement
  • Equity investors
  • ESOP

From assessing the marketplace to closing the sale, these eight steps are meant to be a guideline as you contemplate the future of the business you’ve worked so hard to build. While it may seem daunting, many financial experts agree that perhaps the worst thing you can do in regard to succession planning is to do nothing. If you and your financial team can come up with a strategy, you can rest assured that your exit will leave your business and your employees well positioned for future success.

Jeffrey S. Denning, CPA ABV, CFF is a partner with Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD. He has over 30 years of accounting experience, with a focus on providing services as an accredited business appraiser, forensic accountant, litigation consultant, and expert witness.

Chris Kelly is a Vice President and Commercial Loan Officer at Croghan Colonial Bank. He has over 20 years of experience in commercial banking, providing small to medium sized privately held businesses, nonprofits and professional firms with financial solutions.

Paul Wannemacher, CPA, PFS, CFP is a Vice President and Trust Officer at Croghan Trust & Investment Management. He has over 25 years of experience in trust administration, portfolio management, tax & financial planning and business consulting.

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

Welcome News for Contractors

By the very nature of the construction industry, contracting businesses constantly move to new job sites, often criss-crossing the state of Ohio. That can get complicated when it comes to tax filing. But, not so much anymore. This video explains in simple terms what's different.

Gilmore Jasion Mahler CPA Mary Jo Pitzen is a member of the firm's Construction Specialist Team. She provides general business consulting and strategic tax planning to many of the firm's contracting clients.

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.