Most everyone around here knows Eide Bailly as a CPA firm – and that has been the company’s roots since 1917 – but the advent of modern technology has shifted how this storied firm does business today.
One hundred years ago when Eide Helmeke & Co. opened its doors in Fargo, accounting was done with pen and paper. Not only has technology made this job quicker and more efficient, it also provided the opportunity to take customer service to the next level. Embracing change and focusing on innovative ideas has allowed them to grow with their industry and with their clients.
A critical moment in the Eide Bailly timeline was in 1998 when Eide Helmeke & Co. merged with Charles Bailly & Co. to form Eide Bailly LLP. Ross Manson, partner in charge of the Fargo office, says this move created a firm large enough to accommodate the growing workload and increase their offerings.
The Eide Bailly that we know today also offers a robust range of tax, audit and business advisory services. The technology consulting practice is an ever-growing area for the firm too. This includes being a reseller of NetSuite, Sage and Salesforce, systems optimization and contract work. Valuation and forensics also sits in the local office, and they have specialists for health care consulting and tax implications, among many others.
While their service offering has expanded, so too has their geographic footprint, as they enter new markets and acquire other firms. In fact, Eide Bailly is the 19th largest accounting firm in the United States. “To me, that’s a unique success story for North Dakota,” Manson said.
Though they’ve grown across many states, they generally don’t go East of the Mississippi. “We’re committed to our Midwestern roots, while still looking at Western expansion,” Jenni Huotari, director of business outsourcing and strategy, said.
Through the years, some core values have remained key pillars for the company. “We have a strong commitment to our people and our clients,” Manson said. “Those two things are what lead to a successful foundation and what we will continue to focus on.”
Huotari added that Eide Bailly is also committed to lifelong learning. “As a firm, I think we invest more in continuing education than most. We also have a strong commitment to personal development and soft skills … which enhances what we do individually and allows us to work better together.”
The company believes that their success is tied to the communities that they serve, so it’s important to give back. Houtari acknowledges that accounting knowledge is sought after by non-profits, so a corporate responsibility insists upon volunteer hours for staff to donate time and talents to area organizations.
As Eide Bailly celebrates a successful first 100 years, with anniversary events across all offices, what might be next? Manson says they’re working on outsourcing accounting opportunities for clients. “I’m really excited about utilizing technology and resources in another way,” he said. You’ll also see their advisory services evolve for clients looking for additional skill sets outside of their traditional compliance, and an enhancement to their core tax and audit services.
“Technology will remove the need for human function in some parts of our jobs,” Huotari said. “But it will open the door to serving at a higher level. We’re trying to be ahead of that and prove our worth. That’s where our client commitment is essential.”
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