Accountants Auer, Woodley expand with latest merger

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Accounting firm Auer, Woodley, Hilderbrand & Sanders was formed earlier this year when Jerry Hilderbrand and Marty Sanders merged their long-standing firms and added a few new partners.

On Oct. 1, the firm merged again, this time with EFA Services, a financial management services company, now located at 455 E. Pikes Peak Ave., with Auer, Woodley, Hilderbrand & Sanders.

“It’s a great way to grow our type of business,” said EFA President Jeff Schneider, who will be director of accounting services for the new company. “We see that part of our combined business growing beyond what a typical CPA firm would offer.”

At EFA, Schneider’s clients were small companies with annual revenue of less than $3 million.

“This will give me an opportunity to work with larger companies,” he said.

Typically, CPA firms have tax and audit services and some consulting, but the expansions at Auer, Woodley will enable it to offer a greater array of accounting and financial services.

“We will have stronger system to allow clients to completely outsource their accounting function or any piece of it they choose to,” Loni Woodley said.

Woodley said the expansion and strong leadership means the firm, which employs 19 people, could grow by as much as 50 percent next year.

Northwestern expanding

After adding eight Colorado Springs financial representatives in the last year, Northwestern Mutual plans to recruit another eight independent contractors and 10 interns next year.

Kevin Kaveney, managing director of Northwestern Mutual Colorado Springs, said the company now has 24 financial representatives and that one-third of them are military veterans.

A former Army captain, Kaveney was recently appointed as Northwestern Mutual’s national spokesman for veterans.

He attributes the company’s growth to the financial challenges that families are facing.

“Planning for the long-term has never been more valuable,” he said. “People are thinking more conservatively than before.”

The challenges of living longer, uncertain financial markets, less guaranteed income for retirement and significant health and long-term care costs have driven demand for financial expertise.

The company recruits nationally, as well, but most of the people it hires are from the Pikes Peak region.

“We’re looking for someone tired of the corporate grind who wants to build his or her own practice. Someone who wants that independence and flexibility and wants to serve others,” Kaveney said, adding that veterans and former athletes have historically been ideal candidates.

“Some of the characteristics that many veterans share also make them valuable financial representatives — highly motivated, passionate about results, disciplined, resilient and able to overcome daily challenges to achieve a mission.

“And they are coachable — willing to absorb best practices in order to succeed,” he said.

As the company recruits more financial representatives, that creates demand for administrative assistants and business managers. The financial services company added six people in support roles in the last year. If trends continue, it could add another six in 2011, Kaveney said.

The local agency is the second most productive, by market size, in the nation. This year, revenue is up 30 percent over last year, Kaveney said.

BKD site explains new rules

Banks and financial institutions have been navigating all sorts of new rules and regulations since the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill was enacted in July.

In response, BKD has launched a website to help financial institutions understand these historic changes.

The site, www.FinancialReformInsights.com, includes information via multiple forms of media including Twitter, RSS feeds, podcasts, videos and webinars.

Rebecca Tonn can be reached at rebecca.tonn@csbj.com or 719-329-5229. Friend her on Facebook.