Accounting and tax services may conjure up thoughts of numbers and spreadsheets, but for the directors at Baden Gage & Schroeder LLC, it’s about relationships.
“That’s really what’s important. We’re here to help our clients. It’s about servicing the client, having a relationship with them and being a true business advisor,” stresses Mike Ziembo, CPA.
At Baden Gage & Schroeder there are three main areas of focus: auditing (and other attest services), taxes (business, individual and trusts) and general business consulting. It also helps clients buy or sell businesses, develop succession plans and determine valuations. In addition, a growing service area is providing CFO and accounting services on a temporary or ongoing basis.
Chris Hootman, CPA, is extremely proud of the fact that as the previous managing director, she’s still very involved in the day-to-day operations. “There are some firms where, as you progress, you maintain more of an administrative role. All our directors roll up their sleeves, go out in the field and meet with clients. We find out what’s going on and understand their business, which results in our ability to provide the services that our clients need in a timely manner.”
“I think one of our competitive advantages is that our senior representatives participate in the delivery of our client services,” adds Brian Bowman, CPA. This collaborative approach is also beneficial to the newer staff, who quickly become exposed to a variety of engagements and services.
There are other competitive advantages, too. The nearly 50 employees bring a variety of experience and energy to the table, which has helped Baden Gage & Schroeder earn a reputation for being knowledgeable, responsive and trustworthy.
“Ron Baden [one of the founders] never let a client question go unanswered. He created a culture where whenever a client had a need, whether we knew how to answer it or not, we were expected to figure it out,” says Jeff Sanderson, CPA. “Years of that way of thinking is how we developed street smarts, giving us the tools needed to resolve client issues and handle pressure.”
Collectively, the nine directors at the firm have over 200 years of experience, which means there’s a rich history of dedication and loyalty. Not ones to rest on their laurels, they’ve also been very intentional about developing new leaders within the company and providing opportunities for growth. In addition to Sanderson, Ziembo, Hootman and Bowman, the firm also has directors including Melissa Bradberry, CPA, Kara Smith, CPA and Shawn Sollenberger, CPA. At the beginning of this year, Hootman handed the managing director reigns over to Ziembo and two new directors joined their ranks: Melissa Wolf, CPA and Amanda Garner, CPA.
“A strength of the firm has always been its depth of knowledge,” Ziembo says. “We take a team and collaborative approach. At Baden there’s a deep bench.”
As for the future, the team expects to continue to operate with integrity, always putting the clients’ needs first.
“I don’t think we’ve ever taken client loyalty for granted. The firm has always been client-centric. We’re always responsive to the client, we take care of them and we have good work ethic,” says Ziembo. “We’re always working to service our clients and that culture was instilled by the founders. We hope that’s never lost, as that is what has made the firm successful.”
“We have such a great team of people who are willing to continue to learn new things, teach and develop our staff, and find ways to make our clients more profitable,” concludes Hootman. “Our team is the reason Forbes recognized us among ‘America’s Best Accounting and Tax Firms’ for 2019 through 2021 and Inside Public Accounting recognized us as a ‘Best of the Best Firms in the Nation’ five years in a row.”
Owner(s): Managing Director: Mike Ziembo
Address: 6920 Pointe Inverness Way, Suite 300, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46804
Phone: 260.422.2551 / 800.830.2551
Years in Business: 42
Number of Employees: 50
Products & Services: Audit, tax and accounting services, and valuations