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Wipfli Article Series: Solving the unicorn problem in the accounting industry

Jessica Barnas (nee Hall), Partner, outlines how Klein Hall, a Chicago-based accounting services provider and family business, prioritized its people to become more productive and efficient in the lead up to its successful acquisition by Wipfli, one of the top 20 accounting firms in the United States. 

Excerpt: This article was originally published in CPA Advisor – read the full article. (Link)

Solving the unicorn problem 

It’s been almost two years since our merger with Wipfli. Ahead of acquisition though, we were determined to make our offering as efficient as possible with the resources we had at our disposal. As studies have shown, burnout is all too common in our industry with grads getting burdened with 50-70 hour weeks and little support. It leads to people leaving the industry, particularly women, or prioritising work-life balance and stepping back. 

This means that the talent pool of people with five years’ experience in the US is pretty small. So much so that it’s a running joke that finding someone of this talent level for anyone outside the Big Four feels like finding a unicorn. Luckily for us, these jobs are now able to be filled by ambitious and highly motivated teams overseas where our own talent pool is deficient. 

Klein Hall found that we were able to keep and grow the skill base of a team with specialist knowledge by creating a team dedicated to supporting us, within the business. Through this small Cloudstaff specialist team, we have been able to build a knowledge center for clients, while freeing up our team to invest in the future of our business, moving away from compliance (which is increasingly automated) and into higher-value advisory services, which in turn, has benefitted the bottom line, and wider industry recognition.