• GJM Blog

    Important Industry News & Helpful Tips

Toledo Engineering Company Builds Solutions for Manufacturing Workforce Shortage

Tom Ballay, Autotec EngineeringAutotec Engineering President Tom Ballay will tell you he is a problem solver. He’s staring down perhaps the biggest problem to face the manufacturing sector for decades: the workforce shortage. Manufacturers across the region and around the country say they can’t find qualified, reliable people to fill open positions. The answer for some manufacturers may be waiting right inside Tom’s giant facility on Brent Drive in Toledo.

Autotec Engineering designs and builds automated systems to replace the workers that many manufacturers can’t find or can’t keep. Ballay says it isn’t about worker reduction.

“It’s about replacing jobs for workers they can’t find or jobs that have a heavy work component and huge workers comp claims.”

He says food packaging and agricultural technology are big areas of opportunity for Autotec Engineering: labor intensive businesses, many struggling to fill low level labor jobs, due to immigration labor issues and other challenges.

He cites a California chicken producer as an example. Tom says the business has people manually loading boxes of frozen chickens: 30 or 40 people tied up in boxing chickens. He says they consistently have 40 to 50 open positions for labor. Exposure to medical claims from these physically strenuous jobs is another risk.

Autotec designs and builds automated systems to do the work instead of people, taking product and wrapping, boxing and palletizing it with no humans involved. In other words, an elaborate automated system consisting of robots and conveyors would step in and do the work instead of people.

Ballay says e-commerce is another expanding opportunity: material handling that involves unpacking pallets, storing material and goods individually, then finding and shipping those materials and goods out again. He says think of the Amazons of the world. As the marketplace shifts, Tom says the two biggest trends he sees are automation of labor and e-commerce. He’s watching future trends as well.

“The next frontier in agricultural in terms of automating what’s now manual could be picking in the fields. One day elaborate automated systems could replace people in the fields.”

Autotec is growing in this dynamic and rapidly changing climate, he says. The business employs people of many skill levels: skilled programmers, controls engineers, tool makers and others. Tom says the company has 45 employees, compared to 17 only two years ago.

He says their focus has shifted as technology has transformed industry. Tom has clear objectives for where he wants to take the business.

“I want us to be an extension of other businesses and I want that from my vendors as well. GJM’s Bob Bobek is an in house advisor on financial planning. Any decision I make regarding commitment to capital or hiring, Bob’s been a part of.”

Tom says when Autotec lost its controller, Bob stepped in and acted as controller, reviewing work in progress and he still reviews that work. Tom says Bob’s been there for 25 years as a sounding board for ideas, people and key decisions.

“Tom is a visionary, always thinking down the road,” says Bobek. “That’s the way it should be.”

Tom thinks of Autotec as solution providers for their customers. He says he strives for quality by asking questions of himself and his team when it comes to meeting a customer’s needs.

  • Did we correctly identify the issues and provide a solution?
  • Does the solution enhance the business?
  • Is there exceptional execution?

Autotec has been in its current location for only about a year. Tom sees growth on the horizon. He says he hopes to double the size of their shop. He’s thought ahead, purchasing six acres and leaving them room to grow.

There’s no question that robotics and automation have transformed the way we produce and move materials and goods. Those transformational changes will surely continue, and Tom sees Autotec as an important contributor. He says it’s pretty simple: he wants to be known for good engineering.

“If they said nothing else on our tombstones but that we’re good engineers, that would be great.”

Autotec Engineering will be a featured presenter at Gilmore Jasion Mahler’s spring Manufacturing Financial Executive Roundtables on automation in manufacturing. The events are scheduled for May 24 in Findlay and Maumee. The Findlay presentation is from 11:30 am-1 pm at Findlay Country Club and the Maumee presentation will be from 3-5 pm at Brandywine Country Club. The sessions are open to chief financial officers and other key financial decision makers within area manufacturing & distribution businesses. Those individuals can RSVP to info@gjmltd.com.

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 services and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business advisory, tax, risk advisory and healthcare management. The Firm’s professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution and utilities.

Business Valuation: What is the Process?

As a business owner there are many reasons why you may need to know how much your business is worth. Perhaps you're considering selling, or maybe the valuation is required by the IRS or a court of law. Gilmore Jasion Mahler (GJM) Partner Jeff Denning specializes in business valuation and explains the process in this short video.

Learn more about Jeff's expertise in business valuation and forensics, and don't forget to sign up for GJM's free quarterly newsletter The Expert. It offers timely and helpful articles with a focus on business valuation and litigation support. Just click here for quick and easy sign up.

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 services and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business advisory, tax, risk advisory and healthcare management. The Firm's professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution and utilities.

GJM Newsletters Help CFOs Stay Informed

ship sailing into the fogAs chief financial decision maker within a business, the role for many CFOs looks different today than it has in the past. It can often be a journey into uncharted waters. In 2018 this critical c-suite role involves not only company financials, but a broader vison, strategic thinking, trend watching and keeping up on developments with potential impact on the business, including:

  • Sweeping tax reform
  • The skilled labor shortage
  • Safety regulations
  • Changes in revenue recognition
  • Blockchain & other technology
  • Fraud and cyber threats

When you subscribe to accounting firm Gilmore Jasion Maher’s (GJM) industry-specific newsletters you’ll gain access to articles offering solutions and solving problems. You’ll receive insight from GJM experts and additional articles on accounting issues and topics that impact your bottom line.

  • Personal and business tax strategy
  • Best practices and trends
  • Clarification and insight on federal tax changes
  • Technology/cybersecurity content
  • Information on cost control and tax credits

Here’s a look at some recent articles you missed if you weren’t subscribed:

  • “Gilmore Jasion Mahler Experts Explain New Tax Law
  • “Tax Reform and Pass-through Entities”
  • “Construction Accounting Update: New Revenue Recognition Rules to “Go Live” Soon”
  • “The Contractor’s Corner-How Helpful are Digital Documents and E-signatures?”
  • “Quality vs. Volume-How Should Physician Compensation be Determined?
  • “Surviving and Thriving in a Changing Practice Landscape”
  • “Beware of Procurement Fraud”
  • “Economic Damages 101: Learn the ABCs of Calculating Lost Profits and Diminished Value”
  • “Are Your Prices Too High, Too Low or Just Right?” 
  • “Smart Factories and Blockchain: How to Stay on the Cutting Edge of Technology”
  • “Understanding “Nexus” – Know the Risks and Rewards of Operating Across State Lines”

GJM’s five quarterly newsletters include:

  1. Focus: A quarterly publication dedicated to covering such topics as strategic business planning, estate planning, employee issues, customer relations issues, personal tax planning, and other aspects of business management and personal finance.
  2. The Expert: The quarterly newsletter offers timely notifications on valuation and litigation support developments that may have an immediate impact on you and your business.
  3. Practice Management Advisor: A quarterly newsletter providing accounting, tax and practice management insights for the health care industry.
  4. On-Site: A quarterly newsletter providing accounting, tax and business insights for construction and real estate focused organizations.
  5. Manufacturer: Offers tax tips, news and information pertinent to the manufacturing and distribution industries. A quarterly publication, Manufacturer addresses the daily challenges facing manufacturers and distributors as well as strategic and long-term planning initiatives.

Signing up is simple. Just click here and start having timely accounting information delivered right into your inbox. You can also sign up by clicking the big blue "subscribe now" button at the top of the sidebar to the right of this blog article. To be sure you continue to receive GJM newsletter content, we recommend the following:

  1. Have your IT department add GJM’s domain name to your network’s whitelist. We recommend you also add the name of the platform we use to distribute our email newsletters, which is a company called BlueHornet (recently rebranded as Mapp Digital).

Domain names to add to your whitelist:

gjmltd.com

bluehornet.com

  1. Double check spam and junk folders/filters and if you find a GJM communication, be sure to mark the message as not spam, not junk or add sender to safe sender list.

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 services and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business advisory, tax, risk advisory and healthcare management. The Firm’s professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution and utilities.  

10 Questions to Ask When Considering Hiring an Accounting Firm

Question markWhen you look for an accountant, you don’t just want someone who can help you reduce your tax liability and prevent trouble with the IRS. You also want someone who can help make your business better. A good business accountant doesn’t just crunch numbers, he or she offers financial advice that improves your overall position. If you’re trying to decide whether to outsource your accounting needs or continue doing it in-house, you might be wondering what value you’ll receive in exchange for what you’ll pay.

Here are ten questions you might have when you consider outsourcing:

 

  1. What Are the Potential Risks of In-House Bookkeeping?

If you do your accounting in-house, hiring requires finding someone with the right experience and a proven track record. If you’ve been using employees who are self-taught, you might end up with processing that is sub-par. In-house bookkeeping requires internal controls to provide checks and balances and protect your business from fraud risk.

  1. Why Would an Organization Outsource?

Outsourcing improves the quality of the accounting department. Outsourced accounting firms give you access to a team of professionals committed to the financial operations of your company.

Sometimes businesses decide to outsource because they experience rapid growth and their old bookkeeping practices no longer keep pace. Others make the change because they recognize outsourcing can improve results.

  1. What Are the Benefits of Outsourcing?

CPA firms provide high-quality work and extensive expertise. All certified public accountants are required to attend continual professional development to stay up to date. They base that development on topics most relevant to your business.

  1. How Does Growth or Expansion Affect Accounting?

Sudden, rapid growth often creates demands existing staff can’t meet. Expansion exposes businesses to new situations, challenges, and regulations.

  1. What’s the Cost Difference?

When calculating the cost difference between in-house and outsourced accounting, start with itemizing all the expenses involved with in-house solutions. There isn’t just the bookkeeper or full-time accountant’s salary, there is also additional employee overhead including payroll taxes, benefits, and retirement plans.

CPA firms save money by conducting a thorough financial analysis to help your business operate efficiently. They work regularly with the IRS on behalf of clients, and offer audit support if ever needed.

  1. What about Confidential Data?

In today’s digital age, information security is a valid concern. Work with a firm that conducts background checks, ensures confidentiality, and has security measures in place for electronic data.

  1. How Long Does Outsourcing Take to Implement?

Your chosen CPA firm should take a few weeks to assess your company and create a proposal. After you accept their proposal, they’ll configure any equipment and start the conversion process. In most situations, secure documents can be transported by courier. Digital data can be transferred via internet, fax or email.

  1. What if an Organization Is Too Small?

Outsourcing can always be conducted to scale. If you need less, outsourcing can still help you save money and protect your business from financial mistakes.

  1. Will Business Owners Lose Control Through Outsourcing?

CPA firms often give owners more control, because they have up-to-date, accurate information to make decisions. Owners have the opportunity to review and must authorize all disbursements.

  1. How Should Businesses Choose a CPA Firm?

Owners should interview firms they’re considering, comparing their fees, specialties, certifications, and availability. Choose a firm that has worked with businesses like yours and offers a high level of service.

Gilmore Jasion Mahler Audit Partner Bob Bobek contributed this article. Did you find this blog helpful?  You can receive more informational articles and tax strategy ideas direct to your inbox. Be sure to sign up for our free GJM tax newsletter Focus. You may also want to consider signing up for some of our free quarterly industry newsletters, including The Manufacturer (for those in manufacturing & distribution), On-Site (construction & real estate), Practice Management Advisor (physician practices and other healthcare entities) and The Expert (with a focus on business valuation and litigation support). Sign up here for any of GJM's free newsletters.

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 services and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business advisory, tax, risk advisory and healthcare management. The Firm’s professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution and utilities

Gilmore Jasion Mahler’s Greg Taylor on Joining the Firm

Gilmore Jasion Mahler Audit Partner Greg Taylor joined the firm in the fall of 2017. Greg came to GJM with over 25 years in public accounting, as well as CFO and private equity experience. He says he started talking with GJM about possibly coming on board, and it made him realize that he missed the client service role in public accounting.

If you're interested in receiving informational articles and tax strategy ideas direct to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our free GJM tax newsletter Focus. You may also want to consider signing up for some of our free quarterly industry newsletters, including The Manufacturer (for those in manufacturing & distribution), On-Site (construction & real estate industries), Practice Management Advisor (physician practices and other healthcare practices) and The Expert (with a focus on business valuation and litigation support). Sign up here for any of GJM's free newsletters.

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 services and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business advisory, tax, risk advisory and healthcare management. The Firm's professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution and utilities.