Shannan Reill, Cabrera
I worked very closely with Mary Anne when she was securing the bank financing, and we were securing the documents that we needed.
What was it like to work with Mary Anne?
“Mary Anne is very easy to work with and very likable.”
“She has great communications skills and she has great contacts within the banking industry. Everything went very smoothly with her involved”.
What is it like to be in the office vs. just being available remotely?
Since Mary Anne has been the CFO people know she is there, and she is very approachable. She comes into the office, even though she doesn’t have to, which gives us additional access to her. She takes the time to talk to people, and she finds out how they are doing. The previous CFO was not personable so Mary Anne’s personality was a very positive change for our company.
Mary Anne has brought a change to the company culture. People feel more comfortable and open. If they need something, she is easy to access, and she makes herself available. When she is out of the office, and we have to contact her, she is easy to get hold of whenever we need her.
Diane Scott Adams, Blue Max Marketing
I have known Mary Anne for a number of years, and we have worked together in a number of different contexts.
What makes her unique?
One of the things that makes her unique is her personalized service. She understands the customer and the customer needs. In this business that we are in, every customer needs a different level of service. She is able to identify the level of service required, and she adapts her services to address the clients specific needs.
My first experience with Mary Anne was in the corporate world. We were both senior level managers in a company, in the construction industry. What I noticed about her during the time she served as the CFO, is she was not only very talented in the area of financials, but she also had a great understanding of the other aspects of the business. I led the marketing and proposal area and her financial knowledge was able to complement the marketing side of the business as we did the proposals preparation for our clients.
Now that, we work as peer consultants she brings the financial capabilities and financial understanding, which complement my skill set. Mary Anne understands what I am doing on the marketing and communications end, and she is able to apply the financial end. Most of the people I have worked with as a consultant in her industry don’t understand the marketing end, where she does.
As my accountant, she has been able to provide expert financial advice that complements the information we get from our financial advisor. As our CPA, Mary Anne has been able to help us identify ways we can financially streamline our business, so we can take advantage of all the tax opportunities that the government affords small business owners.
Any particular stories you can share…
When we first started working together about a decade ago, this midsized (50 million dollar a year) company we were working for set up their very first marketing budget. As the director charged with this assignment, the president questioned everything I put down. Mary Anne went through each item, everything was validated and researched so the president knew that these were actually valid numbers. She understood the business as the CFO of the company, and she understood all the cost accounting codes I used when I put the plan together. When we got there they didn’t have a formalized process to do anything, and Mary Anne formalized several processes for them. When questions arose she was able to answer the owners questions and give the cost codes and cost areas that were needed, she could also give justification and validation for everything. For me that was an indication of someone who fully understood what was going on financially with that medium sized firm. She not only fully understood, she was also fully organized, and able to explain what was going on to others.
When she introduced the company to industry standard software. Mary Anne was able to structure the tools to the level in the construction firm where there were multiple cost centers, something I needed to know so I could identify what costs are connected to specific business development opportunities. The addition of the industry specific software made my job easier because the information was accessible and organized. Her advice and suggestions make doing my job easier. She helped bring a greater level of order, and structure.
Now, I am able to refer her to my existing clients so they can benefit from her knowledge and expertise.
Mary Anne’s corporate experience has given her the ability to understand multiple departments and functions, which is why she is able to understand the marketing end and link her financial expertise to the marketing needs.
In the corporate environment where we worked together, Mary Anne’s organization skills along with her introduction of new technologies was able to improve the way we did business. With a combination of financial accountability and good business development, we were able to help the company double its revenue in three years time, which is pretty impressive for a midsized business, especially in construction.
On the client to vendor side, she is the personal accountant for my company, and she provides us with excellent advice. She identifies opportunities for us to reduce the tax burden, and maximize schedule opportunities for our small business.
John Whener & Sons, Bethann Whener
How was Mary Anne able to help the company?
Mary Anne is wonderful! We were way behind in tax filing. We were with another accountant for years trying to get it caught up, and she got us caught up within months. The other accountant and the other people we talked to always made us feel intimidated or just bad about it. Mary Anne was just so comforting, and she encouraged us to get it taken care of; she did everything to help us get up to date, and it feels great. Along the way, she instilled confidence in us, and she made us feel great, she kept reminding us that we could take care of this, and that helped us stop worrying, so we could get it done.
Mary Anne always has such good business advice. She is more of a consultant and not just an accountant. She has advised us and put us in touch with people for retirement plans, and she has a network of people established that you can depend on like workman’s comp insurance, and things like that. None of that benefits her financially. She is just looking out for her customers and always trying to point you in the right direction. It is good to know someone like that.
She is always accessible, she always picks up the phone, she always talks to you, and she knows what she is doing; it’s just comforting to know you have someone like that to talk to when you are a small business owner. “I almost feel like she should be working for one of those mega-million dollar companies, because she knows so much, she gives you and your business that kind of advantage”.
As a CFO for hire, Mary Anne helped us get everything in order. The tax situation was weighing on our minds for years, we contacted so many people when we were trying to get our taxes in order, and Mary Anne came in and took care of it in no time; within a couple of months everything was straight. She also worked with us in such a way that we didn’t feel bad or embarrassed, it is such a relief to be through all that and to be caught up. If I had gone to her before this would have been behind us years ago. We are in such a better position because of the work she did with us. We know that she is always there for us, and we are confident in her, and the services she provides.
Additionally, she helped us set up our books. I used to pay someone to take care of our QuickBooks before, and now I do it myself, and she just looks it over. Although I have a background in financials, I would do them for other people, but I didn’t feel comfortable doing my own. She made me feel comfortable about doing our books again. I feel great knowing that when I do something wrong, or I have a question, I don’t have to call QuickBooks I can call Mary Anne, and she will walk me through the process.
Mary Anne is not the normal accountant. When you deal with an accountant all they usually care about is the numbers. She cares about the person behind the company, and how to get them to a better position. This is not something most accountants do for their customers. She really is great, and we are so happy to have found her.
Randy Carbone, RCC Computers
I met Mary Anne at a Networking event, and she has been doing my taxes for a year. She is not only my accountant, but she also does my bookkeeping and taxes.
Mary Anne is not your everyday accountant. She partners with you and she helps you find ways to make your business more profitable. She sits down with me once a quarter, and she makes recommendations and gives me advice about what I can do to improve my processes. Mary Anne is personable, fun to work with and very organized. She doesn’t just get your numbers in order, but she works to get all the areas of your business in shape so if you are ever audited all your documents are in order. She works hard to put you in a better position than you were in before you met with her.
Mary Anne provides me with better service than my previous accountant, and she does more for me than he ever did. Mary Anne provides great value, for a great service, for a great price.
Heather Duro, Renergy LLC
What has your experience with Mary Anne been?
Mary Anne is great. She is knowledgeable not only about accounting, but also about business practices and everything related to business practices. Mary Anne is always there when you have a question that needs an answer and always there to do everything you want her to do.
What was she able to do with you and your company?
We have been working with her for a year and a half. Mary Anne came in to do our accounting and get everything straightened out. We had an accountant before her that really messed things up completely.
How have the changes she made affected you and your business?
Working with Mary Anne has taken a lot of stress out of everything. When you work with an accountant you always wonder are they doing the right thing, is everything in order and then all of a sudden you start getting letters from the IRS, and then you realize things aren’t in order. At that point, you need to bring someone in, so knowing that Mary Anne knew what she was doing made me feel really comfortable. We knew that she looked at everything, she put everything in place, and she made sure everything was straight going forward, so working with Mary Anne gave us peace of mind. She has also been accessible and whenever you call she is available.
How long did it take you to straighten everything out?
It took a couple of months to get things cleaned up, things were really messed, and Mary Anne patiently walked us through the process. She came every week for a couple of months, until everything was straightened up.
How is she compared to other accountants? How is Mary Anne different?
Mary Anne is not the traditional accountant. Mary Anne is always happy and bubbly, and she is always there. She comes in, and she does what she has to do, and she is always very professional. She will do anything to make her clients happy. She always came into my office. She sat at my computer. She did whatever she had to do from my desk, this way I never had to worry about making a copy or having someone login. When she came to our office, she never got in anybody’s way, and she did everything she had to do in a timely manner, and she didn’t take up the computer for the whole day. Mary Anne was very creative with what she has to say, and with her suggestions. She knows a lot about business in general, which definitely helps her understanding of accounting and how to work through things. Most accountants don’t provide that level of service.
Mary Anne is working with us as we prepare to move our business to another state. She has given us guidance along this process, to make sure we are prepared and on track with everything. When we move somewhere else with the business Mary Anne has made it possible for us to have everything in order and up to date. She is making sure we are on track with everything, so when we move we don’t have to worry about paying because we are in arrears or anything like that, everything is together so when we move we can start fresh.
Vicky Bracero, Buckingham Limo
This is the first year we have used Mary Anne as our accountant. Mary Anne is very informative, very professional and very helpful. She has really helped us get more organized. Mary Anne always shares valuable information, and she has educated us on so many things.
She is more than just an accountant, she also helps us with our strategic planning. We sat down with her in February, and we had quite a few meetings with her after our original meeting. She makes recommendations that we can try to improve the way we do things. As a result of the work we did with Mary Anne, things are moving a lot smoother. She helped us streamline our processes, and she helped us make better use of technology we had that we were under utilizing. She showed us how to improve our processes to make the work we did easier and faster r. She also introduced us to a number of tools that make doing business easier and more effective. We have seen significant cost savings, and big savings in time and energy from the work she did with us.
She also worked with us during our restructuring. Mary Anne sits down with us and helps us improve things right away, and she gives us recommendations we can implement now and over time.
When I ran into a problem I called Mary Anne, and she responded within an hour. Mary Anne also has access to some great resources, whenever she is not able to help us with a problem she always knows someone who can!
Tom Vilord, Vilord Wealth Advisors
We have known each other for several years now. We met at a business networking event several years ago. We have formed a wonderful business relationship. She is obviously very passionate about her business, and she is definitely the best at what she does. She takes time to get to know each of clients on a personal level, and she strives to give each of her clients the level of service you would expect to receive at a Ritz-Carlton. I now use her services for my business needs, and I have the utmost trust in her to take care of all my clients’ needs, as well.
You compared her to the Ritz-Carlton, how have your clients experienced her and what differentiates her?
The biggest difference between Mary Anne and others is she anticipates the clients needs before they even know they have them. I have worked with accountants that you have to call over and over again, and hound them, and after 5 or 6 calls they finally get back to you. With my clients, Mary Anne has come into my office and said, I think so and so need to think about this, or we need to contact you, so I think we need to inform them about this. With my clients, I have found that Mary Anne knows their need, even before they realize they have a need. She really anticipates their needs before they do. She is very personable.
Is there anything else?
One of the other things that makes her different is most of her clients are business owners. She is always looking for ways to help her clients. Whether it means connecting them with other business owners, or it means helping them find new customers, she is always looking for ways to help. She is always giving me referrals, and she is always trying to help other people. She is a connector, and she thinks in the big picture.