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CEO & CFO: Beware of A New Scam

September 25, 2015
Chris Blees

Chris Blees

President & CEO

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We have become aware of a new scam that is being perpetrated against small and mid-size companies.  Here’s how it works…

The company owner/CEO’s email address is cloned and an email is sent to his/her CFO/Controller. The CFO is instructed to wire funds for what appears to be a legitimate business transaction.

For many small to mid-size companies, this type of email exchange between CEO and CFO is actually quite common. So, the CFO executes the wire – believing it was a legitimate request from the CEO.

Before you say “This couldn’t happen to me”… ask yourself how much trust exists between you and your CFO? Of course, we all want a trusted relationship with our CFO. But, this trust is actually being used against business owners in this scam.

Here are some ideas to prevent this:

  1. Ask your business banker to help you implement and enforce controls requiring separate approval for all wire transactions directly by the CEO.
  2. Make sure any employees that authorized the transmittal of funds always obtain a secondary confirmation from the CEO (in person, over the phone or even in a voice-mail).
  3. If you routinely send emails to authorize wires, consider establishing a “code” word or phrase that the CFO knows identifies the CEO in the email. (Note: This may not be failsafe, if your email has been hacked and is being monitored).

As the criminals get more creative and sophisticated, so must we. Please watch out for this latest scam.

 

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Q&A with Chris Blees

August 20, 2014

(The Gazette, By Charise Simpson; Published August 2014)

bio-photo-chris-blees

From the age of 15, Chris Blees knew he wanted to help entrepreneurs find a way to monetize their passions.

He grew up in St. Louis, watching his father – a piano technician – work endless hours earning high accolades in his industry, yet bringing home very little financial reward. The younger Blees believed people should be able to earn a lot of money for something they are good at, so he focused on the challenges of profitability by studying economics in high school and learning from business owners.

He earned a business degree from Western State in Gunnison and took a job with BiggsKofford straight out of college.

Today, he’s president and CEO of BiggsKofford, a CPA firm that offers tax, audit and business solutions. He is celebrating his 20th anniversary with the company this year. Under his leadership, the firm launched its mergers and acquisitions arm in 2002.  Blees assumed his current role in 2007, when co-founder Jerry Biggs retired.

Question: How does
BiggsKofford differ from the standard CPA firm model?

Answer: BiggsKofford is two parts CPA firm and one part investment banking firm. The traditional CPA part does financial statement work, taxes and audits. Our investment banking division accounts for 35 percent of our revenue, which is far from the industry average of 7 percent. Both arms serve our niche customers, which are closely held businesses with 10 or fewer owners.

Unique elements of our firm are we’re consultive and we run our business differently because we don’t have a managing partner. We are a business that happens to perform CPA services. As the president and CEO, my functional area is much less chargeable than a managing partner. It frees me up to focus on the management and strategy planning of the firm.

Q: What is the fastest growing part of your business?

A: In the last two years, the mergers and acquisitions part has really come back; 2008 and 2009 was a big downturn and 2010 and 2011 was the doldrums nationwide. We’re back to a fairly good pace at this point. In our traditional CPA firm, our niche has been physician groups and medical practices. We’ve had more than 25 percent growth there in the last year.

Q: What are your plans for growth?

A: We have very strategic and nonaggressive growth plans.  We target 10 percent growth per year. We don’t want more than that because we want to grow intelligently and profitably.

Q: How did the recession affect your business?

A: It was hard. We had a couple of years of single-digit retraction, meaning we had top line revenue reductions two years in a row that were 5 to 7 percent. That was still pretty good, however. We were working with homebuilders that were having huge reductions in revenue, so I shouldn’t complain. We rebounded and surpassed our previous highs within a couple years of that.

Q: What advice would you offer entrepreneurs?

A: Remaining self-sufficient in their own ability to make business decisions is critical. That stems from a financial self-sufficiency that allows you to remain in control, without debt or other capital that will negatively influence the control they have on their company. You need money to run your business and it’s a lot easier when it’s your money.

Q: Do you have a personal formula for success?

A: Confucius said, “A truly wise man surrounds himself with wiser men.” My goal in life is to see those people I impact as successful.  My theory is that if I drive success in everyone around me, I myself will naturally be successful.


Q: What are your thoughts on the Colorado Springs business climate?

A: We have an amazing business climate despite the inherent detriments that we were dealt. I’m a very strong supporter of nonprofits and participate on many nonprofit boards, but when it comes to economic measures, our climate is severely hampered by having 50 percent of our economy that is nonprofit motivated, meaning government and other nonprofit organizations.  It makes us look like we are half as big as we really are and weaker in all per capita economic measures.  Again, nothing against the nonprofits.  They inherently bring lower wages, lower capital, less profit and earning ability, less liquidity per capita and less wealth per capita. So, in all those things that measure economic success, we’re going to have a 50 percent handicap. Withstanding that, there are some amazing brilliant business minds here.

 

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CEO Celebrates 20 Years

June 14, 2014

BiggsKoffordbio-photo-chris-blees celebrates Chris Blees, managing director, who achieved 20 years with the organization this month.  In 2007, Blees was selected to replace founder Jerry Biggs by the firm’s five other partners.

Blees, 42, joined BiggsKofford after graduating from Western State College University in 1994 and has been a director since 1999.  He provides overall corporate leadership for the firm, as well as day-to-day management.  Blees also manages the firm’s merger, acquisition and sales practice.

“The past 20 years with BiggsKofford has been nothing short of remarkable,” said Blees. “I am honored to have such an outstanding team that is determined to maintain the exceptional standards the firm is known for. I look forward to the next 20 years!”

Founded in 1982, Colorado Springs-based BiggsKofford currently employs 30 people.  BiggsKofford offers integrated business solutions, including tax, accounting, merger and acquisitions consulting, business valuation and litigation support.  BiggsKofford has expanded its services to meet the changing needs of over 500 business owners and entrepreneurs in Colorado’s Front Range.

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Entrepreneurial Corner|Increasing Business Value

May 13, 2014

Increasing Value in Your Company:

For Continued Ownership or Eventual Sale

 

Our Speaker:

Chris Blees, CPA, CM&AA

President, Chief Executive Officer

BiggsKofford, P.C.

What will be discussed?

  • Learn market valuation approaches
  • Understand what drives value
  • Hear how to improve value in your company
     

Thursday, May 22, 2014

7:30 – 9:00 a.m.

BiggsKofford’s Office,

630 Southpointe Court, Suite 200

 

  

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Red Noland Auto Group Purchased by its Top Executives

March 11, 2014

(The Gazette, By Rich Laden; Published March 3, 2014)

One of Colorado Springs’ oldest and most recognizable auto dealership groups  has changed hands – but won’t change its familiar name.

The Red Noland Auto Group, which N.B. “Red” Noland founded in 1974, has been  purchased by Mike Jorgensen and Thom Buckley, the auto group’s top executives  who have been operating Noland’s dealerships for 15 years.

The purchase includes Red Noland Cadillac, Red Noland Infiniti, Jaguar-Land  Rover Colorado Springs, Red Noland Pre-Owned Center and Red Noland Collision  Center.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but it also includes the auto group’s  roughly 15 acres in the Motor City auto park, along Motor City Drive, on  Colorado Springs’ west side.

Noland, Jorgensen and Buckley completed the deal at the end of last month,  which marked exactly 40 years since Noland came to Colorado Springs and, along  with a Dallas partner, bought what was then called Silver State Cadillac. At the  time, Noland had been with the Cadillac division of General Motors for 25 years,  worked as a Cadillac zone manager in Dallas and become familiar with Colorado  after spending time in the state skiing and flying gliders

BiggsKofford assisted both parties in reaching an agreement, and was glad to be a part of the significant transaction. We wish Red Noland continued success in the years ahead.

To read more, see the full article from the Gazette, here.

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Community Support in the midst of the Black Forest Fire

June 17, 2013

Clients & Friends,

Almost a year after the Waldo Canyon Fire, the past week has yet again been challenging for our city.  Many of our clients, friends and their employees have been affected by the fires in our community, and we’re all looking for ways to help others cope with this event. Please know that you have our support, and as a firm, we would be honored to provide solutions or resources to anyone in need.  Here are a few things to consider:

1. If you haven’t been affected by the Black Forest fire, please consider a donation to support those who have been affected.  BiggsKofford is making a special donation to Care & Share and the Red Cross.  Click here if you would like to learn how you can join us and make donations to the local non-profit organizations supporting our community.

2. If you’ve lost income or your business has been been affected, you might consider if your business has insurance coverage to replace lost income, in addition to more obvious property coverage you might have. Sometimes umbrella policies are overlooked and you end up missing benefits that you paid for.

3. In addition to business coverage, some homeowner policies include additional benefits, beyond the home itself (i.e. lost income, relocation costs, temporary housing, business records, etc.). Remember to capture those costs, document them, and make a complete claim. Don’t forget to claim coverage that you’ve paid for.  If you might be evacuated be sure to use your smart phone to take pictures and video of your contents before you leave, should you need to make an insurance claim.

4. We also suggest creating a personal disaster recovery plan (maintaining backup records, documenting assets in your home and business, create an “evacuation packing list”, etc.). Other ideas to help with this type of planning can be found here.

5. Other resources can be found here:

  • Pikes Peak Region Business Recovery Fund: Through a community collaboration of banks, the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance and other community partners, Colorado Enterprise Fund is offering a special loan program of up to $10,000 to help rebuild small businesses in the Pikes Peak region.
  • CenturyLink offering fire victims free emergency call forwarding service: call 800-573-1311 or go to www.centurylink.net and “log in”.
  • Small Business Development Center, hosted by the UCCS College of Business, offering assistance to the fire-affected businesses: visit www.elpasoco.com.
  • Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region offering food and shelter for evacuated animals: call 719-473-1741 if you’ve lost an animal.

BiggsKofford is a proud member of this community. It is going to take effort and support from everyone to get past this disaster.  If you have need for personal support during this natural disaster, we would be happy to help you.

Sincerely,

Chris Blees, CEO of BiggsKofford

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AM&AA Deal Stats Survey | July through December 2012

April 10, 2013

The Alliance of Mergers & Acquisition Advisors (AM&AA) just came out with deal stats from the last half of 2012. To check out the most up-to-date M&A activity, check out their survey results here.

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Special Invitation | Chancellor’s Leadership Class Event

April 09, 2013

CLCCommunityDinner

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January Entrepreneurial Corner | Private Capital Markets: Where is the money flow?

January 09, 2013

Entrepreneurial Corner HeaderPrivate Capital Markets: Where is the money flow?

Led by:
Chris Blees, CPA, CM&AA President & CEO

Austin Buckett,
ACA, CM&AA

Manager

We’ll Discuss:

  • What industries are attracting the most capital
  • What the latest trends are in valuation for middle-market companies
  • Up-to-date lending trends for the middle market

Thursday, January 24, 2013

7:30 – 9 a.m.

BiggsKofford’s Office,

630 Southpointe Court, Suite 200

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Our Location

Our Location

BiggsKofford
630 Southpointe Ct, #200
Colorado Springs, CO 80906

P: (719) 579-9090 | F: (719) 576-0126
info@biggskofford.com

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