At BiggsKofford, 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:
As the criminals get more creative and sophisticated, so must we. Please watch out for this latest scam.
President & CEO
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.
BiggsKofford 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.
Increasing Value in Your Company:
For Continued Ownership or Eventual Sale
What will be discussed?
(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.
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:
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.
Chris Blees, CEO of BiggsKofford
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.
The Alliance of M&A Advisors and the CFO Alliance have cordially invited Chris Blees, CPA, CM&AA, to speak at The Middle Market: Our World of Opportunity in 2013 Conference to be held January 14-17 at the Hilton Miami Downtown.
Chris will be presenting on due diligence with Steve Ross, MCM Capital, and Aldy Keene, Loyalty Research Center.
The Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors® (AM&AA) is the premiere International Organization serving the educational and resource needs of the middle market M&A profession.
BiggsKofford has worked with the AM&AA since the beginning of BiggsKofford’s Merger & Acquisition department, now BiggsKofford Capital, which is led by Chris Blees, BiggsKofford, P.C.’s President & CEO.
(PitchBook News) Private equity (PE) firms from all across the country (34 states, plus Washington, D.C., to be exact) have been active this year. In fact, 678 U.S.-headquartered PE investors have completed at least one investment in 2012 to date, according to the PitchBook Platform. Those firms’ headquarters have been largely concentrated in certain areas, with the top three states for headquarters being home to 50% of the firms. New York is by far the most popular headquarters location for U.S. PE firms, with 27% calling The Empire State home base. California comes in second with a 14% share, followed by Illinois at just over 8% and Texas at just under 8%. Altogether, U.S. PE firms have invested in 43 countries in 2012 to date, but those firms have been largely focused on domestic investments, as 84% of their investments this year involved U.S. target companies. California and Texas, both ranked in the top five for U.S. PE firm headquarters locations, are the most active locations for those U.S. deals. The two states each account for about 5% of the global investment activity by U.S. PE firms this year.
Peak Venture Group’s November Entrepreneurs Breakfast
Paul and Brian Hegarty: Is Entrepreneurship Taught or Inherited?
From Ireland to Colorado to Silicon Valley, the Hegarty family carries Colorado Springs’ most-successful high tech start-up legacy. Come learn about their brilliant multi-generational achievements and their elegant entrepreneurial strategies in computers, software, semiconductors and chiming clocks. Paul and Brian Hegarty do not often come together to offer their insights into the entrepreneurial world. Both men have played important roles in the growth of major national tech firms; Paul is flying his plane out from Silicon Valley to join his father in making this presentation to those who are fortunate enough to attend this special breakfast.
Paul Hegarty: Paul attended Stanford University, participating in a research project on object-oriented graphical user-interface systems and graduating with BSEE and MSEE degrees. While there, he was hired by Steve Jobs to work at NeXT, eventually serving as Vice President of Software Engineering. NeXT’s software environment was the foundation of what is today MacOSX and iOS. After NeXT, Paul went to work for a venture capital firm and from there co-founded a successful enterprise software company. In recent years, he has been teaching computer science at Stanford University. His course on iOS application development is available on-line and is one of the most popular courses on iTunesU.
Brian Hegarty: Brian was born and educated in Ireland. His early career was in semiconductor process and product engineering at Westinghouse and ITT in England and at RCA and Honeywell in the U.S. He later also earned an MBA degree from Denver University. Brian has been involved in multiple entrepreneurial ventures, including Honeywell’s Semiconductor Division, Signal Processing Technologies and NVX Corp. Today Brian has a small but growing “first love” business introducing a major innovation to clock making. His company makes grandfather clocks which play authentic recordings of famous chiming clocks from museums and monuments
Date: Friday, November 9th, 2012 l Time: 6:30am — 9:00am
Location: Garden of the Gods Club, 3320 Mesa Road
Breakfast is served buffet style.
Register at the Peak Venture Group website: www.peakventuregroup.com
Online registration closes at 7:00pm on Nov 7th.
BiggsKofford and Merrill Lynch will host Kenneth H. Marks, a nationally-known author and speaker, who has written about middle-market financing on October 24, 2012.
For more information about the event and to RSVP, click here.
Starting today, September 27, 2012, the Chamber and EDC will begin using a new name and will have a new visual identity. We are not rolling out our new identity with a lot of fanfare, because frankly, we are busy going about our work serving businesses of all sizes and building regional economic growth and prosperity. We’ll begin applying our new name and logo on all communications material starting today, but we fully recognize we won’t have everything transferred right way. Please bear with us as we complete the changeover.
The process by which our name and visual identity was developed included numerous meetings with our organization’s leadership and other regional leaders, focus groups with member investors and others. It was tested locally and nationally with site location consultants and creative executives. From the feedback we received, the name and logo were finalized. We are proud of the result. We hope you will be, too.
From personal commitment to ‘total commitment’ – the Chamber and EDC, together, are poised to deliver personal and collective socio-economic strength to our community. Together with our community partners, we are:
Together we can orchestrate an incredible journey. Our member investors are part of a growing nucleus, a network, of dedicated community leaders and businesses of all sizes.
President and CEO
The Greater Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC
To celebrate the 2nd year of the Colorado Pro Cycling Challenge, a number of our team members, including our fearless leader, Chris Blees, will attempt to cycle the first five days of this year’s route. If successful, they will cycle over 500 miles from Durango to Colorado Springs, hopefully before the professionals catch them each day.
During, what should be an epic adventure, Chris and the team will be providing updates via our facebook page, and you can follow their journey by clicking this link and becoming a fan of our page. Every new fan we get between now and the end of the Colorado Springs leg of the race on August 24 will be entered into a drawing for a free BiggsKofford Cycling Jersey (like the one pictured here).
Given the recent events in town, they will also be raising money for those affected by the Waldo Canyon Fire. For more information about how you can get involved, go here.