Big
problem:

Incorrect accounting
methods.

Big
thinking:

Seven figure tax savings.

Shareholder Gennaro DiBello has widespread experience in all areas of tax and business planning associated with closely held companies, and he’s been with Schneider Downs since 1987.

During a routine review of one of our client’s operations, Gennaro’s team identified something that wasn’t very routine at all. They discovered that the client was using multiple incorrect methods and calculations for computing tax depreciation for their fixed assets. Gennaro met the client to discuss the issue, presented a solution to correct the problem, quantified the results, and implemented the changes resulting in a favorable adjustment of nearly $4.5 million. Gennaro’s expertise and eye for detail was critical in helping this client fix a problem they didn’t even realize that they had.

“We’re good at identifying opportunities or exposures that aren’t on our clients’ radars,” Gennaro said. “It’s not necessarily what we were originally retained to do, but while we’re executing our engagements, we’re always looking for new ways to help our clients and minimize their tax burden.”

Schneider Downs provides Big Thinking and Personal Focus in delivering a variety of services for large and small businesses, both publicly and privately held, as well as nonprofit organizations, government entities and more. Through our commitment to thought leadership and knowledge management, we deliver the solutions our clients need with a personal commitment to service.

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Shareholder Gennaro DiBello has widespread experience in all areas of tax and business planning associated with closely held companies, and he’s been with Schneider Downs since 1987.

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Big
problem:

Cybersecurity
defenses
compromised by
employees' passwords.

Big
thinking:

Significant updates to the cybersecurity environment.

Shareholder Eric Wright has been involved with Information Technology with Schneider Downs since 1983 and oversees the firm’s thriving Technology Consulting and IT Audit & Compliance practices. Through this role, Eric brings extensive experience in assessing IT infrastructure and identifying cybersecurity risk and exposure.

One of our clients felt fairly good about their existing cybersecurity defenses. But they were still afraid of the unknown and newer cyber attack techniques. Through our regular audit procedures, we inquired about their current cyber controls and their confidence in withstanding an attack. We then performed a network penetration test which simulates an external adversary hacking their network. This procedure identified the client's unknown weaknesses in their defenses through a live test.

“Within 48 hours, we were able to guess the passwords of close to 10% of their employees, effectively giving us VPN access to their corporate network and certain employee utilities, like email.” Eric said. "We also found that their corporate intranet site was visible over the internet and susceptible to login via the bad passwords. After identifying these issues, we worked with the client to make significant changes to their environment to make it harder for an attacker to break in."

Schneider Downs provides Big Thinking and Personal Focus in delivering a variety of services for large and small businesses, both publicly and privately held, as well as nonprofit organizations, government entities and more. Through our commitment to thought leadership and knowledge management, we deliver the solutions our clients need with a personal commitment to service.

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Shareholder Eric Wright has been involved with Information Technology with Schneider Downs since 1983 and oversees the firm’s thriving Technology Consulting and IT Audit & Compliance practices. Through this role, Eric brings extensive experience in assessing IT infrastructure and identifying cybersecurity risk and exposure.

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Big
problem:

A complex business
evaluation case.

Big
thinking:

Dispute settlement and
control of the business.

With Schneider Downs since 2014, shareholder Tom Pratt has more than 30 years of experience in public accounting, forensic accounting, litigation support, business valuation and financial reorganization.

Tom’s team was involved in a complex and contentious business evaluation dispute between our client, who was the controlling shareholder, and a non-controlling shareholder. The dispute included allegations of fraud, self-dealing and mismanagement of entities against our client. We worked with our client’s outside legal counsel to help them respond to both the valuation issues and, importantly, refute the allegations being made against him. Our diligent and objective work assisted in the settlement of the dispute, and our client purchased the interests of the non-controlling shareholder prior to going to trial.

“We’ve seen just about everything you can see when it comes to disputes between business partners,” Pratt said. “So we know what to look for and what analysis and evidence will help our clients.”

Schneider Downs provides Big Thinking and Personal Focus in delivering a variety of services for large and small businesses, both publicly and privately held, as well as nonprofit organizations, government entities and more. Through our commitment to thought leadership and knowledge management, we deliver the solutions our clients need with a personal commitment to service.

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With Schneider Downs since 2014, shareholder Tom Pratt has more than 30 years of experience in public accounting, forensic accounting, litigation support, business valuation and financial reorganization.

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Big
problem:

A not-for-profit
client out of
401(k) compliance.

Big
thinking:

Allowing more contributions by highly paid employees.

Shareholder Jason Lumpkin serves as a Practice Unit Leader for SDAdvantage Retirement Solutions. He has more than 17 years of qualified retirement plan experience, primarily serving middle market, closely held businesses. His background includes plan design, documentation reporting, participant education, and ongoing administration for defined contribution plans, including employee stock ownership plans.

While working with one of our non profit clients, Jason’s team discovered that the organization was failing non-discrimination testing due to poor 401(k) participation among its employees. To address the issue, we recommended the implementation of a second retirement plan, a 403(b) plan, that would cover only the highly paid employees, allowing them to contribute the maximum amounts without concern for the limits imposed by the 401(k) plan’s non-discrimination testing.

“These top employees were no longer constrained by the limits of the 401(k) plan testing results,” Jason said. “Plus, the organization no longer had to be concerned about the non-discrimination test. We also avoided implementing a “safe harbor” design in the 401(k) plan, which can result in costly employer contributions and vesting provisions that favor short-term employees.”

Schneider Downs provides Big Thinking and Personal focus in delivering a variety of services for large and small businesses, both publicly and privately held, as well as nonprofit organizations, government entities and more. Through our commitment to thought leadership and knowledge management, we deliver the solutions our clients need with a personal commitment to service.  

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Shareholder Jason Lumpkin serves as a Practice Unit Leader for SDAdvantage Retirement Solutions. He has more than 17 years of qualified retirement plan experience, primarily serving middle market, closely held businesses. His background includes plan design, documentation reporting, participant education, and ongoing administration for defined contribution plans, including employee stock ownership plans.

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Big
problem:

Liquidity issues for
a local company.

Big
thinking:

New ways to predict and control cash flows.

Shareholder Staci Brogan has more than 20 years of public accounting experience. Her areas of expertise include helping not-for-profit clients, publicly traded registrants, and clients with complex governance structures.

One of Staci’s clients was struggling with cash flow issues and wasn’t sure how to better manage their liquidity. But Staci’s team had an in-depth knowledge of the company and a clear understanding of their operations. Through detailed benchmarking of the company’s financial results as compared to their peers, a template was created to better project cash flows and positively impact key ratios.

“In addition to benchmarking performance, we were able to provide the client with an analysis to evaluate a key contract,” Brogan said. “This allowed them to negotiate better terms for the organization which also helped with their liquidity.”

Schneider Downs provides Big Thinking and Personal Focus in delivering a variety of services for large and small businesses, both publicly and privately held, as well as nonprofit organizations, government entities and more. Through our commitment to thought leadership and knowledge management, we deliver the solutions our clients need with a personal commitment to service. 

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Shareholder Staci Brogan has more than 20 years of public accounting experience. Her areas of expertise include helping not-for-profit clients, publicly traded registrants, and clients with complex governance structures.

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Big
problem:

Redundant back
office functions.

Big
thinking:

Back office consolidation project saves $600,000 annually.

Shareholder Don Applegarth has more than 26 years of public accounting experience and is the practice leader of the Schneider Downs Accounting, Assurance and Advisory Services department. He has experience serving companies in a variety of industries, including but not limited to manufacturing, retail, construction, real estate, transportation and logistics, and natural resources.

Don’s team had an ongoing audit engagement with a large manufacturing company that ran two subsidiaries as if they were separate companies. This resulted in disparate accounting, human resources and IT functions. In addition to providing traditional audit and tax services, Don tapped the expertise of Schneider Downs’ Technology Services, Risk Advisory Services, and Human Resource experts to present a comprehensive back office consolidation plan.

“We conducted a comprehensive back office assessment of technology, processes, and a skills assessment of existing client personnel,” Applegarth said. “Leveraging strong relationships with the owner and key decision makers, the client trusted our multi-disciplinary team to come up with an effective back office implementation that ended up saving the company more than $600,000 annually. The client knew there would be savings, but they were extremely pleased with the amount of savings, new synergies, and tangible benefits to the Company’s operations going forward.”

Schneider Downs provides Big Thinking and Personal Focus in delivering a variety of services for large and small businesses, both publicly and privately held, as well as nonprofit organizations, government entities and more. Through our commitment to thought leadership and knowledge management, we deliver the solutions our clients need with a personal commitment to service. 

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Shareholder Don Applegarth has more than 26 years of public accounting experience and is the practice leader of the Schneider Downs Accounting, Assurance and Advisory Services department. He has experience serving companies in a variety of industries, including but not limited to manufacturing, retail, construction, real estate, transportation and logistics, and natural resources.

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Big
problem:

The tax implications
of overseas valuations.

Big
thinking:

$1 million in tax savings.

Shareholder Mary Richter has more than 20 years of public accounting experience since joining Schneider Downs in 2002. She has expertise with domestic and international tax planning, state tax nexus, tax credits, accounting for income taxes, and specific transaction planning and implementation.

One of Mary’s clients was reorganizing their overseas operating structure and wanted to move certain assets to different jurisdictions. The client had been purchased by a Private Equity group and called us about updating a valuation we had previously done for the business. In addition to working through the valuation questions, we were able to identify an opportunity to revise their restructuring plan to avoid taxation of a significant portion of the transactions.

“By asking questions, having a strong understanding of their needs, and collaborating with the client, we were able to save them roughly $1 million in taxes,” Mary said. “Plus, our plan enabled them to generate future tax deductions overseas to offset the current cost of restructuring. We also saved them substantially on fees.”

Schneider Downs provides Big Thinking and Personal Focus in delivering a variety of services for large and small businesses, both publicly and privately held, as well as nonprofit organizations, government entities and more. Through our commitment to thought leadership and knowledge management, we deliver the solutions our clients need with a personal commitment to service.

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Shareholder Mary Richter has more than 20 years of public accounting experience since joining Schneider Downs in 2002. She has expertise with domestic and international tax planning, state tax nexus, tax credits, accounting for income taxes, and specific transaction planning and implementation.

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Big
problem:

Missing opportunities
in tax reporting for
retainages.

Big
thinking:

New accounting methods
for significant refunds.

A part of Schneider Downs since 1988, Jay Meglich provides auditing and consulting services to a variety of businesses and tax-exempt organizations.

While speaking with a client, the conversation turned to tax reporting for retainages held under contract. Jay suggested the client have a follow up meeting with the tax team to look into this issue in more detail and review the overall method of reporting that was being used for income tax reporting purposes. After changing their accounting methods, we filed amended returns for open tax years and were able to get the client a significant refund on prior year’s returns. Plus, this new favorable reporting method was implemented going forward.

“It’s always satisfying to help clients find new and unexpected savings,” Meglich said. “This client was then able to leverage the cash flow into financing that assisted them in expanding their operations and eventually to the purchase of a larger facility to continue their growth.”

Schneider Downs provides Big Thinking and Personal Focus in delivering a variety of services for large and small businesses, both publicly and privately held, as well as nonprofit organizations, government entities and more. Through our commitment to thought leadership and knowledge management, we deliver the solutions our clients need with a personal commitment to service.

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A part of Schneider Downs since 1988, Jay Meglich provides auditing and consulting services to a variety of businesses and tax-exempt organizations.

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Big
problem:

The complexities of
opening an overseas
subsidiary.

Big
thinking:

Consolidated financial statements and
foreign currency expertise.

Shareholder Ted Pettko has extensive experience with public and privately owned companies from a diverse group of industries, and he’s been with Schneider Downs since 1997.

One of our clients opened a subsidiary office in the United Kingdom. Through discussions with management, the company asked us for assistance with their consolidation efforts. We identified that having consolidated financial statements was critical, rather than viewing the subsidiary as a standalone entity. Plus, we also provided guidance relative to foreign currency translation and hedges to reduce volatility associated with market fluctuations. 

“The company came to us for our expertise with consolidations, and we were certainly able to help them with that.” Pettko said. “But we also gave them new insights about reducing their risks from market fluctuations subject to foreign currency, which they hadn’t considered. It always feels good to give the client more than they were looking for, especially when it can have an impact on their bottom line.”

Schneider Downs provides Big Thinking and Personal Focus in delivering a variety of services for large and small businesses, both publicly and privately held, as well as nonprofit organizations, government entities and more. Through our commitment to thought leadership and knowledge management, we deliver the solutions our clients need with a personal commitment to service.

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Shareholder Ted Pettko has extensive experience with public and privately owned companies from a diverse group of industries, and he’s been with Schneider Downs since 1997.

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Big
problem:

A family-owned
business needing tax advice.

Big
thinking:

$1.4 million in
eligible deductions.

Shareholder Mark DiPietrantonio has been with the firm since 1995 and brings extensive experience in all areas of tax planning, research and compliance.

When Mark was introduced to a new client, he learned through the course of the conversations about the nature of the business, their clients, and most interestingly, that they were not utilizing all of the tax deductions available in this specific industry. After some research, we determined that they were eligible for large deductions in excess of $1.4 million dollars, which had a huge impact on this family-owned business.

“It felt great to be able to deliver such positive and unexpected news to this small business owner,” DiPietrantonio said. “By immediately amending the tax returns for the prior years in which the statue of limitations had not closed, we were able to secure a significant refund for them.”

Schneider Downs provides Big Thinking and Personal Focus in delivering a variety of services for large and small businesses, both publicly and privately held, as well as nonprofit organizations, government entities and more. Through our commitment to thought leadership and knowledge management, we deliver the solutions our clients need with a personal commitment to service.

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Shareholder Mark DiPietrantonio has been with the firm since 1995 and brings extensive experience in all areas of tax planning, research and compliance.

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Big
problem:

Sarbanes-Oxley
compliance
redundancies.

Big
thinking:

50% reduction in testing
control costs.

Over shareholder Don Owens’ 30 year career, he has become an expert in risk mitigation services including internal audit sourcing, SOC examinations, Sarbanes-Oxley assessments, forensics and other relevant risk advisory service.

A company was becoming overwhelmed by the several hundred controls that had been identified as key internal controls over financial reporting (ICFR) for Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Section 404 compliance purposes, which requires management of public companies to attest to the design and operating effectiveness of their ICFR. The company issued an RFP soliciting assistance in evaluating its control environment and testing of its key controls, as the volume of controls to be tested far exceeded the internal resources available to conduct the testing.  

Upon review of the library of key controls that the company had documented as SOX-relevant, Don’s team suggested conducting a SOX 404 optimization assessment to evaluate the relevance of each of the identified "key" controls and to also assess other related control activities to conclude on which ones warranted inclusion in the ICFR library of key controls.

“Per the optimization assessment, we were able to demonstrate to the company that its library of SOX key controls was inflated by approximately 50 percent since one of every two controls being tested was unwarranted for SOX purposes,” Don said “This reduced the company's investment in testing of controls by hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Schneider Downs provides Big Thinking and Personal Focus in delivering a variety of services for large and small businesses, both publicly and privately held, as well as nonprofit organizations, government entities and more. Through our commitment to thought leadership and knowledge management, we deliver the solutions our clients need with a personal commitment to service.

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Over shareholder Don Owens’ 30 year career, he has become an expert in risk mitigation services including internal audit sourcing, SOC examinations, Sarbanes-Oxley assessments, forensics and other relevant risk advisory service.

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Big
problem:

A limited employee
benefit plan.

Big
thinking:

Increased contributions
and employee retention.

Shareholder Joe Bruce has more than 21 years of public accounting experience since joining Schneider Downs in 1996. He has expertise with a variety of clients including construction, manufacturing, retail, oil and gas industries, and employee benefit plans.

One of Joe’s clients had a successful business and was interested in contributing more to their retirement accounts. However, the client was limited by the existing employee benefit plan structure and IRS contribution limitations on their existing structure. Joe’s team was familiar with the structure of their existing plan and offered to do an analysis of their options.

“The Schneider Downs Retirement Plan Solutions Group suggested a cash balance plan and provided an analysis to the business owners which quantified the impact and provided options to allow the client to evaluate the direction they were most comfortable moving forward with.” Bruce said. “The client elected to adopt the cash balance plan and was able to significantly increase contributions into the owners’ retirement accounts. This also enhanced the quality of the retirement benefits for their employees, which in turn helped improve employee retention.”

Schneider Downs provides Big Thinking and Personal Focus in delivering a variety of services for large and small businesses, both publicly and privately held, as well as nonprofit organizations, government entities and more. Through our commitment to thought leadership and knowledge management, we deliver the solutions our clients need with a personal commitment to service.

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Shareholder Joe Bruce has more than 21 years of public accounting experience since joining Schneider Downs in 1996. He has expertise with a variety of clients including construction, manufacturing, retail, oil and gas industries, and employee benefit plans.

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Big
problem:

Incorrect calculations
of toll charges.

Big
thinking:

$1 million in tax savings.

Shareholder Michael Renzelman has a vast amount of professional experience in a multitude of accounting, auditing, tax and business-related issues. He is also responsible for the firm’s adherence to professional standards and maintenance of the firm's assurance services policies and procedures.

One of Mike’s audit clients with international operations was having their tax work performed by another firm. While auditing the client’s implementation of the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Mike’s team challenged how the company was calculating the toll charge in connection with unremitted and untaxed accumulated earnings associated with their foreign subsidiaries. Rather than just recalculate the tax liability as presented, the team engaged Schneider Downs’ international tax professionals to challenge the approach. As a result, we were able to make recommendations that ended up saving the company in excess of $1 million in tax costs.

“In addition to providing our clients with quality audits, we are always focused on how we can provide added value,” Mike said. “We will engage our experts across all of our other lines of business to provide this value through big thinking and looking at the big picture.”

Schneider Downs provides Big Thinking and Personal Focus in delivering a variety of services for large and small businesses, both publicly and privately held, as well as nonprofit organizations, government entities and more. Through our commitment to thought leadership and knowledge management, we deliver the solutions our clients need with a personal commitment to service.

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Shareholder Michael Renzelman has a vast amount of professional experience in a multitude of accounting, auditing, tax and business-related issues. He is also responsible for the firm’s adherence to professional standards and maintenance of the firm's assurance services policies and procedures.

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Big
problem:

New rules for
business deductions.

Big
thinking:

New tax planning strategies
to save $300,000.

Shareholder Evan Ogrodnik has been with Schneider Downs since 2005 and is one of our experts in tax compliance and planning, accounting, and financial reporting matters.

Evan’s team always worked closely with our clients’ accounting group and Schneider Downs‘ audit team. When the IRS changed the rules on the deductibility of repairs and maintenance versus capitalization of assets, a group of Schneider Downs’ tax specialists performed a deep-dive on the technical rules of this change to develop tax planning strategies for their clients.  In one particular instance, through extensive analysis of the client’s fixed asset ledgers as well as those of related-party commercial rental properties, we were able to find tax savings of approximately $300,000.

“Communication with our clients is always critical,” Ogrodnik said. “Our understanding of new, complex regulations, knowledge of our client’s business and internal workings, and the trust the client had in our experts, allowed us to take advantage of tax rules and garner significant deductions.”

Schneider Downs provides Big Thinking and Personal Focus in delivering a variety of services for large and small businesses, both publicly and privately held, as well as nonprofit organizations, government entities and more. Through our commitment to thought leadership and knowledge management, we deliver the solutions our clients need with a personal commitment to service.

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Shareholder Evan Ogrodnik has been with Schneider Downs since 2005 and is one of our experts in tax compliance and planning, accounting, and financial reporting matters.

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Big
problem:

A global company
needing better
internal controls.

Big
thinking:

A network of professionals to implement best practices.

Shareholder Jim Yard is Schneider Downs’ practice leader for our Risk Advisory Services Department. Jim specializes in providing risk management, internal audit, and internal control consulting services.

One of our clients was a large consumer markets company with a global footprint. We learned that the company wanted to improve overall corporate governance and internal controls. Jim’s team was called upon to help with an evaluation since leadership at the company realized the need for a firm with international experience in multiple countries and languages. With the assistance of country-specific resources through Prime Global - one of the largest associations of independent public accounting firms in the world - and a consistent core team based in Pittsburgh, we have been able to provide the expertise necessary to develop and assist the company in building and establishing a global internal audit function, and bringing best practices across their global operations and core processes.

“By accessing industry expertise, assessing risk and pulling in subject matter and international specialists, we were able to direct the company’s plans to implement best practices, mitigate risks, standardize their processes and create efficiencies throughout its operations and business units,” Jim said. “The client has recognized the success of this partnership and has gone on to award us other projects including on-going international location reviews, various operational and process reviews, systems implementation/migration, and fraud investigations.”

Schneider Downs provides Big Thinking and Personal focus in delivering a variety of services for large and small businesses, both publicly and privately held, as well as nonprofit organizations, government entities and more. Through our commitment to thought leadership and knowledge management, we deliver the solutions our clients need with a personal commitment to service. 

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Shareholder Jim Yard is Schneider Downs’ practice leader for our Risk Advisory Services Department. Jim specializes in providing risk management, internal audit, and internal control consulting services.

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