Innovation and inspiration: Wipfli Annual Report, 2019-2020Innovation and inspiration: Wipfli Annual Report, 2019-2020

Letter from managing partner

The global pandemic has challenged us all to embrace change and adapt at a rapid pace. At Wipfli, we continued to prioritize taking care of our team and providing them with the tools they needed to take care of our clients, who were also going through an unusual amount of disruption and turmoil. I’m proud to say our associates continue to meet that challenge with the confidence and integrity of a firm well prepared for the future.

— Kurt Gresens, Managing Partner

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From curiosity to clarity to results

For more than 90 years, we have evolved and grown to help our clients take on whatever comes next. Yet as much as we change, at our core we remain committed to curiosity and our clients.

In FY20, curiosity drove our teams to innovation and inspiration for our clients and ourselves.

Wipfli 2025

Through Wipfli 2025, our multiyear strategy, we are making major strides toward achieving our goal of exceeding client needs now and in the future, while continuing to innovate, address challenges and seize opportunities.

 

Clients

Clients
Our technology and talent positioned us to provide uninterrupted, exceptional service.

 

Industries

Industries
We expanded the industries we serve to include technology companies and private clients — delivering specialized services while increasing our focus.

 

Associates

Associates
We expanded training opportunities and invested in leadership development while expanding benefits for our associates.

 

Our firm

Our firm
We launched Wipfli Digital to turn technology into opportunities, customer experiences into connections, business intelligence into growth and digital strategies into results.

 

Our world

Our world
We believe in a world where everyone feels included and diversity is embraced. We increased our commitment to a diverse workplace by expanding our recruiting efforts, educating our associates and donating money and time to organizations that support DEI and social justice.

 

Delivering during disruption

During the second half of FY20, COVID-19 swept through our lives, causing disruption in our offices, industries and homes. In the midst of the chaos, we pivoted to help our clients continue to serve theirs.

With our services, we replaced volatility with vision, uncertainty with understanding and complexity with clarity for our clients.

 

Respond
Our COVID-19 resource center helped our clients cut through the clutter and hype to get the critical information they needed to react to evolving legislation, health alerts and business trends.

Recover
We were able to help more than 5,200 clients with COVID-19-related issues, helping many businesses keep their doors open and staff employed.

Revitalize
We counseled clients on how to secure their tomorrow by creating agile strategies, business continuity plans and financial stability.

COVID-19 response

We provided more than 175 online training sessions for our clients, which is nearly three times as many as last year.
Wipfli.com doubled its website traffic from March-May 2020 compared to 2019 — driven by our COVID-19 resource center, which offered guidance and information.
Because time was of the essence in getting our clients access to PPP funds, Wipfli offices buckled down and assisted clients with preparing applications. Our Naperville, Illinois office alone prepared more than 120 PPP applications over a three-day period.

 

Success stories

Together, we were able to help our clients weather COVID-19.

 

30 million saved

$30 million saved

We were able to leverage some tax changes to save a family-owned industrial corporation $30 million, which helped keep that client operational during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Strategy to reopen

Strategy to reopen

The pandemic created new challenges for one agency that was used to in-person interaction with their clients. We helped them create short- and long-term strategy to pivot.

Helping hospital treat patients

Helping hospital treat patients

A rural hospital needed help finding a way to treat COVID-19 patients without endangering their vulnerable long-term-care patients. Our team helped equip mobile trailers with the tech they needed.

Our bold new brand

When it comes to our vision for the future, we think big. We’ve made big plans for our reputation, visibility and growth. It’s ambitious — and doable. In FY20 we launched an update to our brand that is as bold and memorable as that vision.

We’ve reimagined the Wipfli brand to unify and elevate how we present our business and go to market. Our brand helps position Wipfli as the firm of choice to create lasting, positive impact.

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Digital transformation

Our endless curiosity means we’re constantly exploring new ways to take our clients where they want to go.

Wipfli Digital is a brand that Wipfli unveiled in 2020. As a part of our go-to-market strategy, it serves to help us tell the story of our long-standing and growing suite of services dedicated to digital transformation.

In today’s “what’s next economy,” we know that technology has and will be critical to survival for our mid-market clients. In response to that and in concert with our own digital transformation, we have strategically grown our capabilities to deliver everything from custom back-end solutions to best-in-class customer experiences.

Wipfli Digital

With Wipfli Digital, we offer our clients the best of business and tech combined.

Services offered

Strategic growth

We have enhanced our digital capability, creativity and technology capabilities through the following mergers and acquisitions:

Punchkick Interactive: Custom software, mobile applications — March 2020

Tidestone Solutions: Microsoft Dynamics — April 2020

TopLine Strategies: CRM and BI solutions — June 2019

Industry involvement

Sponsored Microsoft’s Women in Tech luncheon

Member of:
  • Illinois Technology Association 
  • Wisconsin Technology Council
  • Association for Financial Technology 
  • Technology Association of Georgia 
  • NH Tech Alliance
  • Hyde Park Angels
  • Digital Chamber of Commerce

Technology awards and partnerships

• Microsoft Preferred Power Apps Partner
• NetHope partner
• Salesforce consulting partner
• SAP Concur Growth Award
• Microsoft 2019 MSUS Partner Award – Partner for Social Impact
• HITRUST CSF Assessor Council

“For a small nonprofit, working with Wipfli has been invaluable. To have their level of expertise and experience working with nonprofits, to have them look at your needs and recognize your pain points — it’s led to their team not just solving problems but also equipping us to take things to the next level and learn from the ways they’ve built out the infrastructure.”

— Peter Kim, Director of Technology, Data & Evaluation at The Contingent

 

Digital success stories

Wipfli Digital turns technology into business opportunities and digital strategies that drive results.

 

Technology to scale for the future

Technology to scale for the future

A nonprofit organization needed to connect thousands of datapoints from Excel into a centralized program so they could use data to increase their impact.

Fueling growth with data

Fueling growth with data

SKS Consulting Group needed quick and easy access to robust reporting to determine where to eliminate bottlenecks and assess performance so they could continue to grow.

Tech to manage 6,000 volunteers

Tech to manage 6,000 volunteers

Operation Smile needed an agile platform that allowed them to connect their volunteers around the globe so they can help more.

Financial overview

$392.3 million

FY20 net revenue

8.64%

Increase from FY19

Net revenue by service

Financial Overview Pie ChartFinancial Overview Pie Chart

Net revenue FY16 - FY20

Financial Overview Bar GraphFinancial Overview Bar Graph

Wipfli stats

 

2,412

associates

298

partners and principals

32

new partners and principals

Aggressive growth

In FY20, we welcomed seven firms to Wipfli. Our growth is not only aggressive, it is strategic. Our new firms bring a new level of knowledge to our team and extend our geographic reach. 

TopLine Strategies
Scottsdale, Arizona, 2019

Patke & Associates
Lincolnshire, Illinois, August 2019

Porter Keadle Moore
Atlanta, Georgia, October 2019

Klein Hall
Naperville, Illinois, November 2019

Strategem
Denver, Colorado, January 2020 

Punchkick Interactive
Chicago, Illinois, March 2020

Tidestone Solutions
Portland, Maine, April 2020

At Wipfli people countAt Wipfli people count

Recruitment

250

Interns

145

Campus hires

576

New hires

86%

Increase of new hires over FY19

113

New hires via associate referrals

Learning & Development

79,167

Hours of associate-attended trainings (internal & external)

828

CPA licenses

59

New CPA certifications

Client satisfaction

84,856

Total clients in FY20

9,657

New clients in FY20

Client Satisfaction Index Ranking
Our annual Client Satisfaction Index measures how well our performance meets or exceeds client expectations. Our 2020 score came in at 90%, demonstrating that Wipfli 2025 has set us on the path of continued success, and that our commitment to executing with the client is our key differentiator.

Net Promoter Score
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is an index ranging from -100 to 100 and measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company's products or services to others. Wipfli's NPS came in at 65, well above the industry average of 24.

 

Success stories

Helping clients improve employee engagement and retention, saving clients time and effort, setting clients up for future success — in FY20, we identified opportunities and implemented creative solutions to meet our clients’ needs across industries and markets. We're proud to share a selection of these success stories.

 

Improving retention to 90%

Improving retention to 90%

Our culture survey and strategy helped one nonprofit improve their employee retention rate from 73% to 90% and reduce their hiring time from weeks to just days.

Changing future with technology

Changing future with technology

Changing from paper processes to cloud-based technology helped Hometown Trolley cut two days off building a trolley.

Revolutionizing construction

Revolutionizing construction

Working with people from the construction industry, we were able to get past traditional tech barriers to create Wipfli Connect for Contractors to help increase profits and cut hours.

Coaching in a virtual world

Coaching in a virtual world

COVID-19 elevated the need for one company to take their business strategy to the next level with a strategy-planning workshop in a virtual setting.

Saving four days of work

Saving four days of work

The American Society of Agronomy needed to improve a report that took several minutes to load, which lead to numerous frustrated phone calls during its peak season.

SOC audit unlocks remote access

SOC audit unlocks remote access

Wipfli was able to help Cross Insurance TPA go beyond just a SOC audit to eliminate manual workflows and open up remote access.

Creating lasting positive impactCreating lasting positive impact

Living our mission

Our mission is to deliver lasting, positive impact on our clients, associates, profession and the communities where we live and work. At Wipfli, we believe in a workplace — and world — where everyone feels included and diversity is embraced. To foster that, we have launched several initiatives to help our firm, our communities and our industry embrace diversity, equity and inclusion.

1

Give back to our communities

2

Elevate associates’ voices

3

Support diversity in our industry

4

Celebrate our clients

 

Supporting our communities

Since 2005, Wipfli has participated in Community Day — a day dedicated to giving back to those in our backyards. This firm-wide event is hosted with nonprofit service organizations around the country. Our associates spend the day volunteering in the communities where they live and work, touching the lives of others in an important, impactful way.

As part of Wipfli’s service-oriented culture, we encourage our associates to pursue their own passions and provide them with the flexibility to take an active role in their communities. Many of them are proud members of nonprofit boards, regularly volunteer at organizations and donate to those in need. Together, #WipfliGivesBack all year long to deepen our roots in and uplift all our communities.

Giving back

5,760

Hours volunteered

24

Communities benefited

82

Organizations benefited

48,500

Total hours volunteered since starting Community Day in 2005

Supporting our associates

This year, we supported the launch of business resource groups that provide a space for associates to come together and address key elements of their associate experience through a specific cultural lens.

Women of Wipfli seeks to cultivate an environment where women have an equitable opportunity to achieve their goals and find their version of success.

Wipfli Pride is comprised of LGBTQ+ associates and allies who are dedicated to supporting an inclusive community at Wipfli and beyond.

“We are relentlessly ensuring that people see others like themselves at Wipfli and, also, that they know they have allies who wish to support them. The future of our firm depends on building a more diverse workforce where our work culture and our clients benefit from the diversity of ideas our associates bring.”

— Kurt Gresens, Managing Partner

Supporting our industry

We are proud to support diversity in accounting and consulting services by supporting a wide range of conferences and scholarships, including:

AICPA Women's Global Leadership Summit to support and encourage women in accounting and finance
Microsoft Inspire: IAMCP Women in Tech Luncheon to promote inclusion of women in tech
Elizabeth Peters Scholarship to honor our first female partner
Mary T. Washington Wylie Opportunity Fund to provide diverse college students in the accounting profession with access to training, resources and mentors
$40,000 from the Wipfli Foundation to support college and university DEI programs

Supporting our clients

Wipfli is proud to recognize achievement in the nonprofit space with the Evelyn Wright Moore Award. Evelyn was President and CEO of Brazoria County Head Start Early Learning School, Inc. in Angleton, Texas, and attended every Wipfli National Conference. She was a champion of innovation who exemplified lifelong learning and always empowered her organization to better serve the community. Wipfli continues Evelyn’s legacy by recognizing other impactful nonprofit leaders with a donation to the organization.

In 2019, the honor was given to Belva Dorsey, CEO of Enrichment Services Program (ESP), a community action agency based in Columbus, Georgia. ESP received a $2,000 donation to honor Evelyn’s memory and carry on her spirit of innovation.

“Over the past year, we have moved from creating readiness to activating solutions and new approaches, including a focused approach to inclusive recruiting, launching our first two BRGs and providing robust unconscious bias education for over 1,400 associates.”

— Maureen Pistone, Principal & Chief HR Officer

Wipfli Foundation

With education being such an important pillar of our communities, the Wipfli Foundation charity and donation-matching program supports the universities and colleges our associates attended — representing our commitment to lifelong learning.

$187,000

Awarded to 34 universities and four state CPA societies

$32,700

Awarded to students for leadership conferences

$40,000

Supported initiatives on campuses focused on DEI

How we live and work the Wipfli Way

No matter where we sit or what our specialties are, we have a common bond: living and working the Wipfli Way.
“It’s important to focus on all five values — integrity, caring, excellence, teamwork and perseverance — in equal amounts, with integrity as its central pillar. These values work together to create a safe environment for associates to voice opinions and give feedback as well as impacting how we serve clients.”
Sumanth Padival
India Operations Director
Bengaluru, India
“Approaching clients with curiosity is about showing genuine interest in them ... asking questions to learn and understand their current organizational challenges, but also what’s happening in their life. The combination of caring, integrity and excellence keeps our clients engaged and coming back to work with us.”
Angela Robinson
Audit & Accounting Senior Manager
Oakland, CA
“At Wipfli, we strive to develop life-long relationships with clients. Whether I’m meeting a new client or talking with an established client, I uncover how Wipfli can serve them by being curious and asking questions. Then, as a team, we find ways to leverage tech solutions that enhance their business.”
Madeline Watchmaker
Technology Consultant
Chicago, IL

The Wipfli Way

We have a new look, but the same core values have been the foundation of our success for almost 90 years.

IntegrityIntegrity

Integrity
To do the right thing every time.

CaringCaring

Caring
To always interact toward others with empathy and compassion.

ExcellenceExcellence

Excellence
To consistently be the best in all we do.

TeamworkTeamwork

Teamwork
To act as one through collaboration, cooperation and communication.

IntegrityIntegrity

Perseverance
To tenaciously execute our objective.

 

Thank YouThank You

The innovation and inspiration of our clients and associates drive us to continue to seize opportunities and deliver success.

See also:  Wipfli Annual Report 2018-2019