Brian Elsasser & Ken Wagner started off as friends but strangely enough, they have no idea how or where they met. “It must have been accounting fate." They looked at each other and chuckled, like two junior high basketball players dreaming about their pro basketball careers, “We always thought that it would be really cool to work together.” That passion led to late night conversations at Perkins during tax season (after their day job) eating pancakes and dreaming about what an accounting partnership would look like. And so it happened Wagner, Dreese, Elsasser formed in July 2012, comprising of a ridiculously local “Dream Team” with over a century’s worth of combined client interaction and accounting experience. The “lineup” included Kenneth Wagner, Jr., CPA (Formerly a partner with Schaeffer, Eichner, Wagner), Ronald Dreese, CPA/PFS, IAACP (Former owner of Ronald P. Dreese & Associates) and Brian Elsasser, CPA, CVA (Former owner of Brian L. Elsasser, CPA).
Ron, Ken, and Brian have each had multiple offers from larger public firms, established private businesses, and prestigious organizations located in large cities far from home. But rather than carry their talent to the ends of the earth, the “Susquehanna Valley Boys” have stayed right at home and have no intention of that ever changing. “Our goal” Brian mentioned, “is to make a difference for the future & establish a legacy for the firm right here at home. We love this valley and we love the people. We are incredibly blessed to call central PA our home.”
Although, one of the largest accounting firms in the Susquehanna Valley, WDEA is much more dedicated to the quality of their growth rather than the quantity. Focused on creating a storehouse of local talent, the partners of WDEA have been working on extending their reach, expanding the firm and developing a family of experts in their fields. With 9 CPAs now on staff (and 20 employees strong), "we are able to provide clients effective solutions to their complicated circumstances,” Ron states. “Centuries worth of varied accounting experience allows us to do that.”
Photo: 8 of our 9 CPAs on staff in front of the Lewisburg office location. From left: Michael Fuller, CPA, Richard Barlett, Jr., CPA, Ronald Dreese, CPA/PFS, IAACP, Neal Lewis, CPA, Gwen Reichenbach, CPA, Douglas Winner CPA, Kenneth Wagner, CPA and Brian Elsasser, CPA. Not pictured, George Geib, CPA.
Speaking of growth, the firm recently acquired the tax and accounting firms of Lewis Barlett Klees (of Lewisburg, Milton, and Bloomsburg) and George Geib, CPA of Milton. “We are thrilled to join together and work as one team, learning and developing from each other,” Ken stated. “We honestly believe that we now have the most talented staff in the valley. This not only profits us internally, our clients are the ones who reap the benefits.”
Growth, years of experience and local roots are three of the firm’s guiding principles, but what really sets the firm apart is their dedication to relationships. At the end of the day, Ken states, “we want to feel like we have made a difference in someone’s life, both personal and business. We want to ensure that our clients are at ease regarding their business decisions by helping them develop a strategy to solve a problem or helping them understand something that may seem insurmountable.”
Why Customers Stay
WDEA is responsible for managing financials for many of the valley’s successful businesses. “But don’t take our word from it,” Ron states, “Some of our clients have been with us (in some form) for 30+ years. “Word of mouth is responsible for the majority of our client relationships. They stay because of the personalized service.”
Terry Trutt, owner of Shade Mountain Pharmacy, will be the first one to tell you that the personal relationship he has developed with Ron, Brian, and Ken has helped his business succeed. “They have really been there from the beginning,” he said, "Setting up the appropriate business structure and assisting me with more of the technical tax complexities.” WDEA, Terry mentions, “Continues to put me at ease regarding the future of my business.”
WDEA is currently in the process of developing a revamped website later this month (wdeapc.com). In the meantime, find us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus. It may seem odd that an accounting firm is interested in social networking and media. “Our goal” Brian stated, “Is to create multiple touch-points where our clients can interact with us. Whether that is through a website form, through a fun fact about on Facebook, or a quick “Happy Birthday” text message, we want our clients to feel like they matter. Because without our clients, WDEA wouldn’t exist.”
Give us a Ring!
A one-stop-shop for all of your tax, accounting and consulting needs, WDEA offers a diverse array of services for individuals, retirement-minded, start-ups, small and seasoned businesses, professionals and non-profits. With over two centuries of combined tax, accounting and consulting work under their belt, WDEA is the perfect fit for your current financial situation. “Give us ring!” Brian stated, “And let our service speak for itself.” You can reach WDEA at one of their 6 office locations spread throughout the Susquehanna Valley: Selinsgrove (570) 743-2030, Lewisburg (570) 542-0488, Milton, Bloomsburg, Middleburg and Benton.
Are you interested in joining the WDEA team? “We are always looking to acquire professional and competent staff, create competitive and rewarding jobs in the valley, and define a new way of thinking about accounting…a more personal one.” Contact us today!For this article and more Click here to download a pdf of the latest issue.