Filing taxes was once a much more simple process for both individuals and businesses alike than it is today. The amount of information required and available has increased greatly in the past several decades.
Since 1972, HBL CPAs, P.C. has continued to provide tax, accounting, auditing and consulting services in an ever-changing industry.
Though the name has changed over the years, many of the CPAs and non partner employees have been working at the firm for years, even decades.
“If you add up the number of years of experience in the partner group in our firm,” said John P. Lauer, CPA, the managing shareholder at HBL, “we probably have at least a couple hundred years of experience.”
While it may be a slight hyperbole, HBL is staffed by a large team of over 20 CPAs, all of whom bring years and years of personal and team experience. Lauer said when he joined the company in 1987, there were 17 total employees. The firm now employs 47.
HBL is able to offer every service expected of a tax firm, but the company also handles numerous accounting, businesses management and consulting services for its clients. Services include tax compliance and planning, audits of financial statements, accounting, bookkeeping and controllership.
Not solely interested in traditional offerings, HBL also offers a wide range of services which may come as a surprise, including business valuations, franchise consultations and multistate taxation services.
The hard work being done over the years at HBL as earned the firm significant distinction from within the industry. The firm is affiliated with CPAmerica, one of the most significant collections of independent CPA firms in the country. Lauer said the firm’s membership in CPAmerica allows HBL to stay current, up-to-date and on the leading edge of new practices.
“We share expertise,” he said. “We do a lot of technical training together, we share best practices and how firms are operating, how recruiting is done and how to bring in revenues.”
Not just limited to the United States, CPAmerica is itself a member of Crowe Horwath International, a global accounting network consisting of firms from over 120 countries. If a client wants to do business in almost any part of the world and needs assistance form an accounting firm in those countries, it’s only a phone call away.
That international network is just one of the many reasons why HBL has continued to grow and thrive.
“People all day long can talk about what great service they provide,” said Lauer, “but if you’re not providing a great service, clients don’t come back. Our clients have been coming back year after year.
“So we must be doing something right.”
One of the changes the firm made in more recent years was the decision to move into a paperless work environment, which began in 2007.
Whenever a client brings in documents, the first step HBL takes is to scan the pages and work from a digital format from that point on.
For those who feel at risk with their personal or business tax information on a computer, HBL takes every step necessary to safeguard personal information; including client portals for larger files and use of secure and encrypted emails.
Lauer admitted it was difficult at first to transition out of a paper environment. From digitizing thousands of pages to breaking old habits, there was definitely a learning curve at first.
Despite early trials, Lauer said the switch to paperless has paid huge dividends for both the company and its clients.
Even with the decades of experience, Lauer said the world of taxes can appear quite “unwieldy,” which makes the work HBL does even more important to business owners and private individuals.
“I’ve been practicing for more than 30 years,” Lauer said, “and the complexity in the law has just become so much more complex. There’s hardly any individual area of the tax law that doesn’t have an exception to it.”
While a significant amount of the auditing work done in Southern Arizona may lay in nonprofit organizations, according to Lauer, there is still a need throughout the business community to have the financial house in order.
As Southern Arizona follows along into the modern era, HBL CPAs, P.C. is primed to remain on the leading edge of the tax industry, large and small.