All Posts By

Eric VanDop

How can you take customer service to the next level?

Just about every business intends to provide world-class customer service. And though many claim their customer service is exceptional, very few can back up that assertion. After all, once a company has established a baseline level of success in interacting with customers, it’s not easy to get to that next level of truly great service. But, fear not, there are ways to elevate your game and, ultimately, strengthen your bottom line in the process.

Start at the top

As is the case for many things in business, success starts at the top. Encourage your fellow owners (if any) and management team to regularly serve customers. Doing so cements customer relationships and communicates to employees that serving others is important and rewarding. Your involvement shows that customer service is the source of your company’s ultimate triumph.

Moving down the organizational chart, cultivate customer-service heroes. Publish articles about your customer service achievements in your company’s newsletter or post them on your website. Champion these heroes in meetings. Public praise turns ordinary employees into stars and encourages future service excellence.

Just make sure to empower all employees to make customer-service decisions. Don’t talk of catering to customers unless your staff can really take the initiative to meet your customers’ needs.

Create a system

Like everyone in today’s data-driven world, customers want information. So strive to provide immediate feedback to customers with a highly visible response system. This will let customers know that their input matters and you’ll reward them for speaking up.

The size and shape of this system will depend on the size, shape and specialty of the company itself. But it should likely encompass the right combination of instant, electronic responses to customer inquires along with phone calls and, where appropriate, face-to-face interactions that reinforce how much you value their business.

Give them a thrill

Consistently great customer service can be an elusive goal. You may succeed for months at a time only to suffer setbacks. Don’t get discouraged. Our firm can help you build a profitable company that excels at thrilling your customers.

© 2017

Strategic Planning for Not for Profits

Author Ken Tysiac, in a recent article published in the Journal of Accountancy, cites seven strategic planning tips for not for profits articulated by Bob Mims, CPA, CGMA, controller and director of investments at Ducks Unlimited and Mary Legakis Engle of The Management Group. The seven tips are:

  1. Pick a strategic-planning team.
    The team should represent the whole entity.
  2. Choose a team leader.
    This person should be able to bring the group together, and everyone should be comfortable sharing with this person.
  3. Build consensus on the team.
    Everyone’s thoughts must receive careful consideration with the goal to develop fundamental objectives.
  4. Keep objectives simple.
    They should be understandable and achievable.
  5. Move toward a business plan.
    Develop metrics for reaching successful objectives.  
  6. Implement the plan.
    Everyone must be responsible for their roles. Communication is very important.
  7. Establish accountability.
    Cooperation is necessary between different departments.

At Brickley DeLong, we work with a variety of non-profits. These seven tips, while simple, can be difficult to achieve, but are very important to the success of the non-profits goals and objectives.

At our Firm, we have internal committees, and I believe that these seven tips extend beyond non-profits. Following these seven steps help us achieve success in our different areas of the business as well.

To read the original article, click here.For more information on strategic planning for not-for-profits, please contact Eric Van Dop at (231) 726-5855 or

Learn more about our non-profit services.

GASB 77 Will Require New Tax Incentive Disclosures By Municipalities

A recent article published in the Journal of Accountancy, discusses GASB 77 and its new disclosures. The article discusses how many state and local government will give businesses tax breaks to ensure that the businesses locate in their territory, which in turn helps stimulates economic growth.

GASB 77 requires new government disclosures about such agreements with entities and individuals such as:

  • The purchase of the tax abatement program,
  • The tax being abated,
  • The dollar amount of taxes abated,
  • Provisions for recapturing abated taxes,
  • The types of commitments made by tax abatement recipients,  and
  • Other commitments made by a government in tax abatement agreements, such as to build infrastructure assets.

The new standards will take affect for financial statements for periods beginning after December 15, 2015.

To read the full referenced article, click here.  For more information on GASB 77, please contact Eric VanDop at (231) 726-5855.

Learn about our audit, review and compilation services or learn about our municipalities services.

GASB Preliminary Views on Leases and Fiduciary Responsibility

In November 2014, GASB released preliminary views for public comment for changes for state and local governments in financial reporting of leases and activities with fiduciary responsibilities.

For leases longer than 12 months, GASB proposes changes for governments as lessee or as lessor.

For governments acting as fiduciary, GASB seeks to enhance consistency and comparability of financial reporting.

For more information, please read the attached article, or contact Eric Van Dop at (231) 726-5855 or

What are elements of an effective audit committee?

A panel at the 2014 World Congress of Accountants explored the qualities of an effective audit committee. Interestingly, their recommendations included:

  1. Diverse mix of skills and expertise including a greater knowledge of technology;
  2. Access to external experts when necessary;
  3. An eye to future risks;
  4. Communication skills to engage other committee members, management, external auditors, and internal auditors;
  5. A robust definition of independence.

For more information on effective audit committees, please see the referenced article from the Journal of Accountancy, or contact Eric Van Dop at (231) 726-5855, or

GASB Pension Changes are Here!

Organizations using financial statements consistent with GASB standards will need to address the new financial reporting standards for defined benefit pension plans. These requirements apply to both organizations that sponsor their own pension plans and those that participate in such plans.

GASB Statement No. 68 requires reporting of the total pension liability as well as the fair value of plan assets available to pay plan benefits.

For more information on the new defined benefit pension plan financial reporting requirements, please visit this article from the Journal of Accountancy, or contact Eric Van Dop at (231) 726-5855 or

What are the Seven Audit Risk Areas for 2014?

The Center for Audit Quality of the American Institute of CPA’s recently released an alert that contained seven key areas for audit consideration. These are important topics that are being focused on by various regulatory agencies such as Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).

The seven areas are:

  1. Revenue recognition
  2. Going concern
  3. Internal control over financial reporting
  4. Accounting estimates
  5. Engagement quality review
  6. Professional skepticism
  7. Related parties and unusual transactions.

For more information on please read the full article, or contact Eric Van Dop at (231) 726-5855 or