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What's Behind Exceptional Customer Service?

ECS Article - Mission-Critical Services... What's Behind Exceptional Customer Service

As we get closer to the end of the year, many of you will be calling your ECS contact to discuss various tax planning issues, and in early 2015 you will either come in to have your tax return prepared or mail in your tax documents for our use in preparing your returns. How much do you know about our partners at ECS and what we do to make sure you are provided the best and most comprehensive accounting services? Read on…

Samuel Oliva, CPA, CMA, CLP Having been hired as the firm’s first full-time CPA in 1978, Sam was made partner in 1980 and managing partner in 1982. Sam graduated from Western Illinois University in 1977 and furthered his education by obtaining an MBA from University of Chicago in 1989. His areas of expertise include leasing company management; merger and acquisition consulting; real estate brokerage, finance and management; estate administration; litigation support; personal and corporate tax planning; financing acquisition and negotiations; investment advice and systems consulting; and strategic business planning. Sam’s credentials include being a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, Certified Lease Professional and a Licensed Business Broker.

Jay Dahl, CPA, CLP After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Bradley University in 1979, Jay joined ECS in 1984 and was made our tax partner in 1990. He serves his clients in the areas of litigation support; individual and corporate tax planning, research and tax return preparation; estate and trust planning and return preparation; profit-sharing and retirement plan consulting and design; strategic business planning; financial statement compilation; management consulting and leasing company management. Jay’s client base includes closely-held businesses, trust and estates, leasing companies and many individuals.

Nancy Geary, CPA, CLP Nancy received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois in 1982 and joined ECS in 1984, making partner in 1990. While her primary focus is on our lease clientele, overseeing our accounting and portfolio management services for equipment leasing companies, she also provides services such as management consulting; recruiting; financial statement compilations, reviews and audits; business and personal tax preparation; financial projections; and personal and corporate tax planning. Nancy is also very involved in the leasing industry, having served extensively on both the National Equipment Finance Association and Certified Lease Professional Foundation boards of directors, leading classes on lease accounting and related topics, authoring various articles for industry-related publications, and attending conferences for these associations, as well as the Equipment Leasing and Financing Association.

In addition to our partners, ECS has five full-time and two part-time licensed certified public accountants on staff. CPA’s earn their designation by obtaining their bachelor’s degree in accounting and then passing a four-part rigorous test. Education doesn’t stop at that point however, because continuing professional education (CPE) is required for all CPA’s to maintain professional competence and provide quality services. The AICPA requires 120 hours of approved instruction over a 3-year period and ECS accountants typically exceed this requirement through their attendance at annual tax update classes, seminars teaching the latest developments in the accounting and auditing fields, and computer training classes in order to stay current on our industry’s technology and tools.

To keep up with the ever increasing lease clientele of our firm, we’d like to congratulate 3 newly designated certified lease professionals. As with the CPA certification, the CLP exam tests a wide variety of lease related topics including the history of leasing, the legalities of a lease contract and the accounting for lease transactions. Congrats to Tobey Wilson, Sinead Murphy and Anne Dalgaard!

As a firm, we also want to make sure we are staying current with our procedures. That is why we have external inspections known as Peer Review/Annual Inspection and the SSAE audit. Peer Review/Annual Inspection is a practice overseen by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Conducted by a reviewer approved by the AICPA, a peer review or annual inspection monitors a CPA firm’s accounting and auditing practice to promote quality in the services provided. A full peer review is conducted every third year (2013 for ECS), with an annual inspection taking place each alternate year. While the annual inspection may be conducted internally, ECS elects to undergo an independent annual inspection to assure the highest quality standards are being consistently applied throughout the firm’s engagements. ECS passed its 2013 peer review with flying colors!

An SSAE 16 audit is performed on the internal controls of a service organization. For ECS Financial Services, an SSAE 16 audit is the most effective way to communicate information about our controls and monitor quality for our non-attest services, which mainly cover our lease servicing activities, including portfolio management and personal property tax and sales tax compliance. The SSAE 16 results indicate that ECS has systems and controls in place to secure information to prevent and detect unauthorized access attempts and attacks. These systems and controls also provide reasonable assurance that our processes are conducted by authorized personnel in a timely, accurate, and complete manner. The Type II report ECS receives provides detailed information regarding our internal controls and the effectiveness of those controls. Please let us know if you would like to receive a copy of our SSAE 16 report.

ECS strives to provide our clients with exceptional customer service. These qualifications and procedures assist in keeping us up to date with the latest rules and regulations, and hopefully provide you assurance that you have selected the right CPA firm. If you have any questions regarding the CPA, CLP, Peer Review or SSAE 16 audit process please feel free to contact us.

2014 Tax Due Dates:

October 15th –

Extended Individual income tax returns due

October 31st –

3rd quarter 2014 employer payroll tax returns due

November 30th –

Monthly Illinois wage report for October due (employers with 25 or more employees)


This email disclaimer is subject to IRS Circular 230 as mandated by federal law. Unless expressly stated otherwise above, nothing contained in, forwarded with, or attached to this email was intended or written by ECS Financial Services, Inc. to be used, and cannot be used, by any person for the purpose of (1) avoiding any penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code, or (2) promoting, marketing or recommending any federal tax transaction or matter addressed herein.


Stay up to date on financial news.


Nancy Geary

(847) 897-1715


Sam Oliva

(847) 897-1757

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