Small Agency Finds Big Value With Barnes Dennig
Healthy Moms & Babes is, in the words of president and CEO Kay Brogle, “a relational agency.” Staff members at the local not-for-profit get to know intimate details of mothers’ lives and often must have difficult conversations with them.
“At times like that, it helps to have a little bit of a relationship there, a trust,” Brogle said.
So when she and business manager Betty Kliemann had to find a new accounting firm, they were drawn to Barnes Dennig in large part because they sensed the same passion for building relationships, not simply billing hours.
In the two years since hiring Barnes Dennig, Healthy Moms & Babes’ audit and accounting needs have grown. They have found considerable value in having advisors who know their mission, their organization and their people.
“I know Barnes Dennig is big and they’re well-known and they’re pretty influential, but they’re willing to work with small and medium non-profits,” Brogle said, “and I feel like we’re just as important as a big contract they might have, with 500 employees and a $10 million budget.”
Needless to say, Healthy Moms & Babes does not have that much money to spend. Brogle joked that she “would chase a penny all over, and Betty will chase a nickel all over.”
The organization has 18 employees and a modest budget. It has served at-risk women and children in Greater Cincinnati for the past 25 years, but for most of that time it operated under the umbrella of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. In July 2009, Healthy Moms & Babes became a separate entity, which meant greater filing requirements but the same financial constraints.
“It was a major learning experience,” Brogle said. “It’s like we’re growing together, and it’s nice to have an auditing firm that is willing to have that type of relationship. There is a very strong mutual respect there.”
Robert Ramsay agreed. As a manager on Barnes Dennig’s Not-For-Profit Client Service Team, he works closely with Brogle and Kliemann.
“There’s a real feel-good aspect to it,” Ramsay said. “They do great work, they help people who need it, and they are responsible with their donors’ dollars. We think it’s a neat place to work. We like being a part of what they do.”
Kliemann said she appreciates the open lines of communication with the Barnes Dennig professionals who work on her account – director Rob Ford, Ramsay, senior accountant Denise Sowers and tax specialist Paula Hume.
Healthy Moms & Babes previously worked with a small accounting firm, but Kliemann and Brogle did not feel they got the type of guidance that would be necessary as the organization grew. When they chose to switch auditors, they interviewed three and quickly settled on Barnes Dennig.
Once the organization was recognized as an independent entity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and had to file additional paperwork, Kliemann and Brogle immediately asked Barnes Dennig to handle that work, as well.
“It’s one of those relationships where you want to give them all the business you can,” Kliemann said. “It has been such a great experience. I’ve never gone to them with a question that they didn’t get back to me right away with a good answer or a resource.”