HOUGHTON - Bruce A. Rukkila, CPA, PC of Houghton has seen positive change in recent months.
On top of welcoming a new owner, the longtime accounting firm changed its name to Rukkila, Negro & Associates, Certified Public Accountants, PC.
"Peter Negro brings a lot to the table and has allowed for the beginning of what a small business hopes for - an eventual successful transition to new ownership," Bruce Rukkila said. "With Peter's extensive tax, accounting and management experience, we will be able to increase our core services as well as value-added services."
Photo courtesy Rukkila, Negro & Associates
Rukkila, Negro & Associates’ staff in front, left to right: Denise Lehtola, Kelly Destrampe, Christina Smigowski, CPA; Mary Rowe, CPA; Katelyn Argall, and Renee Tuoriniemi. In back, left to right: Ryan Markham, Bruce Rukkila, CPA; Patti Kearly, CPA; Jean Middleton, CPA; Pete Negro, CPA; and Debbie Bradford.
Rukkila said Negro rejoined the firm in 2009 after spending 16 years as vice president and chief financial officer of Pettibone/Traverse Lift, LLC in Baraga. In 2011, Negro purchased ownership interest, making him co-owner with Rukkila.
"The reason we added 'Associates' to the firm name is to change the perception in the community that we have only a few employees," Rukkila explained. "We currently employ six CPAs, four non-CPA degreed accountants and two administrative staff."
Despite the firm's growth over the last five years, Rukkila said they have not increased staffing.
"We attribute this to the experience level of our staff, investment in technology and our commitment and desire toward continued growth," he said. "We are a business where each and every staff member continually comes forth with ideas on how we can do things more efficiently and cost effectively for the firm and for our clients."
Technology upgrades, such as dual-screen monitors, paperless data entry and storage, and remote access availability have contributed to more timely and cost-effective services, Rukkila added.
"Our emphasis, now and in the future, is to maintain the highest level of our core services - tax, auditing, accounting, and payroll - while continuing to improve our value-added services like small business consulting, succession planning, business valuation and human resource consulting," he said.
While most of the firm's services are performed for clients within a 50-mile radius of the Keweenaw, Rukkila said they also service long-term clients throughout the Upper Peninsula and other parts of the country through remote access technology.
"We have the ability to serve clients anywhere in the country if need be," he said.
Rukkila, Negro & Associates continually strives to improve services and one example is the expansion of payroll services.
"We expect to see a lot of growth in payroll as small businesses try to cut back their expenses," said Kelly Destrampe, Manager of Payroll Services. "Outsourcing payroll to a professional service is cost effective and time saving. We have the capability of tailoring a payroll plan for businesses, small and large."
Maintaining face-to-face contact with clients is important to the staff at Rukkila, Negro & Associates, which is why they have hosted free monthly forums for the past year. Forum topics range from "Payroll 101" to "Understanding Financial Statements."
"The forums are a great way to keep in contact with the community and inform clients and businesses of our services offered," Rukkila said, adding they will continue the monthly forums in the coming year. "We look for feedback on our forums and services to keep us in touch with what our clients and the business community are looking for."
The next forum, Travel and Entertainment Deductions, is set for Friday, Oct. 14 at the Lakeshore Center in Houghton.
While Rukkila has 25 years invested in the business, he doesn't plan on retiring anytime soon.
Rukkila said his experience has made it clear that people need to plan for their business' future.
"Transitioning your business after many years is a very exciting time and presents many challenges that a small business owner didn't need to consider 10 or 15 years ago," he said. "I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of the businesses and individuals we have provided services to over the last quarter century for allowing us to do work for them."
Rukkila, Negro & Associates will be holding a "Business After Hours" event in conjunction with the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce from 5 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 2 at their Houghton office, located at 310 Shelden Ave.
Business owners and community members are welcome to learn more about the services they provide.
Editor's note: This feature is part of a paid advertising package purchased by Rukkila, Negro & Associates, Certified Public Accountants, PC of Houghton. Businesses interested in being featured on the Business page may call Yvonne Robillard at 483-2220.