Educating customers for tax season
By Eric Mathes
Eric Mathes photo
The dedicated staff at Ronald J. Langenfeld, CPA, S. C. in Kiel works year round to educate and prepare clients for tax season as well as other financial services. The staff consists of (front, from left) Donna Langenfeld, Jean Binversie, and Jo Ellen Gramling; and (back) Ron Langenfeld, CPA, Robert Pautz, Tony Langenfeld, and Jeremy Fromm, CPA.

Nearly 40 years have gone by and Ronald J. Langenfeld, CPA, S. C. continues to grow by keeping its focus on customer service.

In 1977, when there were far more dairy farms and retail clients in the Kiel area, Ron Langenfeld started a business as a certified public accountant with no clients and zero employees.

Multiple copies of tax forms were made with the help of simple carbon paper and tax planning was more predictable with fewer annual changes in tax laws.

As the years passed, though, copy machines made the office work busier and tax law changes became more frequent. The need to keep up with a growing clientele eventually brought a need to grow the company with more employees.

Today, the company operates with seven employees on Fremont Street and continues to serve customers in Kiel and the surrounding area.

Educating customers is priority

One aspect that allowed Langenfeld’s business to grow has been the company’s eagerness to educate customers as much as possible.

“Tax laws change with much frequency,” Langenfeld said. “Our biggest challenge is to keep people and businesses up to date with the rules and regulations on a yearly basis.”

Langenfeld publishes an annual newsletter in December, before the tax season kicks off. Its purpose is to educate customers on certain requirements and changes to assist them in their preparation.

“Our business wants to do more than just provide a service three months of the year,” Langenfeld said. “We want to become a trusted resource for our customers year-round.”

As tax laws become more complex, Langenfeld tries to stay ahead of the problems clients may run into by providing more resources before tax season.

“We try to stay ahead problems by providing a checklist for our customers to go through before they come in,” Langenfeld said. “This way we get a head start on organization and we can help guide them through the process without any complications.”

Langenfeld’s goal is to help customers start with a more organized outlook to carry them into the tax filing process.

As the tax season growing shorter with new regulations, Langenfeld’s team now assumes the same amount of work with less time.

“Our challenges lie in keeping everyone in line with the requirements,” Langenfeld said. “Especially for businesses, changes in government policy cause more and more compliance and reporting requirements. It’s our biggest goal to keep our clients up to date with these changes. After mistakes are made, there’s nothing we can do.”-

Fromm joins the Langenfeld team

After building a business in the Kiel area for almost four decades, in 2013 Langenfeld hired Jeremy Fromm, CPA to join his business.

Fromm previously worked for CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP in Sheboygan, and has 11 years of experience in public accounting, specializing in tax planning and compliance for individuals, small to medium sized businesses, non-profit organizations, and trusts.

He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Lakeland College and is a graduate of Kiel High School.

In addition to working for Langenfeld, Fromm is an adjunct instructor at Lakeland College, is currently on the Kiel City Council representing the city’s first ward, and is a member of LTC’s Accounting Advisory Board.

Langenfeld will be able to grow as even more of a resource to clients in different areas thanks to Fromm’s expertise in tax and tax issues.

“What Jeremy brings is a broader scope of things that our business can offer our clients,” Langenfeld said.

Fromm has become more involved on the front end of the process and values that every customer is unique.

“The new surroundings have led me to appreciate the broader spectrum of accounting,” Fromm said. “Every client is unique and I’m confident in the different ways I can assist people.”

The supportive and resourceful team that Langenfeld has build has also been helpful during Fromm’s transition.

He said, “I recognize the staff that Ron has is a huge asset and it’s very valuable in transitioning into this business.”

Focused on customer service

Langenfeld is confident that, with the addition of Fromm, his company will only build on the focus of customer service.

“With Jeremy, we can offer more solutions to every situation,” Langenfeld said. “We continue to grow every day by becoming better resources for our clients.”

At the core, Langenfeld knows that his company has been success because of his ability to connect with his customers.

“We created a good foundation by trying to contact personally with each client as they come in,” Langenfeld said. “We help a lot of clients and believe that good word of mouth is the best way for us to advertise.”

Fromm will continue to build on that philosophy by upholding the integrity of customer service that Langenfeld began. Fromm said, “You can only set yourself apart so much in tax preparation. The uniqueness is in how you handle your clients. That’s what sets you apart. Hard work and responsiveness are paramount in this business. Caring for clients and being a problem solver, not just a tax preparer. If you can solve a problem, no matter what that problem is, your clients will return because you have become reliable resources. That is our most valuable asset.”

Langenfeld understands the value in honest work and is quick to point out the bottom line. He said, “At the end of the day, if you take care of your clients, your clients will take care of you.”

Ronald J. Langenfeld, CPA, S. C. is a public accounting firm offering tax preparation and planning, accounting, payroll, and business consulting services. It is located at 632 Fremont St. in Kiel, and can be reached by phone at 894-2143 or by e-mail at langenfeld@rlangenfeldcpa.com.