Individual Leadership

Dare to care

Written by Faith Bartell

5 Min Read

At Siegfried, we care deeply about people. In fact, our higher purpose is to help people transform themselves into better leaders to exponentially improve their lives, which, in turn, positively impacts the lives of those around them as well. This approach embodies the power of relationships, and our Firm serves as proof of how simply caring about people drives incredible success for all parties involved.

Jake Kelley, Manager in Denver, came to Siegfried with the of-service mindset that brings our higher purpose to life. Throughout his career, Jake has embraced a people-focused approach, understanding the value of forming genuine relationships in the pursuit of shared success.

“I don’t just go to my clients and connections when I need something from them,” explained Jake. “I try to develop an understanding of their personal lives and what they care about. It’s about getting to know people, having empathy for certain situations, being patient, and working alongside them to reach the best conclusion.”

Siegfried’s culture offered Jake the perfect platform to continue caring for his network. And since joining the Firm, he has found unique ways to be of service to his connections while also sparking new relationships through his client work.

A thoughtful approach

During Jake’s time in public accounting, he learned that genuinely caring about people could be the difference-maker. For more than five years, Jake worked to build trust with a fast-growth client by developing close personal relationships and committing deeply to the company’s goals. He made sure to form authentic connections and deeply integrate himself into their environment, rather than just doing his audit work and going to them when he needed help.

“There were a lot of growing pains at the client, and as the auditor, it’s pretty easy to be in an uncomfortable spot,” shared Jake. “But I think, for me, the most effective approach was taking the time to invest in those relationships. I truly got to know them and showed that I had their best interests at heart. So, when I came to Siegfried, those relationships stayed afloat.”

Soon after starting with Siegfried, Jake reached out to the client’s Controller to grab coffee, and they picked up right where they left off. She confided in him about some issues that the company was having – they were looking for help with integrating their changing systems, automation, process improvements, IPO readiness, controls, and more. Jake knew Siegfried could be of service.

“She was interested in finding some top-tier accounting and auditing professionals who could come in, understand the audit side, and pave the path to going public,” explained Jake. “Siegfried’s unique business model really caught her attention. You get to interview our people and find the perfect match. It’s very personal to have that choice, and I explained that we could find someone who really fit her needs.”

The client was intrigued by the care that Siegfried, and Jake, demonstrated for her situation. Within a few months, a Siegfried professional was helping the client with their process improvement and integration initiatives. 

“They’ve done so much for me over the years, and I just wanted to serve them as best I could,” reflected Jake.

Growth that catches on

While continuing his journey at the Firm, Jake became even more committed to our higher purpose of transformation and relationship-based culture. So, when a close personal contact came to him asking about Siegfried’s services, Jake once again saw the value that Siegfried could provide – not just in his own life, but in the lives of those he cares about as well.

“If you love the company that you work for and you love what you do, you’re more likely to talk about it,” said Jake. “I had talked to my friends and family about how I love Siegfried’s unique business model, the caliber of professionals here, and the focus on leadership advisory and improving your life. As a result, when a close connection in my life, the Director of Global Tax at her job, needed help as her company went through a divestiture, she came to me.”

About a month later, a Siegfried Advisory professional was engaged at this client, helping with their taxes and serving their unique and critical priorities. “The business model that Siegfried has is really, really amazing, and it’s something that I love to share. It’s a big reason why I’m at the Firm, and after being here for over a year, I still see it. The investment in leadership advisory and all of the non-technical facets of work is huge, and it’s infectious, in a good way, at clients.”

Making a meaningful investment

Jake has also made his mark at a current Siegfried client, developing a deep understanding of and interest in the company and their people to add lasting value. He went in for a process enhancement and documentation role, but immediately identified areas outside of his original scope where he could lend a helping hand.

Through leadership advisory, Jake quickly discerned the client’s needs, the problems and risks associated with their current processes, and the pros, cons, and time commitment of potential solutions. This allowed him to identify the best path forward and add meaningful value wherever he saw gaps, even beyond the areas he was directly responsible for.

“My first day, I travelled out to the client, and I quickly got to know the Controller very well – what she’s like outside of work, what’s important to her, how she operates as a manager, etc. I developed a personal relationship with her, which helped me build essential trust. I also didn’t know anything about the industry or what they did, so at first, I just asked a lot of questions and tried to learn as much as possible. But then, I started offering up my ideas.”

Shortly after, Jake became a pinch hitter at the client. Over the course of a year, he worked across their tax, accounting, marketing, and sales departments and with many different stakeholders, including the state, suppliers, and customers, making long-term enhancements and creating mutually beneficial success every step of the way.

“It’s a super unique opportunity,” said Jake. “They’re very happy with my work, and I’m very happy with everything I’ve accomplished. I feel fulfilled, valued, and like a member of the team. Truly understanding and caring about the company – their business and their people – that’s what’s made us both successful.”

At Siegfried, we understand the time, hard work, and intention that your most meaningful, of-service connections require. We believe that these efforts are worthwhile to harness the power of mutually beneficial relationships, and that’s why we offer incentive plans to reward our professionals for their work in these areas. While it wasn’t Jake’s priority, the incentives that he’s earned throughout his journey at the Firm further showcase the exponential success that is possible through a relationship-based, of-service approach. Read more about Siegfried’s total compensation philosophy.

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