WKMR History - Part Two
1980 - 1992
Throughout the early 80s when the stagnant economy had seen better days, WKMR managed to progress and become an industry leader. We learned to develop and decipher the new micro computer technologies for ourselves and our clients. The firm went from one office in Wauwatosa and a staff of about 12 to two full-service offices and a staff of around 28 with a ten year period.
Because of the success of the Oconomowoc office, by June of 1984 Daniel Gotter was invited to become a partner in the firm, the first additional partner admitted.
With both offices in full swing by the mid 80’s WKMR was out growing their current spaces. In November 1985, WKMR relocated the Wauwatosa office to Elm Grove.
In September 1986, WKMR relocated the four-room Oconomowoc office to the First Bank of Oconomowoc Building in downtown Oconomowoc.
The 1986 Tax Reform Act substantially changed much of the Internal Revenue Code of 1953. The need for highly experienced tax professionals became paramount for the firm. Because of the tax changes and firm growth, we solved that need through the January 1987, acquisition of another CPA firm. The firm of Jones & Zaffrann brought not only a strong client base to the firm, but the addition of two key members of the team, Wes Jones & Jim Zaffrann. The two had run a successful practice since 1983. Wes worked for two local CPA firms and Jim had spent six years with a local accounting firm before the two joined forces.
1987 was quite a banner year for the firm because the following three employees hired in that year have all progressed to become shareholders in the firm.
• Jim Holsen came on board as a senior tax professional. Prior to joining the WKMR team, Jim worked for four years at a local accounting firm.
• Liz Kaiser worked for two local accounting firms in Illinois and Wisconsin before making her home on our WKMR team.
• Paul Sehmer came to WKMR after working as an auditor for a large regional CPA firm located in the Racine area.
We are blessed with a number of employees who joined us in those early years who still are very valuable members of our team. Diane Bauer joined WKMR in1984 and Lori Olson joined the Frim in1987.
In 1988 WKMR acquired Doolen & Co, S.C., a small Brookfield firm owned by George Doolen. The two firms were neighbors in Elm Grove and often worked together on certain projects or referred business to one another. They had originally planned to merge, but George Doolen became ill and decided to sell his practice to WKMR effective July 1, 1988.
Mark Potts, who has gone on to become a shareholder at WKMR came on board through the acquisition as a staff accountant after working for Doolen and Co., S.C. for four years. He had knowledge in several different areas including tax, audit and not-for-profit accounting.
Curtis Disrud who has also went on to become a shareholder was hired in 1988. He joined the Oconomowoc office as a senior accountant and had worked for an accounting firm in North Dakota where he specialized in individual and small business tax.
The biggest changes for the firm in the late 80’s and into the 90’s came with the major advancements in technology and computers. WKMR was always ahead of the times when it came to staying abreast of progress in both hardware and software. They purchased things like newly developed tax preparation, depreciation and business accounting software that helped to streamline the accounting practice.
Portable computers were provided to the staff in the 80s. These computers had six-inch monitors, weighed over 20 pounds and cost over $3,500.
With the growth of the internet came the introduction of e-filing as a means of submitting tax returns to the IRS. WKMR filed their first individual tax return electronically in 19089.
In 1990 Tom Kloman, a founding partner in the firm, announced his early retirement. He would stay on as a part-time consultant for a while, but wanted to spend more time with his wife.
Over these years WKMR has seen change not only in the tax laws, but in the accounting industry as a whole. But one thing remains the same, WKMR’s commitment to our clients and desire to provide exceptional service to each and every one of the businesses, families and individuals we serve.