Q&A with Dan Bailey: “Weiss has a small firm feel with big firm resources.”
Bailey graduated from Augustana College, highly selective liberal arts college in Rock Island, Illinois, as an accounting major. He didn’t enter college with accounting in mind…he sort of fell into it by accident. He enrolled in Accounting 101 to see what it was like. It turns out he liked it a lot. (It was “like a natural thing for me,” Bailey said.)
More advanced courses followed and he did well. Conversations with his professors only reaffirmed his belief that accounting was a good fit for him and would play to his strengths.
After graduation, he wanted to take the CPA exam, but needed hours to qualify. That led him to Northern Illinois University’s master’s program and the hours he needed to sit for the exam. Bailey hasn’t worked anywhere else except Weiss in the accounting space. Now married and the father of a rambunctious toddler and an infant, he can’t imagine working anywhere else.
What makes Weiss so conducive to success?
Bailey answered unhesitatingly. “The people. The people here are phenomenal. It’s a very positive environment. Everyone is friendly. There is an open door policy: you can walk into anybody’s office and ask a question. People are eager to help you. The culture of the firm brings people together. Communication is really important here. We aren’t siloed. There’s a feeling that we are all in it together,” he said.
Although he’s worked on the tax side of the business, he prefers assurance. “What I enjoy the most about assurance is it gives you the opportunity to get out and get to know the clients. During Covid, we did a lot of that work remotely, of course. But I really enjoy getting out and meeting a client in person. I enjoy the variety of businesses, too. Manufacturing, service businesses, anything from logistics to healthcare. You’re going to go to their warehouse, you’re going to see how they manufacture and what they make. You’ll definitely meet somebody in accounting, but you might also get to meet somebody in the sales department. You will get an exposure to a lot of different aspects of a company,” said Bailey.
Being able to offer advice and hear clients’ concerns is important to him.
Another aspect of assurance that Bailey enjoys is being able to offer advice or to answer questions if a client asks for his point of view about something. “They might bring up things just in passing. You might be getting a tour of their warehouse and they might in passing bring up something that is a concern for them. And it’s really nice to provide that feedback immediately, as well as in the future,” he said.
What does he do when he is not at work?
When he’s not helping people on his team or working with his clients, Bailey enjoys being outside, going for a long-distance run, hiking, working in his garden, and of course, playing with his daughters. He planted a vegetable garden in his backyard and his toddler is getting a kick out of seeing how the garden changes daily. “She likes checking on the tomatoes and cucumbers to see if any are ready to be picked,” Bailey said.
Has fatherhood changed your perspective on work?
“Yeah, I would say so. I think it’s changed my perspective on life in general. Like setting a good example. I have a two and a half year old and we’re working with her on ‘Look both ways before you cross the street.’ Weiss is good as far as allowing us to work from home and being flexible with our schedules. I think that’s really important. I’ve had to make those changes to make sure that I can be there for my family at home and also get my work done.
What advice would you offer to someone who wanted to know how to select an accounting firm?
“Well, I think the first thing would be, do you get along? Do you have the kind of a relationship where you feel good about communicating with them? Are they responsive to your requests? The technical side is important, too. Do they have experience in your industry? Is it a good fit for you?”
At Weiss, we rely on the BDO alliance for complex audit or tax issues. It’s great because there are other firms we can reach out to. Weiss is great that way. We have a small firm feel… the kind of place where you can call and speak to your advisor on the phone…with big firm resources,” said Bailey.
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