Jim Holmes, managing shareholder of Vrakas/Blum

Jim Holmes

Managing shareholder


445 S. Moorland Road, Suite 400, Brookfield, WI 53005


Industry: Accounting firm

Number of employees: 59

Family: Wife, Holly

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?
“We focused on recruiting the right talent into our organization. This serves us in so many ways. It creates a more cohesive work environment and provides our clients with greater consistency in serving their needs. We believe that building the best team is critical to our firm’s success, and our focus on this endeavor during the past year has really paid off.”

What’s new at your company?
“This year has been interesting in our profession, as legislation that impacts our clients has been coming fast and furious. Between the HIRE Act, Small Business Job Act, healthcare legislation, and possible International Financial Reporting Standards Conversion, we have a lot of information to keep up with. It is important that we keep our clients apprised of the possible impacts these changes may have, so we have been hard at work to keep our contacts informed.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
“We are in the process of expanding and remodeling our offices to accommodate recent growth. We believe this investment will provide a more productive environment for our team members and prepare us for future growth.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?
“Our greatest challenge in the next 12 months will be to help our clients understand the many legislative changes occurring right now. There is a lot of information to be communicated, and we have to determine who needs to hear about what issues. That’s the beauty of our profession. We help our clients discover what they need to know so they can be the most effective in their businesses. Though we face this challenge, it’s one of the most fulfilling parts of our jobs.”

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?
“Social media is a big focus for the accounting industry right now. This technology allows us to get out in front of our contacts instantly with important information. We currently use an e-newsletter, and we’re setting up a Twitter feed to get information out to our clients and contacts. Our Facebook page is geared toward students in the accounting discipline who are soon to be in the job market.”

Do you have a business mantra?
“I believe the Golden Rule has a place in the business world. My focus in every client relationship is to identify my clients’ needs and meet those expectations to the fullest.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
“I really admire one of our founding shareholders, Bob Vrakas. From the moment I joined Vrakas/Blum (my first and only employer),I valued his mentorship and his professional example. Bob taught me the value of customer service, the skills to be a leader in a professional service firm, and the need to be ever focused on continued learning as a professional. I truly value the example he set for me – and for all of my partners.”

What was the best advice you ever received?
“The best advice I ever received was to understand those you serve. When I look at a client, I don’t see ‘business,’ I see a person who has very specific needs. With that in mind, I aspire to truly know my clients, not just as a group but as individuals. When I really understand the business and personal goals of my clients, I can serve them well.”

What do you like to do in your free time?
“I love to travel. My wife and I try to make it to a unique location each year. Most recently, we’ve explored China and visited the Christmas markets in Germany. We are looking forward to our upcoming trip to Mexico. In addition to traveling, I also enjoy reading both fiction and non-fiction books.”

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