While working with numbers is something he enjoys, for Benoit, the finance business is more about the relationships he builds with clients. “It’s about helping people navigate through successes and tough times. I see it as a coaching role – whether it’s correcting, cheerleading, or celebrating with a client,” Benoit said.
Benoit and his wife Kathi worked 10 years for a local company that became part of a national accounting firm. In 2005 the parent company got out of public accounting, and as a managing partner Benoit was given the choice to go with a national consolidator or buy the local book of business and start his own firm.
The decision to step out on their own caused a lot of anxiety. Many of the other managing partners chose to go with the consolidator. It would have been an easy choice, but Benoit wasn’t certain the consolidator was the right choice for him, his family, or his employees. “At the time, we had four young children at home. We were at the threshold of getting very busy and being more active. In terms of balancing life and work, we decided there was no better employer than ourselves,” Benoit recalled.
Benoit’s faith carried him through that stressful season of transitioning to owning his company. A story in Matthew 6 about dependence on God helped guide his decision. “I read how the flowers and birds are well fed, and how Jesus said ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God.’” Benoit believed God was saying “What I care about most is that you seek me first, no matter which route you go, no matter what the struggles are.”
Faith is plays an important role in Benoit’s life, guiding him through a profession that can encounter challenging situations of ethics. “Occasionally clients show up wondering if they can deduct something, or not claim money that they made but never received a 1099 for.” Benoit admitted there is a pull between wanting to satisfy the client and yet do what’s right according to the law. Benoit turns to a plaque with a reminder from Proverbs 28:20 that sits on his desk. It reads, “A faithful man will abound with blessings.” The plaque serves as a reminder to remain faithful to God and what is right, even through the challenges. “The blessings aren’t just about finances – the plaque sits between pictures of my greatest blessings – my kids!” Benoit said.
Many of Benoit & Associate’s clients and employees have been with the company since the days of the national firm. Benoit calls the company “the little firm on the prairie” with a team of about a half dozen. While they might be small compared to a national firm, Benoit believes the relationships they build with their clients trump any national affiliation.
Over the years the company’s service offerings have changed. “We’ve seen a shift where people need more consulting and strategic planning instead of the traditional accounting role which looks backwards. Today, people are asking for help looking forward and for future planning with questions like ‘Should we hire more people? Should we buy that business? What do the numbers mean?’” Benoit said.
No matter what the future holds, Benoit will continue to keep a healthy work-life balance. “We seek to strike a good balance that puts family life first while using our gifts and skills to give a valuable service to our clients.” For Benoit that means he has the ability to be there for his kids, coach their teams or have a relaxing cup of coffee with his wife in the morning.
Name: Maurice Benoit
Company: Benoit & Associates
Services: Accounting & Bookkeeping, Business Valuation, Estate Planning , Income Tax Preparation, Payroll
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