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2019 Trusted Advisers Accountant: John Helms

Abacus CPAs LLC

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John Helms may be a certified public accountant by trade, but he also is well versed in a wide variety of industries depending on his clients. Delving into their specific business needs is one way the manager of Abacus CPAs LLC puts his best foot forward to earn the trust of his clients.

“I strive to build deeper client relationships and provide complete solutions for those clients to assist in accelerating the development of their business and to help them create competitive advantage,” Helms says. “I take responsibility for all strategic elements of the business and therefore provide a higher level of service.”

Helms is a certified public accountant, certified fraud examiner and certified bitcoin professional. His accounting career has come full circle with Abacus, where he interned in college. Helms was employed full-time at the firm for nearly a decade, but left in 2015 to be a settlements analyst with City Utilities of Springfield. Helms returned to Abacus just a year later, and he climbed the ladder to become a manager overseeing all firm accounts, ensuring quality control, maintaining policies and implementing IT procedures. Helms also is the founder and administrator of the Abacus’ training program for prospective CPAs and mentorship team for new professionals at the firm.

Springfield-based Abacus CPAs was founded in 1998 and currently operates at four locations with 75 local employees providing tax, accounting, audit and consulting services. Helms managed 1,405 clients in 2018 with $238,659 in total annual billings and a total client net worth of $1.2 million.

“One reason I have been able to accomplish so much at such a young age is because I have always taken client service very seriously,” Helms says. “Serving my clients as a partner in their business is my objective in every relationship. … I do this by spending the time and energy to really understand the business and goals of my clients and work to help them achieve their goals.”

Helms says the key to being a trusted adviser is being a detailed listener.

“The simple act of looking deeper and paying more attention when my clients talk and meeting with them more than once a year allows me to do more for each client,” he says. “I am actively looking for ways to improve each client’s tax situation instead of just filling in the numbers the same as last year.”

Helms is immediate past chairman of the southwest chapter of the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants, member of Boomer Technology Circles and instructor at Baptist Bible College. He also is involved with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. Helms has previously served on the board for Diaper Bank of the Ozarks and is a current committee volunteer for Champion Athletes of the Ozarks. He received the U.S. Department of Defense’s Employer Support of The Guard and Reserve Patriot Award for assisting a military spouse.

“I was nominated for this award by an employee whose husband was deployed to the Middle East,” Helms says. “She thought I did an excellent job supporting her before, during and after her husband’s deployment.”

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