Steve Givens, CPA, Partner
Steve Givens enjoys helping clients achieve the goals they have set for themselves. But, what’s better, is showing them how to consider new possibilities that will lead them to achievements they hadn’t dreamed of before.
“Too often advisors, and people in general, come to a conversation with preconceived notions and ideas that can stifle the discussion from the very beginning. There can be too much talking and not enough listening on the advisor’s side of the table.”
Steve has developed the ability to listen for the underlying issues that are causing a client’s concerns, enabling him to get to the root cause quickly and decisively. He can relate to, understand, and appreciate many different points of view, all of which allow him to connect with people under any circumstances. Conversations with Steve tend to generate unexpectedly positive outcomes for both him and those he works with.
“When I’m meeting with a client, I only bring myself and an open mind, and I encourage clients to do the same. When both people know the scope of the discussion isn’t limited, it leads to an honest atmosphere where the real issues can come to the forefront, which is crucial. Because even the best solutions don’t work if they’re designed to solve the wrong problems.”
This approach is an invaluable asset to Steve’s loyal and growing client base in the long-term care industry. As the partner in charge of Ryun, Givens & Company’s health care practice, Steve provides auditing, tax, consulting, and Medicaid and Medicare cost reporting services to nursing facilities (including skilled), intermediate care facilities, and continuing care retirement communities. He is a regionally recognized expert at helping Directors maximize their facilities’ Iowa Medicaid reimbursement rates, and most importantly, teaching them how he does it.
“Consumer and governmental demands in these fields are shifting, and the changes put direct pressure on the facility and the people running it. The decision makers need to understand their financial position, thoroughly and without bias, so that they can address these types of issues from an educated and prepared standpoint. We help them understand what they need to so they can make the best decisions possible.”
Prior to joining Ryun, Givens & Company, Steve was an Audit Senior at KPMG (formerly Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co.) He was a Fiscal Consultant to the Iowa Department of Human Services Division for Medical Services – Medicaid Reimbursement from 1986-2005. He is a current member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Iowa Society of Certified Public Accountants, and has been honored as an Iowa Small Business Accountant Advocate by the United States Small Business Administration as well as a Small Business Accountant Advocate by the Des Moines Chamber of Commerce.
Steve holds a Bachelor of Business Arts degree from the University of Iowa, where he became a member of Beta Alpha Psi. He is a frequent speaker and presenter and has authored six lectures directly aimed at those in the long-term care industry.
Even in his time away from the office, Steve enjoys helping others create and achieve possibility in areas of their lives that are important to them and their businesses. He enjoys endurance bicycling and participated in the Paris-Brest-Paris cycling event in 2007. He is also an avid skeet shooter, earning World Champion Class E status in 2002. His other hobbies include adventure motorcycling, mountain hiking, fly fishing, reading, public speaking, and education.
Steve can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Curt Brand, CPA, Partner
Curt Brand enjoys just about every interaction he has with clients. But there is one unequivocal exception.
“I used to really dread the phone call that began with ‘Guess what I did!’ Almost always, a call like that ended with me telling them how much they were going to owe in taxes. So I began to nurture my clients in a way that made those calls less likely.”
By working to define what a successful advisor/client relationship looks like, Curt has brought an invaluable asset to Ryun, Givens & Company. His open-door policy has allowed clients to feel comfortable, even compelled, to communicate with him as often as needed.
“Now, clients call me to share things they’re planning for in the future - not something they’ve already committed to. In some cases, if I haven’t spoken to a client during the course of the week, that means one of us must be on vacation! And that’s how I know I’m doing my job right.”
Curt performs year-round, proactive tax strategizing and planning for individuals and small businesses across a wide variety of industries. While the industries may vary, Curt’s clients tend to have one thing in common, they want the added value of having expert guidance on every important decision. Clients also rely on Curt for his expertise in Estate and Trust Planning, a specialty area in which he is highly educated, experienced, and skilled.
“If we can’t do what you need in the best way possible for you, we won’t do it. That means we’re not everything to everybody, and that’s by design.”
Prior to joining Ryun, Givens & Company, Curt gained several years of experience at two Des Moines area accounting firms before originally joining Ryun, Givens & Company in 1989. Since then, he briefly held a position in the trust department of a bank, but missed the family feel of Ryun, Givens & Company and returned. He became partner in 2001. Curt is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Iowa Society of Certified Public Accountants (ISCPA), and served for several years on the ISCPA Federal Tax Committee. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting from the University of Northern Iowa.
In his free time, Curt serves on both the Board and Finance Committee of The Iowa Regular Baptist Church Camp, positions he has held for many years. He also loves to travel, his favorite destination being the Caribbean - via cruise ship, of course.
Curt can be reached at email@example.com.
Tim DeVries, CPA, Partner
Tim DeVries has worked with enough clients to know this one universal truth of client service:
“I learned pretty quickly that when something went wrong, it was almost always due to a lack of communication. I do whatever it takes to maintain an open line of communication with my clients and the staff, effectively removing this huge barrier to great service.”
This mindset is the result of nearly 30 years of experience in both public accounting and private industry. At Ryun, Givens & Company, Tim serves as the Quality Control Partner for the firm’s Accounting & Auditing Practice, using his expertise to ensure that clients are receiving the highest possible quality of services. Tim also works with individuals, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations, and provides business advisory services and tax advice to his clients.
While these may be common services, Tim feels the firm stands out.
"Ryun, Givens & Company is a well-respected CPA firm in the Des Moines area which I believe is due, in large part, to our ability to hire great people who tend to stay with us a long time. It makes a huge difference in the whole client service experience. But I’d have to say our greatest differentiator is our ability to help businesses become more profitable and run more efficiently, so work becomes easier and more enjoyable for the owners."
Tim is recognized for his expertise beyond the firm as well. He is the designated Audit Partner for the AICPA Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center. He was also recently qualified by the AICPA as a Team Captain for the AICPA Peer Review Program. Furthermore, Tim is registered as a Peer Reviewer by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. This designation confirms his ability to unconditionally review fellow accounting firms as part of his duties.
Prior to joining Ryun, Givens & Company, Tim practiced public accounting with a large national firm for eight years. He has also held accounting positions in the private industry. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Iowa Society of Certified Public Accountants (ISCPA), and the ISCPA Peer Review Committee. Tim holds a Bachelor of Business degree in Accounting from the University of Iowa. Tim enjoys spending time with his wife, son, family, and friends. He is an avid water polo player and sports fan.
Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kathy French, CPA, Partner
Kathy French has made great professional strides since managing the yard gate at a lumber yard years ago. But in her mind, her job hasn’t changed all that much.
“Being in customer service taught me important lessons about how to deal with people and those lessons are the ones I use the most. I know my clients’ financials, but I also know them. I like to find common ground with our clients first, and then the service approach comes naturally after that.”
This people-first approach is just one of the reasons that clients actually look forward to their audits when they work with Ryun, Givens & Company. One of Kathy’s primary responsibilities at the firm is to manage the audit team, which she does with great enjoyment and success.
“Our clients get a stable group of people to work with. If I did your audit last year, it’s likely that you’re going to see me again this year. We go beyond the audit to look for ways to improve day-to-day operations. We also make sure our clients know they can call us year-round with questions and to talk about changes in their industries.”
Kathy also performs cost report preparation and consulting services for health care clients throughout the year, with a focus on truly understanding how the organization works. Gaining that understanding ultimately helps to make things more efficient and can also identify ways to maximize Medicaid reimbursement rates. A specialist in serving not-for-profit long-term care facilities, she has found work for these clients to be especially rewarding.
“People in the not-for-profit sector aren’t simply focused on the bottom line – they’re with an organization because of the mission and to keep the organization on the best path. Working toward a mission changes the dynamic of a business a lot. My role, even as their auditor, is one of working with the client to meet mutual objectives. I joke that as auditors we live in the past, but it’s always with the future in mind.”
Prior to joining Ryun, Givens & Company, Kathy spent several years working in the Iowa Office of Auditor of State. She is a current member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Iowa Society of Certified Public Accountants, and a past member of the Association of Fraud Examiners. Kathy holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in both Accounting and Business from Grand View College.
A Des Moines native, Kathy now resides in Johnston, Iowa and is a die-hard Minnesota Vikings fan. She also enjoys golf and concerts.
Kathy can be reached at email@example.com.
Tammy Mason, CPA, Audit Supervisor
Tammy Mason knows a lot about how long-term care organizations should approach their finances – things that she wants leaders in those organizations to know, too.
“When we meet with new clients in the long-term care industry, they seem so appreciative of the time we take to teach them the specifics of long-term care accounting. For us, it’s just the normal way we do things. But for them, I think the level of understanding they gain is something they haven’t experienced before.”
Tammy knows that in many cases, people dread hearing from or meeting with their auditor. But through the emphasis that Ryun, Givens & Company places on educating clients, she’s been able to break through that stereotype. She finds that clients engage her earnestly because they feel knowledgeable and empowered, not as if they’re being corrected for a mistake.
“We have clients come in for free seminars when we feel there is an issue they need to be familiar with. We share everything we know, and this helps to create a feeling of mutual trust, so they’re glad to see us when it is time to do the audits.”
As part of the core audit team, Tammy appreciates the fact that she truly enjoys working with the other auditors, and is pleasantly surprised at how much they enjoy each other’s company when they’re out meeting with clients.
“We spend a lot of time on the road together and we all still like each other! That’s how you know that everyone in the group is a team player.”
Prior to joining Ryun, Givens & Company, Tammy spent seven years working in the Iowa Office of Auditor of State. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Iowa Society of Certified Public Accountants. Tammy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from the University of Iowa.
Despite her alma mater, Tammy was born a Cyclone and is the self-proclaimed #1 fan of Iowa State Cyclone football and a season ticket holder. She also enjoys traveling, boating, and camping.
Tammy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tim Howard, CPA, Senior Tax Manager
Tim Howard’s wife may think it strange, but he can’t help the fact that one of his favorite things to do is look at taxes.
“I like looking at taxes; it’s fun, most of the time. And I take it very seriously because I treat my clients’ taxes like they’re my own. I have a vested interest in each and every line, because if a client gets a letter from the IRS, it’s like I got a letter from the IRS. And I do not want a letter from the IRS!”
As the point person for many of the tax returns that are completed at Ryun, Givens & Company, Tim has extensive experience in strategic tax planning and compliance. He works closely with clients in the real estate, construction, professional services, retail trade, manufacturing, and not-for-profit sectors. Tim regularly performs tax-related services to partnership and S Corporations, and is particularly knowledgeable in multi-state taxation issues.
“The taxes submitted by my clients are a direct reflection of me. Making sure they’re not only correct, but that they take advantage of each and every angle and resource available, is the only way I will submit them.”
Tim’s over 25 years of strategic tax planning experience (the last decade of which has been at Ryun, Givens & Company) continues to be a compelling reason for clients to work with him. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Iowa Society of Certified Public Accountants. Tim holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting from the University of Northern Iowa.
Outside of the office, Tim plays for the Des Moines Twins 35+ division baseball team. He enjoys his free time with his wife and three grown daughters, and is also active in his church. Tim enjoys many outdoor activities such as landscaping, gardening, fishing, hunting, and golf.
Tim can be reached at email@example.com.
Linda Fatland, CPA, Tax Supervisor
Linda Fatland is a numbers person, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. But she also realizes that most people aren’t.
“I would say that for probably 90 percent of the people out there, a spreadsheet can make their heads spin. I’ve learned how to bridge the gap and get the important information across – in English – while still providing the highest level of service possible.”
This approach is just one of the reasons clients enjoy working with Linda on their most important tax and accounting matters. At Ryun, Givens & Company, Linda performs a variety of tax and accounting services for clients in many different industries.
Furthermore, as a certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and a member of Peachtree’s Accountant’s Network, Linda is uniquely qualified to help clients make the most of their accounting software. This added layer of expertise allows Linda to have a full circle understanding of how she can most valuably serve clients.
“On every tax or accounting engagement, my goal is to exceed expectations. I consider timely and quality service to be a given, so I listen carefully to my clients for indications of how I can serve them above and beyond what they’re expecting and I do my best to achieve that.”
Linda is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Iowa Society of Certified Public Accountants. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Drake University.
Outside of the office, Linda is an active volunteer within her church community. She is a current member of P.E.O. (a philanthropic organization) and a past member of the Drake University Parent Board. She and her husband of over 30 years have three grown children and two grandchildren. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, kayaking, biking, and curling up on the couch with a good novel.
Linda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blake Miller, CPA, Senior Auditor
Every piece has to fit together perfectly in order to see the real picture. For Blake Miller, being an auditor is like working on a puzzle.
“I have strong analytical skills, which helps me because, at times, our work is like a large puzzle and I am good at finding the missing piece and putting the puzzle together.”
That’s one of the challenges the Manson, Iowa native enjoys about his job. He also appreciates the variety.
“I like working with a bunch of different people and every job is different. I like the variety and going out of the office and visiting different places and seeing the state.”
In addition to auditing, he helps prepare cost reports and tax returns.
Before joining Ryun, Givens & Company, Blake was a staff accountant at a Fort Dodge accounting firm. He graduated from UNI with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
Blake is also an avid outdoorsman. He’ll brave harsh Iowa winters to ice fish. You can also find him on the golf course or cheering on the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Blake can be reached at email@example.com