BY NIKKI MEYER
Connie (Miller) Meier first moved to Truman when she was nine years old. She grew up on a farm in Fraiser Township before her parents, Loren “Happy” and Gladys (who later married Ernie Leimer after Happy passed), purchased the Coast to Coast store, in 1969.
After graduating from Truman High School, Connie went on to Mankato State University and then Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff pursuing a degree in Business Education. She soon learned, however, that teaching Business in a classroom full of high school students might not be the right career path for her.
“I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of having to teach steno—I was more into accounting and business law,” Meier said. About that same time many small town schools were closing and Meier said the job market was shrinking.
“I wasn’t sure what I was going to do if I wasn’t going to teach. I took a break from college and got a job at Bank Midwest as a teller.” Fortunately for her, Bank Midwest helped employees pay for college tuition. Meier took advantage of the benefit and enrolled in night classes through MSU, taking business classes in Fairmont.
Meier earned her degree in accounting in 1989 and her CPA license in 1990. She began working for Al Zeitz and Craig Deist at their CPA firm while she finished her school. In total she spent 20 years at the firm, plus an additional five years with Craig after the firm was sold to AgStar Financial Services and he worked for them.
Most recently Meier worked for Steve Piece until his passing, and then with her daughter, Sara, when she took over the business.
Then, last August, Meier decided she was ready to be her own boss. “So far I am really enjoying it,” she said. “I have a lot of skill and experience to offer my clients, and I appreciate reaping the rewards of that expertise.”
One of the aspects of her new business that Meier appreciates most is getting to know her clients. In a previously held position, Meier said, “a lot of clients just dropped off their information, and whoever got to it first did the return. I much prefer getting to know my client’s individual tax situation so that I can offer them advice rather that just prepare the returns.”
Though Meier has been on her own since August, she’s finally getting ready to settle down in a new office. Though she’s been grateful for the extra flexibility she’s had to deal with some family situations, she is ready to take on tax season ‘full steam ahead.’
Now that it’s tax season and I need to meet with a lot more clients, Ameriprise has generously offered me the use of an office in their new building at 1961 Stella St. in Fairmont.” She notes to be careful when looking for the building, though. One side has a Stella St. address, and the other side has an Albion Ave. address.
While Meier does all of the typical tax season preparations that income-earners need, she also offers tax planning services. “I’ve developed a particular knack for working with farmers. They are one business that has a lot of options as far as when to sell their grain or livestock, and prepaying expenses. I do quite a bit of tax planning for farmers in November or early December after the crops are in.”
Meier also offers payroll services. “For some clients I actually prepare the payroll check and/or direct deposit, and for others I just do the quarterly reports and W-2’s,” she said.
Part-time small business accounting, which involves “posting deposits, checks, and debits and reconciling the bank statement” is another area in which Meier is proficient.
While many of Meier’s clients followed her when she struck out on her own, she is still looking to see her business expand. She notes, however, that, “I don’t want it to get so large that I don’t know my clients. I want to know who my clients are, what their goals are, and try to help them achieve those goals through tax planning.”
Connie is married to Lonnie Meier. They make their home in “the old Bock place” just north of Truman on Highway 15. Connie can be reached at 507-848-0720 or via email at email@example.com. For now she is available in her office by appointment only.
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