Get a financial adviser to avoid small business headaches

Brad Burdsall, center, of Egg Works, describes building plans in his new store near Village Center Circle with Ann Santiago, right, and Cindy Santilena, both senior vice presidents in business development at TMC Financing.

It’s essential to have a plan when managing your wealth, whether it be personal or corporate. Luckily, the Las Vegas Valley is home to a plethora of financial executives ready to help.

From tax attorneys and CPAs to wealth advisers and loan specialists, experts can help people and businesses figure out solutions to their financial quandaries.

It’s just a matter of finding the right adviser.

Tax and estate lawyers can help with financial planning, advise on tax strategies and, if necessary, negotiate with the IRS. Accountants can make sure taxes are filed properly, handle financial records and prepare reports. Banks and credit unions can advise on investment plans, while certified development corporations can help small businesses get off the ground or expand.

Here are a few notable faces in Southern Nevada’s financial community:

Dan Gerety, owner, Gerety and Associates

Dan Gerety’s dream was to own his own company. Mission accomplished in October 2004.

When the accounting firm that’s now Gerety and Associates opened almost a decade ago, it was a one-man operation.

“I was even my own secretary,” he said. “I tied in with another CPA to share office space. We’ve come a long way.”

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Dan Gerety, owner, Gerety and Associates

Today, Gerety employs 21 people and runs one of Southern Nevada’s largest accounting firms. Battling through a rough economy made his company even stronger, he said.

“Prior to the recession, we were going very fast, and it was hard to keep up,” he said. “We kept adding people to get the staff where we needed to with the workload. We went flat during the recession. We had some big clients go away, but revenue and income-wise, we stayed pretty flat. It actually allowed us to get stable. We weren’t overworking our people like we had at times in the past.”

Gerety, an Iowa native, holds accounting and business degrees from St. Ambrose College and said he takes pride in providing personalized service to clients. His company offers accounting, taxation and business consulting.

“I was always good at math and science skills in high school,” he said. “I had a lot of confidence in myself and had thought maybe I wanted to be a doctor or attorney, but then I realized that would mean a lot of extra college years.

“I had it narrowed down to being an accountant or an engineer. Out of ignorance, I read some short story about a guy who designed the Golden Gate Bridge (in San Francisco) and that he led a very stressful life and needed to take long walks in the woods just to cope. That’s when I decided to go the accounting route. Plus, my dad was an accountant. I just kept it in the family.”

Gerety got his start in 1982 at McGladrey and Pullen and worked there for two-plus decades before stepping out on his own.

“When I first got into public accounting, the plan was to stay in it for about five years,” he said. “It went a lot larger than that, though. It felt really good to eventually achieve my goal and open my own firm.”

His company’s niche is estate and gift planning, although staff also handle trust taxes and asset protection planning.

Gerety is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Nevada Society of Certified Public Accountants and is past president of both the Southern Nevada Estate Planning Council and Central Illinois Estate Planning Council.

Heather Grech, partner, Bradshaw, Smith and Co.

Certified Public Accountant Heather Grech has sage advice for business owners: “Save in good times and plan ahead for a rainy day.”

Grech has worked at Bradshaw, Smith and Co. for 22 years.

“The businesses that survived the downturn in the economy were the ones that planned ahead,” she said. “Planning and organization are the two biggest keys to a company’s success. You know as a company where you stand, whether you are profitable or unprofitable. If you aren’t making the money that you want and something isn’t working, tweak it so you can survive in the long term.”

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Heather Grech, partner, Bradshaw, Smith and Co.

Grech establishes financial plans for construction companies, real estate developers, mortgage banks, hospitals, schools, state boards, retailers and nonprofit organizations. She also has handled litigation support for real estate developers, homebuilders, leasing companies and others.

“There is really no typical day for me,” said Grech, who earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from California State University, Sacramento. “It’s not a 9-to-5 job. Some days you come in early and stay late. It’s all about getting the clients’ needs taken care of.”

Grech discovered her love of numbers when she took an accounting class in high school. A teacher recommended that she help a local business reconcile its books, which set her on the path to becoming an accounting major in college.

After earning her degree, she worked as a staff accountant at Hemming Morse in California for two years before relocating to Las Vegas.

“I’ve made some great friends here, some great clients, found some good schools and good sports teams (for my son),” Grech said. “It has been a great place to work and live.”

Grech is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Nevada Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Ann Santiago, senior vice president of business development, TMC Financing

Ann Santiago swells with pride when she sees storefronts of businesses that she and her company helped finance and get off the ground.

In 2013 alone, TMC issued 40 loans worth $30.1 million as part of the Small Business Administration’s 504 loan financing program, designed for growing small and medium businesses that need financing for purchases, renovations or construction.

“I just love to drive down the street and see a business that we helped,” Santiago said. “It is so satisfying. Most of our clients are private business owners or family-owned businesses. Making a real estate purchase is a dream for many of them. All of their hard work pays off when they can finance those dreams. There is a certain amount of pride and joy in their business endeavors.”

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Ann Santiago, senior vice president of business development, TMC Financing

Santiago opened TMC’s Las Vegas office in 2007. Under her leadership, it has grown to become the top SBA 504 lender in Clark County for the past three years.

“We are like the lending department of the SBA,” Santiago said. “We are nonprofit and licensed and regulated by the SBA. There are only 275 certified development corporations in the country. Not everyone can be one.”

Certified development corporations offer standardized fees and interest rates, as well as low down payments, 20-year low fixed rate terms and reduced loan fees.

TMC works directly with borrowers, first mortgage lenders and real estate brokers to tailor financing packages that meet SBA standards and the credit capacity of each business.

Since 1981, the company has provided more than $7.5 billion in SBA 504 financing for more than 4,500 businesses and has ranked among the top five certified development corporations nationally for more than a decade.

TMC’s financing has helped create more than 33,000 jobs in Nevada and Northern California, Santiago said.

Santiago, for instance, helped arrange for La Bonita Supermarkets, a local grocery store chain with five locations that cater to Hispanic shoppers, to move into a store at Rainbow Boulevard and Flamingo Road after another big box shop vacated the space.

La Bonita “totally remodeled it, put in a bakery, a deli and a smoothie shop,” Santiago said. “They hired 142 employees, too. That whole strip mall is picking up momentum because of that. It’s really neat to see that area thrive now.”

Santiago graduated from UCLA and worked for the Nevada Development Corporation, another local certified development corporation, from 1995 to 2007. She is a member of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties and Commercial Real Estate Women Network.

David Grant, partner, Grant Morris Dodds

David Grant handles asset protection and estate planning for some of Nevada’s wealthiest families. His firm specializes in trust, probate and guardianship law.

“I enjoy helping people with answers to questions that are sometimes hard to find,” he said. “It’s kind of like delivering peace of mind to people.”

Grant also writes and speaks about asset protection, veil piercing (dealing with the rights and duties of corporations), trusts, estates and taxation.

He began his career in accounting, earning a bachelor’s degree from Southern Utah University. He worked an extended internship at Deloitte before earning his master’s degree in accounting from the University of Utah.

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David Grant, partner, Grant Morris Dodds

During the same period, he also lived in Guatemala for two years on a church mission that allowed him to learn fluent Spanish, a skill he capitalizes on today.

“There are an increased number of investors in the Southern Nevada market from Mexico and South America,” Grant said. “I’ve advised many of them in the local real estate market. I actually probably land five to 10 new clients a year who prefer to do business in Spanish.”

Grant earned a law degree from the University of Houston in 2004 and began working at the Jeffrey Burr Law Firm, which handles estate planning and probates. He became a partner in 2010.

“Jeffrey Burr was a great mentor to me,” Grant said. “I learned so much.”

In 2011, Grant and two partners — Robert Morris and Mark Dodds — left Burr’s firm to establish their own practice.

“We all have different areas of the law that we enjoy,” Grant said. “I enjoy using my tax and accounting expertise to help find solutions for families so that their business can survive divorce, disability or other issues. Families need to have a plan in place.”

Grant also serves as chair of the Nevada State College Foundation and a member of the board of directors of Gift Planning Advisors.

“I really enjoy helping people with charitable intents,” he said. “It’s important to take the first step and just have the conversation about philanthropy. Charitable planning has some great tax benefits.”

Grant is licensed to practice law in Nevada and Utah and is a member of the Southern Nevada Estate Planning Council and Society of Financial Service Professionals.