If change at work is a challenge for you, this service can help

This piece is presented by Cain Ellsworth & Company LLP

Put Matt Heemstra in that rare category of professionals who actually like change.

“Constant change is difficult, but I’ve learned to enjoy it,” he said. “As an accountant by training, I didn’t really like change, so that was an adjustment. But I’ve gotten to where I really enjoy the challenge of change.”

Matt Heemstra

Heemstra’s role is one not commonly found at accounting firms.

He’s a partner and director of growth and profit solutions at Cain Ellsworth & Company LLP.

“It’s a division of our firm that focuses on the future,” he explained.

“I don’t do taxes. I don’t do audits. Our firm does those and does them really well, but our goal as a firm is to help businesses succeed. And you can’t really do that by just handing them a tax return.”

Heemstra and his team work with clients on future-oriented planning, from assessing their current status to determining where they want to be as a business and how to get there.

“What will your business look like in three to five years in terms of products, customers, what kind of people you will need and what will they need to be good at, how will you reach those customers and how is that different from where you are now,” he said. “And then we work to create a plan. It provides accountability.”

Cain Ellsworth wants to be part of the execution of clients’ plans, too, he said. He meets with clients at least every 90 days.

“We don’t provide traditional consulting where I come in and write a big report and then come back in five years,” he said. “We find when we leave, work on plans grinds to a halt, so we want to be part of the execution.”

Being part of constant change gave Heemstra plenty of material for his new book, released earlier this year.


The idea behind “The Change Advantage” is that “a lot of people think of change as this mysterious thing,” he said. “You rarely hear people say, ‘I’m fantastic at change.’ But it’s not some mysterious voodoo thing. There are things you can do to be better at change.”

For instance, many professionals lack clarity about what they’re trying to do. Their goal might be to grow, and they might know they need to change to grow, but they don’t recognize the most effective way to implement the change.

“It’s finding the two or three things that will really have an impact on growth and focusing on those tasks,” Heemstra said.

“And then, change isn’t something you do to your business. You need everybody to be involved at least in some capacity, and sometimes leaders don’t do a good job explaining why change matters. People need to understand what’s in it for them, and, as leaders, too often it’s about what’s in it for business or management.”

Heemstra also helps Cain Ellsworth facilitate leadership development services, including a popular CEO peer group.

“One of the things I really enjoy about what we do is it changes all the time,” he said. “That’s really challenging, but there are new ideas, the world is changing fast, there are changes in markets and what people are looking for.”

Even ideas that might have been good five years ago might be irrelevant now, he added.

“That’s hard, but you’re always reading and thinking about how new ideas might apply to our clients and how they might want to grow.”

The rewarding part of his role comes from watching the positive effects that occur when clients succeed, Heemstra said.

“When businesses do well and people have good jobs, communities do well. One reason Sioux Falls has done as well as it has is that there’s a lot of business growth. If you can help facilitate that process, that’s rewarding because you know the impact it has on people.”

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If change at work is a challenge for you, this service can help

Put Matt Heemstra in that rare category of professionals who actually like change.

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