Another year of BerganKDV’s Xperience (XP) event has officially wrapped up. This year’s event, similar to the year previous, was held virtually to accommodate social distancing and limit travel. Nearly 70 students from across the Midwest spent a half day with various team members at BerganKDV to experience firsthand what it’s like to work at a professional services firm.
The morning kicked off with a warm welcome and lined out the expectations for the day. It then transitioned to perhaps the most impactful part of the event, an opportunity to directly ask BerganKDV CEO, Dave Hinnenkamp questions about the firm and advice he learned on the way through his career journey. This year, the students were more engaging than ever and asked incredible questions. Included below is an outline of some of the thought-provoking questions and Dave’s responses for a glimpse into the Q&A portion of the event.
Q: With growth often comes growing pains, how has BerganKDV managed its rapid growth?
A: A lot of times people assume that with growth comes pain, but I wouldn’t call it pain. To accommodate growth, oftentimes organizations need to change. It’s that process of change that can be painful for people because they are unsure of how they fit into the new structure needed to handle growth and if they will be successful. What we do here at BerganKDV is ensure our teams understand where they fit into the structure of our firm, what the benefits of change are, and encourage everyone to be open in how they feel about the change so they can feel confident, comfortable and most importantly successful in their role.
Q: Since BerganKDV has grown a lot in the past year, how did the pandemic hurt or help the growth? Did you meet your predicted goals?
A: Initially I thought the pandemic was going to hurt us, there were so many unknowns in the beginning. But something amazing happened, our team rallied together, and we really excelled and blew away our goals this past year. Our sales team had a record four months of sales, beating even our pre-pandemic numbers. I believe this pandemic is going to be known for the great transformation it caused.
Q: I am curious about the firm’s interdepartmental communication, teamwork and co-op opportunities. How do they work across the organization?
A: Three years ago, when I embarked on my current role, we decided to tackle the idea of us being “one firm.” The goal was to avoid the silos that many firms find themselves in and focus on collaborating and servicing our clients as one firm. To achieve this idea, we did a few unique things. We created a firmwide sales team, we structured our organization so that all of our solution leaders met regularly and focused on the total client value of our solutions, which required everyone’s collaborative efforts to ensure we provided the best service and solutions to our clients as we went through this journey. At times it was difficult because change is difficult. I emphasized that at first, we will crawl, then walk and eventually run with this goal. I am happy to say that a ton of progress has been made and that all of our solutions are walking, if not running with our one firm initiative.
After Q&A, students had the opportunity to attend several mini sessions that dove into material relevant to up-and-coming professionals. Mini topics included: Communication and Collaboration in which students analyzed the results of their MPO assessment, which breaks down how individuals prefer to communicate and work with others, CPA Exam and Overview which provided tips and tricks for taking the exam, and Intern 101 which shared insights on interviewing and making the most out of an internship. To round out the event, students participated in a panel of BerganKDV team members ranging from Shareholders to new hires and broke out into groups designated by our markets to learn more about what it’s like to work at the office each student is interested in.
The second day of XP is reserved solely for interviews and allows students to take what they learned from the first day and apply it to real-life with the chance to score an internship or even a full-time position here at the firm. XP wouldn’t be possible without the incredible efforts of our staff who work together each and every year to make it happen. This year’s event is going to be tough to beat, which only makes planning next year’s even more exciting!
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