Meet the Sponsors - Jake Peters, SVA Certified Public Accountants

by Molly Barnes
December 11, 2020

The Wisconsin Family Business Center sponsors are an invaluable resource to FBC members. They are experts in the areas of finance, law, insurance, and investment, and they recognize the importance of family businesses to the health and well-being of the economy, the community, and of society in general. In the latest Meet the Sponsors feature, you’ll meet Jake Peters from SVA Certified Public Accountants!

Jake Peters,
SVA Certified Public Accountants

Tell us about your role at SVA. What do you enjoy most about it?
My role as "principal" is to consult with clients, grow our staff, have a presence in the marketplace, and be a lifelong learner myself. I enjoy the opportunity to always be faced with new challenges and the need to grow both professionally and personally in order to meet the requirements of my role.

Do you have a specialty or area of focus in your role that our community would find helpful?
My background in the accounting world is one of taxation, although at this point in my career, my most valuable area of focus is strategic consulting, which, could be loosely defined as: "using an intentionally-scheduled series of meetings, writings, and conversations, to help guide the mid and long-term strategic plans of the company and its leaders. Through this, I am able to advise, challenge, validate, and/or provide industry perspective on the presenting issues, from an outside perspective, yet with inside knowledge of the company."

How long have you been a part of the Wisconsin Family Business Center?
Three years, and countless plates of the best bacon in the state.

Please tell us about your time as a sponsor of the Wisconsin Family Business Center. What have you enjoyed most? What value have you received from being a part of the FBC community?
Simply put, is has been a wonderful opportunity to get to know many business leaders who share a common vision and face common struggles, with still a unique flavor to learn for each person and company's particular situation. The ability to do this while also enjoying social meals and educational seminars brings a great return on the time I've invested into FBC activities.

What the biggest challenge you see family businesses face?
Staying true to the family vision in the midst of unprecedented turmoil and ensuring that the vision is still adequately guiding daily/weekly decisions throughout the organization.

What are your all-time favorite books?
Currently I'm reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince with my 11- and 9-year-old sons. The last book in that series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, remains an all-time favorite. For myself, I'd rate Herman Wouk's WWII books as my favorite.

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
Being named to the "40 Under 40" InBusiness list a few years ago - I was honored to receive the award, but I was most proud of the many congratulatory comments I heard from peers, mentors, clients, and staff, whether in the form of a recommendation letter or in response to hearing the news that I was named to this list.

What do you want business owners and family business leaders to know about your industry?
More than ever, the question that CPA's are being asked is some version of "am I doing this right?" There is an overload of information now available to owners, many of whom are newer to running a family business after a succession plan has been executed. With all the rest of the uncertainty in our world right now, what many seek is the ability to explain, talk through, and have someone reflect on their angst about the tactics of today and the strategy for the future. CPAs have long been recognized as the least biased source of business advice, and as best I can tell, that remains truer than ever today.

Please tell us about yourself, your education, and background.
I grew up in Evansville, WI, attended the UW-Madison business school and got an accounting degree 20 years ago. I then lived in Chicago for four years before meeting my wife and moving back to Madison. I've been at SVA ever since then and became a partner in 2016. Also, during that time frame I obtained a master's degree from UW-Milwaukee in taxation.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
Simply a "thank you" to the leaders and members of the FBC for creating a truly unique and positive "culture." In my 15 years of networking in the Madison/Milwaukee areas, I've found no other organization that has succeeded so greatly in differentiating itself in a positive way.