Date: August 12, 2008
Contact: Eric Matanyi
Governors State University
Phone: (708) 534-7090
Fax: (708) 534-8399
For Immediate Release
University Park, IL, August 12, 2008 - Bruce and Lee Ann Bultema had an exceptional spring season at their Beecher nursery, Windmill Acres. The plants they nurtured throughout the winter flew off the greenhouse shelves as customers from Kankakee to Orland Park and from Crown Point to Joliet sought both popular and hard-to-find bedding plants for their homes.
As business bloomed, the duo recognized the need to expand and visited The CenterPoint for Entrepreneurs at Governors State University seeking funding to help double their greenhouse space. As the CenterPoint consultants evaluated the business’ financial statements, they discovered that the Bultemas were having difficulty with their financial statements.
A closer look revealed that the entrepreneurs had always managed their books by hand and weren’t able to successfully transfer the records into QuickBooks accounting software. In fact, the Bultemas didn’t know quite how their finances looked for the year.
At the same time, Dr. Tony Fontana, accounting professor in the university’s College of Business and Public Administration, approached the center when looking for a real-life project to use for his Cost Accounting class. Fontana had contacted CenterPoint on several previous occasions looking for projects for his upper level classes, and had become a strong proponent of the connection between CenterPoint and the college.
“CenterPoint is a vital resource for the faculty and students of the business school. We’ve had great success exposing students to real-life experiences through collaboration with the center,” Fontana said. “They learn what accountants really do for their clients. In the past, some students have even found jobs through these projects. With CenterPoint’s reach in the community and their willingness to assist during the project, we’ve always had a great experience for the students and real value for the clients.”
GSU students Babatunde Akintayo and Naveed Karim, with Fontana’s help, investigated and identified some of the accounting issues and even offered helpful hints on how to operate the business more efficiently. They helped the Bultima’s make sense of QuickBooks and set up a system for costing inventory – which is difficult due to the long growing season and the somewhat hidden costs of growing product.
“It was exciting to really help a business by applying what we had learned in class. I really understand some of the accounting issues better because of the project,” said Babatunde.
With their financial statements up to date, the CenterPoint counselors were able to prepare the Bultema’s to approach a bank for financing.
“The combination of CenterPoint’s resources and the assistance from Dr. Fontana’s students really helped us get a handle on our business. I’d still be trying to make sense of our finances if it wasn’t for them,” noted Bruce Bultema.
For more information on The CenterPoint’s free business consulting services, call (708) 534-4929 or visit www.centerpointgsu.com.