When Lou Gagliano told his wife, Martha, he wanted to start a tax preparation company after he retired from IBM, she had her doubts. Who retires just to start another business? Who starts an income tax preparation business? Well, Lou and Martha Gagliano, that’s who! Mr. and Mrs. Gagliano learned everything there was to know about tax prep for individuals in the 1980’s. Although at first skeptical, Martha knew THIS was something she would love doing. They spent a year preparing individual tax returns for H&R Block and then decided to take the plunge and start Gagliano Associates in 1987.
Gagliano Associates: the Early Years
Martha laughed as she remembered the first year they started the business. They had two clients the first year. Lou acted as support staff while Martha prepared and filed the two returns. After that first year, business steadily increased. There was no print advertising or radio commercials. Instead, the business expanded by word of mouth. Lou and Martha both agreed that treating their clients like gold was the biggest priority. Making them feel like friends would keep them returning. It would also have them telling their friends about the amazing people they had preparing their tax returns. “I told clients they could expect to save our fee simply from missed deductions,” Martha said. Lou added, “we actually used to pay people for referrals in those first few years.”
Keeping it in the Family
Of course, most current clients know the legacy of Gagliano Associates, but they don’t know the history. When Lou and Martha Gagliano started the business in 1987, there were two clients. By the time they retired, there were hundreds of clients. During the final few years of Lou and Martha’s tenure as the owners of GA, daughter Jennie Hrdlicka stepped in to assist. Much like Martha, it wasn’t something that she necessarily wanted to do for a living. But after a very short time in the office, Jennie realized she loved it, too. “It was like creating a financial puzzle that helps people get the maximum refund they could get,” she says. Jennie’s husband, Jan, is said to have stopped in to visit Jennie one day and worked on a return and never left. He and Jennie learned income tax preparation at the same time because he was in the mortgage business. He felt learning to do taxes would benefit him in the mortgage industry. It was kismet that Jan and Jennie would purchase the business her parents started and run with it, making it what it is today.
Passing of the Torch: GA then vs GA Now:
When Lou and Martha Gagliano started the business, they never dreamed of all that would transpire over the next twenty years. The economy changed, making everybody a homeowner. It changed again making every homeowner willing to look for investment opportunities in their homes. Stocks, bonds, and investments weren’t just benefits of the 1%–John Q. Homeowner was able to cash in on the equity in their homes when the housing bubble was expanding and invest. This made tax preparation and filing more complex than ever before. It also turned income tax preparation into a year-round business–not just a February-April venture. Lou and Martha handled hundreds of individual tax returns, but the expertise of Jan and Jennie added a whole new area of tax preparation: S-corporation tax preparation. In 2006, Lou and Martha began transitioning their clients to Jan and Jennie, and over the next 4 years they completed the transition with Jennie and Jan carrying the torch since then.
More has changed over the past few years: Jan and Jennie have continued to have success as a tax preparation business. Their business has changed from just a few months a year to being busy all year round. Years of experience, know-how, and expertise have made Gagliano Associates highly coveted in terms of tax preparation in Colorado. They also do income tax preparation for clients in many other states! Jan is a genius with numbers and tax code, and is the one to turn to with complicated returns. He specializes in S-corporations, partnerships, estates, and trusts. He also earned his EA, Enrolled Agent designation, which is essentially a master’s degree in taxes. His grasp of complicated financial situations and ability to figure out even the most complex tax issues is second to none in the business. He truly pays attention to detail and he has the perfect mind for complex interactions of tax issues. In terms of the tax authority in the office of Gagliano Associates, Jan is it. Compassionate and utterly brilliant, Jan welcomes each client warmly and confidently, and he handles their tax needs with an expertise that is top-notch. What sets Jan apart from others, particularly traditional accountants, is his background. Aside from having all of the training in tax preparation, Jan has a master’s degree in counseling. It’s this additional training which makes him so compassionate and a genuinely remarkable person. Jennie, a sharp and shrewd businesswoman, has helped catapult Gagliano Associates into the 21st century with technology that is cutting edge for the field. They offer secure and complete remote services (see the several other states part), as well as social media. There is also a way for clients to securely drop documents via their website as well as take payments–something very few in the industry even think to offer! She credits the amazing network of clients for the continued success of Gagliano Associates after all these years. Jennie has an extensive business background in addition to her expertise in income tax preparation, which sets her apart from others in the field. Both Jan and Jennie are able to connect so well to their clients because they know how to think like the customer and get inside their heads. Relatable and personable, they know the right questions to ask to dig for deductions, and make clients feel warm and welcome. They still believe in treating their clients like gold, and they want to continue serving generations of clients in the future. They offer special rates for dependent children of their clientele.
Gagliano Associates couldn’t be what it is today without all of you. We are extremely proud of the work we do, the services we provide, and the friendships we have built with our clients. It warms our hearts tremendously to see the feedback our clients leave for us on Yelp, Google, and Facebook. We want to thank you from the bottoms of our hearts. It is because of each and every one of you that our business continues to grow and HAS grown every year for the past 12 years. We feel deeply connected to each and every one of our amazing clients–something that only happens when you truly care about your customers. We feel immensely blessed to be able to see you through the different stages of your lives–from the first joint return you need prepared after getting married to setting up college funds for your children to accessing those college accounts later on when your kids head off to college. It is our honor and privilege to be able to be parts of your lives, and we look forward to continuing to serve you in the future.