Family business puts service into award-winning action

Like an extended family gathered for Thanksgiving dinner, Sannerud, Savarese and Associates, P.A. staff members enjoyed a made-from-scratch meal to celebrate the close of a busy tax season.

Financial Services Champion award winners Sannerud, Savarese and Associates, P.A. pose for a portrait in the reception area of their Ham Lake offices. Pictured here are (front row, left to right) Betty Sannerud, founder Al Sannerud, Managing Partner Sue Savarese CPA, (back row, left to right) Amy Krekelberg, Deb Steffes, Jenny Powers, Firm Administrator Pauline Peterson, Ruth Hunter, Betsy O’Berry, CPA, Paulette Hynes, Michelle Ronning, Dawn Smith, CPA. Not pictured are staff members MaryLou Michels and Jody Newlander. Photo courtesy of Sannerud, Savarese and Associations, P.A.

Financial Services Champion award winners Sannerud, Savarese and Associates, P.A. pose for a portrait in the reception area of their Ham Lake offices. Pictured here are (front row, left to right) Betty Sannerud, founder Al Sannerud, Managing Partner Sue Savarese CPA, (back row, left to right) Amy Krekelberg, Deb Steffes, Jenny Powers, Firm Administrator Pauline Peterson, Ruth Hunter, Betsy O’Berry, CPA, Paulette Hynes, Michelle Ronning, Dawn Smith, CPA. Not pictured are staff members MaryLou Michels and Jody Newlander. Photo courtesy of Sannerud, Savarese and Associations, P.A.

Chuckling over shared memories, peering toward a promising future and relaxing over the homemade meal, the certified public accounting firm’s staff members sit back and enjoy a rare release from the daily grind.

Staff at Sannerud, Savarese and Associates work like a well-oiled machine, fueled by a common goal and powered by a common mission: to provide service to others.

Recently, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recognized the firm’s expertise and service, naming Sannerud, Savarese and Associates as Minnesota Financial Services Champions of the Year.

“That’s quite an honor and we are so appreciative of that recognition, but we would be nowhere without our staff,” said Sue Savarese, CPA and managing partner of the firm, founded by her father, Al Sannerud.

The Financial Services Champion award is presented annually in each state to individuals who assist small businesses through advocacy efforts to increase the usefulness and availability of accounting or financial services.

At Sannerud, Savarese and Associates, that service is consistently offered in the office and in the community.

The firm provides accounting, income tax services and financial planning assistance and specializes in serving the needs of family-owned and closely-held businesses. It also provides free seminars to small business owners – whether they are clients of the firm or not.

Small Business Administration files show that Sannerud, Savarese and Associates has helped more than 1,000 small businesses start and grow.

But the firm’s service doesn’t stop there. Outside the office, Sannerud and Savarese serves neighbors in need.

Sannerud helped start Free2Be!, a non-profit organization that repairs and donates automobiles to Anoka County residents in need. He also helped to get Bikes4Kids off the ground. That non-profit group collects, repairs and donates bicycles to children and others in need of a simple form of transportation.

In past years, Sannerud served on the Ham Lake Planning and Zoning Commission and currently serves on the Ham Lake Charter Commission and the Ham Lake Economic Development Company.

When he saw the need for small business banking in the Ham Lake area, Sannerud became one of the founding stockholders in the Community Pride Bank.

He and his wife, Betty, are active members of Faith Lutheran Church in Coon Rapids, and not only that, Al was the first president of the congregation and formerly served as treasurer for the church.

“Service to others has always been an important thing in my parents’ life and they instilled that in the children as well,” said Sannerud’s daughter, Sue Savarese.

Savarese is a recognized business tax expert and often speaks to groups about best business practices. But at work or away, Savarese follows in her parents’ footsteps, serving in the church and in the community.

She has served as treasurer for Faith Lutheran Church and currently is a member of the church’s hand bell choir.

Also, Savarese is one of the founding members and former treasurer of the Andover High School Drama Parents Organization.

Not only that, Savarese serves on the board of directors and offers her expertise as treasurer of the Nucleus Clinic, a free women’s health center located in Coon Rapids.

She is also a member of the Anoka County Workforce Board.

“Mom and Dad have always been serving, always helping, always doing something to help others. It’s just a natural part of every day of my life and of my family’s life,” said Savarese.

Sannerud, Savarese and Associates will be honored at the Minnesota Small Business Week Awards program taking place May 6 at the Depot Minneapolis.

Sue Austreng is at sue.austreng@ecm-inc.com

up arrow