April 1, 2008

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Allen Bostrum

A Universal Turnaround

Stephanie Sonntag

April 1, 2008

As the CEO of a company that helps turn around struggling businesses, it helps to have some first-hand experience. Allen Bostrom, CEO of Universal Accounting Center (UAC), has the resume for the job. Bostrom worked for more than a decade to turn his father’s three-employee accounting advising business into one of the fastest growing companies locally and nationally. Now, the Murray-based company boasts nearly 40 employees with around 3,000 sales per year, and has gained deserved recognition in the business community. In 2004, UAC was No. 72 on MountainWest Capital Network’s Utah 100 list of the fastest growing companies in the state. One year later the company entered into the top 50, ranking 32. On a national level, Universal Accounting Center appeared in the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies in the nation in 2006 at 313. UAC provides small businesses with training and courses on how to manage finances, information Bostrom believes accountant graduates don’t receive in their formal education. He says most graduates in accounting are only trained to work for Fortune 500 companies and are in the dark when it comes to running finances for small businesses. “Business owners have to have the right tools,” Bostrom says. “They have to make smart decisions¬ — not only work hard. The biggest problems we see are businesses that don’t know what they are doing and are financially lousy at running their bank accounts.” During the past few years, Bostrom has seen several companies turn around just as UAC did during the last decade. “A lot of companies owe their existence to the training they received at Universal Accounting,” he says. “Some are earning in the six digits, and until they came with us they were barely making it.” Bostrom attributes Universal Accounting’s success to the Internet, a new team of marketers and a larger product base. With help from the Web, UAC’s market spread nationwide and experienced major growth after 2001. Instead of having 250 sales a year, the company averages 250 per month. Now the majority of “students” who use the software live outside the state. As a teenager accompanying his father to work, Bostrom learned the dynamics of small businesses, but his work experience taught him about large businesses as well. He graduated with an accounting degree from the University of Utah and took an accounting job with Exxon Mobile for 12 years. One of Bostrom’s fundamental strategies is to assist companies in finding ways to expand into new markets and product offerings. He says most of the growth businesses will experience is through offering several different products that attract varying types of businesses. It appears as if Bostrom is again taking his own advice. This year, Universal Accounting is releasing tax-training material, CPA-specific training material and another book, Red to BLACK, which advises companies how to turn profits around.
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