By Linda Andersen
Chelsi (Nelson) Langehaug and Molly (Gustafson) Sobolik are certified public accountants and moms of young children who appreciate the “flexibility” working for Eide Bailly allows them. Eide Bailly LLP is a certified public accounting and business advisory firm headquartered in Fargo, North Dakota.
Molly and Chelsi recently took a morning break from family and work to talk about their backgrounds, their work with Eide Bailly, and their families.
Langehaug, a 2007 graduate of Lancaster High School, earned her master’s degree in accounting from North Dakota State University in 2012. She entered college as a business major, took an accounting class and was hooked on the subject. “The homework was fun for me,” she said.
Sobolik, a 2006 graduate of Kittson Central in Hallock, earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Concordia College (Moorhead) in 2010. She entered college considering either a degree in accounting or math education. She said she took a course in accounting and another in math – that approach settled the matter. “I hated the math class,” she said. Her aptitude for accounting could run in the family – she reported that both her dad and brother have degrees in accounting.
Langehaug and Sobolik agree that passing the CPA exam is quite a project. Langehaug described the process as “grueling,” saying it was a four part test that required a lot of studying. She passed the tests over an eighteen month period, while also working a job.
Sobolik said she passed the tests the summer after college graduation, saying the project was “kind of my summer job.”
Langehaug worked for the Kittson County Highway Department for three years in accounting. She then heard about Sobolik’s work with Eide Bailly, talked with her, and secured an at-home job with the firm in 2015.
Sobolik began work in the firm’s Bismarck office in October of 2010. Just short of a year, she transferred to the Fargo office. Upon her family’s move back to Hallock in 2012, she began to work from home.
What does the work entail for the women? “I mainly do ag work,” Sobolik said of her duties during the “busy season” (January through April). “Other times of year I work largely with our EO Team.” She explained that EO stands for “exempt organizations” and involves doing tax returns for such clients as hospitals, nursing homes, and other not-for-profit entities. “Many of our exempt organization clients file on a fiscal year end which helps to make the work flow steady throughout the year as opposed to condensed to the busy season months,” she said.
“The firm as a whole is paperless,” she added, saying that “Source documents the customers provide are scanned.”
“I was just working on a Boise return the other day,” she said in explaining that clients come from various parts of the United States.
Langehaug works “almost exclusively on farm returns” during the busy season. Other times of the year she does work for bookkeeping clients and works on larger returns that have been extended. “Some returns don’t have all the information available by the deadline so we extend those projects into the summer months to complete as the information becomes available,” she explained.
What do the women enjoy about their work besides the flexibility? “I like the challenge of the tax world,” replied Langehaug, who said she also enjoys her co-workers. Even though they don’t see co-workers in person a lot, “The technology is such that we’re interacting fairly often.” They also have the opportunity to interact with fellow employees at training and social events that the firm sponsors.
Sobolik said she likes the “variety,” adding, “Each set of tax returns has its own challenges.”
The women offered a long list of services Eide Bailly provides. Those services are: accounting services, audit and assurance, cost segregation, cyber security, financial services, forensic and valuation, health care reform, international services, outsourced services, risk advisory services, tax services, technology consulting, transaction services, and wealth management.
They offered additional information about the firm, written by the firm’s marketing manager, Katie Hutton. “We were founded in 1917 in Fargo, ND. 2017 marks our 100 year anniversary…During that time, we have grown from a local Fargo firm to a Top 25 CPA firm in the nation with 29 offices in 13 states…One of our industries of expertise is agriculture…We serve 2,300 farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural producers.”
Molly Sobolik is married to Brett and they have two children, Nora (5) and Blake, who will turn three on May 28.
Chelsi Langehaug is married to Mark. They are the parents of Luke (4) and Eli (2). Both women send their children to day care full-time while they work, but also sometimes work in the early morning or evening hours during the busy times of year.
A flexible work schedule is particularly helpful when one has a family and the women appreciate this aspect of their work situation. Although they must complete projects and submit accurate records of time worked, they can adjust schedules if a child becomes sick or another need arises.
“They’re very big on work/life balance,” Langehaug said of her employer. She’s grateful for their flexibility which allows her to work fifty-five hours during the busy season and then less in the summer so she can “unwind and catch-up on family time.”
Sobolik appreciates that the firm has “accommodated requests as far as schedule changes,” allowing her to go from working full-time to three-fourths time to half-time.
As the morning interview ended, Langehaug, who had dropped her children off at day care, was off to work for Eide Bailly at home until late afternoon. Sobolik, whose sick children were in the temporary care of their dad, was happy to know she could set aside her Eide Bailly work for the day and tend to her children.
For anyone interested in hearing more about Eide Bailly and services that can be provided please reach out to Molly at msobolik@ eidebailly.com or by phone at 701.239.8522 or Chelsi at email@example.com or by phone at 701.239. 8614.
By Linda Andersen