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FML founding partner Lisa Willauer has been named to Forbes’ inaugural America’s Top 200 CPAs list. She is one of just four honorees from Connecticut — and one of 15 from New England — to receive this honor.

An article in Forbes introducing the list says, “Forbes has compiled its inaugural compendium of the 200 finest practicing CPAs in America, following almost a year of research to ensure this selection represents a new standard of excellence for the best in the profession. Indeed, the job of curating the top 200 CPAs from a sea of talent was a task that echoed the very principles on which this profession stands — most of all, a fierce commitment to the staunch independence that delivers reliable financial data, upon which the American economy resides.”

As for its methodology, Forbes “assembled an editorial team with broad experience in CPA practice, coverage of accounting news, and knowledge of CPA practice. The team then identified a wide array of eligible candidates through hundreds of interviews with industry insiders, outside nominations, editorial research, and an independent advisory board of experts. To qualify for consideration, CPAs were required to be active and licensed. Over a thousand CPAs from a variety of backgrounds, specializations and locations were ultimately considered. Candidates were rated in ten weighted categories, including achievements, professional honors, influence on the profession, performance, thought leadership, and innovation. Although their lifetime achievements were considered, emphasis was placed on their most recent accomplishments. The CPAs with the highest scores made our final list.”

Lisa founded FML in 2002 along with Jeff Fiondella and Frank Milone. Under their leadership, the firm has grown to 120 employees with 19 partners across six offices throughout Connecticut. Lisa helped create a structure that has fostered innovation, creativity and success. The founders established five tenets of the firm when they launched and have stayed dedicated to them throughout:

  • Quality in everything we do
  • Provide the maximum level of service to all clients
  • Deliver the results expected and on a timely basis
  • Build relationships that will allow us to learn our clients’ business and understand their issues
  • Ensure the highest degree of client satisfaction possible

One of the reasons FML has grown so exponentially and successfully in the last 20 years is Lisa’s mentorship and leadership. She has encouraged and empowered employees to buy into the firm’s core tenets. Lisa has provided young accountants in the firm the opportunity and the blueprint to grow into leadership roles — some becoming partners — because of both their technical ability and the client-first approach.

Lisa and others from FML speak at entrepreneurial programs at colleges in the state like Yale and UConn and support these programs through education. She educates students on concepts of tax and accounting while they’re in the infant stages of forming their own companies.

Lisa also gives presentations through BioCT, Connecticut Innovations, Angel Investor Forum, The District in New Haven and incubator hubs throughout the state. She believes in the power of giving back to high-growth companies that are entrepreneurial in nature and have the potential to boost entire industries and communities on a local level.

Lisa is a Yale Entrepreneur in Residence and FML annually supports the Yale Innovation Summit. She has helped position FML as a major and consistent contributor to the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Connecticut, especially as it pertains to potential high-growth companies.

On the business side, Lisa helps bring young companies from inception all the way through to exit. She understands all the technical aspects, going up against other firms doing due diligence on FML’s work, and she puts her clients in a position to enjoy a smooth transition to exit with no exposures.

Lisa and FML continually provide value to their clients from day one until the last day. She knows that selling a company represents years of hard work coming to fruition, and she ensures her clients are able to fully capitalize on everything they’ve put into the business.