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LEADING QUESTIONS: CPA Sponsel takes calculated risk

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Leading Questions

Welcome to the latest installment of  “Leading Questions: Wisdom from the Corner Office,” in which  IBJ sits down with central Indiana’s top bosses to talk shop about their industry and the habits that lead to success.

Tom Sponsel, 57, launched Sponsel CPA Group in September 2009 after leaving the accounting firm at which he had spent a majority of his career. He joined the firm that would become Greenwalt Sponsel & Co. Inc. in 1980, and expected to succeed managing partner Larry Greenwalt as the firm's leader in January 2011. But Sponsel was unhappy with the direction of the company, and he decided to leave after it became apparent the firm no longer intended to install him in Greenwalt's position.

It was a calculated risk for Sponsel, who plowed $250,000 of his own money into the start-up and arranged for $750,000 in financing for the firm from M&I Bank. Today, Sponsel CPA Group has 21 employees—including managing partner Sponsel and three other partners formerly with Greenwalt Sponsel & Co. Inc.—and more than 100 clients.

In the video below, Sponsel recounts the steps taken to create his firm and get it off the ground. The experience was valuable for Sponsel and his employees, who gained insight into the business issues on which they regularly counsel their clients. Sponsel also discusses the inspiration he finds in his family's history, marked with entrepreneurs.

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  1. I am so impressed that the smoking ban FAILED in Kokomo! I might just move to your Awesome city!

  2. way to much breweries being built in indianapolis. its going to be saturated market, if not already. when is enough, enough??

  3. This house is a reminder of Hamilton County history. Its position near the interstate is significant to remember what Hamilton County was before the SUPERBROKERs, Navients, commercial parks, sprawling vinyl villages, and acres of concrete retail showed up. What's truly Wasteful is not reusing a structure that could still be useful. History isn't confined to parks and books.

  4. To compare Connor Prairie or the Zoo to a random old house is a big ridiculous. If it were any where near the level of significance there wouldn't be a major funding gap. Put a big billboard on I-69 funded by the tourism board for people to come visit this old house, and I doubt there would be any takers, since other than age there is no significance whatsoever. Clearly the tax payers of Fishers don't have a significant interest in this project, so PLEASE DON'T USE OUR VALUABLE MONEY. Government money is finite and needs to be utilized for the most efficient and productive purposes. This is far from that.

  5. I only tried it 2x and didn't think much of it both times. With the new apts plus a couple other of new developments on Guilford, I am surprised it didn't get more business. Plus you have a couple of subdivisions across the street from it. I hope Upland can keep it going. Good beer and food plus a neat environment and outdoor seating.

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