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Who We Are

Ascend is a professional firm providing accounting and management consulting services to companies in Vermont and throughout New England.  Ascend was started in January 2015 by an experienced financial leader who began providing fractional CFO services.  From a growing base of satisfied clients, the firm later expanded its’ resources along with the depth and breadth of services offered.  With the current team of accounting and finance professionals, we are responsive to the needs of entrepreneurs and business owners who are looking for access to the skills of proven professionals without the cost-burden of hiring full-time employees.   Our team has spent over 40 years collectively helping companies nationwide through accounting and financial leadership.

Ascend Group serves startup companies to established businesses in a number of industries and offers a variety of services to suit the needs of any business, including:

  • Interim leadership – During a transition we keep the trains running and keep them running on time.  While at the same time, we’ll bench mark the current function and implement best practices.  We have also successfully helped source and select permanent hires for the business.  We often partner with a trusted network of executive recruiters.
  • Supplemental leadership – A business has outgrown their accounting team, but can’t afford a full-time Controller or CFO yet.  They need someone to take it to the next level when it comes to reporting, communicating, planning, and execution.
  • Value add activities – Working closely with your  public accounting (CPA) firm, we can implement a best-in-class accounting function which in turn increases efficiencies with the CPA and improves the overall integrity and accuracy of your financial records.   We can also assist your  leadership team with activities that they have limited experience with.  Those activities may include strategic planning, implementing KBM dashboards, lean exercises, scenario planning, and tracking and assessing the investments of a business owner/investors.  Collectively we also have deep experience in risk management and human resources.
  • Manage key events – Recapitalization and/or refinancing of a business.  Advise ownership on how to best capitalize their business, improve the bottom line, and project what it could be worth under certain scenarios.  We’ll also roll up our sleeves and serve as project manager for the recap or refi.
  • Software selection and implementation –  Another high risk event that a business wants to get right the first time.  The system change may be too much for the current accounting team to handle.

Our Mission

We believe every company needs thriving accounting and finance functions that enable owners to keenly focus on running and growing their business. Ascend Group delivers on-demand specialized financial expertise as a trusted financial leadership resource for companies throughout Vermont and New England.

Our Team

Directors

Scott Smith - Founder of Ascend Group

Scott has over 20 years of professional experience in finance and accounting. He has served as the Chief Financial Officer at Bullrock Corporation, Vermont Teddy Bear, Heritage Aviation, and Hubbardton Forge. In addition, he has also served in various finance and accounting managerial roles at Fab-Tech, Burton Snowboards, and American Skiing Company.

Tim George Director at Ascend Group

A native Vermonter with more than 25 years of professional experience at blue-chip companies like Vermont Teddy Bear, Burton Snowboards, Hampton Direct, and City Market, Tim provides a veteran leadership and counsel found at the executive level. Accounting, supply chain, human resources, legal affairs and information technology – this former CFO has helped guided many entrepreneurial companies to success. Tim has undergraduate degrees in Finance and Political Science from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and earned his MBA at the University of Vermont.

Dave of Ascend in Vermont

Dave brings Ascend Group a diverse portfolio and a work ethic he learned growing up on a dairy farm. A licensed CPA in Vermont and Pennsylvania, he’s maintained relationships with a number of industries, individuals, and start-ups (C-Corporation, S-Corporation, Partnership, LLC, etc.). Dave comes to us from Pennsylvania where he started his 15-years of experience with Boyer and Ritter, LLC, before coming to Vermont for Gallagher, Flynn and Company, LLC.

Associates

Andrea

Andrea has thirty years of experience for various Vermont non-profit organizations, including serving as the Chief Financial Officer for Vermont Public Television, Shelburne Museum and the Flynn Center. She has a deep understanding of the nuances of the non-profit sector, and as is often the case in NPOs, in her past roles Andrea has led the human resources, information technology and general administrative teams giving her a wide range of business experience.

Deb di Stefano Vt

Deb has over 30 years of accounting experience and is a licensed CPA in Vermont.  Deb has worked for a multitude of related entities making her versed in juggling everything from accounting, office management and property management as well as assisted small clients with their yearly accounting.   Deb was a controller at an eCommerce business she helped grow from a start up to a successful business.   Her first 10 years in accounting were spent at CPA firms.  Deb enjoys helping client have accurate financials, assisting in accounting computer conversions & integrations, and working with accounting staff to improve accounting practices.

Ascend Fractional Bookkeeper

Joyce comes to Ascend with over 25 years working for non-profit organizations. She understands working for NPO’s, the need for internal controls and processes for segregation of duties.  Joyce performed these duties in her role as an Accounting Manager or Business Administrator.  She especially enjoys the bookkeeping and the detail needed for reporting to board members.

Ki of Ascend in Vermont

Ki McClennan worked for many years in administration, project coordination, office management and bookkeeping. Her most recent 13 years were spent in the roles of office manager and bookkeeper to a Burlington law firm, supporting thirteen attorneys and supervising the firm’s staff. Ki has a particular love of bookkeeping, and also enjoys opportunities to utilize her organizational skills. She offers hard work, thoughtful problem solving, and creative management of simultaneous tasks.

Leslie Thayer, Vt

Leslie brings 25 years of professional and management experience in non-profit and for-profit service sectors, including Vermont Legal Aid, Independent Tax Service, and Safer Highways Driving School.  Her blend of Accounting and Human Resources experience allows her to flow easily along the management continuum.  Leslie has an undergraduate degree in Accounting and English from Trinity College of Vermont and earned her MBA and HR certificate at Champlain College of Vermont.

Melanie Clark Vt.

Melanie Clark has spent the last 16 years building her career as the Chief Financial Officer for one of the fastest growing manufacturing companies in Vermont. During this time, she held a variety of positions that ranged from Finance Manager, to General Manager and finally spending her last 7 years as the CFO. Building her experience through a lean manufacturing environment has given her the ability to identify opportunities that eliminate waste in the accounting processes and therefore reduce costs.

Mike - CFO

Mike DuPont
Associate

Mike brings to Ascend over 35 years of corporate finance, accounting and operational management experience. He has held multiple senior and executive level positions for companies such as Burton Snowboards, Suss MicroTec, Peregrine Outfitters, Choice Strategies and WageWorks. Over the course of his vast career, Mike has gained the insight to incorporate best practices and believes in not ‘re-inventing the wheel’ when providing effective solutions for his clients.

Peter

Peter Longchamp
Associate

Peter brings to Ascend expertise from over 30 years as both a CFO and Controller in manufacturing, distribution, retail, and ecommerce industries.  Throughout his career, his successes have started by building efficient and motivated financial teams with an emphasis on supporting the mission of the organization.  He has taken that approach with mid-sized Vermont companies during is leadership positions at Tuttle Publishing, Vermont Hard Cider Company, Tata’s Natural Alchemy, and other companies.  He has significant experience in the selection and implementation of ERP systems, navigating corporate financing/fundraising and M&A activities, as well being a general operational and financial resource for all areas of an organization.   Peter holds CPA, CMA, CGMA, and CITP designations.

Advisors

Dan Browdy

Dan has over 20 years of operational leadership experience in a variety of fast-growing Vermont-based entrepreneurial companies. Dan served as COO of Hubbardton Forge, COO of Burlington Labs, VP of Business Excellence at Aspenti Health, as well as a variety of operations, systems and large-scale project roles in other companies. Dan also ran his own consulting business where he focused on helping companies define and reach their strategic goals as well as overcome operational challenges.

Brian

Brian approaches finance as a seasoned operating manager with over 35 years of leadership experience in diverse senior management roles with large multinational corporations and numerous Vermont-based entrepreneurial start-ups and growth companies. He began his career with six years in high tech manufacturing and successfully launched operating divisions at Fidelity Investments and IDC. He served as CEO, CFO, and Lead Director of a Vermont-based IoT water tech start-up, CFO/COO of multiple Vermont-based businesses, Partner of a buy-side private equity advisory firm, and Founding Managing Director of a Vermont-based private equity firm. He has specialized expertise in strategic planning, financial planning and budgeting, board governance, company valuation, capital raising, private equity investment, and buy-side/sell-side M&A. Brian earned an MBA and a BS in Industrial and Operations Engineering from The University of Michigan.

Doug

Doug has over 25 years professional experience in Finance, Operations and IT.  He served as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for AllEarth Renewables, leading growth that resulted in the firm being named to the INC 500 and overseeing financing of over $50 million in renewable energy projects.  Prior to that he held various leadership positions at Rock of Ages including President of its Quarry Division with annual revenues of $30 million and served as CFO and CIO when the firm was publically traded on NASDAQ.  Doug has an MBA and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Vermont.

Our Network

By harnessing the power of an entire trusted network, Ascend Group engages proven resources with experience in:

  • Commercial and investment banking.
  • Information Technology & E-commerce.
  • Marketing project management and brand management.
  • Executive coaching.

Our Clients

Doug has over 25 years professional experience in Finance, Operations and IT.  He served as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for AllEarth Renewables, leading growth that resulted in the firm being named to the INC 500 and overseeing financing of over $50 million in renewable energy projects.  Prior to that he held various leadership positions at Rock of Ages including President of its Quarry Division with annual revenues of $30 million and served as CFO and CIO when the firm was publically traded on NASDAQ.  Doug has an MBA and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Vermont.

Our Network

By harnessing the power of an entire trusted network, Ascend Group engages proven resources with experience in:

  • Commercial and investment banking.
  • Information Technology & E-commerce.
  • Marketing project management and brand management.
  • Executive coaching.

Our Clients

Doug has over 25 years professional experience in Finance, Operations and IT.  He served as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for AllEarth Renewables, leading growth that resulted in the firm being named to the INC 500 and overseeing financing of over $50 million in renewable energy projects.  Prior to that he held various leadership positions at Rock of Ages including President of its Quarry Division with annual revenues of $30 million and served as CFO and CIO when the firm was publically traded on NASDAQ.  Doug has an MBA and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Vermont.

Our Network

By harnessing the power of an entire trusted network, Ascend Group engages proven resources with experience in:

  • Commercial and investment banking.
  • Information Technology & E-commerce.
  • Marketing project management and brand management.
  • Executive coaching.

Our Clients

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