New with the Old: Accounting and Tax Firms Combine to Serve Clients Better

Peter VanderWoude, CPA, CGMA

January 1, 2017

The roots of Equus Advisors and Cortland Bookkeeping and Tax Service extend back to 1943 when Clarence Green opened his practice in the Cortland Savings Bank Building. Since then there have been two owners before Peter VanderWoude assumed ownership in 2015.

Charles Cook purchased the practice in the late 1950s and Paul Lorenzo purchased it in 1976. In 2015, Peter and Paul joined forces and moved the practice from Tompkins Street to the McNeil Building at 17-29 Main Street.

Personal service has been key for the firm since its inception with the firm’s professionals keeping clients on track with all kinds of tax filings, bookkeeping and payroll services.

Most business owners are challenged by today’s technology advances. Customers and clients are demanding new, more convenient ways to communicate, share and receive information. The accounting profession has changed as well. Peter VanderWoude, a certified public accountant, is excited about the years ahead in the accounting profession. He is investing in technology upgrades to make use of new Cloud-based software and tools to serve the present day business person.

There is much more to be done to reach Peter’s vision of a collaborative environment with clients. His goal is to go well beyond filing tax returns and performing monthly/yearly bookkeeping, to where a business owner client can see where they are in their business 24/7. Products like QuickBooks Online, and Receipt Bank will be part of the technology ecosystem.

In the meantime, individual clients and business clients will still be served the way they are used to being served. Paper tax returns and financial statements are still produced. Printing paperless to secure online portals where clients can safely share and view their tax, bookkeeping and payroll information is being implemented later this year.

Paul Lorenzo, an Enrolled Agent, is not in the office as often as he used to be, but he is still an integral part of the business. He has 40 years of memory that Peter taps into often. Paul is well known in Cortland and his clients enjoy seeing him. The firm loves having him around and there will be a healthy transition period as he moves toward retirement.

Paul Lorenzo chose Peter VanderWoude to succeed him because he feels the firm’s clients will be well served by Peter and his team of professionals which include Kimberlea VanderWoude as office manager, Jeanne Townley as accountant, Corinna Grossi as payroll specialist, John Watkins, retired owner of Groton Tax Service, and Adam Clark as seasonal tax preparers. Nigel VanderWoude, a senior at Cornell, helps out between semesters.

Peter VanderWoude’s goal for the firm is to grow to be the largest accounting firm in Cortland County and to expand into Tompkins County as well. He chose the Latin name “Equus” for his business because of his affinity for horses. Peter grew up on his family’s dairy farm overlooking Killawog just south of Marathon. He chose to place “Advisors” in the business name to reflect what the firm seeks to be to its clients.

Readers are encouraged to view the firm’s website at for more information.

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