Old-School Values With A Modern Approach
Ernie Neve, CPA
September 11, 2019
I come from a hard-working, entrepreneurial family. My father owned a fuel oil business when I was growing up. At that time, many homes in our area were heated with oil. My father was the home-heating-oil delivery man. He would bring oil to people’s houses, maintain their heaters and make sure every one of his customers always had heat. Mom took care of the business side of the company. During the day, Dad also worked as a teamster (I learned all about unions, too). He would come home and handle the family business on nights and weekends. I often rode along with him in the truck.
I grew up watching my mom and dad. They worked hard, and their examples instilled lasting life values in me. I learned the importance of hard work from a young age. I also learned the value of excellent customer service from my dad. He went to great lengths to take care of customers.
I remember the phone calls at 2 a.m. on those freezing cold, Northeast winter nights. Someone would call and say “Please! We’ve run out of oil. We have two kids in the house and we’re freezing.” Dad would jump out of bed, get in his truck and off he went.
Dad's example taught me how important it is to take care of the customer, have integrity, and always do your best to protect your reputation. While my parents taught me the value of hard work, they also taught me that theirs was a hard way to make a living. Their education came from the school of hard knocks. My dad got his hands dirty every day. But their life wasn’t what I wanted, and it wasn’t what my parents wanted for me. In a strange way, their examples taught me the value of education. Watching them I learned how important it is to go to school, study hard, and get good grades. When I decided that I wanted to get a college degree, I realized that’s exactly what they wanted to teach me. Times have changed, but I have held on to those timeless lessons.
I earned my degree in business administration with a focus in finance and accounting from SUNY Buffalo where I also played varsity ice hockey. Not long after I finished school, I pursued my CPA license, and within a few years, I had it. Prior to starting The Neve Group, I worked at two other CPA firms: Maillie, Falconiero & Company, and the international CPA/consulting firm Grant Thornton. But, honestly, I always knew I would go out on my own.
I ended up doing it sooner than I expected! Through a sequence of totally unexpected events surrounding my job at the time, I connected with a gentleman who’d already started a CPA firm. We became partners. He brought clients to the table and I brought mine. Unfortunately for him (and as it turned out, very fortunately for me), this gentleman did not have the necessary time or ability to keep the firm going. Within six months he decided to move on. I bought him out, and the Neve Group was born. Now 20 plus years later, The Neve group is a full-service CPA firm specializing in “solving problems and saving taxes.” It just goes to show, you never know what’s going to happen in life. I'm grateful for the turns mine took.