This firm has spent the past decade helping area companies grow their businesses. Meet a dedicated owner and find out how he continues to grow his company through service to others.
A lot has changed since Lucas Beggin and Richard Lamm helped launch Lucas Group a decade ago. In just 10 years, the firm has grown from a seven-person operation to a thriving financial services team that works between two locations. And it continues to grow.
“When we started, we had three partners, three other staff members, and my mom was helping us put tax returns together,” says Beggin, now the firm’s executive partner.
Lamm, the firm’s managing partner, and Beggin leads a staff of 22 employees split between offices in Rockford and Freeport.
“Our team is pretty dynamic, and they continue to impress me and exceed my expectations,” Beggin says.
The Lucas Group umbrella has two firms. Lucas Group CPAs + Advisors specializes in accounting and financial management, while Lucas Group Financial Advisors takes care of wealth management.
Combined, Lucas Group provides comprehensive services for individuals and small to mid-sized businesses, including investment management, income tax planning, retirement planning and legacy planning.
“The CPA firm focuses more on planning, so tax planning and helping guide small businesses is a real emphasis for us, as opposed to tax compliance,” Beggin says. “We also specialize audits for governments and nonprofits.
Helping others has always been a passion for Beggin, a U.S. Army veteran of the Iraq War. Early on, he made it a goal to own his own accounting firm by the time he was 30.
“I barely made it,” he says. “I always wanted to do public accounting, and I got into the business because I knew it would be a way to help people.”
From his youth, he always was passionate about business, but he also spent lots of time volunteering with nonprofits and community programs.
“I knew people needed help in so many ways, yet I wanted to work in business,” he says. “Becoming a CPA and doing wealth management has allowed me to do both.”
Beggin launched his firm in September 2010 as Beggin Tipp Lamm CPAs. The office was housed in Freeport.
“When looking for ways to grow the firm, Dick and I decided that putting our audit experience to work would help us to reach more people, so two years later, we acquired Elliott & Company,” Beggin says.
When Beggin’s team took over Elliott, then a small accounting firm that specialized in audits, they established an expertise in nonprofit and governmental auditing.
“We started to get more Rockford clients in addition with Freeport,” Beggin says. “So we knew we needed to expand our footprint in Rockford.”
They purchased Weinberg & Co. in November 2013, which doubled their staff and further increased their access to Rockford-based clients.
In 2014, Beggin and his team entered new territory when they assumed BTL Capital Management, a firm with specialties in financial and retirement planning.
“We were already unofficially advising people as far as wealth and what they should do as far as broader planning ideas,” Beggin says. “Rather than sending our clients and friends to other advisors, who you hoped would treat them fairly, we decided the best way to make sure our clients were getting the advice they deserved was to handle the finances ourselves in addition to the tax planning.”
To create more of a focused identity, in 2019 the company underwent a complete rebranding. Beggin Tipp Lamm CPAs became Lucas Group CPAs + Advisors, and BTL Capital Management became Lucas Group Financial Advisors.
“This has really helped us because we were initially trying to market two brands, and now we have one distinct brand, with one focus” he says. “A lot of clients work on both sides of the business because the taxes you pay ultimately impact investment returns, but Lucas Group is the overarching identifying name.”
Just a few months later, in June, Lucas Group Financial Advisors added the office of Kent Heise of Regal Investment Advisors, in downtown Rockford. Three more team members with knowledge in estate planning and insurance services were added.
In December 2019, Lucas Group consolidated and moved its Rockford offices into one building, now located at 1617 Temple Lane. This convenient location brings the entire Rockford team under one roof while keeping the door open for potential growth.
“Our continued growth forced the move to our new location because we outgrew our old offices.” Beggin says. “Bigger isn’t always better, but we’ve found that continuing to look for opportunities to expand our tools and services is always in the best interests of our clients.”
The plethora of services Lucas Group provides helps to separate themselves from other wealth management and CPA firms in the area.
“Rather than being a normal tax firm that just does tax returns, we focus on tax planning and helping achieve the goals of our clients,” Beggin says. “Anyone can do data entry of tax documents, but we try to focus on a bigger picture for the clients.”
Unlike many other firms, Lucas Group starts its tax season around October – roughly two months ahead of competitors. This gives the company more time to help individuals and smaller businesses prepare and plan for filing their taxes.
“We’re in a unique position where we can do financial planning and we can bring the tax element to it, to make it extra tax-efficient,” Beggin says. “It’s better to be proactive than reactive.”
Lucas Group continues to grow because of client referrals, Beggin adds.
“We listen to what the clients want and we address their needs,” he says. “We’ve always tried to treat people right and take the high road. Doing the right thing tends to be the best way to grow over time. Our clients appreciate the hard work we do, and they refer their clients and friends. You do right by people who do right by you.”
The firm’s care for their clients also extends into the community. Each year, Lucas Group has a Day of Service, where all the team members work together and volunteer at area nonprofits.
“We’ve served the Freeport and Rockford communities by helping out at local food pantries, museums and after-school programs,” Beggin says. “We’re just trying to be a bigger part of the community and we want to be good stewards for our community and our clients. Although we do this daily while building financial plans, tax planning, audits and wealth management, the Days of Service allows us to give back to the communities that have helped us grow.”