Ernst Company: Outsourcing Financial Accounting

Ernst Company
Alfred Dittrich, General Manager
“Entrusting our administrative functions to Wipfli allowed us to focus on other business matters. With their help, we were able to get our U.S. operations up and running quickly and cost-effectively. Through the FAO portal, we had the visibility into our financial information we needed from our offshore headquarters, or anywhere else.”

Founded in 1956 and headquartered in Germany, Sebastian Ernst Company is a global manufacturer of industrial and domestic aluminum ladders and scaffolds. Its highly durable products backed by a 10-year quality guarantee have earned the successful company a longstanding reputation for reliability.


In response to a growing industry need, Ernst embarked on an endeavor to open its first U.S. production facility in New Berlin, Wisconsin. The plant would manufacture high-tech ladders used in wind turbine towers. A forward-thinking organization, Ernst chose to outsource all of its administrative functions to Wipfli. In lieu of having any staff on the ground, the company instead entrusted Wipfli to work with its representatives internationally.


Wipfli established a business foundation for Ernst’s first North American facility literally from the ground up. Working without a local Ernst contact, Wipfli engaged its human resources professionals to interview and hire the necessary manufacturing personnel for the new operations. Wipfli then developed and became the “back office” for Ernst’s U.S. operations, putting all administrative functions in place. Among them:

  • Payroll processing and reporting
  • HR outsourcing including employee engagement and handbook development
  • CPA-quality bookkeeping
  • Customer invoicing and accounts receivable management
  • Vendor bill processing and payment
  • Fees and registration management
  • Sales tax reporting/consulting
  • Monthly financial reporting
  • Tax services including projections and year-end compliance

In addition, Wipfli’s FAO portal became a key communications tool for Ernst’s tech-savvy management group at its European headquarters. The Web portal gave Ernst’s general manager instant access to its financial and administrative information from across the ocean, at any time.


Ernst was able to quickly and confidently transact business in the U.S. by trusting Wipfli’s FAO services, functions that would have otherwise been insurmountable when performed from such a long distance. Ernst recognized the value of outsourcing its non-revenue-generating functions. With one convenient call and without the need to hire an administrator or on-the-ground management staff, all of the company’s administrative functions were up and operating in short time. Wipfli’s FAO services gave Ernst the ability to maintain a minimalistic and much more cost-effective approach to its new operations investment.