Universal Accounting (UA) was built around the unmistakable need for competent training in the proper application of accounting principles in the daily processes necessary to run and operate a successful business.
In order to succeed, all businesses need qualified, knowledgeable professionals who understand the full process of financial management.
Every business, regardless of its size, must achieve success in three basic areas in order to function and thrive in the marketplace: sales and marketing, manufacturing, and accounting.
This is where Universal Accounting comes in.We offer a unique and specialized set of professional training programs and systems that enable businesses to better control their financial processes, foresee areas of improvement, and maximize their strengths while minimizing their weaknesses. Our programs allow individuals to control their time, their careers, and their destines.
But where did Universal get its start?
In 1950, the founder of Universal Accounting, Alf Bostrom, began a journey that would take him into the world of financial management training. Approximately one year after marrying Betty Gene Blomquist, he set up a company called Metropolitan Business Bureau Incorporated. This company served as a credit bureau and collections agency for a few years, but eventually Alf expanded operations to include complete business and financial management, organization and consultation.
Many businesses were in need of strategies to control finances as well as the personnel to effectively run their internal processes. However, few professionals knew enough about the complete accounting process to adequately satisfy this need.
As an individual contractor, under Metropolitan Business Bureau, Alf would step into the CEO position within a company and set up a fully functioning management system, complete with accounting, bookkeeping and the trained personnel to manage it.Unfortunately, he found that most of the financial professionals he interviewed did not fully understand the accounting process.
He also found that training each individual was not an efficient use of his limited time. As Alf once explained, “If you try to chase a whole flock of chickens at once, you won’t catch any. They will all escape.”
In order to focus his efforts and maximize his time, he developed a system to train these individuals collectively, in a classroom setting, and give them the knowledge base to successfully run the company.
He realized that training several people at once would better serve the company’s purposes, free up some of his time, and enable him to quickly fill the necessary positions within the struggling company. Suddenly, chasing chickens became much more manageable.
He designed a system of instruction for full-charge bookkeeping and accounting. In 1979, Universal Training Systems was born and functioned under the parent company, Metropolitan Business Bureau.
Over the next few years, the training took on a life of its own. Alf’s time was split between managing companies and training professionals. The first office for Universal Training Systems was located in the basement of the building at 1588 South Main Street in Salt Lake City, UT.
Within a short time, he moved the school to a building at 447 East, First South, in downtown Salt Lake. Most of his students were graduates from the University of Utah who had earned their Master’s Degrees but had not yet received full-charge bookkeeping instruction as part of their education. With his new comprehensive, live training, he gave them the experience and knowledge to competently manage precise and functioning accounting systems. He quickly learned that, by adding some accounting basics, he could teach anyone, regardless of their experience or education, how to understand and manage the full accounting system for small businesses. His training system provided hands-on experience in the daily operations for a variety of industries, making it one of the most valuable training programs available that didn’t require years of study.
During his first few years of operations as a school administrator, two individuals showed interest in purchasing the school and the rights to operate it in Salt Lake and Colorado for the next five years. After much deliberation, Alf sold the school in 1984. With this transaction, it became clear that the school could be set up and sold as a franchise all across the US. A system for operating a Universal school as a franchise was developed.
Once the rights to operate the local school were sold, Alf and Betty moved to Mesa, Arizona to open and operate a new school there with some friends. In 1986, they left the school in the care of their associates, Sterling and Thera Huish, and moved to San Diego, California. There they quickly set down roots and opened the third Universal school. In 1988, this school was also sold.
When he sold the first franchise in 1984, Alf signed a 5-year non-competition agreement with the new owners of the Salt Lake school. Now that it was 1988, he decided to spend the remainder of that time traveling all over the US, teaching one-day seminars for full-charge bookkeeping and accounting. While teaching these classes on the road, Alf decided to hire a professional to create a computer program for managing full-charge bookkeeping. ABC Software was a first of its kind. This product was sold in conjunction with a hand-posted bookkeeping system which was taught in a two-day course by Alf’s daughter, Laurie Smith, in a local Radio Shack.
In 1990, Alf returned to Salt Lake City after the owners of the local school moved their operations to Colorado. He re-established Universal at 39th South and 3rd East, and operated the school out of this office for six years. During this time, Alf’s sons, Ken and Allen, joined the staff.
Over the period of several years, schools were established and operated in many California locations, including La Mesa, San Diego, Escondido, Irvine, and San Marcos.They could also be found in other US locations like Denver, New York, and New Jersey.
In 1994, Alf and Betty officially retired, and Allen Bostrom took over as CEO of the newly named Universal Accounting Center. It was clear that operations were outgrowing the available space, so the next year the school was moved to 5250 Commerce Drive where it thrived. Soon after, it became clear once again that Universal would need a larger facility to support its growth. Plans were made and contracts finalized, and in the fall of 2008, the new facilities were completed, and Universal’s operations were officially moved to its current location.
Since 1994, the school has evolved from offering local live courses to selling and supporting home-based training materials for small-business bookkeeping, accounting, tax preparation and marketing. Universal also offers instruction in QuickBooks, the market’s leading accounting software.
Over the last ten years, Universal has grown from a five-person operation to over 50 employees. This growth can be attributed to visionary leadership and goal-oriented strategies implemented in the last ten years by Alf, Allen and other dynamic leaders of Universal.
In the beginning, Ken and Allen traveled between 1 to 3 times each month to conduct remote seminars. This allowed Universal to hold approximately 5-7 seminars monthly. Our current road department boasts over 250 seminars per year, on average, and monthly attendance is estimated at 550 people.
Our coaching and mentoring team demonstrates their skills daily as they help individuals with different backgrounds and education market and operate their own successful businesses. These dedicated people apply years of quality experience providing Universal with very specialized and unique marketing programs and support.
Universal’s Telemarketing Department currently works with over 3200 leads per month, enrolling approximately 2000 new students each year. In 2003, the Telemarketing department consisted of less than five employees, but that number has grown to 26. With enthusiasm, each UA associate helps the student find just the right combination of training and support that will allow them to increase their income while improving their lives and their future.
Universal’s IT Department also contributes to unit sales every year. Currently, units sold from January through September for 2009 have exceeded the combined yearly total for 2008. Plus, Universal Accounting websites demonstrate our ability to stay current in today’s competitive online world.
Our IT Department manages over 200,000 contacts in Universal’s ever-expanding database system. Our IT professionals assist our associates in performing their daily skills and streamlining many internal processes. Their efforts to automate our internal systems have contributed to increased sales in all departments and improved overall efficiency.
Universal’s Administrative Department currently has thirteen employees working to keep all internal operations running smoothly, including Human Resources, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Collections, Customer Service, and Student Support. Their professional attitude and dedication to quality work reveals our commitment to student success.
Universal’s management has demonstrated its desire to make our workplace feel more like home. Company events and activities help foster a close association among Universal employees. Over the years it has been said countless times that the key to Universal’s success and overall appeal is its people. We have enjoyed many different activities as a company and have proven our success is greatly due to our employees and their commitment to excellence. The various events have provided Universal’s staff with much entertainment and enjoyment.
Universal Accounting has consistently shown its ability to compete in the world market. It has ranked in the top 100 fastest growing businesses in Utah every year since 2004. Universal Accounting also made Inc. 500’s list of America’s fastest growing private companies for 2006, a significant and distinguishing honor among its competitors.
Universal holds a unique position in the world of education. Its products provide lasting success to its students. Universal has shown its ability to foresee future revenue paths and set goals to optimize those to its advantage. In the coming years, we can expect to see many new avenues of growth. Universal has proven its commitment to excellence and its potential to exceed expectations.
Congratulations on 30 years of proven success!
* Universal Accounting Press Releases