William A. "Bill" Kaun, Jr., a founding partner of accounting firm Mueller & Co. LLP (now called Mueller), was a man of few words, but his actions and leadership in building the CPA firm headquartered here left a lasting legacy for firm employees, clients and the Elgin community.
In 1968, Kaun and his partners co-founded Mueller & Co. LLP to serve the region's growing base of small- to medium-sized businesses, local municipalities and not-for-profit organizations. Having served in both World War II and the Korean War, Kaun applied his leadership skills in developing accounting and financial services for clients not offered by traditional accounting firms at the time.
"Bill was instrumental in creating our controllership department, where we would provide part-time controllers to our clients that had limited staff and resources," said David J. Nissen, Mueller's current Managing Partner who was a young CPA under Kaun in the mid-1980s. "It was a very innovative service offering at the time and helped us expand our other services to clients. And along with another partner Bill developed our pathfinder financial planning and investment services offerings, which eventually evolved into our current Mueller Financial Services department."
Kaun was a long-time Elgin resident who's civic and philanthropic endeavors earned him praise for his volunteering spirit and many contributions to the Elgin community. He was a former member of the Kiwanis Club, former member of the St. Edward High School Board organization, and served as the Director of Planned Giving for Elgin Community College. Kaun was also an active member of St. Thomas More Catholic Church.
"Bill was a real no-nonsense guy who taught all of us the value of hard work but also the importance of service to our community," recalled Nissen. "He led by example and expected everyone in the firm to do their part to make our firm great and our community an even better place to live and work."
Kaun retired from Mueller in 1990 but continued to leave a lasting mark on the firm as it grew to become one of the top 20 accounting firms in Chicago. "We would not be the firm we are today if not for Bill's vision, determination, and entrepreneurship," said Nissen.
In his retirement Kaun continued to actively support and participate in several worthy organizations, including the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the Guide Dog Foundation.
Mr. Kaun, 86, passed away on May 24th at Presence Saint Joseph Hospital. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Julia, and his children, Glenn Kaun and Gail Kaun. Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital or the Guide Dog Foundation.
Nissen noted that Bill Kaun would have been pleased to see the recent opening of Mueller's new downtown Chicago offices. "He always believed that we could compete with the larger accounting firms by offering more personalized services, and our Chicago expansion is a testament to his belief and pioneering spirit."