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Voices from the USAID Finance and Investment Network: Dopkins & Company

Dopkins & Company, LLP, is a certified public accounting and consulting firm based in Buffalo, New York and a member of the USAID Finance and Investment Network. In this interview, Joseph Heim, Partner at Dopkins & Company, discusses the benefits of working with the public sector and how he’s found a new sense of inspiration in collaborating with USAID.

By Carolanne Chanik, INVEST Communications Coordinator

“We venture outside of the box of services you would normally expect from an accounting firm,” explains Joseph Heim, Partner at Buffalo New York’s Dopkins & Company. After 65 years working in the accounting business and serving customers across North America and Europe, Dopkins recently tried its hand at something new: international development.

“Was it challenging to go beyond our experience in the U.S. and Canada to an international context? To some degree, yes, and to some degree, no,” says Heim discussing his first experience working with USAID, which was on an INVEST activity to increase access to finance for small businesses in Colombia. “Our partnership with RSM, the global accounting firm, and their presence in and across Colombia allowed us to overcome the gaps in knowledge we needed in our assessment of the Colombian context,” he says.

Asset-based lending, also known as moveable property lending, allows business owners to use their company’s moveable assets — equipment, vehicles, livestock, and inventory — as pledged collateral against a loan. It opens up opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises, such as those run by women, that struggle to get access to the financing they need to grow.

“In many countries, women do not have the ability to own real estate, buildings, and land, so as business owners, they can have a difficult time in securing financing,” says Heim. “Asset-based lending can be a tremendous alternative that provides a disciplined form of working capital financing accompanied by an appropriate level of monitoring and reporting of collateral.” INVEST and Dopkins developed a field examination guide for asset-based lending in Colombia. The guide, which will help banks conduct efficient and effective field examinations to ensure the property is pledged against legally, will increase banks’ use of asset-based lending.

Primarily serving middle-market and family-owned companies across North America, Dopkins & Company might not look like the traditional USAID INVEST partner, but the partnership has been mutually beneficial. “We’re providing meaningful impact into the lives of people and the development of the economy across Colombia,” says Heim. “Our firm has strategic goals and objectives that align well with USAID in helping business-owners and companies advance themselves and deal with complex business issues. We found relative ease and excitement in this project. It’s inspiring work.”

And the benefits go both ways, according to Heim. He believes USAID and other development agencies can expand their reach by working with new partners. “There’s a level of expertise in the private sector that maybe USAID has not come across. There’s untapped potential and motivated individuals with unique ways of thinking and problem-solving,” he says. “It’s really a win-win.”

Check out the video below to learn more about Dopkins & Company and their recent work with USAID. You can also read more about Dopkins & Company’s work with USAID INVEST here: No Real Estate? No Problem. A Look at the Potential of Asset-Based Lending to Empower Women in Colombia.



INVEST, a USAID initiative, mobilizes private investment for development goals. It drives inclusive growth and sustainable development in emerging markets.

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INVEST, a USAID initiative, mobilizes private investment for development goals. It drives inclusive growth and sustainable development in emerging markets.