I was recently asked “why is growth important?”
Together with organic growth, the firm rose to $250 million in revenues and was ranked #22 nationally. We were picking up larger clients and attracting quality laterals. Most important, our bottom line began to get very healthy.While proud of our accomplishments, we still hadn’t become a Top Ten firm. To accelerate our growth in one quantum leap, we decided to explore a three-way merger that would disrupt the profession and leapfrog us over our competition. The three firm deal eventually was reduced to two firms and CohnReznick was borne. Today, ranked #14 nationally, revenues are approaching $700 million with 19 offices. A Top 10 firm is now insight. If you ask me if the firm would do it all over again, the answer is a resounding yes! The firm is well on the path of creating a national brand, has begun to move the client base uptown and has begun to attract better quality laterals. Kudos to a disruptor! Grant Thornton’s story was not much different except that, in the day, its disruption played out on much bigger stages – the U.S. and international markets. It had two key moves: Play internationally as one global brand (circa 1985). Capitalize on the unfortunate Arthur Andersen opportunity (circa 2001). Leadership at Alexander Grant saw a marketplace opportunity for an international network:
In Our Opinion, there are eight keys to becoming a disruptor:
Over the years, there have been a number of great CPA firms that were disruptors. Top of mind are Rothstein Kass (hedge funds) and Kenneth Leventhal (real estate). These firms thought out of the box. They made a difference in the profession. Growth was an integral part of their success.From disruption comes growth which is important because client perception is that bigger is better and, therefore, bigger is, in fact, better. That’s not to suggest that better isn’t better (better is always a good thing), but if you are not getting bigger, you will have a challenge as size sells and because clients/prospects respect big and, more importantly, buy big, known brands. The supposition is that if you are big, you must have impressive clients and credentials. Finally, disrupting is very difficult to achieve unless there is a commitment at the very top of the firm with goals and individual partner accountability.