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Brown Smith Wallace Cracks Top 100 CPA Firms Rankings, Remains Top St. Louis Accounting Employer


As Seen in BizTalk in the St. Louis Business JournalBrown Smith Wallace has been named to the 2015 INSIDE Public Accounting Top 100 Firm rankings for 2015. The firm is also the top-ranked St. Louis firm in the 2016 Vault Accounting Firm rankings, a ranking of the 50 best accounting employers to work for in North America. Is it a coincidence that the firm ranks highly for both revenue growth and workplace satisfaction? Not according to a 2012 Gallup study. Organizations that rank high in employee engagement outperform those with low employee engagement by 22 percent in profitability.

Aside from revenue growth, Brown Smith Wallace has experienced significant growth in staff in the past decade. Between 2001 and 2012, we doubled our staff to more than 200 through organic growth, and we are continuously adding to our 245-person family. Several factors account for the firm’s high employee engagement and continued workplace recognition. Our firm’s entrepreneurial spirit attracts and retains key talent. In the past decade, some key hires who have contributed directly to the firm’s growth were employees at Big Four firms. These professionals wanted to work and live in St. Louis rather than move across the country at a moment’s notice or move permanently to advance in a national firm. Now, along with professionals from other prominent organizations, they lead a variety of specialty practices at the firm — IT advisory, international tax, transaction advisory and litigation support, construction audit and cost segregation, captive insurance advisory, insurance consulting, property tax and health care.

Ted Flom, partner in charge of the advisory services practice, joined the firm in 2004. At the time, he was considering where he wanted to focus the next phase of his career. “It was important to me to work closely with clients at middle market companies, work on challenging projects and collaborate with smart people; all while learning and making an impact on clients. I came to realize this very much described Brown Smith Wallace,” Flom says. Brown Smith Wallace serves more than 50 percent of the public companies in St. Louis and dozens of privately owned, governmental, not-for-profit and other types of entities.

“The firm has provided me with the opportunity to be entrepreneurial and to build a service offering from the ground up,” Flom adds. “This has given me the chance to take calculated risks and learn from the many successes and failures I’ve experienced. In addition, I constantly benefit from working with and learning from the many talented professionals that work here.”

The firm’s entrepreneurial spirit also fosters a culture of learning. Through Brown Smith Wallace University, performance managers work with each individual at the beginning of the year to design a development plan targeting key curriculum for professional growth. In-house and outside experts teach both hard-skill and soft-skill courses to ensure our professionals are well rounded.

Laura Welch, a senior in the audit practice, joined Brown Smith Wallace from another CPA firm in 2012. “What is different about working here is the opportunity to grow professionally and be in-charge of your career path,” Welch says.

Another differentiator of Brown Smith Wallace that Welch noticed is many employees are involved in outside activities, including serving at not for profits and the Missouri Society of CPAs. Krista Thompson, a supervisor in the tax practice, shares that sentiment. “I value the fact that the firm is committed to its employees’ well-being and the community. We have several opportunities to contribute to the community, and the firm also hosts family picnics, holiday parties, group happy hours and meals during busy times to ensure that we know that our hard work is appreciated.”

Nathan Carter, a supervisor in the insurance practice at Brown Smith Wallace, returned to the firm in 2015 after working at another CPA firm and in industry. “I missed the constant change of public accounting, and when I met new people, I often thought about their businesses and the many benefits I used to be able to provide them when I was with Brown Smith Wallace.”

Carter says one of the biggest differences at Brown Smith Wallace is the willingness to utilize all of the firm’s many resources to help clients. “I worked at a national firm with offices across the country and they rarely leveraged their resources to provide greater solutions and value to their clients. Here, I don’t work on an engagement where we aren’t utilizing knowledge and resources from other groups/niches around the firm to provide greater value to our clients.”

Maintaining excellent client relationships, promoting a unique firm culture and giving back to the community represent the foundation of Brown Smith Wallace. Our biggest asset is our people, so if you’re looking for an opportunity to be in-charge of your career path, click here to see our current opportunities.

STAY TUNED: Every other week our subject matter experts share thought leadership and strategic business advice on the St. Louis Business Journal business blog, BizTalk.


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