Growing Organically in a World of Mergers
How Brown Smith Wallace Has Sustained Growth
In an industry in which growth is synonymous with acquisitions and mergers, Brown Smith Wallace stands apart for its ability to realize tremendous success through organic growth. In fact, over the last 10 years we have doubled our staff to more than 200 and tripled our revenue to $31 million in 2013.
Much of our organic growth stems from our ability to attract and retain key talent. Some key hires who have contributed directly to the firm’s growth were employees at Big Four firms who wanted to work and live in St. Louis without the prospect of having to move across the country at a moment’s notice, or to move permanently to advance in a national firm.
In the last 10 years, we have attracted talented professionals from national firms and other prominent organizations with specialized expertise to lead a variety of specialty practices such as Ted Flom, advisory, Tony Munns, IT advisory, Marty Doerr, tax, Doug Eckert, international tax, Rob Haggerty, retail and cost segregation practices, Alan Fine, captive advisory services, Bill Goddard, insurance consulting, Jenna Kerwood, property tax, and Ron Present, health care. Another key addition with national firm experience was Chris Menz, our business development partner.
By creating a family-friendly work environment and allowing talented professionals with specialized skills to prosper and develop practices, we have become a market-leader in a variety of areas where we didn’t have any business a decade ago. Two key areas in particular have seen significant growth. The Advisory Services practice has grown and now provides a host of services that meet the evolving risks and issues that businesses face, including data analysis, Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) and cybersecurity. Similarly, the Transaction Advisory and Litigation Support practice now has expertise in IPOs, business sales, acquisitions and bankruptcies, while continuing to expand the litigation support services it has provided from coast to coast for years.
The results speak for themselves. Just eight years ago, Brown Smith Wallace did not work with any public companies. Now it does work for 30 of the top 50 publicly traded companies in St. Louis, including employee benefit plan audits for more than 35 percent of the top 40 public companies. The firm also serves 40 percent of the top 50 private companies in St. Louis.
Our growth and effort have been recognized. This year, Brown Smith Wallace was the recipient of the inaugural St. Louis Business Journal Innovation Award in the accounting category and was the only St. Louis firm to rank in the top 20 of the 2015 Vault Accounting Firm rankings. The firm also was nationally recognized as a “Best of the Best Firm” in 2013, the only accounting firm in St. Louis to receive this designation from INSIDE Public Accounting.
In addition, our firm was named one of St. Louis’ Top Workplaces in 2014 for the third consecutive year by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. For the fifth time, we were recognized as a Best Accounting Firm to Work For in 2013 by Accounting Today, the premier news vehicle for the profession.
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