There's something special at RSM: What's the secret ingredient?

Chris DeBlanc, RSM alum

Culture RSM alumni

In June 2001, after high school, I joined the United States Marine Corps. During my time in the military, I did a lot of reading, and there was one book that set me on my career trajectory: Rich Dad Poor Dad, by Robert T. Kiyosaki. It’s about how Kiyosaki’s two father figures shaped his thoughts about money and investing. The theme is that you don't need a high income to be rich; instead, you must be financially literate to build wealth. The book did more than provide this lesson from Kiyosaki; it opened my eyes to a world I had not considered before and led me to lean into finance.

After four years in the military fighting wars on foreign shores, I left the Marine Corps and attended the University of Richmond. I started as a finance major but quickly realized I enjoyed the nuts and bolts of business and changed my major to accounting. I first worked for a large credit union as a fixed asset accountant and realized that was not what I wanted to do, so I transitioned to a small accounting firm in Virginia.

Although I enjoyed working at that small firm, I needed to be financially equipped to cover my living expenses and my student loans from a private institution, even with GI Bill benefits. I returned to Iraq as a private security contractor and started a tax prep shop for the contractors I was working with. Once I paid off my student loans, I returned to northern Virginia, obtained my CPA and CFP credentials, and eventually joined RSM US LLP.

When I first spoke to a recruiter, I was interested in RSM wealth management but applied under private client services. After I met with a handful of individuals at RSM, it was the "people" who sold me on the firm—some of whom turned into mentors, like Wayne Reesman, during and after my time there. I joined the private client services in September 2015.

I was with RSM for four years, and as my family started to grow, I decided I wanted to do something different and left for an opportunity that was a little less "taxing." After COVID-19, I bought a sizable accounting practice with about $2.5 million in revenue, but it was a firm trapped in 1995 and needed to be modernized with processes and technology.

As I evaluated where my company was, I thought about what makes a company successful—it's the people, the processes and the technology. When I reflected on RSM, I thought they had all those boxes checked, so I took what I learned there and tried to replicate what I know works. But I’ll say that there's something special going on at RSM that you can't reproduce; there's a secret ingredient we all want to know!

Looking back on my career, I enjoyed creating value for my clients the most. Whether it's consulting, financial planning, or tax planning, getting ahead of a transaction before it happens, to have a better outcome, can have life-changing impacts on our clients and their families for future generations.

Now, if I had an extra 10 hours in my day, I would spend more time with my family, exercise, and work more on my well-being.

There's the saying "Work smarter, not harder," but I say you need to work smart and hard. Hard work, dedication, determination, focus and a vision—all those things will help you be successful, whatever your pursuit.

Want to hear more about Chris’s RSM alum story? Connect with him on LinkedIn. Or, if you’re inspired to find your next role at RSM, explore our openings today.

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