RSM Canada - the first choice for accounting


This article was originally published in Business in Calgary's September 2019 issue. 

There can sometimes be trepidation when firms start exploring the idea of joining a large international network, but when that network has an impeccable reputation as a global leader in audit, tax and consulting services for middle-market companies, those concerns dissolve quickly.

"RSM is the fifth-largest accounting firm and the largest firm providing services to middle markets in the United States, with 10,000 people and $2.4 billion in revenue," says David Hird, office managing leader for RSM Canada's Calgary-based office. "They've done so many great things for their clients."

RSM entered the Canadian market in December 2017 with a Toronto-based office, effectively creating RSM Canada. RSM Canada then approached Hird and the other partners from his predecessor firm to consider the same opportunity. By that time, Hird and his team had recognized a real need for change as audits and tax compliance were becoming more commoditized. Coupled with increased demand for tax planning and consulting services, businesses were wanting to better understand their data and key performance indicators.

When Hird and his team began to understand the capabilities and values of RSM Canada, the opportunity to join forces became even more attractive. As both entities focused on fostering relationships with customers and both went above and beyond to meet the ever-changing needs of their middle- market clients, it was a perfect fit. In November 2018, the predecessor firm became RSM Canada.

"It's something mid-sized companies were hungry for. We're definitely excited about it and we think the market should be too," Hird says.

At the same time, RSM added locations in Red Deer and Edmonton, highlighting the business potential within the province. Staff at all three locations work closely together to best serve their diverse groups of clients that operate across the province. The team also has the ability to tap into expertise from the broader RSM network if their clients operate cross- border or internationally.

"Some firms operate in silos, but that's not how it works at RSM," Hird says. "Our offices (94 throughout North America) work together throughout the province to make sure we are sharing work where it makes sense."

RSM has a deep understanding of its clients' businesses and applies the resources to find the best possible tax, audit or consulting solutions to meet those needs. There is no head office issuing mandates; instead the relationship among branches is collaborative and empowering.

"We want to understand what our clients' needs are and through the broader RSM network, we have access to greater resources in order to fulfil those needs," Hird says.

The approach is unique and its application authentic. The corporate values of respect, integrity, teamwork, excellence and stewardship shape how business is done. These values are more than lip service; RSM walks the walk in every transaction with clients and each interaction with staff. The corporate philosophy is centred around those characteristics inherent to being a first- choice adviser, and RSM teams are encouraged to apply those characteristics both internally and externally. The firm empowers staff by investing in their professional development and training to enhance their level of service while they build strong relationships with clients and colleagues. These relationships support RSM's client-centric approach to business that facilitates success for clients as well as the firm.

"RSM breaks down everything it does by the talent experience and the client experience, and these things are always front and centre," notes Hird.

These positive experiences have served to attract the best employees in the business. The firm added 25 people since becoming RSM Calgary and expects to reach 150 employees by the end of the year. The transition to RSM has been great for staff and it will be great for clients as well.

"We have very personal relationships with clients and it's still us delivering services, just with access to a lot more expertise and resources to fulfil more of our clients' needs," says Hird.

That message is clear: RSM Canada is filling the middle-market niche with quality tax, audit and consulting services to better serve the Alberta corridor.

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