Blog Archive

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Get on the Rollercoaster

Written by Hunter Stevens, RSM Intern

Six interns recently had a chance to go “Behind the Cs” and sit down with RSM US LLPs top executives to talk about the accounting industry, RSM’s culture, career advice and much more. Read on to see what Hunter Stevens took away from spending an hour with COO Bill Gorman. 
Bill Gorman (Left) and Hunter Stevens (Right)


Bill Gorman, RSM chief operating officer, told a story about the pit in your stomach that you get before you go on a rollercoaster; that moment when you think, “Am I really about to do this”? Coincidently, this is the exact feeling I had going into a meeting with Bill himself. However, Bill’s advice was this: get on the rollercoaster because if you don’t you’ll never get to feel that excitement. He was right.

As nerve-wracking as it was meeting the COO, I left the meeting not only with an idea about his responsibilities, but also knowledge about important life lessons. The most significant thing that I noticed about Bill was that every question was answered with advice on how to better ourselves and help others. Every time, the answer came back to relationships and bettering yourself, and not being self-focused. In fact, the three biggest pieces of advice that he gave us were:

1. Be a great teammate

2. Be intentional about getting to know other people’s points of view

3. Be authentic

Bill doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk. When I asked Bill what the most exciting part about being COO was, my expectation was that he would say something along the lines of, “getting to manage people” or “developing and implementing strategy” or something of the like. Instead he said, “This.” Bill’s authenticity and eagerness to help interns figure out the beginning of their careers made his advice all the more valuable. Not only did he believe these things, he lived these things, and that makes all the difference.

It reminded me about RSM’s emphasis on being not only client-focused, but also employee-focused. Bill was a prime example of how RSM puts value into caring for others, both clients and employees. However, the authenticity of the conversation made it clear that this wasn’t just an act, it’s who Bill is and, in turn, what the firm emulates. I came to realize that what we learn at work shouldn’t be that much different from what we learn at home. The values that Bill described to us were built on this: relationships. What we do should be focused on building relationships with others and understanding other’s points of view, be it your boss, your colleague, your family or your dog.

In my meeting with RSM’s COO, I was able to not only get advice on how to be successful and the best books to read, but advice on how to live. I am sure glad I got on the rollercoaster.

Help Others Up the Ladder

Written by Rachel Alexander, RSM Intern

Six interns recently had a chance to go “Behind the Cs” and sit down with RSM US LLPs top executives to talk about the accounting industry, RSM’s culture, career advice and much more. Read on to see what Rachel Alexander took away from spending an hour with CFO Doug Opheim. 
Rachel Alexander (Left) and Doug Opheim (Right)


It’s an interesting dynamic, an intern meeting with a C-level executive. At many companies this would be unheard of, but not at RSM. On day one of RSM’s Pathways externship program last summer, I got my first glimpse into the RSM culture. Everyone I spoke with, no matter their line of business or staff level, had a consistent story that described an incredibly unique culture. From the beginning of my internship this summer, it was clear that the rigid, hierarchical stigma of a global organization was nowhere to be found. This feeling was cemented when I was given the opportunity to sit down with RSM’s Chief Financial Officer, Doug Opheim.

Doug took an hour out of his busy schedule to have a conversation with two Minneapolis summer interns. To me, this spoke volumes about his character, saying more than words ever could. As the CFO of the largest member firm in a global organization, every minute is precious and must be well spent. Over the course of those 60 minutes, Doug graciously passed on wisdom formed from years of hard work, grit and determination.

Of the many topics surfaced, the advice Doug gave left the greatest impression. Building your personal brand early in your career is one piece of advice that he stressed. Maximizing strengths and addressing weaknesses allows you to zero in on areas of expertise and create your brand. I had always been conscious of my strengths and weaknesses, but Doug's advice reaffirmed that setting aside pride, exposing your weaknesses, and not being afraid of failure is the key to individual learning and growth. I'm convinced that life is a journey of continuous learning, and with each milestone it affords the opportunity to keep molding and perfecting your personal brand.

The most impactful piece of advice I received from Doug was one that was passed on to him years ago. To paraphrase, “As you keep climbing the ladder of success, never forget to turn around and help those behind you up their next step.” I think this is so incredibly important. It creates a cycle of continuous improvement: a self-reinforcing culture that generates opportunities for all. As an intern, I am grateful he is living out that advice, and that his method of treating others is perpetuated throughout RSM. As I continue to advance my career, these lessons Doug passed will stay with me. I only hope to be able to help others up the ladder in the future as well.

How To Advance Your Career at RSM

Written By Parth Patel, RSM Intern

Six interns recently had a chance to go “Behind the Cs” and sit down with RSM US LLPs top executives to talk about the accounting industry, RSM’s culture, career advice and much more. Read on to see what Parth Patel took away from spending an hour with CEO Joe Adams. 
Joe Adams (Left) and Parth Patel (Right)


Being an intern can be a roller coaster of emotions. From the first day of networking with a recruiter to the first day of training, we were filled with excitement and jitters. Personally, I had zero sense as to what my role as an intern with RSM was going to entail. Never in a million years would I imagine myself sitting across from RSM’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner Joe Adams and chatting about our careers in public accounting. He gave me some useful advice on how employees at the firm, specifically interns who want to stick in public accounting, can quickly advance through the ranks.

When I first joined the firm in June, I immediately noticed was how genuine and competent the employees are. They listened to my needs and helped me figure out any problems I had, which ultimately tied into the advice Joe gave me about becoming a game-changer at the firm. Whether you aspire to be a partner one day or are still an intern trying to come on full-time, listening to your coworkers’ thoughts and ideas are vital. Furthermore, sharing your own knowledge that you have gained throughout your career to help develop others is a key to success. As an intern, my job is to be a sponge. I absorb as much knowledge as I can from my team, partners and staff all around the office. Then, I release all this information I learned to my fellow interns and anyone who may need help. Throughout this internship, we have helped each other increase our knowledge and skills and grow as well-rounded individuals.

For anyone that is looking to take that extra step in their career, I recommend taking initiative in developing others and promoting a learning environment. Bringing positive energy to RSM will help not only you, but those around you. The most important thing I learned so far in this internship is that we are only as strong as the people around us. To bring the firm to the next level requires all of us to work together. Ask questions, be curious, provide guidance and work harder than you ever imagined you could.

An Hour with Doug Opheim

Written by Kaleb Kier, RSM Intern

Six interns recently had a chance to go “Behind the Cs” and sit down with RSM US LLPs top executives to talk about the accounting industry, RSM’s culture, career advice and much more. Read on to see what Kaleb Kier took away from spending an hour with CFO Doug Opheim.
Kaleb Kier (Left) and Doug Opheim (Right)


Spend an hour with RSM Chief Financial Officer Doug Opheim and by the time you are finished you will feel like you hold the key to success both as a business professional and in your personal life. I had the opportunity to do just that along with another Minneapolis intern and not only learned about those keys to success, but also learned more about Doug and what he is passionate about.

One of the greatest things about our conversation was that Doug is he just a guy like us (well, obviously he has a tremendous talent and his track record can prove that), and loves to have fun just like anyone else. During our conversation, he continually stressed that we should make sure we enjoy ourselves outside and within work. Some of the ways Doug has fun outside work is to golf and attend Minnesota Twins games as a season ticket holder.

In addition to having fun in your life, Doug could not be more adamant that we need to find our personal brand. That is, identify and maximize your strengths, and minimize your weaknesses. He became so successful because he feels he did this (and I can’t disagree with him). Doug’s career started, and continues to grow, with RSM. He found his strength, which was auditing, and used that to his advantage to get on the fast track to partner, Board Member and eventual CFO in a fairly short amount of time.

When asked what his biggest accomplishment was at the firm, he said it would have to be when the firm bought back its non-attest assets and business from H&R Block. It turned a Midwest regional firm into a national firm that provides services just about everywhere in the country! He was incredibly proud to have such a large impact on the whole process and is very proud we as a firm have stayed true to our roots. All of the 90 RSM locations across the U.S. still have a Midwest family and community culture, no matter which office you visit, from east coast to west.

As we wrapped up the meeting, he had one last piece of advice to add. “Throughout your whole career, keep climbing the stairs to improve yourself … but remember when you’re heading up to turn around and help others up those steps along the way.” He said he would not be in the position he is in now if it weren’t for someone who chose to turn around, stick their neck out for him and help him up.

Our CEO is a "Regular Joe"

Written by Grace Moriarty, RSM Intern

Six interns recently had a chance to go “Behind the Cs” and sit down with RSM US LLPs top executives to talk about the accounting industry, RSM’s culture, career advice and much more. Read on to see what Kaleb Kier took away from spending an hour with CFO Doug Opheim.
Grace Moriarty (Left) and Joe Adams (Right)


My summer with RSM has been one to remember. The opportunity to meet with our Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner Joe Adams, was certainly the highlight.

Rather than a meeting, our hour together became a casual conversation in which Joe gave valuable insight as to what we can expect from a career with RSM in addition to how he sees the industry changing in the near future.

While Joe had the knowledge and expertise of a CEO, he seemed very down to earth and relatable. He advised us on the importance of listening to others and not being afraid to ask for help. I was excited to share with him that everyone I’ve asked for help this summer instantly dropped what they were doing to help and were genuinely happy to do so. Joe’s influence definitely plays a part in this. The firm clearly attracts people who will work together and help each other.

Throughout our discussion, Joe’s focus on people was evident. He shared his belief that being successful requires helping those behind you to succeed. In addition, he talked about the importance of building strong relationships in the workplace. As we chatted, he revealed much more about RSM’s culture through stories about company sporting events and holiday parties that proved the people here are more than coworkers, they are teammates and lifelong friends.

My favorite part of the discussion was on Joe’s desire to improve the firm’s international presence, particularly by increasing the number of expatriates. For me, this was exciting because I hope to have the opportunity to obtain international assignments throughout my career. RSM has already given me a great opportunity to explore my international interests through my work in their International Tax team this summer. Joe’s remarks further assured me that RSM can offer great opportunities to pursue the areas of accounting that excite me, with a team-oriented culture and small office feel.

RSM’s Behind the C’s program gave Joe the power to understand our concerns as we begin our careers, while giving us the power to understand our leader on a personal level. The unique opportunity to meet with a CEO and managing partner of more than 9,000 employees in a two-on-one setting as an intern is one I will never forget.

Build Relationships and Never Give Up

Written by Jordan Barrett, RSM Intern 


Six interns recently had a chance to go “Behind the Cs” and sit down with RSM US LLPs top executives to talk about the accounting industry, RSM’s culture, career advice and much more. Read on to see what Jordan Barrett took away from spending an hour with COO Bill Gorman.

Jordan Barrett (Left) and Bill Gorman (Right)
I recently graduated from Loyola University Maryland. A big part of the reason I decided to go there was because I got a great sense of community and the professors cared about everyone’s success while at Loyola and after graduation. After speaking with Bill Gorman, RSM’s chief operating officer, I got that same feeling. There are a lot of opportunities for growth here at RSM, and the key is to build relationships.

One way to build relationships is through RSM’s Employee Network Group (ENGs), part of our culture, diversity and inclusion work. I asked Bill about diversity at RSM and he was very straight-forward, noting the firm is always working to increase our diversity, in all senses of the word. Bill was very honest about everything I wanted to know about the firm. I appreciated him being upfront and I liked how he said that they are working to increase diversity throughout the firm. RSM has the ENGs to help spread awareness to everyone about different cultures and identities.

I was also curious about where Bill thinks RSM will be going in the next five to ten years. He said he does not know what exactly will happen five to ten years down the line, but he is comfortable saying RSM is willing to adapt and change as technology continues to develop and grow. For example, over the last several years, there has been a trend for companies to move back into major cities around the United States. RSM offices around the country have followed this trend by increasing their presence in big cities. Life is about adapting to changes and RSM is willing to continue to adapt as we move forward toward future.

Overall, I was thrilled that I got the opportunity to talk to Bill Gorman. I learned a lot about what he does as COO and why he has stayed at RSM for so many years. I realized that RSM has many areas of opportunity to learn and grown.

He left us some advice as we were going through our discussion. He told us to continue to be a good teammate. When everyone does their fair share, it makes all the jobs easier. And from my experience, the team at RSM is willing to help everyone succeed. He also told us to never give up. If you want to do something, do it and do not hold back. Everyone makes mistakes but we should keep trying until we achieve our goals.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Living our Values: Integrity

Jason Commerford
Audit Senior Associate
Irvine, CA 
One of RSM’s five core values is integrity.

In life we are all faced with situations that will force us to make a choice between doing what is easy and what is right. When faced with a tough circumstance, it is a person’s integrity that compels them to do what is right as opposed to what is easy. It is due to this, that integrity is the value on which all others rely.

In my career I have seen the importance of this value time and time again. Before I started at RSM, I heard of how dedicated those in leadership were to developing, understanding and motivating those individuals under their guidance to achieve their goals and the goals of the firm. Once I began work at RSM, I realized that it was the integrity of those individuals that allowed them to consistently achieve this goal, no matter the lengths they had to go through to achieve it. I have had mangers and mentors go above and beyond to ensure that I was accomplishing the goals I had set out for myself. I am honored to work alongside people of integrity here at RSM.

My favorite quote: “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters” – Albert Einstein.