Blog Archive

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Living our Values: Birdies Fore Love

Bailey Kosiek
Bailey Kosiek, RSM’s Birdies Fore Love co-chair, shares her enthusiasm for the firm’s premier charitable giving platform.

Stewardship is a value that RSM has held throughout its 90-plus year history. Through stewardship, we better our firm, develop our people and support our local communities. Each year, RSM partners with the Davis Love Foundation, the host organization of The RSM Classic, a PGA TOUR event, to raise funds for deserving nonprofit organizations focused on enhancing educational outcomes and the quality of life for children and families through our Birdies Fore Love (BFL) program. Over the last eight years, RSM has donated nearly $9 million through BFL to charities where our employees live and work!

In 2017, RSM employees, partners and friends, with a match from the RSM US Foundation, were able to donate more than $2 million, which benefited 68 local charities.

Employee champions in each of our 85 local offices organize the fundraising for Birdies Fore Love. This month marks the kick-off for the 2018 program, and offices across the country are already beginning a variety of entertaining fundraising activities like wiffle ball tournaments, bake sales, chili cook-offs, putt-putt contests, pancake breakfasts, dance-a-thons, pie-in-the-face challenges and dunk tanks!

As the 2018 Birdies Fore Love co-leader, I am deeply proud of the enthusiasm that our offices continue to bring to this campaign each year. It’s humbling to see all of our employees, partners and friends of the firm come together to support something bigger than themselves! I truly believe that the stewardship culture at RSM transcends charitable programs and is woven into the very nature of our client service. Although $2m is a high goal to reach, we have high hopes we will surpass, and no doubt will have a blast in the process!

If you are interested helping us reach our goal by  donating to one of the 64 local charities Birdies Fore Love supports, you can do so by clicking here


(L to R) John Davitt (2017 BFL national co-leader), Robin Love, Doug Opheim (RSM US LLP CFO), Davis Love III, Bailey Kosiek (BFL national co-leader), Joe Adams (RSM US LLP CEO).

 Dunk tank fundraiser 

Wiffle ball tournament in Indiana 


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Meet Mike Baron



Mike Baron recently joined RSM as the head of talent acquisition for the U.S. and Canada. Mike shares his thoughts on why he decided to take the next step in his career at RSM and his personal and professional passions. Welcome, Mike!

As RSM’s head of talent acquisition, I have a huge opportunity to drive impact with a dynamic and growing global firm. But I didn’t, and don’t, take this move lightly. How could I after having been with the same organization for almost 20 years? I made the move because RSM just felt (and feels) right.


Throughout my interview process, I was impressed with the consistent message each firm leader shared with me about the firm’s vision and values. That message has continued to resonate throughout my first several weeks with the firm. Having the opportunity to take the next step in my career with an organization that's culture, vision, and values aligned with mine was very important to me. If I was going to make a move, it had to be for the right role and the right organization. This role and this firm are just that.


On the personal side, my passion is my family. We love spending time together, whether it’s playing board games at home, going to dinner or the movies, or going on vacation (we’ve become huge fans of Disney and Hawaii). Everything that I do is for them, and with them in mind … and for good reason. They are the best. I’m also a huge sports fan, with the Atlanta Braves and New York Jets being my teams. On a side note, I’m a big fan of the word TEAM.


Professionally, my career has been focused on and in talent acquisition. After more than 20 years in this business, I have a clear view of what I believe in and what I look for in an organization’s culture. I believe in the value of relationships, connectivity, communication, collaboration, transparency, innovation and operational excellence. I believe in working smart, having fun and being passionate about whatever it is that you do. I also believe in the value of being a TEAM. From a talent acquisition perspective, I believe there is nothing more powerful than working together as a team in an organization you believe in, and sharing an impactful message with people you believe in … with the goal of getting them to believe in you.


I am really excited and energized to have our team play a huge role in impacting RSM’s growth goals in the U.S. and Canada through the acquisition of talent across our audit, tax and consulting teams. In turn, I know that the people we pursue and hire will be as impressed as I have been with everything about this great firm.  Some people have mentioned to me that they are impressed with how I bet on RSM. I prefer to say I “believe in” RSM.  I don’t take that lightly.

Monday, July 30, 2018

RSM Pursue Your Passion: Bringing Water to Honduras

Joy and her dad at the airport before 
departing for their mission trip to Honduras.

RSM’s Joy Herrmann was one of nine employees to win the firm’s Pursue Your Passion program this year. As a result, Joy was awarded nine days of paid time off, along with $10,000 to pursue a personal goal. Read Joy's story:

I’ve had immediate access to clean water my entire life. My grandfather owned a spring water delivery company, and shortly after I was born, my father started his own. My dad always, while actively avoiding praise or recognition, donated water (and more) to friends, family, athletic events, various organizations, and anyone in need, teaching me generosity and humility.

When I received the phone call that I’d been selected as a winner of RSM’s Pursue Your Passion program, I immediately called my dad to let him know we would be going on a mission trip to Honduras to install a well in a community, and to educate the community about hygiene and sustainability. We were both excited and anxious for the trip! My dad isn’t a frequent traveler, and I’d be preparing for the trip during the accounting industry’s busy season.

Upon arriving to Honduras on Saturday, the hospitable Living Water International (Living Water) staff greeted us and introduced us to our teammates for the week – most of whom had been on previous trips with Living Water, including previous trips to Honduras. We quickly realized we were in good hands, and that we’d met people who would become lifelong friends. Our nerves were settled, we were focused on the purpose of our trip, and we knew we would develop memories that we would cherish forever.

Sunday we attended mass in La Ceiba, a community about 60 miles east of where we were staying in Tela. We arrived at The Lighthouse Church, where parishioners welcomed us with open arms. The church is currently fundraising for a generator due to frequent power outages. The power was out when we were there, so the church was extremely hot, but members quickly shared paper for makeshift fans. The local community was very welcoming, and worshipping among them is something I’ll remember forever. After mass, we enjoyed some authentic Honduras cuisine and took a few group photos.

That evening, we met our drill instructors Nugget and Gershom, and our hygiene instructor Deborah. They quickly became friends and, thankfully, interpreters since my Spanish is more than a little rusty. We developed a game plan for the week. The leader of our group was Pastor Billy, a wonderful person who leads a church held in a motorcycle repair shop in Texas. He also runs a recovery house for women. Billy attended the trip with his daughters Aly and Sierra, who grew up going on mission trips. Texans are known for being friendly and approachable, and that held true for Billy and his family.

Monday we headed to Citrinella, a community with a name amusingly closer to Citronella (candles). We split into two groups; my dad was a part of the drill team and I was a part of the hygiene team. The drill team spent the morning setting up the site and drilling; they quickly hit rock at about 30 feet. The hygiene team taught lessons to a school of approximately 150 children, grades pre-K through fourth. One of my favorite lessons included covering our hands with glitter, then shaking the children’s hands. The glitter representing germs which spread very quickly around the classroom. The children’s laughter, smiles, and positive energy spread as quickly as the glitter “germs”. Monday afternoon, the drill team continued to attempt to drill through the rock, and the hygiene lessons continued.

On Tuesday, we again split into groups; my dad and I were then both part of the drill team. We started the day using a larger drill bit but, once again, were unable to drill beyond the rock. We moved the site approximately 12 feet, under the leadership of Spencer and his wife Amanda – additional members of our group. (Back home in Texas, their family owns the motorcycle repair shop where the pastor holds church.) Once we set up the new location and resumed drilling, we quickly hit the same rock at 30 feet. We moved to a third location about 100 yards away and prepared the site for drilling the next day. On this day, there was a local man wearing a shirt that said “small fry,” who talked to all of us all day, even though we understood very little of what he was saying. “Small fry,” without necessarily intending to, started a team effort of volunteers in the local community. When we moved locations for the third time, he was the first person to help with the digging. Shortly after that, other community members helped prepare the new site for drilling the next day.

Wednesday, we drilled at the new location and again quickly hit the same rock at 30 feet. The last day at Citrinella we taught more lessons to the children, and played with them during recess. They were very excited by the small toys we brought (jump ropes, Frisbees, balloons, and soccer balls). This was one of my favorite parts of the trips; the kids were full of energy and such a joy to be around. Throughout the time in this community, the children often offered us gifts and shared their snacks; we thought this was so sweet since these children have so little. I wished I’d remembered more Spanish so I had been able to communicate with them more easily. The younger kids, in particular, were very kind and would tell us things slowly in hopes we would understand. There was a pre-K boy, Mario, who asked for a red crayon in Spanish. He was so excited I understood him that he then quizzed me on the colors; he’d have me repeat the colors back to him if I wasn’t saying it correctly. He patiently had me repeat back yellow (“amarillo”) about fifteen times. I see Mario as a future educator!

After our final attempt at drilling in Citrinella, we moved to a new community about an hour-and-a-half away, Villa Franka. (The Living Water staff will return to Citrinella later to find a new location for drilling, and I’m hopeful they’ll have fresh water soon!) Upon arriving in the new community, the locals welcomed us and helped prepare the site for drilling the next day. We were feeling a little disappointed that we’d be unable to provide the Citrinella community with fresh water, but upon further reflection, realized that we provided something else: As we were drilling Tuesday, one of the local men commented that the females in our group “worked hard for women”. (Some people in Honduras aren’t used to seeing women perform physical labor, especially alongside men.) We hope that our hard work in addition to the respect shown to our women by the men in our group will encourage men and women in Honduras to work together.

Thursday was a day of physical labor and drilling; we all wanted to help as much as possible but we also realized we needed to take turns and work together to complete the installation of this well in fewer than 48 hours. As our team continued to drill on Thursday, more members of the community joined us to help. One of the locals helping mix cement was working in boots with a large hole. Without hesitation, Sierra took off her rubber boots and gifted them to this young man. The smile on his face when he came out with the new boots on is something I will remember forever, and it reminds me not to take anything for granted. Most of the group donated their rubber work boots to the community following in Sierra’s footsteps – or bootsteps?! By the end of the day Thursday, we successfully hit water at about 95 feet!

Friday was originally supposed to be a free day, but we ended up completing the well in Villa Franka, and having a dedication ceremony. The well we installed had approximately 80 feet of water and will last generations. It’s hard to determine which lives changed more – those there to serve or those being served. The Living Water staff heard that my dad would be celebrating his 65th birthday that Sunday. Without our knowing, they made a special trip into the city to pick up a cake. I was so excited that Living Water “gave to the giver” and “surprised the surpriser”! I’d brought a 6 and 5 candle from home in hopes I could put them in a candy bar (or even a piece of chicken) and sing “Happy Birthday” to my dad. With the help of the staff, our group was able to celebrate my dad around a large, delicious sheet cake with “Feliz Cumpleaños, Frank” written on top

This was an opportunity of a lifetime, and I am so grateful that I was able to experience this with my dad. We will cherish the memories and the people we met forever. Thank you to RSM for the generosity and support. I am proud to be part of an organization that supports their employees and helps them fulfill their passions/dreams.

Gracias RSM!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

A growing start-up inside RSM


Meet Tom Dimino, a founding partner of RSM’s technical accounting consulting (TAC) practice, and learn more about our growing TAC practice. 

What does the TAC practice do?
Our technical accounting consulting (TAC) practice specializes in guiding our clients through complex accounting and financial reporting matters. It’s a blend of audit and consulting expertise, with many diverse areas of focus. We act as client advocates by creating solutions for their problems, all of which require very unique technical knowledge and consulting expertise. See all our TAC services here.

Depending on the size and scope of a project, our engagements can be anywhere from 2-3 months or up to 12-16 months. Many of our engagements involve collaboration across other practice areas at RSM, including audit, tax, transaction advisory services, valuation and management consulting.

What types of clients do you work with?

Our clients are typically middle to upper-middle market. Since all industries are affected by the new revenue standards, our clients range across technology, business services, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, consumer products and more industries.

Geography-wise, we are a national practice with clients all over the U.S., in addition to our growing international presence. While our team is national, our major TAC hubs include Boston, New York City, Chicago, Houston, Detroit and offices in Northern and Southern California.

What makes the TAC practice unique?

Conceptually, the TAC practice is similar to a start-up. We offer the unique opportunity of an entrepreneurial environment under the umbrella of a multi-billion dollar company. We formalized the practice in January 2017 and, moving forward, we are poised for incredibly exciting growth to come. We are projecting to double in size for each of our fiscal year ends in April 2019 and 2020.

Because we’re a growing, agile team, each member of our TAC practice has the ability to carve out a niche where they can apply their expertise in an area they love and where they excel. Moreover, we will help them carve out that niche to ensure that they are put to their best and highest use.

What do you look for in potential talent for the TAC practice?

Technically speaking, we target professionals with diverse knowledge in complex accounting matters with a focus on the new standard implementations. But since these standards are still new, very few professionals have direct experience. And, implementing these standards is very different than auditing them. For that reason, business skills and overall culture fit are even more important. We target professionals who have the ability to act as consultants – individuals who are agile and have the confidence to articulate a solution to a client or work with their team to find/create one.

At our core, the TAC team is one of collaboration and one of support for people who you are working with and for. So when someone joins us, we give them fantastic formal training to learn our methodologies and expertise around these new standard implementations. But in order to truly fit, we look for people who are willing to work on a team and support each other through mentorship and training given our commitment to our talent experience.

When you think about the future of the TAC practice, what are you the most excited for?

Without question, I can’t wait to see the successes to come for this hard-working group. With our growth trajectory, we will have the ability to see each and every one progress and move into leadership roles. We are already seeing our talent progress and take advantage of our accelerated leadership opportunities, and this is only the beginning.

Interested in career opportunities within RSM’s TAC practice? View our current openings here on RSM’s careers page!

Friday, May 25, 2018

RSM Pursue Your Passion: Ringing in good times across the country

RSM’s Megan Reishus was one of nine employees to win the firm’s Pursue Your Passion program this year. As a result, Megan was awarded nine days of paid time off, along with $10,000 to pursue a personal goal. Megan’s goal? Continue to pursue her passion for playing handbells by purchasing equipment for her ensemble and going on a cross-country musical performance tour. Read Megan’s story:
Megan with the rest of the quartet about to leave Colorado
 Springs for their most extensive tour to date! 

What exactly goes into a cross-country musical performance tour? Planning, certainly, and no shortage of hard work. Willing hosts and eager audiences. Practice. Instruments, time... and passion. Passion for the music and the goal of sharing it with as many people as possible. And then once we’re on the road, what does a tour really entail? Set the stage, play a concert, meet audiences, pack everything back up, eat, sleep, wake up and drive to the next location, do it all again. Love every minute of it.

I play handbells. Like you might see playing during the offering at your church… except that the only similarity is probably the instrument itself. Handbells are traditionally a “church instrument,” but the quartet that I’m part of, Forté, is an elite ensemble with a national following and a reputation for excellence, intensity and innovation. Our motto and constant challenge to ourselves and our audiences is to “Rethink Possible,” in terms of the instrument’s potential. We play all genres of music, with concerts featuring techno, Celtic, pop, country, new age, original, classical, classic rock, Christmas, and Christian music – just to name just some of our selections’ genres. We are a Christian group, with our primary goal being to glorify God through the gifts and talents He’s given us, and we believe we can do that with any type of music when it’s presented well. So that’s what we strive to do.

It’s likely (but not actually verified with real data) that we hold the record for using the largest amount of equipment per ringer of any handbell ensemble. Our primary set is five octaves (61 bells) and we use three to four additional three-octave (37 bell) sets for each concert, for when we need duplicate bells of the same pitch for staging purposes. Each of these three-octave sets costs $10,600 (one of these sets was what my Pursue Your Passion prize funded), while the five-octave set costs $24,350. Beyond that, we use three sets of hand chimes (one five-octave set and two three-octave sets), mallets, percussion, and various racks and stands for our equipment. For four performers, that’s quite a lot. Now imagine packing the trailer every night after a concert!
The quartet taking a quick break at the gas station
before driving to their next stop on tour. 

This March, we presented our most extensive tour to date. We had a local “send-off” concert in Colorado Springs before heading east. We shared music with audiences in Manhattan, KS; St. Louis, MO; Lakeside Park, KY (right across the Ohio River from Cincinnati OH); Beckley, WV; Williamsburg, VA; Raleigh, NC; Lilburn (Atlanta), GA; Macon, GA; Nashville TN; Conway, AR; Norman, OK; and Dodge City, KS, before returning home to Colorado. We drove 4,000+ miles and performed 13 concerts in 14 days, it was exhausting – and it was wonderful. We can’t wait to do it again! Until we can, we continue to perform locally, including the “welcome home” portion of our tour that we put on in April.

The thing about this passion and the pursuit thereof is that it’s never “complete.” The nine PTO days RSM generously provided me through the firm’s Pursue Your Passion program covered most of my cross-country journey, but that only makes up a chapter of our collective story. The impact that the Pursue Your Passion contest has had and will continue to have on me and my group is profound – the bells that I was able to purchase will come with us as we continue to travel across the country and perform for new audiences. It means that when we’re coordinating the equipment needed for our next tour, we don’t need to borrow as many bells from local churches. The fact that I work for a firm that supports its employees’ passions in such a huge and tangible way is incredible. I want to sincerely thank the Pursue Your Passion selection committee for choosing me as a recipient this year.

If you’re interested in more information and/or want to follow Forté as we continue our pursuit of this shared passion – and maybe even catch a concert if/when we’re in your area – please check out our website. Our upcoming projects have us heading to Albuquerque, NM (June 2018); Lincoln, NE and Northfield, MN (March 2019); and many stops along the way from Colorado to Connecticut and back (June/July 2019). We hope you’ll join us!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

RSM Pursue Your Passion: Have a Seat!

RSM’s Matt Dollard was one of nine employees to win the firm’s Pursue Your Passion program this year. As a result, Matt was awarded nine days of paid time off, along with $10,000 to pursue a personal goal. Matt’s dream? Work under the direction of a master craftsman to create a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture by hand. Read Matt’s story: 


Matt Dollard
I feel fortunate to work at a place with a program that encourages employees to pursue their passions outside of their everyday careers. My passion (or “healthy obsession”) is building hand-crafted furniture. The majority of my work to date could be considered cabinet-making – mainly a lot of right angles, which is relatively “easy” once you practice at it. I was ready to take on a new challenge and, with the support of RSM, decided to learn chair-building. Specifically, I wanted to construct a chair that had no right angles, with lines skewing and curving all over the place. With this challenge in mind and the firm’s support, I chose to take woodworking classes from one of the best chair makers in the country.
My near complete Continuous Arm Windsor

In March, I spent one week in North Carolina studying with Elia Bizzarri. I encourage you to look at Elia’s work; it’s of the highest quality and done by hand. There were three other students studying with me - all of them retired. Being the youngest participant and far from retirement, I felt lucky to be there. Were it not for RSM’s Pursue your Passion program, I too would have waited until I retired!

Elia Bizzarri demonstrating how to split
logs with steel wedges and a sledge
hammer to harvestchair spindles. 

The project was to construct a continuous arm Windsor chair. This chair design is several hundred years old and very much in use today, however, its contemporary examples are mass produced in different forms. There is a growing revival of hand tool craftsmen who have begun writing about and documenting their methods and taking on students. I’ve been inspired by these craftsmen and have coveted what they do.

We began with a red oak log, and a wide plank of pine for the seat, and transformed them into a finished chair.

Elia demonstrating how to use a
shaving horse and a draw knife
to rough out the chair spindles
We split the logs with steel wedges and sledge hammers into rough sections for chair spindles. We shaped them with hand tools on a shaving horse, basically a foot-operated vise that holds the work while you sit in it.

We then made the chair back by splitting it from a white oak log, as white oak bends nicely and is perfect for the chair back. We shaped it with similar methods as the spindles. Then we put the chair back in a steam box for over an hour at 220 degrees, bent it over a form, clamped it down, and placed it in a kiln to dry for a few days. 

The chair seat is made from Northern White Pine, a softer wood good for carving and shaping by hand. If you look, most wood chair seats you find today are a series of wood pieces laminated (glued) together. Original American Windsor chairs more often used a single section of pine for the seat. This requires a wide section of knot-free pine, which isn’t easy to find. Lucky for us, Elia has a connection that supplies him.
Bending a steamed chair bow (or
back) over a form to make the
distinctive continuous arm
chair back

The seat took several days and multiple steps to complete. After cutting the basic profile, we determined the leg and arm stump angles then bored holes by hand.  We then temporarily inserted the legs and used their resulting angles as a guide to take measurements to drill holes for the cross stretchers for the undercarriage. With that complete, we carved both the top, parts of the bottom and the sides of the seat to give it a curvy shape.  

We then began gluing and hammering wedges into the tops of the legs to firmly set the leg joints into the seat.

The next step was to drill holes in the seat deck for the spindles and begin orienting them in the chair by eye.  The spindles by nature weren’t totally straight. We followed the wood fibers, which makes the spindles strong but leads to some natural variability. The trick is to align them by turning them so they appear as straight as possible. This works surprisingly well. The eye naturally seeks symmetry and finds it even if the spindles are a little less than perfectly straight. The final steps involved sighting the angles, then drilling holes in the chair back, then inserting the spindles and arm stumps for a dry test fit. We aligned them, then gently tapped the chair back over the spindles, drove wedges into the tops and sawed them off.   
Carving the seat with an in shave

My completed chair, after shipping it home and spending about eight hours applying 8-9 coats of various finishes is pictured here.

I could not have taken a week off of work to study with a master chair builder and complete a project like this without the support of RSM. Getting time away and funding would have been a challenge with all the priorities in my life. I’m grateful for the opportunity and the time and resources that were provided to me by RSM’s Pursue your Passion program. I learned so much. Elia is a brilliant and humble instructor, and an entertaining storyteller while he teaches. 

Organizing the spindles in the most aesthetically pleasing way -
each spindle has natural variations due to following
the direction of wood fibers
Overall, the experience exceeded my expectations. I feel confident that I could adequately tackle this project on my own now. In fact, I enjoyed the project so much, and the firm has provided me with enough funding and time to circle back and take a second course where I’ll be constructing a comb-back Windsor rocking chair pictured here. Wish me luck!
Test fitting the bow on the spindles


To finish the chair I applied 4 coats of barn
red milk paint, two coats of black "wash coat,"
four coats of Tung oil and one coat of wax. The
next project I will tackle under Elia's
instruction in May 2018 - a back comb windsor
rocking chair.
Hand drilling the holes in the seat deck
to insert the spindles - using the bow
 as a reference point to determine
the proper angles


Monday, April 9, 2018

Beto’s passion: Helping nonprofits achieve their mission

Beto Arellano | Senior Audit Associate | San Francisco
We recently sat down with Beto Arellano, a Senior Associate in our San Francisco office, to talk about one of his favorite type of clients – nonprofit organizations.

Beto, a CPA and University of California, Davis grad with a master’s in accounting, primarily works with clients in financial services, with emphasis on private equity funds, venture capital funds and small business investment companies. However, Beto’s passion to help the community has also translated into a passion for helping nonprofit clients.

He said working with nonprofit clients has been quite rewarding and can be some of his most interesting work, such as when he did an audit for an interactive science museum. “Breaks consisted of playing pinball, walking through a fog bridge or playing snake with other museum goers. Not much can beat that in the audit world! It a very unique experience as not only do we get to interact with fun exhibits, but we get to work closely with management and understand how a museum operates. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that makes this such a special place for visitors and we got a front row seat on the whole production!”

It’s not just the unique and different clients Beto enjoys, but also seeing how his work helps the organization make a positive impact. “Another client I have the opportunity to work with has a mission to support conservation issues, education and community foundations. As part of our audit procedures, we examine grants and get to see firsthand how these funds are being used to help with all sorts of social issues, from water conservation to providing medical assistance. It has been quite intriguing to learn how they have grown over the years and see how they continue to raise funds in order to continue making a global impact. Due to our relationship with these clients, working on nonprofits has been quite rewarding. We see how our work is supporting their mission and vision.”