our Impact

Effective and resolute in a time of change

RSM professionals are equipped with the knowledge and experience to work collaboratively with our clients to address industry-specific issues and opportunities. They take a measured approach to audit quality, delivering financial reports that are fair and independent. Our tax specialists help clients navigate an evolving tax reform environment. Through innovative tools and talented, resourceful colleagues, RSM teams ensure middle market companies are prepared for whatever comes next.

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Going to market by industry is not a new approach for our firm, yet we continue to find new ways to leverage industry expertise to drive an outstanding client experience.

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The RSM Retail Experience Center

Located at Priority Bicycle in New York City, this one-of-a-kind immersive experience offers retailers a firsthand look into how RSM can help businesses leverage the Microsoft Cloud as a competitive advantage to enable intelligent retail.

The RSM Retail Experience Center shows how RSM has applied the latest retail technologies at Priority Bicycles to drive growth, improve efficiency and deliver a premium customer experience. Visitors can discover up-and-coming retail innovations, learn how to adapt them to their own businesses, engage in live demonstrations and meet with RSM’s specialized retail specialists. A variety of technologies and processes that enable a connected store, customer insights, fraud protection, virtual assistance with AI and more are helping this client move forward—and demonstrating the value of technology for others.

We are shaping the future of the middle market through innovation and technology to meet the needs of our clients. 

focusing on needs across industries

Offering industry-specific insight and guidance

It’s never been more important for RSM to find innovative ways to serve its clients. Going to market by industry is not a new approach for our firm, yet we continue to find new ways to leverage industry expertise to drive an outstanding client experience. 

Listening to our clients

We educate our professionals on industry-specific business, economic and technology insights and data that will result in finding the right solutions for our clients. Whether it’s connecting them with appropriate vendors or providing a tailored solution that we help implement, the needs of the client are at the forefront.
RSM professionals are equipped with the knowledge and experience to work collaboratively with our clients to address their issues and opportunities. Through industry-specific thought leadership publications such as The Real Economy, The Real Economy, Canada, RSM US Middle Market Business Index, The Real Economy Blog and detailed industry forecasts from our senior analysts, industry leaders and our clients are informed about the latest industry trends and forecasts. 
In addition, thanks to our firm's relationship with Plug and Play, a leading innovation platform that connects forward-thinking technology startups with corporations, we can introduce new and emerging technologies to our clients to help them solve their biggest challenges. 
Our first- and second-year industry senior analysts traveled to Plug and Play in Sunnyvale, California, to engage with leading innovators who are revolutionizing the way we do business.

The RSM Industry Eminence Program

The RSM Industry Eminence Program, an innovative program created and led by Joe Brusuelas, RSM’s chief economist, and Kevin Depew, RSM’s deputy chief economist, began in May 2018 with 10 senior industry analysts. This three-year rotational program now has 32 participants and has become one of the key methods RSM is using to arm its professionals with industry insights to be first-choice advisors to our middle market clients.
RSM’s senior analysts learn to identify key economic, business and technology trends shaping their industry and forecast how those will affect our clients and their businesses. In addition to direct interactions with clients, production of thought leadership and participating in speaking engagements, RSM’s senior analysts also produce internal training for RSM professionals of all levels, and contribute to a variety of strategic and innovation activities for the firm.
The impact of the Industry Eminence Program on our clients has been substantial. In fact, the analysis by RSM’s senior analysts of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our clients’ businesses has been especially valuable in this challenging time.
Laura Dietzel, a partner in RSM’s real estate practice and  real estate industry analyst, offered insights into robotic process automation in commercial real estate.

Looking ahead

 As we ended our fiscal year, we faced unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19. We are committed to helping our middle market clients successfully navigate the next normal in fiscal 2021 and beyond. Leading with an industry perspective will enable us to deliver solutions that are specific to the businesses we serve and the industries in which they operate. We are committed to our promise of being a first-choice advisor, especially as we navigate uncertain times.

Whether they are providing services to private companies or Securities and Exchange Commission registrants, RSM professionals take the same measured approach to audit quality, delivering a financial report that is fair and independent.

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Continuous, proactive service 

RSM’s audit practice continues to have a positive client impact:

  • Early outreach helped clients comply with ASC 606, ASC 842 and other regulatory requirements.
  • Early adoption of COVID-19 guidance to address current-year audits.
  • Proactive leadership on COVID-19-related issues, including sustaining liquidity and remote work, as well as evaluating the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, U.S. Small Business Administration loan applications and Main Street Lending Program.
  • Multiple innovations and firm-wide adoption of RSM Orb audit methodology to improve quality and efficiency.

Difficult challenges inspire innovative ideas

RSM Audit Partner Rick Kes pilots a HoloLens at Microsoft’s Technology Center in Minneapolis.

RSM’s audit practice is leveraging technology, data and digital solutions to create the audit of the future. The practice has more than 30 active innovation projects to enhance the audits we perform. 

Over the past year, RSM has tested Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality headsets for a variety of audit applications, with the technology becoming critical when travel bans and social distancing made it challenging to complete fieldwork on some audits during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

HoloLens was used to review work papers remotely at a client site in Japan from RSM offices in Minnesota. Other RSM teams have used HoloLens to complete inventory observations on a chicken farm and an ethanol plant.

“RSM’s innovations with HoloLens have the potential to save time and reduce direct expenses—all while increasing our audit accuracy and efficiency,” said Rick Kes, audit partner and health care industry analyst. 

Enhancing audit delivery

Bringing insight, innovation and value to financial reporting

Whether they are providing services to private companies or Securities and Exchange Commission registrants, RSM professionals take the same measured approach to audit quality, delivering a financial report that is fair and independent. 
We are shaping the future of the middle market through audit innovation and technology that meet the compliance needs of our clients. 
At the same time, we continue to enhance our services with new technology, data analysis and digital tools, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of audits while providing a data-driven view of a company’s past, present and future. This past year has been no different, and included the following advances: 
  • Developed and implemented our RSM global audit methodology, tools and training geared to the unique and specialized needs of the middle market clients we serve. To enhance the quality and consistency of each RSM experience around the world, RSM International network firms are expected to implement the RSM global audit methodology by 2022. 
  • Automated routine tasks in order to focus on analysis of financial data and other information, adding value by offering clients insights to improve financial and business operations.
  • Reorganized our national professional standards group, and expanded our rotational program with longer-term rotations to enhance our response to regulatory and standard-setting requirements. This will add 20 candidates this summer and fall, including five candidates embarking in long-term rotations. Individuals who have completed the rotation tend to build long-term careers at RSM, and several have been admitted into RSM partnership.
  • Developed the Internal Control over Financial Reporting Center of Excellence to provide real-time guidance on internal controls and reporting standards for audit professionals. This included training ICFR COE members, providing reviews of prior-year work papers for various engagements, holding workshops and developing year-two protocols for ICFR COE engagements.

A new level of compliance, sophistication and operational excellence

Whether it’s recording a business combination, preparing for an initial public offering, complying with new standards or just managing day-to-day finance operations, accounting can be complex. RSM’s technical accounting consulting practice is one of the fastest-growing areas of our business. In the past year, our technical accounting consulting practice specialists helped companies successfully implement new standards such as ASC 606 for revenue recognition, ASC 842 for lease accounting and current expected credit losses methodology. They have also helped operationalize solutions to increase efficiency in accounting processes, improve financial reporting and reduce costs. 
Our team also guides companies through transformative events, such as mergers, IPOs or divestitures, and can train and supplement clients’ finance teams to adopt new procedures to move toward their desired future state. RSM’s audit readiness services continue to help clients prepare for an audit or for a diligence or liquidity event, and create business processes to align financial reporting with operational needs and strategic decision-making.

RSM’s investments in tax innovation and technology allow our tax professionals to focus on higher-value work—the consultative relationships and advisory services our clients demand.

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A superior approach

Our tax services continue to grow as we help our clients succeed: 

85%

Tax clients surveyed rated excellent or very good overall experience

13

Individuals involved New consultative, middle market service models launched in fiscal 2020, bringing the total to 48

29

Partners promoted to meet clients’ growing consultative needs spent innovating

550

Employees promoted to help ensure an enhanced RSM client experience

Offering an integrated approach 

An RSM $3 billion family office client of almost seven years planned to introduce tax technology automation and efficiency into its business. Specifically, they were interested in an artificial intelligence-based optical character recognition data extraction, and compliance automation solutions and technology.

The client planned to let Big Four competitors demonstrate their tax technology integration proficiency. Enter RSM’s new national tax technology consulting team and its partnership technology services. 

The team members demonstrated RSM’s AI-based OCR capabilities, as well as the firm’s integrated tax hub platform and overall technology approach. According to the client, RSM’s “technology and approach are far superior to the competition’s.”

So superior, in fact, the client wants RSM to take on additional work to ensure it is all part of RSM’s integrated approach to tax and technology. Not a surprising outcome when your advisor offers proven solutions based on real innovation for the middle market. 

First-choice tax advisors for the middle market

From tax reform to business disruption, RSM tax professionals are meeting clients’ needs

RSM’s tax professionals began fiscal 2020 with a renewed commitment to helping clients navigate the ongoing challenges and opportunities resulting from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. In this tax reform environment, businesses and individuals continually need solid tax advice and services from those who understand the middle market best. 
Technology advances continue to increase exponentially. RSM has the technology power to revolutionize tax services for the middle market.
As a result, our clients’ positive perception of our tax services is stronger than ever before.*
But just as the traditional fiscal 2020 tax busy season entered its final weeks, the coronavirus pandemic struck, and U.S. businesses and the global economy were altered. Within one week in mid-March, RSM tax professionals and their clients were jolted into a new reality that would require the consumption of technical information and understanding of legislative developments that made adjusting to the 2017 tax reform regulations seem quaint.
In just seven days, RSM successfully set up all of its employees to work from home—including roughly 3,200 tax professionals who were determined to help their clients meet an April 15 filing deadline. Although the deadline eventually shifted, the care and concern our tax professionals expressed for their clients’ personal and business situations never wavered.
Through it all, our professionals helped clients navigate the economic earthquake. RSM published technical analysis and middle market economic insights to help clients understand the tax policy implications of a post-coronavirus world.
Even before the pandemic struck, our clients’ businesses and industries were being disrupted at an exponential rate by changing industry trends and emerging technologies. RSM’s enhanced investments in tax innovation and technology ensure we’ll keep pace with clients’ needs for solutions to their biggest challenges. The automation that RSM’s tax technology hub provides allows our tax professionals to focus on higher-value work—the consultative relationships and advisory services our clients demand now and in the future.
RSM has faced many economic challenges during its almost 100 years and always prevailed. Today, we imagine a future in which we remain our clients’ first-choice advisor by offering expertise in artificial intelligence, blockchain and other digital transformation solutions that help them gain a competitive edge.
*Truth North Market Insights, LLC, January 2020

While much uncertainty remains, our consulting practice continues to adapt offerings to address the rapidly evolving needs of our clients.

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Preparing clients for whatever comes next

Equipped with an enterprise-wide understanding of RSM’s capabilities, enterprise account leaders connect RSM’s clients with the full range of firm insights and services. With every new or deepened relationship, these professionals ensure RSM’s clients address their full range of needs and risks, while identifying and pursuing promising opportunities in a cost-effective way.

100

enterprise
accounts

40

private equity firms/
portfolio companies served

$170

million in client
needs addressed

A measure of control in a COVID-19 world

For many businesses during the COVID-19 crisis, there are many questions but few answers.

An innovative RSM data analytics service, however, is giving businesses a welcome measure of control in an otherwise challenging environment. Using analytics tools, RSM technology consulting advisors are evaluating clients’ customer data to provide valuable insights and map a course to recovery.

“It’s a service that we’ve offered in the past via manual methods over the course of several weeks,” said Jim Klimkowski, leader of RSM’s data analytics team. “Today, we can do it in 30 minutes, at a fraction of the cost.” 

Using the data—specifically information related to their customers’ industries—RSM industry specialists are able to help clients predict how long it might take their customers—and therefore, themselves—to recover from the COVID-19 shutdown.

“At a time of such uncertainty, giving them a glimpse at what the next weeks and months might hold is a huge competitive advantage,” Jim said.

Addressing new consulting realities

Innovative tools to help clients weather unprecedented challenges

A large part of RSM consulting’s fiscal 2020 efforts centered on helping clients across all industries along their digital transformation journey.
Our contributions included enabling clients to integrate newly acquired entities by implementing state-of-the-art enterprise systems with interconnected technologies, such as proprietary CLEARthru™ technology and remote connectivity. For others, we offered data analytics to provide the insights needed to manage their operations and risks.
Together, these digital transformation efforts helped our middle market clients strengthen their enterprise value through increased revenue, streamlined business processes, reduced risk and enhanced agility.
Before the COVID-19 crisis, such innovative investments created competitive advantages for our clients. Today, given the severe challenges brought on by the pandemic, many of those investments are the proven key to surviving and even thriving in this new reality.
Enterprise account leaders meet frequently to exchange ideas for bringing the full range of RSM's solutions to clients.

Mobilized to meet A new reality

Even for the best-prepared middle market companies, COVID-19 is presenting unprecedented challenges. Those challenges have afforded our consulting team the opportunity to demonstrate the true value we bring. 
By adapting existing services and capabilities—and creating new ones—we’re working side-by-side with our clients to help ensure the viability of their operations.
Within hours of the new reality dawning on U.S. businesses brought on by the pandemic, our consulting team introduced a comprehensive framework focused on helping our clients address key issues related to their COVID-19 response. Our framework offered a critical-considerations checklist and recommended actions. To help address those needs, we quickly mobilized services, including: 
  • A rapid liquidity assessment using analytics tools and cloud technologies
  • A mobile workforce technology, able to be deployed within days
  • Cybersecurity protocols tailored for the new remote environment
  • Enhanced managed services solutions with the capability to support clients’ mobile workforces
In our video series, CEO to CEO: Leading the Real Economy, RSM CEO and managing partner Joe Adams talks with fellow leaders about their challenges, processes and philosophies and to examine how the Real Economy is progressing into the recovery.
While much uncertainty remains, our consulting practice continues to adapt offerings to address the rapidly evolving needs of our clients. As these new realities emerge, we stand ready to help our clients strengthen their foundation by solidifying their information technology infrastructure, expanding business continuity plans, evaluating operating business models and risks, and implementing cost-effective new technologies.
Through innovative tools and a talented, resourceful team, we’re working to ensure they are well-prepared for whatever comes next.

Middle market economics

Shining a light on middle market opportunities and challenges

RSM’s vision is to be the first-choice advisor to middle market leaders globally. The middle market is a dynamic segment of the U.S. and global economy that comprises 40% of our nation’s gross domestic product and accounts for one-third of its jobs. Yet the middle market is often overlooked by policymakers and media because there is little publicly available data about these companies. 
Since 2015, RSM’s The Real Economy and the RSM US Middle Market Business Index (in collaboration with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) have provided a view into the challenges and opportunities facing middle market leaders. We’ve also introduced The Real Economy Blog, which provides daily economic insights. In fiscal 2020, we added some exciting new special reports on cybersecurity, The Real Economy: Industry Outlooks, and environmental, social and governance issues in the middle market. 
Our innovative RSM Industry Eminence Program, a leadership development platform designed to build robust analytics capabilities, continues to offer forecasts on industry trends and the factors that are reshaping the ecosystems we serve. Clients, industry associations, and print and broadcast media seek out our chief economist, Joseph Brusuelas, and analysts from our Industry Eminence Program for their insights into the middle market.
These publications, programs and specialists expand our forward-looking thought leadership, help shine a light on the middle market, and influence conversations with clients, media, policymakers and other stakeholders about what is important to these businesses.
RSM's efforts to raise awareness of the issues affecting middle market businesses are amplified by the firm’s public policy activities. Dedicated RSM professionals ensure that the challenges and opportunities facing the middle market are top of mind for key decision-makers. 
In fiscal 2021, we will continue to offer leading insights into the topics that matter the most to the middle market and the industries we serve.