letter from JOe Adams
DEAR CLIENTS, COLLEAGUES AND FRIENDS,
It has been a year full of unexpected events. Last year, I closed my letter to you with this statement: “As I look ahead to fiscal 2020, I am excited about what the future holds and confident that RSM will continue to play a vital role for all of our stakeholders.”
I think we can agree that the future has been interesting and exciting, albeit not in the way we had hoped. Yet I am proud of how RSM has persevered and played a vital role for our stakeholders through a unique combination of innovation + impact.
RSM started the year in a solid position on the heels of yet another strong year and an owners meeting that galvanized our partners and principals around the five characteristics (5 C’s) of being a first-choice advisor—caring, curious, collaborative, courageous, critical thinkers. We took these 5 C’s and applied them with clients to help advance their businesses objectives and with our people to help advance their careers.
We took bold steps with innovation—hiring new professionals, forging new strategic partnerships, funding creative CEO Innovation projects submitted by our people, and setting up three acceleration centers focused on automation, blockchain and data analytics. And we continued our innovative Industry Eminence Program, designed to provide leading insights to the middle market, with the addition of a second class.
We also welcomed Christi Mack to our southeast regional leadership role, added new offices and colleagues by joining forces with firms in St. Petersburg, Florida and Washington, D.C., and celebrated 10 years of The RSM Classic with a donation of $3.8 million through our Birdies Fore Love program.
Then in early 2020, COVID-19 struck and disrupted our business, as well as the clients we serve. We knew we had to approach this crisis in a way that was aligned with our values and supportive of our clients, colleagues and communities. And we knew we had to apply innovation while staying on course with our long-term strategy to navigate these uncharted waters.
Our first step was to get everyone working safely from home. Thanks to our investments in technology during the last several years, we were able to pivot to remote work very quickly. Next we focused on making sure we had the processes in place for each of our lines of business and service offerings to ensure continuity for our clients. I’m proud to say that our leaders and teams rose to this momentous challenge and provided uninterrupted client service.
We also launched a COVID-19 response center where we could share insights about business continuity planning, remote work, federal stimulus, taxes and more with our clients. Our webcast series garnered thousands of participants each week as middle market businesses navigated the pandemic, and we innovated various new service offerings to support our clients in their time of need. We also began measuring the RSM US Middle Market Business index monthly to keep a real-time pulse on the impact of the crisis.
Internally, we set four guardrails to approach the management of our own business. Keep everyone as safe as possible. Retain as many jobs as possible. Maintain compensation at current levels. And a commitment from our owners to support our people during these difficult times. These guardrails, along with a continuing focus on our long-term strategy and our values, enabled us to successfully navigate the first months of the pandemic and put us in a position to pay our employees bonuses and continue to make strategic investments in our future.
We also found an innovative and impactful way to support our people and communities through a $50 per week food per-diem during the first six weeks of the pandemic. Employees who used the per-diem supported not only their families, but also local restaurants and grocers with their purchases, and any amount not used by employees was given by the RSM US Foundation to food banks in our local communities. In total we provided $4.7 million.
As I look ahead to fiscal 2021, I know that the waters will continue to be choppy. In addition to the pandemic and the economic uncertainty, we are now also grappling with how to advance racial equality in our society. Each of these things alone is challenging and together they can seem quite difficult. But every challenge represents opportunity, and that’s why we choose to face the future with optimism. I believe we have an incredible opportunity right now to not just weather this storm but to emerge stronger and create a brighter future for all.
RSM is committed to making things better as we focus on delivering the power of being understood to our clients, colleagues and communities.
Joe Adams, RSM US LLP Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer