Enabling clients to adapt to the current landscape while preparing for what’s next
While transformation was a key strategy for middle market business growth, it quickly became essential for survival during the pandemic. Our experienced professionals and our comprehensive solutions helped lead clients from assessing the initial situation to recovery and growth. It’s these challenging times and successful experiences that build trust between RSM and our clients, and further establish a foundation for even stronger relationships.
Addressing needs across industries
Transformation through technology
Plato said “necessity is the mother of invention,” and true or not, necessity certainly accelerates the pace at which innovation is adopted. Over the past year, it has become increasingly clear that embracing and adopting technology innovations were key for businesses to endure the COVID-19 pandemic and thrive in its wake. In fact, the use of advanced technology and data can revolutionize the production and operations for all middle market companies and speed their digital transformation.
For many companies, adopting advanced technologies and new ways of operating are scary prospects. The required capital outlays are overwhelming. However, the consequences of not moving forward with new technologies can be even more costly in the long term.
Creating a digital awakening for our clients
FY2021 was a year of transformation for all of us. Just like our clients, RSM had to learn to work differently. We found that transforming how we do things, with technology at the core, was the path to resilience. We have worked with many companies this year to evaluate and, in many cases, upgrade their infrastructure in order to embrace and implement new technologies across all functions of the business. We found that even organizations that are early in their journey toward digitalization should focus on accelerating adoption to avoid lost opportunity. That is the only way companies will go beyond keeping up to leading in their sectors.
Pandemic-driven trends such as the sharp increase in online consumer buying, the shift to remote work, increased cybersecurity risk and the growing popularity of remote health care services underscore the need for new technology. RSM brings the benefit of a holistic approach to our clients’ businesses and their needs, looking at the whole company, its systems and processes in their entirety.
In the coming year, we will focus on continuing to bring advice, solutions and services that meet the needs of our clients head-on. That’s the foundation, but our deep understanding of the digital revolution as it relates to specific industries and sectors we serve will take our conversations to the next level.
The RSM Industry Eminence Program
May 2021 marked the completion of the first three-year rotation in the RSM Industry Eminence Program (IEP). Our inaugural class officially graduated in May, but that doesn’t mean they stop being eminents. Graduates of the IEP have gained economic and analytic skills that will be used in interactions and engagements throughout their careers. These luminaries continue to make their mark across RSM and in the broader marketplace, as demonstrated in the many respected publications that contain their insights. As of May 2021, the IEP will include 22 analysts in the midst of their rotation, 15 new senior analysts and nine graduates, bringing our total to 46 talented and innovative individuals.
January 12, 2021
December 29, 2020
November 17, 2020
march 02, 2020
February 17, 2021
Reimagining the wine business with Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, the largest winery in the Pacific Northwest and a longtime RSM client, faced many of the same challenges others did when COVID-19 hit. Closing its tasting rooms, a big part of the business, was devastating, as it was for restaurants across the country. However, because the company was open to innovative solutions from the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Platform and their RSM team, Ste. Michelle was able to reimagine how it does business.
Right off the bat, Ste. Michelle was able to combat the closing of its tasting rooms by beginning to accept and prepare pick-up orders. Long before the pandemic, Ste. Michelle and RSM had worked together to put in place a Microsoft platform with a solid enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Because of that, the business adapted quickly and due to that agility, it didn’t experience much down time.
Ste. Michelle leadership realized that the path to success came down to the personal connections to their customers—both in person and virtually. As the company reinvents the business model, new plans include developing online and virtual experiences that will make interacting with the winery an unforgettable experience. Imagine talking to a winemaker via hologram or hosting virtual wine tastings; the possibilities are endless for Ste. Michelle and RSM.
Enhancing audit delivery
Reshaping audit services, insights and value—now and in the future
One year into the pandemic, RSM’s resilience and ability to rethink every aspect of our audit practice is strengthening our position to lead dynamic, growth-oriented companies into the future.
Adapting to change
Our progressive digital strategy enabled a rapid and effective shift to a completely virtual audit practice, incorporating everything from routine audit planning meetings to complex audit functions.
A new virtual accounting and audit resource center provided best practices, resources and tools to support planning, talent development, client service and relationship development, fieldwork, business development, and more.
Creative use of technology supported virtual onboarding, training and development for thousands of new hires and existing audit professionals.
Virtual audit rooms became the standard for audit engagement teams to review work, answer questions, share insights and ensure engagements stayed on track.
Planning tools, guidance and client discussion guides allowed engagement teams to collaborate with clients to plan for virtual, in-person or hybrid inventory observations.
Our SMART health-and-safety protocols, StayWell mobile app and client coordination tools delivered health-and-safety protections for our auditors and clients when in-person work was necessary.
Caring for clients and leading every step of the way
RSM was at the forefront of helping clients understand and respond to the business, economic and social challenges of the past year. Clients relied on our guidance—from the initial response to the pandemic through recovery, and now, as they rethink business goals and objectives. We educated clients on:
New financial reporting requirements and considerations
Accounting for the CARES Act and other COVID-19 relief programs, Paycheck Protection Program debt forgiveness, and more
As business conditions improve and clients become increasingly optimistic about the future, we are advising them to take actions now to transform their businesses and prepare for a much improved economy, pent up consumer demand and growth in their industries.
Innovating the audit of the future
The passion, agility and critical thinking that have driven our success are helping the firm reimagine audit services to ensure clients continue to experience exceptional quality, value and ease of doing business with RSM in the future.
In data analytics, we are focused on providing advanced skills training to the audit workforce so we can bring better information analysis to clients. Our Audit Data Analytics Center of Excellence combines the efficiency of providing standardized routines with direct engagement team coaching to improve the use of IDEA data analysis software.
We are leveraging new automation tools to enable our auditors to further automate data gathering and cleansing, and to unlock actionable, data-driven insights that inform clients’ forward-thinking business decisions.
The past year tested our resilience and ability to lead through massive change. We are proud of what we’ve accomplished and look forward to continuing to evolve our capabilities to be the trusted advisor clients turn to first as they navigate the challenges and opportunities of the future.
Areas of audit innovation
While the pandemic limited on-site work, we leveraged technology and streamlined procedures to complete more than 40% of our inventory observations virtually. These best practices will continue to bring efficiency to our inventory observations and other field work in the future.
industry observations completed virtually
Our data analytics center of excellence developed automation scripts for revenue, gross margin, general ledger roll forward, journal entry testing, inventory, accounts receivable and accounts payable, resulting in 46 different report types for 175 engagement teams.
report types created by our data analytics center
engagement teams utilized these reports
We used technology and creativity to build engaging virtual onboarding and development experiences for our audit professionals. Our insights are informing how we continue to innovate our development programs to prepare RSM’s auditors of the future.
We implemented Brightidea as our ideation platform to allow our professionals to voice and socialize innovative ideas with peers and other stakeholders. We use the platform to host industry-specific ideation sessions to solve specific problems.
First-choice tax advisors for the middle market
Delivering effective solutions to help clients address evolving tax challenges and opportunities
The ongoing pandemic and resulting economic downturn left corporate America scrambling for ways to cope with significant changes in the tax landscape. Pile on the shift to remote work, multiple extended tax filing deadlines, significant societal upheaval, and a sea change in global, federal, and state and local tax policy, and America’s middle market seemed like it might buckle.
RSM’s tax clients weathered these challenges and more, fortified by a service provider with enough middle market understanding, tax policy analysis and industry insights to rise to the occasion. RSM tax professionals helped steer clients through the pandemic’s impacts and interpret the benefits of the federal government’s tax policy response to COVID-19, which included:
The pandemic didn’t slow clients’ continued interest in emerging technologies. The middle market’s biggest challenges are often addressed with transformational solutions that improve tax processes. And RSM’s tax technology consulting team stayed ahead of the curve by helping clients leverage these solutions and their benefits:
Robotic process automation (RPA) to integrate their tax processes (benefits: scalability, accuracy, cost savings)
Alteryx Server to automate their tax processes (benefits: easier collaboration, secure environment, increased efficiency, built-in scheduling capabilities, future scalability)
Power BI/Tableau for tax data analytics (benefits: better decision-making, tracing and analysis)
Asana to manage their tax operations (benefits: time savings, better reporting, comprehensive insights)
Integrating enterprise resource planning and tax (benefits: out-of-the-box integration, increased productivity, cost savings)
For private equity, family office and real estate clients, RSM’s new industry-leading allocation and tiering platform has transformed the way they manage their tax compliance and reporting obligations. And PartnerSight helps these clients develop powerful insights to guide their investment strategies and investor transactions.
Throughout the last year, RSM and our tax clients have faced overwhelming challenges with a healthy dose of professional stamina and can-do spirit. Combined with middle market tax policy analysis and continued investments in talent and emerging technologies, there’s likely nothing RSM and our clients can’t face together.
Tax Summit 2020: Seeking solid ground
In 2020, the pandemic forced RSM to reimagine its annual tax summit, transforming it into an exclusively virtual event. In an unintentional but surprisingly beneficial way, Tax Summit 2020: Seeking Solid Ground uncovered a silver lining for the clients, prospects and centers of influence who attended this week-long meeting opportunity.
Historically, the RSM Tax Summit consisted of local, in-person, three-hour events at the firm’s various offices throughout the country, events that in 2019 attracted a total of 349 people. Last year, by comparison, more than 3,000 participants attended the virtual summit.
Clearly, this online event, held Nov. 9-13, 2020, presented the right format for the moment. Attendees wading through a sea of uncertainty eight months into the pandemic and less than a week after the U.S. presidential election were hungry for solid, reliable analysis on tax policy developments. And RSM delivered. Seasoned RSM tax professionals with decades of experience in Washington provided the focused middle market insights and analysis participants sought.
participants attended the virtual summit
of attendees were satisfied or very satisfied with the content
Ninety-nine percent of attendees who responded to the post-event survey said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the event’s content. They came seeking solid ground, and solid ground is what they got.
Addressing new consulting realities
Investing in RSM’s consulting capabilities to lead middle market recovery and growth
RSM’s consulting practice continues its double-digit growth because we are uniquely attuned to the needs, expectations and business challenges of middle market companies. As clients struggled through the past year and now have optimism for the future, they continue to look to RSM for leadership to help them thrive and plan for robust growth and opportunity.
Delivering insight and key resources
Clients with strong technology infrastructures, platforms and risk management practices typically perform better in the face of great uncertainty. RSM is on the forefront of providing clients highly relevant service capabilities to design, implement and help manage their operations. We have developed a managed services model to provide deep experience and additional resources to support IT, back-office functions, cybersecurity, internal audit and other critical needs, allowing clients to focus on their core business and move faster on key strategies.
Helping clients take advantage of growth opportunities
With private equity deal flow activity at pre-pandemic highs, RSM is already working with dozens of special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) and targets in various capacities, including providing technical accounting services, IPO readiness and SEC compliance services. Well after the initial merger, we are also providing assistance with ERP systems, finance, and accounting processes and controls. Clients appreciate the broad capabilities and dexterity RSM brings to SPAC mergers due to the fast pace, complexity, and the SEC and public market scrutiny associated with these transactions.
Enhancing client service capabilities
RSM also announced the release of RSM DASH, a world-class managed services platform supporting our managed IT, technology infrastructure and business applications services. RSM DASH is used across all of our technology services and provides a unified, efficient ticketing and case management system, with a more robust client portal and centralized engagement management platform.
Evolving to inspire continued growth
Our drive to be first-choice advisors to our clients caused us to rethink our own practice and how we serve clients’ ever-changing needs. Our consulting practice took bold steps to evolve as we approach $1 billion in revenue—including refining our organizational structure to scale for rapid growth and naming a consulting COO to help drive the execution of our firm and consulting strategies. These changes will allow us to be even more effective in bringing the full complement of consulting capabilities to serve our clients’ complex needs, provide exceptional career opportunities for our people and drive profitable growth for our firm.
Introducing new skills and services
Our consulting team also continues to grow through strategic acquisitions. This year, we expanded our business applications capabilities with the addition of MondayCall LLC, a leading provider of Salesforce solutions, increasing our depth of services for one of the fastest growing CRM tools in the world.
Looking toward the future
Despite the pandemic, RSM’s consulting practice is stronger than ever. In the year ahead, we will focus on building and leveraging strategic partnerships, further expanding global capabilities, and investing in technology to enable automation and data analytics that continue to reshape the future for our people, our clients and our firm.
Delivering innovative solutions to the middle market
RSM’s consulting practice is in a continuous cycle of innovation, and we developed several game-changing solutions to address client issues in FY21. For example, clients who needed to predict heightened risk exposure and at-risk lease default identification, as well as analyze control effectiveness and loan forgiveness data, had to do it quickly. RSM responded by developing solutions based on artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to provide rapid response assessments and comprehensive risk insights.
In addition, our newly expanded Salesforce team launched a series of offerings called Rapid Deploy to quickly and clearly define a project’s scope, time and feature-limited implementation options to help clients put a Salesforce solution in place in about five weeks.