Issue: May 2007 Issue
Experience That Counts
Grant Thornton LLP thrills its clients by exceeding expectations.
In Grant Thornton LLP's 14th annual Survey of U.S. Business Leaders, responders identified thrilling customers by exceeding their expectations and standing out from the competition as a key ingredient for success. Internally, the prestigious accounting firm with 500 offices and 20,000 employees in 110 countries refers to that synergy between experienced, committed staff and delighted clients as the Grant Thornton Experience.
"We feel we have a passion for what we do," says Richard Gross, assurance partner and Consumer Industrial Practice (CIP) Group leader for the Cleveland office. "We focus on being thoroughly responsive to our clients' needs and providing solid, sound advice."
Domestically, Grant Thornton has 49 offices, and the CIP group, which represents manufacturing and distribution companies, represents approximately 50 percent of the firm's national business and more than 60 percent of the Northeast Ohio business, according to Gross.
Believing the Big Four accounting firms tend to overlook middle-market companies in the $50 million to $2 billion revenues range, Grant Thornton maintains a niche in serving these companies as its primary clientele. The firm rounds out its dual business strategy by servicing Fortune 500 and 1,000 companies on a special project basis.
Locally, the Cleveland office employs 120 people, including 13 partners, to support clients throughout the region.
"The number of partners and managers compared to our total staff gives us an edge in furnishing clients with a higher focus of attention from experienced people than most of our competitors," says Gross, who's been with the company for more than 25 years.
Founded in 1924, Grant Thornton offers a diverse range of services, from core accounting and tax compliance and return services, benefit plan audits and basic business advisory services such as management consulting, advisory services, to IT auditing and transaction support for mergers and acquisitions to help clients understand how to structure a deal and perform due diligence.
Moreover, the firm's significant concentration in the manufacturing sector enables it to provide seasoned expertise and specialization in various industry segments. In the rapidly changing manufacturing arena caused by the ongoing emergence of China and Asia as industrial powers, the firm also distinguishes itself, Gross believes, by providing value add-on services such as recovery and reorganization services to assist distressed companies and expertise in private equity and venture capital investments. The latter has grown more vital as U.S.-based companies do more outsourcing and distribution, since more of the manufacturing is performed overseas.
Grant Thornton can guide clients through this transformation by helping them perform efficient operational reviews, evaluating industrial process redesign and exploring new capital sources to grow the business. Just as manufacturing companies have been forced to evolve and innovate, the firm's CIP group has continued to change to accommodate the shifting manufacturing environment.
"As the complexities of doing business and being cost efficient and effective change," Gross concludes, "we need to provide the services that will help our clients meet their needs so they can grow and be profitable and successful."
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