Client Experience
Two men talking, the power of being understood

Demonstrating middle market leadership,
knowledge and capability

At RSM, we create distinctive experiences based on key brand principles:

We are caring, curious, collaborative, courageous, critical thinkers.

We bring an unmatched personalized focus to every interaction, meeting people where they are to help them reach their goals.

We build rich, enduring relationships based on a profound understanding of our clients, colleagues and communities, and their goals and aspirations. And we bring diverse ideas and insights to help them reach greater heights.

When you are deeply understood, you are empowered to move forward with confidence.


RSM’s 5 C’s

RSM’s 5 C’s

We are proud of our culture because our people stand out for how they demonstrate what we call the 5 C’s—caring, curious, collaborative, courageous, critical thinking—how they live our values and how they exhibit behaviors that bring our brand to life every day.

As a critical component of our culture and each individual’s career progression, the 5 C’s help us achieve our vision to be the first-choice advisor to middle market leaders globally.

The power of being understood sets a high standard for excellence that transcends the typical professional services delivery model. At RSM, we are committed to bringing clarity to important issues and helping clients move forward with confidence.

As advisors, we offer proprietary insights on broader middle market, economic, business, industry and technical trends, coupled with advice and services tailored to the unique needs and expectations of our clients.

Understanding what’s important to middle market leaders

Middle market issues. Our focus on delivering the power of being understood is important in times of transformation. Our world is changing rapidly, and uncertainty generated by dynamic political, economic and technological disruptions persists. Providing leadership on the issues affecting middle market executives is a key driver of our first-choice advisor mindset. Our proprietary Middle Market Business Index helps clients and professionals stay current on how middle market executives feel about the economy, public policy and the business climate—and how they can navigate important issues.

We leverage partnerships with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, innovators such as early-stage investor and corporate innovation platform Plug and Play, the Chamber of Digital Commerce, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, business organizations, and our own technical and industry subject matter specialists to inform our perspectives on the middle market. We use this information to train our people and provide tools to initiate deeper client conversations about issues, trends and innovations that could change or disrupt their business. This intelligence also influences our public policy program to bring the middle market voice to policymakers and regulators.

Brand differentiation. A Harris poll conducted in late 2018 shows RSM gets high marks on brand attributes that are important to middle market companies, including:

  • Leadership in the middle market
  • Being easy to do business with
  • Understanding clients’ needs and expectations
  • Offering middle market insights and innovative ideas
  • Demonstrating RSM’s unique first-choice advisor characteristics—the 5 C’s

Client needs and preferences. We regularly gather and share client feedback through our proprietary client experience measurement platform to understand what middle market companies need and expect from us. This information mobilizes our teams around the common goal of enhancing value for clients and our broader middle market client base. In FY 2020, we will conduct our triennial client loyalty tracking study, which asks thousands of middle market clients and companies to describe and evaluate the experiences they have with their preferred providers.

Measuring first-choice advisor performance. This past year, we implemented a strategy to increase transparency on client feedback and how we use this information to continually improve the RSM client experience. A new culture dashboard enables leaders to monitor behaviors indicative of a first-choice advisor culture and provides talking points to coach others on the RSM experience and growth opportunities.

Inspiring first-choice advisor talent

Success factors. RSM is committed to hiring people who embody the 5 C’s—caring, curious, collaborative, courageous, critical thinking—then investing heavily in developing their advisory skills through a combination of formal and informal training, on-the-job experiences and practice aids. New partner candidates are evaluated on how well they adhere to RSM’s values, exhibit the 5 C’s in their daily interactions with clients and colleagues, and develop other first-choice advisors.

First-choice advisor development. Our career development framework outlines what it takes for our people to be successful in their current roles and as they progress in their careers. This year, we made significant progress in building a corresponding training curriculum to help our people develop advisory skills throughout their careers. Our leaders and owners also receive intensive training to ensure they are bringing the best of RSM to others—inspiring our people and empowering our clients to make great strides toward the future.

Reinforcing consistent brand promise delivery

RSM continues to enhance our client engagements to ensure a consistently strong RSM client experience around the world.

  • We constantly refine the roles of our relationship leaders, working collaboratively to focus on a client’s changing business environment, strategies and objectives, and bringing the right resources and knowledge at the right time to help clients think ahead, solve problems and prepare for the future.
  • We completed work with RSM International colleagues to align client experience concepts and tools with our new global audit methodology, bringing more depth of understanding about the client’s business objectives into the audit planning process. We also developed a global platform designed to bring our brand promise to life at every stage of the client life cycle. In FY 2020, we will pilot the platform among a small group of RSM firms, with worldwide rollout expected in the fall.
Talent Experience

Developing first-choice advisors

As first-choice advisors, we bring the same 5 C’s—caring, curious, collaborative, courageous, critical thinking—to interactions with our colleagues as we do with our clients. In FY 2019, we continued to improve the RSM experience for our current and future talent. This focus ensures that RSM provides an environment that empowers our people to make an impact and achieve success as their authentic selves.

“From associates up to partners, everyone takes a genuine interest in getting to know each other. And while we all want to help the firm excel, we also want what is best for each individual.”

Audit associate, Irvine, California, four months with the firm

Making an impact

In FY 2019, we focused on enhancing the new hire onboarding experience to help our newest employees feel more connected to the firm and ensure that, from the start, they have the skills, tools and support they need to effectively serve their clients and add value to their teams. To this end, we launched an onboarding portal that allows new hires to get a sneak peek into what to expect before their first day and to preview the important relationships, training and support we offer throughout their careers. We also refreshed our national in-person training conferences for interns and first-year associates. The conferences kick off with strategy sessions so our newest professionals understand the critical roles they play in client service, followed by up to two weeks of technical and advisory skills training, and networking with peers and leaders from across the country.

In FY 2020, we will launch an on-the-job training program to ensure what’s being taught in the classroom is reinforced in the field and to continue to encourage day-to-day learning and knowledge sharing.

Supporting our people, personally and professionally

Our focus on development doesn’t stop with new hires. We provide ongoing training and development to help RSM professionals achieve their aspirations at every stage of their careers.

We put greater emphasis on year-round development in FY 2019, adding accountability for in-the-moment feedback, ongoing career conversations and tracking progress against goals throughout the year. As a result, the vast majority of employees have acknowledged that they’ve completed these important development activities, not just at year-end, but throughout the year.

We also continue to review our professional development offerings to ensure we’re providing tailored training. This year, we added a new training conference targeting our supervisors and managers in tax, and a new Enterprise Leadership Academy for partners who are on track for firm leadership roles. In FY 2020, in addition to the new first-choice advisor curriculum and additional on-demand offerings, we will launch a new learning interface that will make our robust training library more accessible and better support the development needs of our professionals.

Feeling supported is an important part of the talent experience, and we know people’s lives are about more than their careers. With this in mind, we are continually reviewing our benefits and flexibility offerings. In FY 2019, we launched an interactive decision-making tool to increase our colleagues’ understanding of our benefit offerings and help them select the options that are right for their unique situations; 90 percent of users said they had a better understanding of their benefits after using the tool. This approach is part of an overall strategy to help employees make the most of the many programs we offer to support the unique emotional, financial and physical needs of themselves and their loved ones. We also continued our Pursue Your Passion program, supporting our colleagues’ personal passions.

The power of being you

RSM is committed to fostering an environment where individuals are valued for who they are, and how their unique skills and experiences strengthen our teams as well as inform the insights we provide our clients. It’s an environment where our people can experience, as we say, the power of being you and can continue to deliver the power of being understood. Through our focus on culture, diversity and inclusion, which includes 11 employee network groups, we foster a caring culture that enables our professionals to bring their authentic selves to work every day.