Richard Stanger Carolyn CarlsonWe are a business strategy and leadership advisory firm that focuses on the services industries, particularly professional services. We bring strategic thinking grounded in deep business acumen and personal leadership experience. We take a hand-on approach. Our senior executives, Richard and Carolyn work with you directly, bringing templates and industry benchmarks, customizing each engagement to your style, needs and culture.

Our Services


Our greatest strength is sharing our deep professional services knowledge with our clients as strategic management consultants, executive coaches and facilitators to help them achieve stronger results. We are hands-on in our approach, customizing for each client and situation and tailoring our work to different leadership styles and cultures. We deliver personally for our clients, caring deeply about their success. Our services focus on five areas:

 

Business Strategy – Facilitating the process of developing and implementing a successful business strategy in a collaborative way that includes all of the firm’s partners. Bringing established competitive benchmarks, industry knowledge and decades of professional experience as business leaders at accounting & advisory firms.

Accounting & advisory firms are at a strategic crossroads. Their partners want to remain independent in a world where constant consolidation is happening. Yet, they also know that this will take continued future growth and substantial change. We help you navigate these turbulent waters using our strategic planning process that engages all of the partners in getting to the right answers in a collaborative way. Working together, we help you create a multi-year strategic plan with an accompanying execution playbook that sets forth the timeline, milestones, accountabilities and measurements for success. We bring our experience, industry knowledge, benchmarks and templates to the process. You make the strategic decisions. We are also available to help you successfully execute the plan.

Download our PDF on Business Strategy Development.

 

People Strategy – Working with you on identifying, designing and adopting the programs and behaviors that will help you attract and develop the team – partners and staff – to implement your strategy, driving strong business results and high client satisfaction and staff engagement.

As an accounting & advisory firm, you are only as strong as your people.

  • You are under competitive pressure to get, develop and keep the right people.
  • You need to have a strong succession pipeline of strong partner candidates
  • You need enough leaders for an expanding number of industries, services and geographic markets
  • You live with an ongoing tension between trying to be a ”great place to work” and the
    need to drive staff productivity


We work with our clients to design and deliver an integrated talent strategy that addresses these issues in a way that is tailored to your needs and culture. Talk to us about how we would design a Career Development Center as the anchor of your people strategy.

 

Performance – Acting as your execution partner to make sure that strategies are implemented. Providing the support that gives you the resources to execute the strategies, allowing your partner and staff the bandwidth to continue to provide excellent service to clients.

It’s a big step to move from designing a strategy to executing it. Here are a few examples key areas where we can help you:

    • You decide to find another firm to acquire to expand your geographic reach and add critical talent, but you’ve never done an acquisition before. We can help you find the other firm and support you in assessing the quality of its people behaviorally as well as technically. Then, we can assist you in integrating the acquired firm as part of your business.
    • You want to expand your services to become a true advisory firm, but have little experience in non-accounting related advisory services. We can help you decide which advisory services have the best potential for growth. Then, we can help you assess the risks of different opportunities. We can advise you on leadership decisions for the new business area as well as where to find the right advisory talent. Finally, we can help you construct a realistic business case for expanding into particular advisory services.

  • You need to strengthen recruiting and development in a meaningful way. We can help you understand your weaknesses and how to address them at all levels. Then, we will assist you to design new HR programs and choose the technology to support them.

Mergers & Acquisitions – Playing a key role in helping you successfully acquire or merge with other firms. We are experts in finding the seller, buyer or partner you are seeking where the business objectives and skill sets of the two firms will complement each other.

We understand the challenges that drive decisions to buy, sell or to merge with other firms. We also understand the concerns. Most important, we know how to find you the right deal and help get it done.

  • On the buy side, you need to be comfortable with the costs — including benefits costs — of the transaction, the strategic fit, the skills and personalities you are acquiring, the continuing culture you will need to manage and the implications of the acquisition for leadership, management and succession. We can help you address these issues.
  • Partners of firms selling their businesses to larger firms want to know that they will be secure, that they will have a say in the firm’s future and that their skills and experience will be important moving forward. It’s a big step to give up independence as a firm. We know the issues and how to help you navigate them.

Merging two firms presents unique challenges. Leadership roles need to be sorted out for overlapping industries and services. The right branding for the merged firm needs to developed and launched. Systems and processes need to be harmonized. And partners from both firms need to learn about their new colleagues and what they can offer to clients. Both firms are making a very big bet that the combination will be successful. We can help you find the right merger partner and navigate these challenges successfully.

 

Coaching & Advising – Acting as executive and team coaches to partners and high potential staff to help them develop the soft skills and business acumen that it takes to excel at business development, client relationships and team leadership. Acting as strategic advisors to managing partners and practice group leaders to bring them deep industry expertise and professional advice and judgment on a wide variety of issues that are critical to the firm.

Partners and senior staff can greatly increase their effectiveness by working with a coach or business advisor. Our global coaching team has extensive experience in helping leaders strengthen their abilities in critical areas such as executive presence, communications, time management, self-awareness, authenticity and emotional intelligence. Richard and Carolyn, in addition to acting as coaches, serve as senior advisors to managing partners and practice group leaders bringing their deep experience as leaders in the accounting & advisory industry. Most of our coaches have Executive Coaching certifications from Columbia University Business School. The remainder have other recognized credentials.

 

Other Services

Retreats & Workshops – Co-creating and facilitating retreats and workshops that provide meaning learning experiences to your leaders, partners or broader teams. Combining action learning, team building, change management and structured social time in the right mixture to achieve your business goals.

Because of client pressures, your business leaves little time for offsite meetings. When you hold them, they need to be productive for the firm and the partners. As industry experts and experienced facilitators, we are able to draw on a strong inventory of retreat and workshop programs and tailor them to meet your needs:

  • Team building workshops
  • Leadership retreats
  • Partner meetings
  • Business challenge workshops
  • Soft skills training
  • Manager training


Where appropriate, we incorporate personality assessments and feedback sessions into these programs. We also, where appropriate, use simulation learning – incorporating explanation, demonstration, role playing in breakout sessions and targeted, follow-on coaching – to teach partners and senior level staff new skills.