Why RSM chose OKCPublished: Tuesday, March 28, 2017
RSM associates gathered at The Journal Record to discuss why the national company chose to come to Oklahoma City, what makes the city a good fit for the company and what the firm has to offer its clients. The following is a partial transcript of the full conversation from the paid roundtable.
RSM is relatively new to Oklahoma City, right? Your history goes back with Cole & Reed, a long-established firm here in town. Tell us how RSM came to this market.
RSM’s strategy is to be the first choice advisor to middle market companies, and our clients want us to be physically near them. So as we think about markets, we think about where our clients are, where our prospective clients are – and where is the mid-market strong – and we need to be present in those markets. Delivering those services from other markets has proven difficult, and clients want their professional service providers nearby.
So, we are constantly looking at markets that we’re not in that meet the geographic or population center base that we like to have – and have dynamic and good economies. Several years ago we started looking at the State of Oklahoma, since we didn’t have a presence there, and it was actually the state that we had the most services delivered remotely into without an office, so it made logical sense to us that there was a demand for our services in that market, and we needed to be in it.
We had a long-standing relationship with Cole & Reed, as they were a member of the RSM alliance, so we began a discussion. We did a lot of market research on Oklahoma City starting about three plus years ago. Obviously, oil prices were at a different place then, and we knew that Oklahoma City was a market rooted in energy, but it’s also a very diversified economy, which was appealing to us. We weren’t going to come in here and be an energy practice necessarily.
We liked Cole & Reed, and our cultures matched very well, so we were very excited to get this transaction done. We’re coming up on two years now, and market acceptance has been great, and the community has been very welcoming. Obviously college campuses are important to us as we recruit, and that’s been very successful in our efforts to add new staff. We’re thrilled to be here and to continue to execute our vision of being the first choice advisor for middle market companies.
I think, Oklahoma City in particular, as within other mid-sized markets, the Chamber of Commerce and all their affiliated organizations are forever trying to recruit people here. So I think there’s a lot of interest in why, other than your individual reasons, you needed to have a physical presence here. What did you find attractive about this particular market over Memphis or a similar area?
Well, we’d love to be in Memphis! There are several things we look at when we look at markets. One of them is the company profile of business in the market. Is it a market that has a Fortune 500 profile, or does it have a mid-market profile? We really want to go where there is a dynamic business culture for startups and mid-market companies that support them. Those companies play an important role.
In addition, being near universities that produce quality accounting students is really important to us. It’s very difficult for us to be in a market where there isn’t access to talented young people. We are a business that recruits a lot of talented young people and produces a lot of talented young people for the marketplace. There are very few places that have what Oklahoma City has with access to several great universities in that regard.
I had honestly never been to Oklahoma City until we started this process three years ago, but from the time I landed at the airport to the time I spent downtown, it felt like an RSM community – young, dynamic and growing. Even in these more difficult economic times, I still see tower cranes downtown, which is very encouraging. Not all markets are like that. So, we look for markets where our clients and prospects are, where there is a dynamic business community that welcomes new business, and where there’s ready access to talent.
As we execute a location strategy, those are the things we look for, and we’ve not gone into markets where that might be logical. We’re in 80-some communities in the United States. Some people from the outside may ask why were aren’t in certain communities, and there are reasons why we’re not, and it generally follows one of those three or four topics.