There’s no easier way to put it: Most top accounting firms do it by the book.
Even with the complication of buyouts and mergers, top 100 CPA firms have historically been named after founders. In fact, some states even require it—solidifying a tradition that many partners still prefer.
That’s why when Habif, Arogeti & Wynne (HA&W) defied the norm and changed its name to Aprio in 2017, it was seen by many industry experts as a bold move.
But bold is nothing new to the folks at Aprio, who for years have redefined what it means to be a successful mid-market, top 100 firm—aiming for the future when others have stuck to their traditional accounting guns.
Aprio Chief Marketing Officer Danielle Berg spent more than a year working on the rebranding campaign that led to the eventual name change.
“As a company, we like being disruptive in a very traditional industry,” Berg said. “I think a lot of firms want to do this but just aren’t ready to make the leap.”
Berg said it was vital for the 65-year-old firm to develop a brand that was as fresh and forward-thinking as its strategy—noting that the company will continue to transition into more advisory services and focus on additional business acquisitions.
Along with the name change came a newly-minted tagline: “Passionate for what’s next.”
“Our tagline is all about helping our clients look forward. That’s where the value is for firms like Aprio,” Berg said.
Branding from the inside out
Having previously worked at IBM and various consulting firms, Berg was a greenhorn to the CPA world when she joined HA&W in 2014. In an effort to better understand the firm’s culture and how to brand the business for the future, she spent her first 100 days asking employees one simple question: “What does HA&W stand for?”
“Every time I’d ask the question, I’d get a different answer,” Berg said. “Which meant that the brand didn’t stand for anything outside of the three founders.”
After months of interviews of both team members and clients, the issue of the firm’s name continued to crop up. So when Berg began to work with CEO Richard Kopelman on the company’s 2020 vision, they both knew they needed a name that would position the firm for the future. Less than a year later, “Aprio” topped the firm’s letterhead.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I envision changing the firm’s name. But through the process, we realized we needed to do it, and we were open-minded enough to make the change,” Berg said.
Interested in working at Aprio, a firm that combines the flexibility of a startup with the global resources and prestige of a big enterprise? Scroll to the bottom of the article to apply for open accounting jobs now—both remote and in-office accounting jobs are available.
A firm reflection of the future
The name “Aprio” was not an overnight brainstorm—it’s rooted from two words: cap (head) and aria (song for the heart). Berg said the idea is that the best client experience comes from both the head (the technical expertise) and the heart (the deep care and genuine engagement of Aprio team members).
“One of the most gratifying things is when employees tell me our name now embodies who we are,” Berg said. “Their excitement was more important to me than even the client reaction initially.”
And that excitement has resonated into the firm’s recruiting process, helping brand its workplace as one that’s poised to face industry changes head-on—most notably the switch to AI auditing and human advising.
“Our company is now running a program called STAR that teaches accountants how to be advisors,” Berg said. “It’s all part of our commitment to look ahead, to grow our advisory practice and help our team members develop the skills they’ll need for the future. If you’re an accounting student looking for career options, I don’t think you can do much better than Aprio.”
Get an accounting job at a progressive firm
A successful company not only needs a great brand to attract new clients, but also one that attracts great talent to work for it. At Aprio, employees are given the keys to their career success and the tools to make a difference with their clients each and every day.
Structured with an entrepreneurial mindset, the 450-person Atlanta firm encourages remote work and shared ideas—no matter your experience level.
“With 50% of our workforce being millennials, we believe the best ideas come from everyone, not just the top,” Berg said.
Aprio needs your accounting skills
Ready to join a firm that offers the perfect balance of progressive flexibility and global resources? Join Aprio, where you can fast-track your compensation and career development, enjoy great work/life flexibility, and connect with clients to feel the direct impact of your work. Click one of the links below to apply now.
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