Rick Anderson

Promotion Watch ’12: Moss Adams Is the Least Bad at Admitting Women as Partners

After naming a new Boss of Moss one week ago today, we just learned that thirteen new mini-Mosses will be admitted to the partnership effective October 1. I'll dispense with the platitude quotes and get right to the names: Tracy Paglia, Stockton, CA  Jessica Cluzeau, Los Angeles, CA  Francis Tam, Los Angeles, CAMark Woodward, Los […]

Moss Adams Freshens Up Their Look

It’s spring, which means change is in the air; flowers are blooming, the air is warm, animals are frisky, all that crap. And perhaps because it is such a refreshing time of year, Moss Adams has rolled out a refreshed image, updating their colors, adding a tagl website a new look and feel. The firm officially rolled out its new and improved look today and Moss Adams CEO Rick Anderson was kind enough to speak to us about it.

Going Concern: So why the face lift (or does this simply qualify as Botox injections)? Is it because the firm is getting up in there in age and it’s not feeling as desirable as it once did?

Rick Anderson: As you know, a brand is an intangible asset with economic value that requires management to help it appreciate. The last refresh we did was in 2006-2007 and much has changed since then. The current updates to our colors, our tagline, and our graphic elements represent the energy and thought leadership we put into every relationship and engagement.

GC: The changes appear to be more subtle than, say, another firm that comes to mind – was that a conscious choice? Was anyone involved in the creative process dropping ideas that revolved around Legos or October foliage?

RA: Our creative team presented several options ranging from a small tweak to a full scale rebrand. Because Moss Adams is built on such a solid foundation, we decided that our vision, mission, and values would remain intact. And so would our logo, as we wanted easy recognition of our brand and we wanted to preserve the equity already built. So we are calling our new look and feel a “refresh” instead of a rebrand because it continues to focus on many of our historical strengths.

GC: Okay, sounds like simply “ma” could have been on the table. Moving on… The new tagline is “Acumen. Agility. Answers.” Do these merits have special meaning for MA or did they happen upon someone flipping through the A section of the dictionary?

RA: We created the tagline to reinforce important aspects of our brand that our clients called out in our client satisfaction survey. “Acumen. Agility. Answers.” is a simple, benefit-driven tagline that conveys three important attributes of the service we provide our clients: Acumen – Keen insight we deliver; Agility – Our ability to respond quickly; Answers – Correct and valuable responses to questions and problems.

GC: So the clients are the wordsmiths. Got it. What’s the feedback been so far? Are you expecting excitement at first followed by some sort of Charlie Sheen-esque backlash?

RA: We have been rolling out the new sales and marketing materials for the past few months, initially internally and then externally, and the response is favorable. People like the refreshed look. The new website just launched and focuses more heavily on valuable resources for our visitors. It is a bit early to gauge our metrics on that.

GC: In other words: WINNING! That’s wonderful. What other new and exciting things can we expect to see from MA this year? Office openings? More work-life balance initiatives? A new dancing partner?

RA: We are off to a good start to 2011. Our annual firm leadership meeting is in a few weeks and our focus will continue to be on taking care of our existing clients and personnel while continuing to focus on growth to provide more opportunities for our people and more resources for our clients. We are seeing some positive signs and are looking forward to a good 2011.

Unfounded Rumor of the Day: Grant Thornton About to Announce a ‘Big West Coast Deal’

Remember those GT/Moss Adams rumors from back in January? At the time, our post sent both firms calling for plumbers but we still mangaged to get a copy of an email from Moss Adams CEO Rick Anderson that denied the rumor in an email to the firm’s partners. Everything has been quiet since then mostly because…well, it’s busy season. Granted, firm leaders like Stephen Chipman and Rick Anderson aren’t thigh-deep in spreadsheets like most of you so the fact it’s entirely plausible that while you’re all distracted, TPTB have been courting each other.

We received this brief note from a tipster yesterday:

Rumor is [Grant Thornton] [is] about to announce big west coast deal.


Our source originally speculated that a tax/valuation/consulting boutique was the target because of an old Andersen connection but then told us that the latest word from the west coast is that Moss Adams is back in the picture. In our original post, we went over the reasons for and against the GranMoss merger and frankly it still could go either way (we’re leaning “no” at this point). That said, Grant Thornton has been on a buying spree, most recently picking up some attest services from the LECG Corp. fire sale, so a merger of some kind wouldn’t be a surprise but WHO?? We’re listening to any and all well-founded or crackpot theories.

Moss Adams has declined to comment on the rumor thus far and Grant Thornton did not return an email requesting comment.

UPDATE: This just in from a Grant Thornton tipster:

While I have no actual basis for substantiating this, we have a Moss Adams wireless signal in our office in the central region. There is no Moss Adams office in our building, or even out state, its been there since about January when the rumors first popped up. I just thought it was interesting. I have no insight into any of this, I’m just a lowly peon staff…

Perhaps there’s an explanation for this but I’m no expert on the wireless signals and whatnot so I’ll leave it to you to reason this out.

Moss Adams CEO Denies Grant Thornton Merger Rumor in Email to Partners

In reaction to our post yesterday about the rumor of Grant Thornton and Moss Adams being united in wedded CPA firm bliss, Moss Adams Chairman and CEO sent an email to MA partners yesterday afternoon. The email, sent to us earlier today, let the partners know that no one is out of the loop, “[L]et me start by assuring you that you did not miss a partner call, a partner memo or any other such communication dealing with this.”


Mr Anderson also wrote that he has spoken to Grant Thornton, “Since we last had the all partner webinar, there have been no substantive discussions with GT – I say no substantive discussions because I have been at an AICPA major firms meeting where I not only had casual discussions with the GT leadership team, but I had similar discussions with the leadership of most of the 30-50 largest CPA firms in the country, exclusive of the Big 4.”

So you can interpret things like, “no substantive discussions with GT” and “casual discussion with the GT leadership team” how you like but Mr Anderson made himself a little clearer near the end of the email, “I can absolutely assure you that while we have had discussions with a large number of firms (of all sizes) over the past 12 months […] there are currently no negotiations under way with any firm regarding merger. But I can also tell you that I and other [Executive Committee] members will be talking to some west coast firms over the next several weeks.”

Moss Adams has not responded to our most recent request for comment. Grant Thornton sent back our carrier pigeon with it’s head cut off (very Chicago), which is the closest thing resembling a response that we’ve ever received from the firm. We’ll keep you updated.