Stephen Chipman’s blog

Details We’d Like to See in Stephen Chipman’s Blog: Partners with Self-assigned Nicknames

We enjoy Stephen Chipman’s blog as much as any casual reader inside of Grant Thornton but he often leaves us wanting more. He talks about New York, Chicago, Atlanta, London, China (God, he loves talking about China) but sometimes we’d like to know what some of the smaller offices have going for themselves.

We know what’s going on in Honolulu, Greensboro, and Madison but what about Grant Thornton Salt Lake City? Or Oklahoma City? What’s going there, Steve-o?


Fortunately, we stumbled upon a little blog that tells us about not one, but 25 things about GT’s Phoenix office. As you might expect, the office gets a place on a “Best Places” list and most of the information shared is about the volunteering the firm does in the local community or raising awareness about [insert major problem, e.g. Americans are fat and don’t exercise] which is really nice.

As much as we like – nay – love nice, we know that similar efforts are made in other offices so we’re craving something local, something unique, something that makes you say, that sums up Grant Thornton Phoenix.

Luckily, they did just that by way of an 80s slapstick comedy that some of you young GTers have probably never seen (and frankly, we don’t really remember either):

Grant Thornton tapped three friends and partners, who called themselves the “3 Amigos,” to start the Phoenix office. Ed O’Brien, Brad Preber and Ken Garrett were serving clients out of different Grant Thornton offices. Each had a unique specialized expertise – O’Brien in audit, Preber in consulting and Garrett in tax.

Mr Preber is also a tournament champion fly fisherman so we picture him as a hunky Brad Pitt in A River Runs Through It type but the rest of the amigos are a blank.

25 Things You Didn’t Know About…Grant Thornton LLP [HMA Time]

Grant Thornton Employees Can Expect Handwritten Thank You Notes Any Day Now

It’s been awhile since we shared some of Stephen Chipman’s blog musings (mostly because we were too busy watching dust accumulate) but he was probably saving the more interesting stuff for post-April 15th.

“Interesting” obviously being a relative term but in his latest epic, he was not short on praise for those of you that remain with the firm:

Having just passed April 15, the first words I want you to read are “Thank you!” As we move through our busiest season, I continue to be impressed by the long hours, personal sacrifices and collaboration I read about in my e-mail, on our home page and by special letters and words of praise and thanks from our clients. As I’ve met with clients recently, one after another client executive raves about our people. It’s customary in the firm to say that clients rave about “our service,” but what they’re referring to is “you.” They are raving about each of you. The individuals for whom you work and with whom you have formed strong relationships based on excellence and trust are taking the time to tell me how valuable you have been to their respective businesses. Every time you show up, speak up and stay up late, you are demonstrating our global values: collaboration, leadership, excellence, agility, respect and responsibility. You are making a difference.

In case you missed it, your mere ability to drag yourself out of bed every morning, get to work at a decent hour, manage to utter a coherent sentence, and sacrificing your own health by depriving yourself of sleep you are making a difference. Your clients have noticed this by way of your wrinkled clothes, scuffed shoes, that expanding paunch, and your the all around zombie-esque qualities you exhibited every day during busy season (never mind this was all done for very little money).

And because of all those raving clients, Steve-o sent a little nudge to GT partners to make sure that they know, that you know, that they appreciate it because as it stands, they’re not doing that bang-up of a job:

Thank you.

These two simple words make a profound difference.

Feedback from the Voice Your Experience survey indicated that we need to continue to improve how we recognize our people. Interestingly, research shows recognition is not only about money and that a personal acknowledgement is especially powerful in motivating people to achieve exceptional results.

Please use the enclosed stationary to write your people notes of appreciation. By modeling this behavior, you play a key role in perpetuating a spirit of acknowledgement that benefits both our people and our business.

As always, thank you for all you do to make a difference every day.

/s/ Stephen

Okay people, illegible thank you notes (on extra-special stationary!) should be coming your way. Gratitude by way of money is cold and impersonal anyway.

Stephen Chipman Begrudgingly Wore Green on St. Patrick’s Day

Stephen Chipman’s blog post from last week got lost in the shuffle but you’ll be happy to know that you didn’t miss anything. Our lack of enthusiasm is not shared however, as the daily grind for a globe-trotting CEO seems to be enough to entertain some of the GT faithful. How do we know?

He shared one reader/fan’s thoughts this week, that’s how, “So, you really don’t just drink coffee and check e-mail!” While SC neither confirmed nor denied this particular allegation, one could assume that this is a big part of his day.

Moving on…Of the near 1,000 words in this week’s masterpiece, the only thing really worth mentioning is that the GT CEO spent his first St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago last week. And guess what Chi-town? You didn’t let him down; Steve-o was impressed.

This is my first time living in Chicago to experience St. Patrick’s Day; it was very interesting to see the Chicago community’s commitment to this holiday. Dutifully I wore my green tie, in respect of St. Patrick, which was very challenging to do for an Englishman. Nevertheless, I thought it appropriate…even though the Irish did beat the English at rugby a couple of weeks ago in the Six Nations Championships…which was a crushing disappointment…but I digress.

Digression! He’s really getting the hang of this. Maybe Chip’s blog readership is increasing?

The real question is what did SC see on St. Pat’s that piqued his interest? The green river? The turnout at the parade? The vast number of people vomiting in the streets? More details Stevey!

On the biz-nass front, SC did have a conference call with all the GT global leaders and he had to get up bright and early to get on the call at 8 am Chicago time. He did admit that this is NBD because when Steve-o was in China, he had to do the call in the god-awful morning hours to accommodate the BSDs in the U.S. and London.

Speaking of China (and digression), does anyone think Steve knows where mini-Madoff of Hong Kong Gabriel Azedo is? Dude has been missing for awhile.

Is Stephen Chipman Preparing to Embrace Twitter?

We hope! Our speculation is fueled by a line from SC’s most recent post:

“Because I’ve heard it said that brevity is not my strong suit, I will try to explain it in 50 words.”

Whether Steve-o realizes it or not, at 50 words, he still needs to improve his brevity. But it’s a start and we’re hoping that he’ll get eventually embrace Twitter. We’re envisioning pithy Tweets followed by clever hashtags like #GTrocks or #Big4sucks or #isecretlyheartsuesachdeva.


The fact the whole brevity topic came up makes us curious. We only made mention of it once, ages ago, so we’re certain that he isn’t referring to our commentary (which we’re sure he reads religiously).

Anyhoo, Even-Stephen was referring to the difference between the Grant Thornton Senior Leadership Team and the Partnership Board. Disappointing everyone, he ended up using 51 words and 258 characters:

The SLT is the equivalent of executive management, and the Partnership Board is the governing body of the firm. The SLT is appointed by the CEO and approved by the PB. The CEO is appointed by the PB. The SLT reports to the CEO, and the CEO reports to the PB.

That’s followed up by Stephen getting back to his windy ways, describing what every member of the SLT does (you can get the gist from their titles).

So while we’re encouraged by Chip’s effort at getting to the point, he still has some work to do. Just sign up and go for it man. Plus we’d be interested to know who Steve-o would follow. Going Concern is a given but does he go intellectual and follow Taleb and Roubini? Or slum it with the rubes and follow Kim Kardashian, Courtney Love and Kanye?

Stephen, just get on Twitter.

Stephen Chipman Managed to Not Stop By Going Concern HQ While He Was in New York

This week in Stephen Chipman blog dissection, we learned that SC had another week full of travel, although he managed to resist the temptation to head back to Atlanta for the third straight week. It was typical back-slapping, glad-handing wily CEO shenanigans in Chi-town including a little chat with Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Kurt Campbell. “Dr. Campbell recounted a wonderful story of his very first diplomatic event with Secretary Clinton at Blair House — entertaining a senior Chinese delegation.”

Yeah. He leaves you hanging. Our guess is that Hil was telling Bill jokes and/or doing armpit fart noises but it’s all a mystery because Stephen changes the subject entirely. C’mon man! You can’t do that!


Anyway it and then on to DC for a speech IFRS and why it’s on the road to nowhere in the US of A:

I had been invited to be the after-dinner speaker for the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) Board of Directors meeting. Although I feared the impossible expectation of being a “rousing, after-dinner” speaker on the topic of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), interest was high on the eve of the SEC’s highly anticipated announcement of plans to move forward with their Roadmap for IFRS adoption in the United States.

We’re continually impressed with Steve’s ability to throw in the dry humor, although we suggest dropping the unnecessary quotation marks. Definitely would read more deadpan. If you’re not familiar with the phenomenon of unnecessary quotation marks, you’re probably an abuser.

Moving on…

Chiparoo then trekked up to the City where he talked more about IFRS with the Center of Audit Quality, “The lively conversation focused on the SEC’s announcement regarding further clarification on their Roadmap.” And by that he means everyone there is pissed that the SEC is perfectly happy to drag this thing out.

Post-IFRS chat, SC met up with Ed Nusbaum and they did some MSM hopping, “I met up with Ed Nusbaum and Grant Thornton’s Director of Corporate Communications John Vita for a media tour. Ed is a veteran with the press, but press junkets are relatively new for me. We spoke to reporters at Bloomberg, Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and Thomson Reuters.”

Okay, we’re a little hurt by this. Sure we work remotely but would it have killed you to stop by Steve and leave a note? GCHQ might not have the fancy confines of the WSJ or the ‘Berg but we’d make you guys comfortable as possible. Plus there’s always stimulating conversation. Or just simple call saying “Sorry we couldn’t make it. Next time!” just to get our hopes up.

While we’re still getting over this little slight, we’ll just mention that Steve’s blog, to our knowledge, doesn’t have a name. We’ll take the weekend to mull over this but in the meantime, if you’ve got suggestions, feel free to share.