50 Smartest Companies of the Year 2016

With an eye to the future while building on its tradition of forward-thinking, Armanino is poised to be one of the industry’s smartest companies for years to come: Armanino LLP

Public accounting firms aren’t normally thought of as “smart” or innovative, but California-based Armanino LLP isn’t a normal accounting & consulting firm. While it’s been a bedrock accounting solutions provider for decades, its age shouldn’t fool you. This is an organization that doubled its revenue in the last decade twice while regularly ranking as a best place to work and a best of the best firms in the country. Its managing partner, Andy Armanino, is regularly listed as a most admired peer and was named a firm of the future.

Armanino offerings
Armanino is the largest independent accounting and business consulting firm, a nationwide leader in serving
privately-held companies and non-profit organizations and public entities. They offer services in – assurance/audit, tax, consulting and business management. The company’s technology focus and global services are key aspects of its service lines. Armanino aids clients from a large range of industries including technology, manufacturing, and distribution, consumer-retail, nonprofit, private schools, real estate, professional services, life sciences, insurance and healthcare.

Armanino is best described as an innovator
The secret to Armanino’s growth is its wickedly smart people and commitment to innovation. Armanino had long been an industry innovator, investing early in new practice areas and firm infrastructure that are considered best practices today. For example, when software companies began creating cloud-based financial solutions, Armanino saw an opportunity its peers hadn’t tapped into by delivering solutions to their clients with access anytime, anywhere to their business-critical applications.

Another example of being an innovator early on was in its SOX approach. In 2002, Sarbanes-Oxley legislation flipped the accounting industry on its head by mandating a complex compliance methodology. While most accounting firms deployed their auditors to learn SOX, Armanino took a different path by hiring and training CFOs and controllers to be the SOX experts. The difference in background was a differentiator in the field and displayed Armanino’s ability to leverage subject knowledge in new and effective ways.

Amalgamating technology to produce groundbreaking results Armanino continues to break the industry mold of offering beyond the core tax and audit services by wrapping technology around all of the core finance functions to simplify the accounting process and deliver actionable analytics. The result is cost-savings and more accurate forecasting for growing companies. Today, Armanino’s consulting practice makes up more than a third of its revenue and has evolved beyond being a leading certified software partner but also actually acted more like a Tech company by building and investing in proprietary integration solutions. Its marketplace features custom-tailored solutions allowing companies to integrate different software products into one seamless data stream.

The firm has also been smart in looking at alternative models to advise clients at every stage of their business by investing in affiliated companies such as The Brenner Group, Intersect Capital and AMF Media Group. Unique from traditional firms, these solutions provide C-suite recruitment, wealth management, marketing, advertising and public relations.

Maintaining an exceptional squad
Andy Armanino is keen to remind industry peers and clients that the firm’s greatest asset is its people. The professional staff, operations team and partners who make the magic happen are the fuel that runs Armanino, so it’s vital that the firm takes a smart approach to its human capital. Behind the curtain, Armanino’s robust internal operations team includes Learning & Development, which manages continuing education; Recruitment, which identifies tomorrow’s leaders; Marketing, which positions the firm’s solutions and products to go to market; and Sales Support, which ensures growth goals are met and reports on what today’s clients need from the firm.

Going that extra mile to empower professionals
While innovation has always been second nature to Armanino, the firm needed a way to harness the attitude and spirit that helped get it to where it is. So, in 2015, Armanino unveiled its PVAs: purpose, core values and strategic anchors. The PVAs serve to act as the foundation from which the firm is built upon. New ideas are seen through the prism of innovation, entrepreneurialism and growth. The firm looks to hire and retain professionals who are wickedly smart, have a firm-first mentality and flowing with positive energy.

With a view to these PVAs, the firm’s innovation committee identifies ways to empower Armanino’s professionals to put their stake in the ground and run with a great idea. Just this summer, the firm launched its new corporate finance practice area that provides buy-side, sell-side and IP sales representation to companies looking to expand or make an exit. This was the brainchild of a consulting director who came to firm leadership with an idea. The executive committee vetted his business plan and then gave him the resources to launch the practice by reallocating his workload and teaming him up with a firm
partner. It all comes together to ensure that Armanino is the most innovative and entrepreneurial firm that makes a positive impact on the lives of its clients and people.

“We are constantly looking at adding new service lines, technology solutions and specialized expertises that will help us advance our client’s business goals.”

Meet Andy

Andy Armanino, Managing Partner – Apart from being the Managing Partner at the largest CPA firm based in California with over 750 employees, Andy is also the Member of the Board at the California Bank of Commerce and the Vice Chairman of Moore Stephens. As a key Executive, Andy is focused on the firm’s strategy, including the growth of the firm and the development of its people. Approachable, highly collaborative, extremely focused, driven to succeed are his traits ensuring that his people are provided with the best training and tools to grow to their full potential. Andy’s satisfying part of the job is working with people and teaching them sound business principles. He holds a BS degree in accounting from Santa Clara University and was awarded the most Admired Managing Partner ranked by Peers IPA, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.