The accounting profession has seen revolutionary change since 1974. Yet, even as the professionals at WithumSmith+Brown, PC (WS+B), Certified Public Accountants and Consultants, are knee-deep in 1120s and 1040s for this year's tax season, they will carve out a little time to help celebrate the firm’s 40th anniversary on March 21. Incorporated in 1974, WS+B originally started with six employees in a small Milltown, NJ, office. With now over 500 staff members in 13 offices across six states, there is certainly much to celebrate.
“It has been an incredible journey, being a part of a thriving business that has grown in size and geographic reach over the past 40 years,” says Ivan Brown, CPA, one of the accounting firm’s three founding partners. “We have clients who have been with us since day one, and also have several staff members who have been with us for over 35 years. That is certainly testimony to the fact that we have achieved something special here at WS+B.”
By placing the objective to nurture a client-centric culture as its highest priority, the results have fostered the firm’s own success, having experienced consistent year-over-year revenue growth since its inception, with expected gross income to reach $100 million this fiscal year. WS+B is one of the largest accounting firms in the country, currently ranking #31 nationally and #6 in New Jersey.
“We certainly place client service as our number one priority, providing our clients with the proactive solutions, customized services, and expert advice that they have come to expect for the past four decades,” says Len Smith, CPA, the second of the three founders. “But just as important is our firm’s culture. We want our staff to learn and grow in their careers with us, and also have a little fun, too.” This philosophy has worked, with WS+B being honored annually for the past 10 years as one of the “Best Places to Work in New Jersey” and, for the first time this year, in New York City as well.
With corporate headquarters based in Princeton, NJ, the firm has additional offices in Morristown, New Brunswick, Paramus, Red Bank and Toms River, NJ; Newtown and Philadelphia, PA; New York City, NY; Silver Spring, MD; Aspen, CO; and Orlando and West Palm Beach, FL. WS+B is also a member of HLB International, a worldwide network of independent professional accounting firms and business advisors in over 100 countries.
WS+B has garnered a reputation within the accounting profession and local business communities as an innovative accounting firm, particularly when it comes to its marketing, advertising and social media efforts. Its viral videos such as the Flash Mob video created two years ago to help inaugurate its new New York City office, or the recent series of 40 video shorts celebrating the firm’s anniversary which are released one at a time on Instragram then pushed out to other social media channels, have been a big hit with all generations. WS+B also airs radio ads which sound atypical for an accounting firm, with one in particular spotlighting its culture with light hearted humor and dance music, asking audiences to visit the firm’s website in order to “experience the Withum Way.”
“Our success and longevity afford us the ability to be a little more creative, to think outside the box, in terms of our marketing strategies,” states Bill Hagaman, CPA, WS+B’s managing partner and CEO. “The branding you see out in the marketplace reflects the heart of our firm, which is our dedicated, talented and loyal staff. One of our favorite mantras is ‘work hard-play hard,’ and our culture certainly lives up to that.”
To honor the milestone date, each of WS+B’s offices hosted its own lunchtime festivities complete with cake, games and contests, enabling the staff to enjoy a quick breather in between tax returns. Other smaller events will be planned throughout the year with the 40-year theme. The firm also shared an email message of gratitude to its clients the morning of the anniversary, which included a link to a special commemorative video. “To serve our clients is the very reason WithumSmith+Brown exists,” Hagaman explains, “but it’s our staff who make this firm thrive. We look forward to another 40 years of success.”