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Will Hill, MBA – 2015 40 Under 40 Honoree

This year’s 40 Under 40 honorees are among the best and brightest talent in the accounting profession. They are all active in the professional community, as well as in their local communities, where many are small business owners and employers.

Will Hill, MBA – 36

Manager, Training Consulting & Implementation Services
Thomson Reuters
Ann Arbor, MI


What is the name of one book that has been a great influence to you?

“Getting Naked” by Patrick Lenceoni. The openness of the approach to consulting and helping customers was not only refreshing, but freeing to put down any charades and just be real.

If given the opportunity to give a second place award, I would go with “Seven Strategy Question” by Robert Simons who does an excellent job connecting strategy to innovation and creativity, and giving a good construct for pushing change forward in organizations.

In what ways have you contributed to your firm/company to make it better?

Continuous forward thinking – where can we keep improving? It doesn’t matter if “we haven’t done it” or “we haven’t done it that way” before. I keep pushing the envelope on how we better serve our customers with their real needs, even in areas which are adjacent to primary focus areas. Advancing and growing  services from Thomson Reuters to our customers is not just my main focus area, but my passion.

Personal focus on the success of my staff – removing their barriers to success and giving them proactive and full support. Bringing humor, energy and smiles to the office. While this may sound a bit trivial I believe that a more positive atmosphere contributes to overall morale, and being able to relax from the pressure and intensity of the work throughout the day in small doses takes some edge off- and tends to open up creative thinking.

In what ways do you participate in the professional community to change/improve the accounting profession?

I am well connected with many small business owners (non-accounting firms), and push hard on their understanding of what the accounting profession really is vs. their perceptions. In my opinion, the transformation of the accounting profession will hinge on their customers understanding what their accountant can truly provide for them – and what they ought to expect.

In what ways do you participate in your local community to help others?

I participate in a semi-annual knowledge sharing session with other business professionals, mostly small businesses in the local community in various industries and we share recent learning with one another and exchange ideas.

I am heavily involved with my church. My involvement there goes into mentoring younger individuals as they approach major life points: Job search, basic budgeting as they go own their own or buy a house, marriage, etc.
My wife and I also support some of the local non-profit organizations focused on single mothers and/or children in need.

What changes do you foresee in the accounting profession of the near future (3-5 years)?

  • The more profitable firms will be the ones who are more proactive with their clients, not merely reporting history. For this to happen, those firms will be forced to “re-frame” their relationships with current clients to be that of an advisory nature.
  • As technology keeps changing and accessibility to financial tools increases, the profession will have to become more adept at clearly communicating the value they are bringing to clients, in terms their clients understand.
  • Deep expertise will be more challenging to find as the top level of the profession looks to exit, and new talent isn’t yet fully developed.
  • New companies will continue finding avenues into the SMB client base with accounting and tax related products and services – firms in the profession will have to work harder to hold onto their clients, prove their value, and will need to make decisions about entering newer adjacencies to simply retain their client base – let alone grow their client base.

How do you see yourself participating in shaping the future of the accounting profession?

I see myself continuing to create, grow and adapt the consulting services we offer to firms here at Thomson Reuters. Through those services I aim to be influential in the profession to help firms think forward and to help firms re-frame their client relationships to those that become deeper and are advisory based.

What is your career philosophy?

My career philosophy I sum up in 2 words: Forward Motion. In all of my interactions with people I want to help spur or be a catalyst for their forward motion – whether those people are co-workers, employees or clients.

Describe one person who has been an important mentor to you and how that person helped change your life.

I think of an early mentor I had who never let me avoid the real subject or bluff my way through a topic. We tackled items head on, and with full disclosure. While I don’t love conflict, living through the value of facing the tough stuff head on set the precedent for facing challenges. This person was tough – but in that toughness the motive was never lost, and was frequently stated. This has impacted me in two key ways: 1) I have confidence in dealing with challenging scenarios and 2) I am my own challenging scenario many times – I must be real about my areas for improvement and I must not settle.


See all of the “40 Under 40” honorees for 2015.