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2010 Best Accounting Firm: Moss Adams LLP

Author: John Abbott
May, 2010 Issue

Even though it’s the 11th largest accounting firm in the United States (and the largest headquartered on the West Coast), Moss Adams LLP feels like a homegrown operation, primarily because so many of its team members are from the local community.

“A lot of the people in our office grew up here, so being voted Best Accounting Firm in the North Bay by the business community we’re part of—our clients, other professional service firms, and our partners—couldn’t be better recognition,” says Ty Pforsich, managing partner of the Santa Rosa office. Pforsich himself is a Sonoma County native, graduating from Sonoma State University and later Golden Gate University with a master’s degree in Tax. He joined Moss Adams in 1986, became a partner 10 years later and rose to managing partner in 2001.

Moss Adams has had a presence in the North Bay for nearly 30 years. Its local staff numbers 65 (310 in Northern California). The company’s culture is a blend of technical expertise complemented by industry knowledge and executed through a hands-on team approach.

“From the firm’s perspective, we have all the skills we need for our local clients,” Pforsich says. “And when we work with larger clients, we have the ability to bring in outside resources from our other locations, so it’s the best alternative. For example, if we have a large high-tech client, we might team up with our San Francisco office; if we have a large forestry client, we might call on our Portland office.”

At 240 partners strong, Moss Adams provides accounting, tax and consulting services to public, private and nonprofit enterprises in dozens of different industries. Pforsich points to three key elements of its success: its people, its clients and its industry focus.

“We have a culture of developing our professionals in one or two particular industries from an early stage in their career,” he says. “Probably the best part of our culture is the emphasis on training and developing others and helping them reach their goals. This lets us retain our staff and provide a consistent, high level of service to our clients.

“Because we’ve been part of the community for the last 29 years, we’ve been able to build our client base and work with the best companies in Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties. By working with the largest and most complex companies, we’ve developed the technical skills, industry knowledge and creative ideas that help our clients reach their goals. We’ve become more than our clients’ accountants. We’ve become their friends.”

Pforsich says the firm’s laser-sharp industry focus is one of its biggest competitive advantages. “If it’s an organic food manufacturer, winery, contractor, real estate developer, grocer, high-tech startup, bank or a host of other industries, they know we know their industry and issues, and have ideas specifically designed to help them improve their business or reduce their tax burdens,” he says.

“Our breadth of services is also something our competitors can’t match. Being the largest firm headquartered in the West, we offer an array of services also provided by the large national firms. But we deliver these services to our clients here, locally, in a personal way. Our clients know we care. It comes down to extensive services provided by local people.”



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