United States / Accounting
When Lou Grassi Speaks, The Accounting Industry Needs to Listen
by Vilan Trub
Aug 31 2018

IBISWorld recently hosted Lou Grassi, CEO and Managing Partner of Grassi & Co., for a conversation about digital technology and the impact it’s having on the accounting industry. All of the disruptors Lou called out should not come as a surprise to anyone. We live in an ever-changing world and the digital revolution has touched every aspect of our lives. What Lou offered, as an industry insider, was the steps that accountants need to take in order to be better equipped for the new digital age.  

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Lou Grassi and Vilan Trub

Industry insider is actually an understatement. Lou Grassi transformed Grassi & Co. from a file cabinet and a desk in 1980 into the 70th largest accounting firm in the United States (according to Accounting Today). Much of that growth is attributed to his philosophy of offering more than traditional accounting services, which he refers to as a commodity.

“Everybody talks about the audit being a commodity. It’s always been a commodity,” Lou said emphatically. “The audit will probably continue to be a commodity, however, it’s the information we’re going to bring back that’s going to add value.”

The best way for and accountant to elevate above simply offering commodity services is by offering a value service. Offering industry consultation and insight rather than just crunching numbers is how clients can truly feel that not only are their “needs” being tended to, but their “wants” as well. A client needs services such as auditing to meet laws and regulations, what they want is to progress and grow their business. By helping with both, accountants position themselves as valued partners and that is much more difficult to replace with a digital platform.

How Accountants Can Offer a Value Service

Understanding an industry and offering insight on that industry allows a client to see where their business stands in the current economic climate. Industry information is so valuable that Lou emphasized its importance by stressing that "if you don't have industry knowledge, it's going to be hard to add value.”

It’s not just necessary to know the data points, you need to understand what they mean and squeeze the most out of them. Offering insight means taking data and seeing the story that its telling and that’s how you deduce industry conditions.

Learn more about the evolution of accounting and how to offer value to your clients by reading IBISWorld’s new White Paper: Not Just a Number Cruncher – Meet the New Accountant