Resilience and reimagination: transforming businesses for a new age

By Jean Stephens, CEO of RSM International

The author, Amit Ray, once said: “Life throws challenges but with patience and resilience, you can convert every challenge into a new opportunity to grow.”

For me, this perfectly sums up 2021, as societies, economies, communities and businesses around the world adapted to manage the disruption caused by COVID-19. With new variants emerging as we move into the third year of the virus, the need for flexibility and resilience remains high.

We are incredibly proud to support highly dynamic, entrepreneurial, and ambitious businesses who have turned these challenges into opportunities. Many have done this by embracing change and deploying ingenuity, innovation, and sheer grit; while some have completely transformed their business models.

Against a backdrop of unprecedented disruption and change, dedicated RSM professionals around the world have been there to support these businesses at every stage of this challenging journey, helping them to reimagine their future as we enter a new era of business.

As a result of this unwavering support for businesses as they navigate the post-pandemic recovery and look ahead to exciting opportunities on the horizon, I am proud to share that RSM delivered strong growth across all its service lines and regions over the past 12 months.

RSM recorded global revenues of $7.26 billion in 2021, up 15.8% on last year’s figure of $6.3 billion. Driven by the acceleration of technology adoption, the global sustainability agenda and an M&A boom in the second half of the year, consulting services saw the highest gains at 38%. This marks the second consecutive year of double-digit growth in RSM’s consulting services. This increase in demand for services saw RSM globally open 40 new offices and growing to over 51,000 talented professionals.

The continued support provided to client’s globally is only possible through the hard work of the teams within our Member Firms, their own resilience and commitment to making virtual collaboration work. By learning to embrace new working practices, a higher level of integration has been achieved across the organisation than ever before.   

Investing in continuous development globally for our professionals is a top priority. Providing opportunities for learning and professional development, whilst offering a platform for all voices and opinions to be shared, understood and heard, is high on our agenda at RSM.

With that in mind, this year we launched the RSM Virtual Academy, which provides an opportunity for leaders and rising stars within RSM to come together and take part in multi-cultural, multi-disciplined teams. This year’s Academy was delivered virtually across all of our regions with over 300 participants taking part. Multi-regional teams collaborated on a proposal to offer a solution to a simulated international client’s cross-border issue. By working in teams, participants developed a broader understanding of how our colleagues and clients think and work in different cultures and markets around the world, which in turn helps to strengthen both the quality of our service delivery and client experience.

With developing the skills and knowledge of RSM’s pool of talent front and centre, another key priority was an additional investment in our global e-learning platform. Built with the needs of RSM professionals in mind, this virtual platform has continued to ensure that travel restrictions do not have an impact on the learning opportunities on offer to RSM professionals across the world.

Beyond learning and development, collaboration has continued to be one of our key distinguishing beliefs. To enhance global collaboration while fostering innovation, we also launched a global innovation platform that allows colleagues to submit new ideas and engage with a wider community to collaborate and deliver positive change.

We know that taking the time to understand different cultures and backgrounds can strengthen a team and lead to increased levels of innovation, differentiation and workplace satisfaction. Therefore, we launched quarterly Women in Leadership Summits in 2021. These virtual Summits are open to all 51,000 people within the RSM global community, from those starting their careers at RSM or having recently joined - to long-time Partners and of course everyone in between. During these sessions, we explore critical issues and trends in business, as well as diversity and inclusion.

The 2021 RSM World Conference in December marked another opportunity for everyone around the world to come together to share best practice, as well as insights on emerging trends and new developments in geopolitics and global trade. It was the second year of hosting our conference virtually and saw RSM professionals from around the world join to hear from high calibre speakers and RSM thought leaders.

Looking ahead, in 2022 we will roll out new initiatives and projects spanning digitalisation and data, as well as purpose and sustainability. We are committed to further driving RSM’s growth, attracting and retaining the best talent, whilst enhancing ethical and sustainable practices globally. 

We cannot be certain what the future holds as we continue to ride out the uncertainty the pandemic has caused - but we can be certain that the resilience we have seen in our colleagues remains. Our Member Firms, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with their clients, will continue to unlock new opportunities for growth in 2022 and beyond as we enter a new business age.

Read our full 2021 financial results here.

Author(s)

Jean M Stephens
Chief Executive Officer