Jean M Stephens
Chief Executive Officer


In January 2006, Ms Jean Stephens became Chief Executive Officer of RSM International after joining the network in 1996. RSM is a top ten global network of independent professional services firms with members in 120+ countries and over 51,000 staff.

As CEO, Ms Stephens’ responsibilities are the implementation of organisational strategies for the growth and development of the network. In the last ten years, RSM has grown by 120% through acquisition and organic growth. Jean currently spends over 70% of her time on international business trips in countries around the world. 

In 2007, Ms Stephens established the RSM Academy. This highly-rated international leadership programme develops the international skills of RSM's future leaders, with emphasis on cultural issues, international issues facing clients, the team approach to serving clients at the highest level, and using a foundation of quality as the base for successful and sustainable growth.

Ms Stephens is passionate about encouraging the use of cultural differences for the benefit of international development. She is also interested in using her international experiences to promote the development of our young professionals, both men and women.

Jean has previously appeared on both TV and radio broadcasts including CNBC and BBC Radio 4.

Professional Affiliations/Awards

Ms Stephens has held leadership positions in a variety of organisations including the San Bernardino Chamber of Commerce, Rotary International, United Way, YWCA and the Inland Empire Symphony.

Ms Stephens has received the Athena Award for Outstanding Business Woman - San Bernardino Area Chamber of Commerce and is also a recipient of the California State University Alumni of the Year Award. In May 2009, Ms Stephens received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from her Alma Mater, University of Redlands, in recognition of her international career with RSM.

Ms Stephens is a member of the AICPA.


Ms Stephens has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and a Masters degree in Finance. She qualified as a Certified Public Accountant in 1984.


Resilience and reimagination: transforming businesses for a new age

20 January 2022
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.

Celebrating a year of community

23 December 2021
RSM International’s CEO, Jean Stephens, offers her reflections on the past year. As another year comes to a close, and as many prepare for holiday celebrations or some time away from work over the New Year, we are offered an opportunity for reflection. The pandemic has continued to disrupt societies, economies, communities and business oper...

Celebrating 10 years of RSM World Day

27 October 2021
Today marks RSM International’s 10th year of celebrating RSM World Day. Established a decade ago, RSM World Day provides colleagues around the world an opportunity to celebrate our diverse and dynamic global community.

Recognising unconscious bias to encourage diversity and support inclusion

23 February 2021
Global CEO, Jean Stephens on challenging unconscious bias

Reimagining business through critical thinking

11 February 2021
RSM's CEO, Jean Stephens discusses...

Coming together virtually in a Festival of Reimagination

15 December 2020
RSM's first virtual World Conference

Demonstrating the value of collaborative leadership during crises

11 August 2020
Jean Stephens on empowerment amidst the new normal 

Adversity inspiring innovation and change

14 July 2020
It is not an exaggeration to say that the COVID-19 crisis has created more challenges to modern business than any event in modern history. All over the world, the effects are obvious: GDPs are down, markets are down, production is down, employment is down, and most importantly, spirits are down.

2020 - Putting people at the heart of transformation

23 December 2019
By Jean Stephens, CEO of RSM International

Agile management - a growing priority for modern businesses

11 December 2019
By Jean Stephens, CEO of RSM International

Introducing the new RSM China

12 July 2019
To continue attracting and retaining the very best talent, our focus must also be on the continued investment we make in our people, delivering our brand values through our behaviours, as well as our work, and moving forward together with an inclusive approach in a culture of innovation.

RSM Academy – Prepared for global business

19 June 2019
A key element of RSM’s global strategy is to empower and develop our people so that they can serve our clients in increasingly innovative and complex ways. For our people to achieve this in today’s global economy, working as international teams based on trust and understanding is critical in delivering our brand promise, The Power of Being Unde...

Balance for Business

7 March 2019
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter, and the organisers have emphasised that balance is not a gender issue, it is a business issue. A blog by Jean Stephens, CEO of RSM International.

Investing in our people to deliver success

26 September 2018
The theme for this year’s RSM World Day is ‘Putting Our People First’, based around our belief that through the development of our diverse talent we can create a culture of innovation, in which our people thrive and drive growth for our clients.

What business can learn from World Cup success

26 July 2018
Whilst football tactics, good management and fitness do play their part on the pitch, a successful football team is more than just the sum of its parts. A successful team has many of the characteristics that make for success in business too.

People strategies for success in a rapidly shifting global climate

13 July 2018
One issue stands out for every middle-market business that operates internationally...

Re-imagining business models for GDPR and a data-driven age

4 June 2018
A blog by Jean Stephens, CEO. 2018 has been an eye-opener when it comes to protecting customer data. From middle market businesses to large corporations, cybersecurity and simple human error pose an increasing risk. With the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) having come into effect last month, how can middle market businesses and fast-growing companies use this change to benefit them?

Key strategies for business leaders in the changing global economy

13 March 2018
Leaders need to carry out careful, strategic planning to meet the many challenges they face. Cautious engagement seems the wisest path. They must partner with the right advisors, research individual markets carefully, anticipate policy shifts and adapt to them more swiftly and effectively than their competitors.

People, progress and pressing the case for diversity

7 March 2018
On this International Women’s Day, achieving gender parity should not be our only goal. Equal opportunity is the bedrock of a free and fair society. We participate in society as individuals, and as a network, so it is our responsibility to contribute to it. To achieve more we all need to proactively and continuously press for progress, and bring about a world where parity, diversity and inclusion become standard and are embraced as critical elements to our business success and are part of societal norms.

Davos: Shining a spotlight on gender inequality

5 February 2018
Gender equality and diversity were hot topics at this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. Not only did we see the French President, Emmanuel Macron, call on business leaders, politicians and individuals to work together on gender equality, Justin Trudeau also urged world leaders to tackle gender inequality, stating that employers must hire and promote more women not because it is a nice thing to do, but because it is the smart thing to do.  A blog by Jean Stephens, CEO, RSM.

RSM Canada: A new way of doing business

21 December 2017
As countries around the world seem to be looking inwards, Canada remains open.  Toronto is one of the most diverse cities globally. With half of the total population born outside of Canada, the city has created cultural ties around the world. The city also houses companies from a wide variety of industries – from real estate to manufacturing to film.

NAFTA, Brexit and the future of the middle market

8 December 2017
Middle market businesses need to prepare for the shifts of international commerce. At the same time the US President is seeking to change NAFTA, the UK is seeking to exit the largest trading bloc in the world, the European Union. The threat of renegotiated trade deals brings a risk of increased tariffs on exports and stricter regulations.

RSM holds innovation-led World Conference in Berlin

3 November 2017
Last month we held the annual RSM World Conference in Berlin, Germany. The conference hosted over 300 leaders from across the global network, with the theme of ‘No Limits’. Over three days, the conference agenda explored new initiatives and creative thinking approaches, fresh ideas for our client-led services and management practices, as well as sharing our valuable knowledge and expertise – all focused on continually embracing new and innovative ways of working in order to exceed our targets and the expectations of our clients.

Innovation through collaboration

19 September 2017
Successful companies, particularly those in a growth phase, share a common characteristic: the dedication and commitment of their employees. 

The gig economy isn’t holding back and the middle market shouldn’t either

29 August 2017
With companies like Deliveroo and Uber bedding into our lives, the gig economy has revolutionised the way people are working and therefore the way workplaces are structured. Middle market businesses need stay ahead of the curve, using their strengths to their advantage where large corporations can’t, by reacting and revisiting their business practices to adhere to this new way of working.

Collaborative leadership drives change: a regional conference round-up

3 August 2017
We have just completed our regional conference season, with gatherings in Seoul, Dubai, Panama City, Malta and finally Johannesburg. Here, RSM International's CEO, Jean Stephens, shares her reflections from the conferences and how the different economic challenges are influencing the work we do with our clients

“Brexit means Brexit” but what does that mean for the middle market?

21 June 2017
Before the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, called a snap election in April, she made a pledge to the electorate that “Brexit means Brexit”, putting the UK on course for a hard Brexit. Theresa May promised certainty when she called the election, but the resulting hung parliament has reopened the debate about what a deal with the EU could look like.

Be bold for change on International Women’s Day

8 March 2017
International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate how far the world has come in the fight for gender equality but also to reassess our approach. As the CEO of a global network, I see women all around the world breaking through the glass ceiling that has long been above them in the traditionally male-dominated world of business. Howe...

Growing in an uncertain world

15 February 2017
As the CEO of an international network, I am fortunate enough to be able to witness the global economic landscape evolving first-hand through my travels. Since the beginning of the year, I have visited nine different countries and learnt first-hand from RSM firms how their clients are reacting and responding to these economic changes. What has s...

Moving forward together in 2017 – a time for building successful and lasting relationships

12 January 2017
Having sustainable growth is a staple for most businesses and can come in many forms. Both organic and inorganic growth strategies can be employed to increase revenues, but crucially, they also deliver many other benefits as well. Within RSM a number of mergers and expansions have taken place recently that will both strengthen our client service of...

China’s blossoming middle class presents fruitful opportunities for the middle market

2 November 2016
China is home to a thriving community of mega businesses, but it also offers opportunities to foreign middle market companies that are looking to expand their footprint or launch in new markets. As a network we pride ourselves on having the local knowledge our clients need to succeed and a growing number of these clients see their future in China.

RSM World Day - A different perspective

22 September 2016
Today, RSM staff around the world are celebrating the fifth RSM World Day. This annual global event provides us with an opportunity to take some time out and reflect on where we are, how far we have come in the past year and to look forward to what’s coming next.

Data is power

19 August 2016
Data is Power: How the Internet of Things can create more agile, efficient middle market businesses, a blog by Jean Stephens, CEO

RSM congratulates Europe's best businesses

22 June 2016
RSM would like to congratulate all of the finalists and the overall category winners of the EBA. The calibre of the businesses present this year was outstanding and a true demonstration of entrepreneurialism, innovation and leadership. All those involved are a credit to their country and we wish them every success for the future.

5 things middle market companies need to know about renewable energy

2 June 2016
There has been a significant shift in the renewable energy market over the last ten years. Previously, the incremental development and high costs of renewable energy discouraged growth in the industry, but in recent times, advancements in the commercial and technological arena have transformed the landscape. Now, renewables are competing on a similar scale to fossil fuels for global investment. Between 2006 and 2015, investment in renewable energy totalled $2.2 trillion.

Education and engagement: solving the skills shortage

4 May 2016
With a British referendum, migrant crisis and China’s slowdown occurring, the lack of skilled workers available has become an increasingly prevalent global issue.

Myanmar - a new frontier

1 April 2016
Continuing our series on frontier and emerging markets, we focus here on Myanmar – the latest country to be listed as a frontier market.

Pledge for parity in the accounting industry

8 March 2016
As with many white-collar professions, there is the perception in the accounting industry that the majority of employees are white and male, as they were in previous generations. Although we have made some marked progress worldwide, and there are more women in the profession overall, as the only female CEO of a top ten global accounting network, I am conscious that there is still much to be done to further diversity.

Davos in the digital age

16 February 2016
Last month, 2,500 top business leaders, international political leaders, academics and journalists united in Davos, committed to improving the state of the world by shaping global, regional and industry agendas. Traditionally, the focus of Davos has been with heads of state, but this year, an unprecedented number of company delegates attended th...

Women take centre stage in the UK New Year’s Honour’s List

20 January 2016
Since George V founded the Order of the British Empire in 1917, the New Year's Honours List - which rewards contributions to the arts, sciences and work with charitable and welfare organisations - has been dominated by men. However, in 2016, the New Year’s Honours list is made up of 578 women – 48% of the total.

Global markets: the tangled economic web we weave

18 December 2015
Continuing our series on frontier and emerging markets, we focus here on the complexities of emerging markets and their impact on the economy as a whole.

Season’s greetings from RSM

13 December 2015
As we draw close to the end of the year, we at RSM would like to wish everyone ‘Happy Holidays’ and reflect on an important year for the network.

RSM Business Resilience Report: entrepreneurship for growth and success

30 November 2015
Upon the publication of our second Business Resilience Survey, I would like to reflect on the findings and examine the relationship between company culture and business success. I was interested to read in the report that the UK has the greatest entrepreneurial spirit, followed by Australia, Belgium and Spain. Those surveyed put emphasis on the ...

United in Understanding

20 November 2015
The past four weeks have certainly been busy at RSM. Just two weeks after RSM World Day and our global brand launch on 26 October, over 300 RSM leaders from all corners of the globe gathered in Washington, D.C. for our annual RSM World Conference. This, of course, was the first time that the leaders of our firms had met personally whilst being ...

A day to be proud

26 October 2015
Today, 26 October 2015, is a defining day for RSM and the partners and staff of each RSM member firm as we come together under one name and brand – RSM. Our unified global brand journey began many years ago, and it became ever more likely as our clients and the market demanded a consistent appearance to match our consistent commitment to quali...

Business in the balance: Peru’s fight to remain an emerging market

21 October 2015
Continuing our series on frontier and emerging markets, we focus here on Peru – a country which was recently rated by CNN as one of the best emerging market cities for startups. Peru is renowned for its business friendly government, business startup support and investment in the ecosystem. Peru’s GDP figure grew by 5% last year and over the ...

National Champions announced

4 September 2015
The excitement is beginning to build for the European Business Awards 2015/16, following the announcement of the National Champions on 1 September. The 678 companies, from 33 countries across Europe, were selected by a panel of independent judges, including business leaders and senior academics, after the programme engaged with over 32,000 ent...

Frontier markets: Sub-Saharan Africa and the threat of success

19 August 2015
Following a blogs on the BRIC and MINT economies, this next series of blogs will explore 'frontier markets'. The emerging markets of the Sub-Sahara, such as South Africa, are facing a shaky period in comparison to their frontier neighbours. South Africa has been dubbed one of the ‘threatened three’ emerging markets (along with Braz...

Emerging markets: judging by GDP

6 August 2015
The Financial Times recently highlighted a disparity between the classifications of emerging markets and the state of their economies due to a plethora of GDP data. As China’s GDP per capita income is lower than that of Spain, it continues to be misleadingly categorised as an emerging market, despite having the largest economy in the wo...

Breaking Boundaries: The Power of Diversity

9 July 2015
This week, I would like to share two articles which have caught my attention. The first is the inspirational story of Teriano Lesancha, a young Maasai woman, who defied the social expectations and limitations of being a woman in a traditional Kenyan village and proved that diversity and inclusion are better for business and success, particularly wh...

RSM Academy – Strong relationships built on understanding

3 July 2015
Last month, RSM ran its 9th annual RSM Academy welcoming its 479th graduate since it began in 2007. The programme sees RSM’s future leaders gather in Eindhoven, Netherlands, for a challenging week which sets out to improve their leadership skills, global awareness and how to work in multinational and multicultural teams. The delegate...

RSM: A network united under one name

11 June 2015
Today, we mark a watershed moment for the RSM network, as we announce the adoption of ‘RSM’ as a single global brand name. The brand name is accompanied by both a new strapline, “The power of being understood” and logo. There is no understating the importance of this decision. Over a year ago, driven by our desire to develop a global ...

London salutes Europe's elite

29 May 2015
The leaders of Europe’s finest businesses gathered in London this week for the gala ceremony of the European Business Awards 2014/15, sponsored by RSM International. Congratulations from everyone at RSM to the Ruban d’Honneur recipients, the European Public Champion, the winner of the RSM Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Lifetime Achie...

Europe’s business leaders deliver their verdict on “Brexit”

13 April 2015
As Europe’s largest business competition, the European Business Awards ensures it has its finger on the pulse of the issues impacting business across Europe. To support its purpose of developing a stronger and more successful enterprise community – a purpose that we as lead sponsor of the European Business Awards fully endorse – it ...

National Public Champions of the EBA show global reach of the programme

3 March 2015
RSM and the European Business Awards are delighted to announce the 33 National Public Champions for 2014/15 Awards programme. Chosen from 709 businesses, the vast majority of the 33 National Public Champions export their products or services to every corner of the globe, but a large contingent of them also have offices and factories outside Euro...

A generation fighting for equality

13 February 2015
Last week I had the pleasure of being invited to speak at the First Women Summit in central London. The inaugural summit, run by Real Business magazine, was designed to leverage on the ten years of the First Women movement, to educate, mentor and inspire the 200-strong delegation. The programme included some fascinating and thought-provok...

Diversifying wealth and opportunity – the rise of China’s inland cities

4 February 2015
China’s inland provinces are becoming increasingly accessible to the global economy. Thanks to new air routes, their cities have become more accessible for business, trade, and tourism. For example, it is now possible to fly direct from Amsterdam to Hangzhou, from London to Chengdu, from San Francisco to Wuhan, and Frankfurt to Changsha. This ...

General public have their say on European businesses that make a difference

22 January 2015
When we talk about the importance of voting, it is usually about electing a leader, a government or a parliament. However, often (and especially amongst the younger members of society), voting is more commonly associated with the trivialities of reality TV shows. However, recently, the European Business Awards announced that the ‘public...

RSM tax leaders expect minimal change to corporate tax rates across the world, despite G20 and OECD reform movement

12 December 2014
The global tax system was built for an industrial age dominated by western powers but it is no longer fit for an economy driven increasingly by the internet, which is changing commerce, public service and lives across the world in ways never imagined even a decade ago. In September, the OECD announced the next phase of its recommendations for tr...

Long live entrepreneurship

17 November 2014
As we come together to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014, studies suggest we are in the midst of an explosion of new enterprises. According to StartUp Britain, over 2000 new businesses are registered in Britain alone every day, with annual totals growing year-on-year, rising from 440,600 in 2011 to 526,446 in 2013. Nearly 480,000 bus...

Our future starts today

5 November 2014
The theme of the recent RSM World Conference in Barcelona was “Our Future Starts Today” – it was  a celebration of the foundations laid during the last 50 years and an exploration of building upon these foundations for our future. Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard wrote, “life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived ...

RSM World Day: Strengthening connections and celebrating 50 years

18 September 2014
It’s the 18 September 2014, which means that it’s RSM World Day once again - a day when the independent member firms of the RSM network unite and engage with national, or local, charities through volunteering and community work, and other charitable giving activities. Connections are strengthened between staff and clients as various events are ...

RSM wins IAB ‘Network of the Year’ Award

17 September 2014
Yesterday, the RSM network received a fantastic accolade as we were named the 'Network of the Year' in the International Accounting Bulletin Annual Awards. I am, of course, delighted for all our members, for the professionals that contribute to the development of our network around the globe and for the team in the RSM Executive Office. Everyone...

Nigeria – on the cusp of greatness?

24 July 2014
When we added our member firm in Nigeria, SIAO Partners to our network in September 2013, I heard about the Nobel Prize-winning Nigerian playwright and poet, Wole Soyinka, who once said: “…there are prospects for a new Nigeria, but I don’t think we have a new Nigeria yet.” Thinking about Nigeria again for this blog I considered this quote.&...

Turkey: business birth along the Bosphorus

9 July 2014
A recent article in the Financial Times alluded to the ‘careful navigation’ that international commentators need to have when discussing the Bosphorus nation due to its conflicting geographic, economic and cultural conditions, which can catch observers out. Particularly now, when Turkey is caught between increasing authoritarianism an...

Indonesia: the wind blows hot and cold

24 June 2014
When Jim O’Neill coined the term ‘MINT’ for the economies of Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey, he stated that Indonesia, due to be ranked as the seventh largest GDP globally by 2050, had the potential to be “more compelling than Russia”, principally because of its growing population of young workers. Indonesia is the world's fourt...

Business Births and Deaths

17 June 2014
I am delighted that RSM’s second annual report - The Road to Recovery: Insights from an international comparative study of business birth and death rates – has been published and is now available on our website. The report analyses national statistics on active businesses across 38 countries globally. Business creation and destruct...

Celebrating success

3 June 2014
The leaders of Europe’s finest businesses gathered in Athens last week for the gala ceremony of the European Business Awards 2013/14, sponsored by RSM International. Congratulations from everyone at RSM to the Ruban d’Honneur recipients, the European Public Champion, the winner of the Chairman’s Selection Award and the Lifetime Achievement...

EBA entrepreneurs’ impressive growth during trying times

17 May 2014
This is the second in a series of articles leading up to the European Business Awards Gala Event on 27 May 2014. RSM is the lead sponsor of the European Business Awards, click here for more information on the programme. Since the European Business Awards began, RSM International has sponsored the Entrepreneur of the Year Awar...

EBA celebrates manufacturing in Europe

9 May 2014
This is the first in a series of articles leading up to the European Business Awards Gala Event on 27 May 2014. RSM is the lead sponsor of the European Business Awards, click here for more information on the programme. This year’s European Business Awards will not only be a celebration of success, but also of variety, as th...

RSM welcomes Baker Tilly in the UK

15 April 2014
I was delighted to announce earlier this morning to my RSM colleagues around the world, and to the media, that Baker Tilly, the 7th largest firm in the UK, is joining the RSM network. As RSM continues its drive to be the foremost provider of audit, tax and advisory services to internationally dynamic clients we are focused on securing the stro...

Saudi Arabia: diversification and entrepreneurialism

14 April 2014
I was recently fortunate enough to visit The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the first time. Our member firm, Al Sabti & Bannaga, is based in the capital Riyadh and the trip was an important opportunity to learn more about the Saudi economy as well as potential future opportunities for RSM International. Saudi Arabia is the biggest Arab economy,...

Islamic Accounting Standards - bridging differences between accounting practices in Islamic and conventional finance

26 March 2014
There has been much in the press recently about aspects of Shari’ah law being implemented in the UK and ahead of the UK Islamic Finance Investment Group Summit in London this week, I was reminded of the distance the West has to go in incorporating many Islamic principles. This is certainly true in accounting. For some time, international accou...

Inspiring change for the women of RSM International

7 March 2014
On March 8th 2014, millions of men and women around the world will take part in a range of events, campaigns and dialogues to celebrate the 103rd Global International Women’s Day. This year’s theme – inspiring change – reminds us that to create change and bring about greater equality, both in the work place and throughout our whole lives, r...

Embracing the Mexican wave

26 February 2014
The first in a series of RSM blogs on the MINT economies looks at Mexico where collaboration, investment and entrepreneurialism are reaping rewards. I was recently reminded of the saying by American entrepreneur Jim Rohn, that “for every disciplined effort there is a multiple reward.” On 5th February, the rankings agency Moody’s upgra...

Celebrating European Business Success

15 January 2014
I would like to congratulate the 100 businesses from across Europe that have been announced as the finalists and Ruban d’Honneur recipients in the 2013/14 European Business Awards. The finalists were chosen from 375 National Champions by an esteemed panel of judges made up of European business and political leaders, academics and entrepreneurs. T...

Reflections on RSM in 2013

20 December 2013
This is my final blog post for 2013 rounding off what has been a very good year for RSM and our member firms. Like every network we have had our challenges - but with most challenges come opportunities and 2013 was no different in this regards. However, as I share my reflections on 2013, I would like to concentrate on the positives we have seen thi...

RSM International celebrates best in global talent at World Conference

12 November 2013
The RSM International Special Recognition Awards 2013 were celebrated at the gala ceremony of the RSM World Conference in Amsterdam. The evening was a brilliant showcase of our global talent and I am very proud of the winners who have excelled in the fields of client service, marketing and PR, the development of RSM and commitment to driving intern...

Future looking brighter for UK entrepreneurs

11 October 2013
I was encouraged to see recent figures from StartUp Britain, reported by the FT, showing that 380,000 new businesses were started in the UK in the past 12 months, causing the total number of British companies to rise to a record 4.8 million. This is a promising sign for the UK economy, particularly in the light of our own report published i...

A world united in thought and action

11 September 2013
12 September 2013, is RSM World Day - a day when the independent member firms of the RSM network unite in thought and action to spend the day focusing on the international network to which they belong. As CEO of the network, my focus is on bringing together like minded firms from as many countries as possible who share in the belief that what ma...

Bob Dohrer of RSM re-elected Chairman of Forum of Firms (FoF)

27 August 2013
I would like to congratulate my colleague Bob Dohrer, Global Leader for Quality and Risk for RSM, who has been re-elected as Chairman of the Forum of Firms (FoF). Bob’s second term as Chair of the Forum will run for three years. The FoF, of which RSM is an original full member, was established in 2002 and aims to promote international standard...

United Kingdom: Information Exchange Agreements

1 August 2013
Whilst governmental attacks on tax avoidance seem to be rarely out of the financial news, the UK Government is also tackling tax evasion by entering into information exchange agreements with a number of tax havens, many of which are British Crown Dependencies. This is the latest initiative in a series of disclosure facilities and information exchan...

RSM publishes international study into business births and deaths

29 July 2013
Today marks the publication of a landmark report from RSM, which looks at business births and deaths across 35 countries globally – The Road to Recovery: Insights from an international comparative study of business ‘birth’ and ‘death’ rates. Business creation and destruction are among the most telling indicators of economic vitality....

Middle market companies need to do more to respond to global corruption risks

5 July 2013
RSM member firms have seen a steady increase in providing compliance and risk services since the onset of the 2007 global financial crisis. McGladrey, the RSM member firm in the US, has published a survey in conjunction with The Institute of Internal Auditors Research Foundation, examining the extent and nature of the risks faced by many middle-mar...

A true showcase of Europe-wide excellence

10 June 2013
I have just returned from the wonderfully successful gala event of the European Business Awards held in Istanbul last week. On the drive to the airport, through the city centre of Istanbul, you would not think that this city has been on the news around the world for the past seven days, with reports of unrest and protests on the streets, even promp...

Africa - The Last Frontier of the World Economy

4 June 2013
Once dismissed as an economic backwater beset by political turmoil, Africa has become an attractive market for globally active companies seeking long-term profitable growth. Our latestTalking Points article, by RSM’s economic consultant David Bartlett, looks at the drivers behind Africa’s robust growth and discusses the continent’s long ...

Malaysia and the pace of change

17 May 2013
I have recently returned from Kuala Lumpur, having attended the RSM Asia Pacific conference, where over 160 RSM leaders from across the region and other key markets came together to discuss client service and the growth and development of the RSM network. The drive into the city is always an experience; the skyline is constantly evolving, with c...

Investment is down, capacity is up; where does the future of renewable energy lie?

3 May 2013
Our latest Talking Points article, by RSM’s economic advisor David Bartlett, discusses the relationship between investment, capacity and efficiency in the renewable energy market. Global investment in renewables fell from $302 to $269 billion from 2011 to 2012; with the exception of Japan, whose energy strategies have been reoriented by...

Update from Seoul - locals report 'business as usual'

12 April 2013
I am writing from Seoul, at the close of a successful visit to our member firms in Japan and here in South Korea. Initially I assumed my timing could have been better, given the tension in the region this week, but being on the ground here at this time has been a fascinating experience. It has been hugely interesting discussing the current situatio...

Technology, productivity and economic growth; where does the west go from here?

9 April 2013
In RSM’s latest Talking Points publication, David Bartlett addresses one of the more controversial takes on the relationship between technology, productivity and economic growth in the west. Have the last two hundred years been a freak anomaly in terms of the speed and scale of technological advancement and, therefore, economic growth? ...

RSM World Day - now an 'award-winning' day to remember!

21 March 2013
In October, I posted a blog about the amazing efforts of everyone in RSM who took part in RSM World Day last September (A day to remember). Back then, I was truly amazed by the passion and commitment of RSM people around the world. And last week, this special event for RSM received the Editor's Special Award at the International Accounting Bul...

The new meaning of the ‘squeezed middle’

20 March 2013
Spare a thought for the squeezed middle. Joe Adams, the Managing Partner of McGladrey LLP, our member firm in the US, has just authored a fascinating article for, championing the middle market. Adams puts forward a strong argument that the apparent fixation of policymakers on small businesses and large multinationals is le...

Celebrating International Women's Day

7 March 2013
Each year around the world, International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated on 8 March. Thousands of events occur not just on this day but throughout March to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Organisations, governments, charities, educational institutions, women's groups, corporations and the media celebrate on this day....

RSM becomes lead sponsor of European Business Awards 2013/14

5 March 2013
Since their inception in 2007 the European Business Awards have become one of the most engaging and best recognised business awards programmes in the world. At RSM we have been a proud sponsor and supporter over those six years and we are now excited to announce that we will be the event’s Lead Sponsor from 2013/14 onwards. This will co...

Global outlook - 2013 mirrors 2012

15 February 2013
2013, like 2012, looks like it could be a tale of a two-speed global economy. The industrialised nations will struggle with growth, while developing economies – particularly in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa – will again be the fastest growing economies. In a sense this is not surprising given the debt burden many Western governments are grappling...

A Promising New Year for RSM China

8 February 2013
Chinese New Year is upon us, which is the perfect opportunity to take a closer look at one of the most dynamic markets in the world today, in spite of the turbulent global economy. The year promises to be an exciting year for our member firm in China. RSM China are increasingly challenging the dominance of the Big 4 on their home patch. RSM is a...

Need for auditors to communicate the value we add is greater than ever

4 February 2013
Auditors are often thought of as quiet, unassuming types – a stereotype which isn’t wholly untrue – but we clearly need to do much more to communicate to clients and other stakeholders the real value of the work we do. That was the consensus of a panel discussion organised by International Accounting Bulletin I attended last week, w...

Bridging the gap between management and boards

18 January 2013
I read with interest a recent white paper written by The National Association of Corporate Directors and our US member firm, McGladrey, which delves into some of the gaps between what management communicates and what boards need to know. The report is quite detailed, and makes for fascinating reading. The report highlights that quite often man...

Honouring Europe's finest businesses

11 January 2013
I would like to offer my congratulations to each of the 100 businesses from across Europe that were just announced as Ruban D’Honneur finalists in the European Business Awards. RSM has been a supporter of the European Business Awards for many years and I have had the privilege of being a previous judge, so I am well aware of the high standards th...

Business confidence in the Middle East and Africa trailing Europe

28 December 2012
Can there be anywhere in the world less confident about its business prospects than Europe right now? Most people would answer that question with an emphatic ‘no’. But, during our recent annual conference in London, we polled the 280 delegates – from all corners of the globe - and got some contrary and interesting views. 36% of RSM members...

Accountants are the most trusted advisors to business

21 December 2012
Accountants are normally quite unassuming people, not given to self-congratulation. It is pleasing, therefore, when other people recognise our strengths. So it is with a survey from Sage Omnibus of more than 1,000 businesses which identified accountants as the most trusted business advisor, and which was reported in Accountancy Age.  A...

The confusion over tax avoidance

19 December 2012
Tax avoidance and evasion have become hotly debated topics during the global financial crisis as governments have sought to maximise tax revenues as part of their deficit reduction drives. In the UK the debate has become increasingly shrill and unclear as revelations about multinational businesses not paying, what some politicians and members of th...

Diversification key to success as entrepreneurial businesses feel the squeeze

13 December 2012
Among the highlights of this year’s RSM annual conference was the inspirational presentation by Duncan Goose, founder and Managing Director of Global Ethics, owner of the One brand. Duncan shared his story as to how he took a business idea for bottled water from a chat with friends in a London pub, to the shelves of major supermarkets across thre...

Accounting profession needs to do more to attract and retain senior women

30 November 2012
I read with interest an article in the recent edition of A Plus , the journal of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants, about female accountants working for firms in Hong Kong and discussing the constraints on making it to the top as a woman. It didn’t surprise me to see phrases like ‘glass ceiling’ and ‘old...

Audit profession must add value or face irrelevance

20 November 2012
Has there ever been a more challenging time to be an accountant? Or, to put it another way, is the accounting profession now so turbulent that many of us would rather be actuaries? The consensus view of a panel of authoritative figures debating the current state of the profession at our RSM annual international conference was that auditors need to ...

Do the unemployment statistics really stack up?

13 November 2012
RSM International - Do the unemployment statistics really stack up? Whilst statistical releases from the OECD may not meet everybody’s definition of an exciting read, I found the latest OECD figures on employment rates amongst the world’s largest economies really quite interesting. In headline, what they show is that the OECD overall empl...

A Day to Remember

5 October 2012
As the dust settles on the first RSM World Day, I am still enjoying the great feelings that were created around the world. Of course, I and the team in the Executive Office are the privileged ones, who at the centre of the activities have witnessed the truly global nature of this event. As we continue to receive the pictures and reports from RSM me...

One day. One focus. One RSM.

18 September 2012
Getting the team together to share and celebrate growth and success is certainly difficult, especially when that team encompasses 32,500 people across 700 offices worldwide. However, on 20 September 2012, we will see our network of staff across 90 countries celebrate our shared vision of "Connected for Success". RSM World Day, as we are calli...

Accountancy at the heart of global competitiveness

14 September 2012
The World Economic Forum (the organisers of Davos) has issued its latest Global Competitiveness Report. This is a fascinating insight into the health of economies beyond simply GDP, and the largest study of its kind. You can read the full report here. Most interesting are the insights into productivity and prosperity, and how they differ be...

Africa marches forward: Could it be on the verge development breakthrough?

3 September 2012
Following the incredible events of the Arab Spring, a wave of change continues to sweep through Africa. Reading this article in the Wall Street Journal I was reminded of how dynamic the socio-political situation is across this continent. Africa is an important growth area for RSM and our clients globally. As a network our strategy i...

RSM UK member firm backs Fast Track 100 entrepreneurs

8 August 2012
I am delighted to see that UK member firm, RSM Tenon, are involved in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100, alongside other sponsors; Barclays and Virgin. The Fast Track 100 ranks Britain's 100 private companies with the fastest-growing sales and in previous years has spotted many of Britain's brightest companies before they became household n...

Seeking an economic legacy for London 2012

12 July 2012
The 2010 World Cup revived South Africa's image, Euro 2012 recently showcased Poland and Ukraine and the 2016 Games are expected to mark Brazil’s arrival as a major world player. ‘Mega events’ clearly offer benefits to developing economies, from improved infrastructure to consumer and tourist confidence, but what about the developed world? Th...

Boardroom v Courtroom

6 July 2012
You may have seen the media interest around recent reports regarding a former female employee of KPMG US who is filing a $350m class action lawsuit against the firm. I read with interest the opinion of Arvind Hickman, the Editor of the International Accounting Bulletin, in his report about the case. While this case brings to light that gend...

RSM Reporting: Reducing the clutter in corporate reports and accounts

29 June 2012
RSM International - RSM Reporting: Reducing the clutter in corporate reports and accounts The latest issue of RSM Reporting, our quarterly newsletter covering technical developments in the area of global financial accounting and reporting, looks at a valuable initiative by the UK Financial Reporting Committee (FRC) which is likely to have a sign...

The RSM Academy – Class of 2012

18 June 2012
On Friday, I had the pleasure of congratulating the 45 delegates, from RSM member firms around the world upon their graduation from RSM’s sixth annual RSM Academy. I travel to Eindhoven to attend this important programme every year, and I know first-hand how challenging it is for the delegates – I applaud each and every one of them. The RSM ...

Sustainable thinking: Is less productivity a good thing?

14 June 2012
The New York Times featured a very interesting opinion-editorial by Tim Jackson, Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey. He argues that the global quest for increased productivity in the workplace could result in putting more people out of work unless it is accompanied by matching growth. He also suggests t...

China’s Carbon Trading Experiment is good news for the Cleantech industry (and the planet)

7 June 2012
The recent report “China’s Carbon Emission Trading: an Experiment to Watch” by the Stockholm Environment Institute provides a positive analysis of China’s pilot for its national-level carbon trading programme. The biggest carbon producer in the world is the US, followed by China. Getting both of these countries to embrace carbon tra...

RSM congratulates the European Business Awards National Finalists

1 June 2012
I would like to congratulate the leaders of the 627 companies across Europe that have made it through the initial judging process to become National Finalists for their respective countries in the 2012/13 European Business Awards. RSM has had a long association with the European Business Awards and I know from my experience as a past judge,...

EU Audit Market proposals: "No change is not an option"

31 May 2012
Yesterday, I and the CEOs of Grant Thornton, BDO, Mazars, and Rödl & Partners, along with the CEO of EGIAN (European Group of International Accounting Networks) met with MEPs in Brussels to discuss mid-tier accountancy firm’s positions on EC audit proposals. Back in October 2010, the EU launched a consultation to improve the aud...

Austerity alone will not lead growth

24 May 2012
European governments are facing a clamour of calls to ditch austerity measures and start spending. The most rational of these calls are from those who wish to find a middle ground, understanding that is very hard to nurture economic growth without some form of stimulus. It is very rare for an economy to simply change gear without a significan...

Resource rich Australia grapples with a two speed economy

16 May 2012
Last month GE reported a 26% rise in revenue from Australia. The resource rich nation exceeded China revenue by US$100 million, and the company expects Australia will surpass China again in 2012. According to the Wall Street Journal GE expects that the price of minerals will remain strong and support Australia’s burgeoning mining sector...

Introducing the RSM World

4 May 2012
I am very pleased to announce the launch of a new look RSM! Our international network will now be known as purely RSM, complete with a new "RSM World" logo representing our global connectivity as a network. We’ve been on a very rewarding journey researching what our clients and partners understand about what makes us different as a network. An...

Guest post: Financial Transaction Tax: Learning crucial lessons from Sweden’s misadventure...

2 May 2012
For many years Europe has struggled to introduce financial transaction tax (also known as FTT and Tobin tax). In 1984 when Sweden first installed FTT, it set off a chain reaction of events which effectively strangled its domestic financial markets until the tax was eliminated, six damaging years later. The introduction of an FTT has recently bee...

RSM Reporting: Latest newsletter covering technical developments in global financial accounting and reporting

26 April 2012
RSM International - RSM Reporting: Latest newsletter covering technical developments in global financial accounting and reporting I am very pleased to share with you our latest issue of RSM Reporting, our quarterly newsletter covering technical developments in global financial accounting and reporting. It is edited by Dr Marco Mongiello, Directo...

Guest post: Indian government reforms will lead to sustainable growth...

23 April 2012
India continues to make great strides as an economy. Policy decisions made by the Government will increasingly reverberate around the world. I am delighted to share with you the first post from Suresh Surana, founder of RSM Astute Consulting Group in India. Dr Surana is a leading commentator in India, and I hope to include more of his insights i...

Guest post: Insights from an International Tax Advisor...

18 April 2012
Our latest guest post is courtesy of Mario van den Broek, Partner, International Tax Services at RSM Niehe Lancée Kooij in the Netherlands. Mario is one of the most senior tax professionals in our industry, and I am delighted to welcome him to the RSM World blog... International tax structuring has undergone significant changes. Although the pr...

Work Life Integration

18 April 2012
Core to managing a successful people business is how we retain and keep talent. It is a vast subject area, and I am always trying to keep an eye out for interesting theories and ideas to shape our company policy. Work life balance is simple in principle, but hard to achieve in practice. Employees need to have a quality of life outside of the off...

Welcoming the first of our guest bloggers...

4 April 2012
It is a real pleasure to welcome the first of our guest bloggers from around the RSM network. Opening up the blog to our experts will gather us some useful insights into the global business environment as well as the markets we operate. This week I am delighted to feature post from Mike Kirley, Chief Operating Officer and International Strategy Lea...

Nurturing a good corporate culture to manage risk

3 April 2012
John Brackett from the RSM member firm in the USA, McGladrey & Pullen LLP, has written an insightful article about the need to address corporate culture when creating strong guardrails for governance and enterprise risk management (ERM). John is the ERM practice leader in the USA and has worked with companies all across the globe, inc...

The smell of success - beauty company entrepreneurs turn €7 thousand into €77 million

23 March 2012
The winners of the RSM International Entrepreneur of the Year title at the European Business Awards (EBA) are the founders of Maesa Group, Julien Saada and Gregory Mager. The Maesa Group is one of Europe’s fastest growing and most comprehensive resource for “Beauty on Demand” products and services. With offices in Paris, New York, Los Ange...

Tougher measures needed to increase number of women on boards

5 March 2012
Today Commissioner Reding of the European Union called for a period of consultation to address the serious issue of increasing the number of women in economic decision-making positions. Calling for the need for faster progress, she pointed to a number of studies proving that diverse boards are linked to profitable enterprises. While th...


29 February 2012
The European Business Awards are now open for entries from businesses across the EU. In 2011 alone, the EBAs engaged with over 15,000 organisations in over 30 countries - showcasing the best in class from a diverse range of industries. Participants represented a combined turnover of over €1 trillion Euros (8.23% of EU GDP) employing over 2.7 m...

Beyond the balance sheet and beyond the bonus? ... People are Intangible, invaluable assets

27 February 2012
One of the largest, and most constant, challenges in business is unlocking and maximising the potential of relationships with colleagues and clients. Trusting, loyal and rewarding relationships are the true drivers of our business growth and the foundation of our success as a service business. The recent launch of the Chartered Global Managem...

Simply different

30 January 2012
In the business arena today, local no longer exists - we live in an interconnected, globalised world where companies must think on an international scale. As companies realise the need to develop globally, diversity in the workplace becomes an integral component in creating and sustaining a competitive edge. Responding to these changes requires bus...

Planning for an interesting 2012

28 January 2012
If 2011 was anything to go by we are in for a very interesting year. From The Arab Spring to hard hitting government austerity measures, the call for radical changes to banking practices and, closer to home, the long awaited debate on audit dominance - we witnessed a year of unprecedented headlines. As business leaders, we have no control over t...

RSM Congratulates European Business Award Winners

25 November 2011
Earlier this week, the finale of the 2011 European Business Awards took place at a galaceremony in Barcelona.  The European Business Awards provide a platform where outstanding European businesses can represent their country and be recognised for their achievements. RSM International has been a sponsor of this awards programme since ...

A long term future for our profession

25 October 2011
You will have seen the draft proposals from the European Commission that became public at the end of September, which, if adopted, would produce major changes to our profession, particularly in the auditing of listed companies. These proposals were followed by a detailed impact assessment prepared by the Commission’s Staff. This impact assessment...

Global business confidence - a local perspective from Hong Kong & China

19 August 2011
The latest FT/Economist Global Business Barometer indicated a fall in confidence among businesses around the world. More than a third of respondents expect conditions to worsen. This survey data was captured before the US rating downgrade by S&P and the latest default worries in the Eurozone - and we can only guess what that confidence level wo...

Facing up to business

12 August 2011
Eighty per cent of my time is spent on the move. I am more often than not travelling between meetings with our member firms or potential members within RSM International, meeting their clients and key government or business leaders, and doing business with great people all over the world. I often reflect on the different approaches to building p...

Personality v qualification

25 July 2011
The global economic crisis has left an unwelcome mark on the so-called “lost generation” of professionals. Graduate employment prospects in many affected countries are the bleakest they have ever been. That said, it is fast becoming clear that in this competitive job market you need more than a solid degree. In conjunction with the European ...

Contractual Clauses Favouring The Big Four Must Become Something of The Past

14 July 2011
You may have seen a report in International Accounting Bulletin yesterday drawing attention to findings from Paul Gillis, a visiting professor of accounting at Peking University's Guanghua School of Management.   Paul discovered a Big Four only lending clause in a loan agreement issued by the state owned China Development Ban...

Emerging markets tunnel vision: Don’t forget about Latin America

29 June 2011
China’s booming economy continues to grow at a considerable rate and has helped pull much of the global economy away from the worst of the financial crisis. India’s youthful population has also buoyed many Western economists’ forecasts of continued economic growth. This sustained focus on Asia’s economic performance has meant other emerging...

The Business of Bio-Energy

16 June 2011
Our Irish member firm, RSM Farrell Grant Sparks, yesterday hosted "The Business of Bio-Energy" conference in Dublin with law firm Byrne Wallace. The bio-energy sector is a relatively young, but quickly growing market that can bring about many opportunities across professional disciplines. Addressing the attendees, Ian Duffy, a ...

Propelling growth in Malaysia

26 May 2011
Recently I had the pleasure of spending time with my colleagues in Malaysia celebrating the 33rd anniversary of our member firm RSM RKT Group, with staff and clients of the firm. Many congratulations to the RSM team in Malaysia on this great occasion. Malaysia is going through an exciting period at the moment. The Malaysian Governments' Eco...

Chinese economic growth bears expensive fruit

17 May 2011
Sometimes you have to look at the small stuff to understand the complexity of economic growth. My latest trip to China was eye opening. The cost of everyday items, such as the price of fruit has risen significantly this year - by all accounts some 31% in the past 12 months (consumer prices were up 5% in the year to March). With economic growth of 9...

The client-consultant relationship

21 April 2011
On a daily basis I am reminded how fortunate I am to work with such a diverse range of personalities that comes with working in an international network – and particularly those that make up the extended RSM International network. I recognise that many people think of accountancy as a ‘number’ industry, and while it certainly does involve ...

Austria's taxation dilemma

6 April 2011
The Financial Times published a thought-provoking article this morning that looks at a new tax introduced by the Austrian government last year. The new 25 percent levy on capital gains from stocks, bonds and other financial instruments aims to reduce the country's deficit by increasing state revenue. Today's FT article takes a look at ...

Less, not more, red tape

25 March 2011
The amount of non-financial information in annual reports has grown substantially in the past ten years with questions being raised regarding the reliability of the information that companies include at the front of these reports. More recently, there have been calls to expand the information provided with further reporting on Corporate Social Resp...

Corporate Responsibility Steps Aside

23 March 2011
The term ‘corporate sustainability’ is increasingly uttered in the business world, and is gradually taking over from ‘corporate responsibility’ - and ‘corporate social responsibility’ (CSR) before it - as the dominant paradigm of international corporate conduct.  In the wake of the global financial crisis, it is evident that increa...

Fairtrade - Making a Difference

16 March 2011
Last week I spoke to you all about the European Business Awards - an independent awards programme that celebrates the successes of businesses and leaders throughout Europe. During the awards ceremony held in Paris, I was particularly moved by the story of the company who won The Award for Corporate Sustainability, The Fairtrade Foundation. Int...

Celebrating Entrepreneurship

11 March 2011
In tough economic times, entrepreneurship and innovation are more important than ever as companies and businesses continue to battle in an ever-crowded market place. An entrepreneurial spirit can make the difference between win and lose as the competition toughens. However, entrepreneurship does not come as standard and those who do it well should ...

Unrest in the Middle East and North Africa

4 March 2011
The wave of recent events culminating in geopolitical unrest across parts of North Africa and the Middle East is having wide-ranging repercussions on these varied and complex societies. It has also led to the emergence of that great enemy of the business community - uncertainty. We have already seen short term erratic stock markets, currency moveme...

Inspired by India

25 February 2011
I just returned from a trip to Mumbai where I spent two days exploring the growth opportunities in India with the leaders of our member firm, RSM Astute Consulting*. Mumbai is very well known for its high energy and excitement and this trip certainly proved it no different. The positive energy generated from the people, in the offices and on the st...

Time for gender equality at the top

23 February 2011
Lord Davies, former chief executive of Standard Chartered, will tomorrow (24 February) announce recommendations resulting from his inquiry into barriers preventing women from taking top jobs in the UK boardroom.  He is expected to call for a fifth of FTSE 350 board members to be women by 2013, rising to a quarter by 2015. Meanwhile, ...

Progress in Panama

18 February 2011
There is no doubt that business in the Latin American region is exciting at the moment, as large global businesses are jockeying to invest in the growth markets spread across the continent. Just take a look, for example, at that narrow body of land separating the Atlantic from the Pacific at the upper end of South America.  This is where a ...

Challenging Audit Market Dominance

10 February 2011
There is a growing consensus amongst government, regulators and the profession that, amongst other issues, something needs to be done about market concentration. I support measured change to allow RSM and other networks to thrive and compete for market share. It would be a mistake to enforce punitive measures against the largest firms, who have bee...

Never a dull moment...

4 February 2011
I count myself lucky to have chosen a career where there is never a dull moment. My journey started in California in the US where I qualified as a professional accountant. However, I found the international side of the business fascinating and I soon found myself packing my bags for London to begin the next phase on my career journey at RSM Interna...

Welcome to My RSM World

3 February 2011
As CEO of RSM,  I'm always on the move working with RSM member firms in over 100 countries around the world. My travel gives me a unique perspective on both local challenges facing businesses and global trends shaping their future in a shifting economic landscape. International accountancy has always been a fast-paced, exciting and rew...

Leading virtual teams with empathy

It’s easy to say, ‘We are all in this together’, but the truth is that some members of your team are facing much bigger challenges than the rest. Many are facing total isolation, or having to home school children, living with partners who’ve been furloughed or made redundant, or caring for a sick family member. These challenges can add pressure to an already stressful situation, and that is why it’s important for managers to get a sense of which colleagues may require a bit more flexibility.