Reflecting on an unprecedented year with an eye toward the future  

A message for the new year from RSM US LLP Managing Partner & CEO Joe Adams

2020 was an unprecedented year, with the global COVID-19 pandemic, economic uncertainty and racial unrest affecting every one of us in some way. While the year didn’t unfold in the way any of us had planned, businesses and individuals around the world leaned in to weather the storm and reimagine the future. That was very true here at RSM where our 13,000 dedicated and diverse professionals across the U.S. and in Canada courageously demonstrated their critical thinking, collaboration, curiosity and their caring attitudes throughout the year by developing innovative ways of staying connected and helping our clients and each other succeed.

As we begin to think about turning the page on 2020, I’m optimistic about the future and looking forward to a brighter 2021. I also feel proud of what RSM and our people have achieved during this truly uncommon year, and I’m happy to share some highlights with you today.

We shared insights and grew our presence to serve our middle market clients in challenging times. 

  • We quickly pivoted over the course of 48 hours to working in a 100% virtual environment so we could continue to serve our clients while keeping our people safe at home.
  • We supported our clients in navigating the various government stimulus opportunities, such as the Paycheck Protection Program and Main Street Lending Program, designed to help their businesses weather the storm of the pandemic.
  • With the onset of the pandemic in March, we increased the frequency of our RSM US Middle Market Business Index (MMBI) from quarterly to monthly to capture the real time impact on the middle market. In addition to the monthly economic index, quarterly topics on COVID-19 included returning to work following the pandemic, near-term updates on the impact of the pandemic and the long-term economic and business impact.
  • We developed a coronavirus resource center and a 2020 election resource center to educate and inform middle market business leaders on how these important topics could impact their businesses.
  • New this year, we began to produce quarterly industry outlooks that provide an ongoing collection of sector-specific insights developed by our industry senior analysts, a select group of professionals dedicated to studying economic and industry data, market trends and emerging issues faced by middle market businesses.
  • We launched a CEO-to-CEO video series highlighting CEOs from various industries sharing insights about how they were leading their businesses through COVID-19 and into the economic recovery.
  • We joined forces with Washington, D.C.-based Tate and Tryon, deepening our focus on serving the nonprofit industry – particularly professional, trade and charitable organizations – and expanding our presence in the D.C. market.   
  • We opened a one-of-a-kind interactive retail experience center to provide an immersive experience for retailers, providing them a firsthand look into how we can help their businesses leverage the Microsoft Cloud as a competitive advantage to enable intelligent retail.
  • Our monthly publication, The Real Economy, continued to help the middle market anticipate and address the unique issues and challenges facing their businesses and the industries in which they operate.

We cared for our people.

  • COVID-19 has created a challenging environment for all businesses. At RSM, we established four key principles at the outset of the pandemic: (1) keep everyone as safe as possible, (2) retain as many jobs as possible, (3) keep compensation at current levels, and (4) partner commitment to supporting our people.
  • We’re proud of how we have been able to support our people and their families during these difficult circumstances. To begin, we invested in new and expanded employee (and family) benefits that support financial security, career growth, childcare, elder care, tutoring services, mental health and wellness resources. Examples of what we’ve been able to do for our people during the pandemic include:
    • Paid annual bonuses, promotion and salary increases, and maintained retirement plan matching contributions.
    • Waived out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 testing and telehealth visits through Dec. 31, 2021.
    • Expanded back-up child and elder care, and increased employee reimbursements through our Extended Care Cash program.
    • Waived health care premiums in November and December.
    • Offered 10 free mental-health counseling sessions and launched a new wellness resource Modern Health.
    • Offered additional family services through Bright Horizons, including virtual learning and tutoring resources and discounts.

We supported our communities.

We embraced diversity and inclusion.

We continued to strengthen our team.

  • We added a number of new partners, principals and other leaders, and promoted a number of others to ensure that we continue to provide the best possible service to our middle market clients, while also providing our people with fulfilling career paths at RSM. While there are far too many to list here, one notable example includes the announcement of our third class of our Industry Eminence program, joining the 21 senior analysts from our previous classes.

We reflected on our firm’s accomplishments.

We celebrated our colleagues’ accomplishments.

We celebrated the good done through the PGA TOUR and The RSM Classic.

  • We celebrated the 11th annual RSM Classic, albeit a bit differently in keeping with PGA TOUR safety protocols this year due to the pandemic. At the end of the tournament, we welcomed Robert Streb, winner of The Classic, as a member of the extended RSM “family”. And we’re already looking forward to reconvening in person next year at Sea Island, GA next November for the 12th year of this unique tournament, which has become the ultimate client experience for our clients and friends.
  • We celebrated PGA TOUR Professional and Team RSM Member Zach Johnson on being named the 2020 Payne Stewart Award winner – the most prestigious recognition on the PGA TOUR.

In the coming year, we at RSM look forward to continuing our commitment to understanding the unique issues, challenges and opportunities facing the middle market, particularly in these unprecedented times. We’ll continue to use that deep understanding to provide innovative, forward-looking insights and solutions to help middle market businesses succeed.

Here’s to a healthy, happy and prosperous 2021!



Note: For more details about our 2020 recognitions, visit the Awards and Recognitions page of our website.  For more details about our firm’s activities in 2020, visit our Newsroom.