This year marks the 70th anniversary of Cherry Bekaert LLP (“the Firm”), a nationally recognized, growth-oriented accounting, advisory and consulting firm. Cherry Bekaert is one of the leading accounting firms in the Southeast and is one of the 25 largest accounting firms nationally. Serving clients in the U.S. as well as internationally through its affiliation with Baker Tilly International, the Firm’s Greenville office has been a cornerstone of the community since 1990, serving businesses, governments, and individuals throughout South Carolina.
Mark Cooter, Managing Partner of the South Carolina Upstate Practice and Industry Leader of the Firm’s Real Estate and Construction group, credits the longevity of the Firm to three things: its deep industry experience, the client relationships that people within the Firm have built and nurtured, and how the Firm embraces innovation and technology on behalf of clients.
“Every industry is experiencing disruption, but it is possible to manage it and be ready for it,” Mark says. “Technology is the biggest disrupter right now. Our newly-established Technology Solutions practice is a great complement to our legacy services. Services like tax planning, strategic planning, auditing, data management – all those day-to-day business processing and planning activities aren’t going away any time soon. But apply some fresh tech solutions to those activities, and you suddenly become more efficient and more competitive in your market. It’s just one of the ways we build on our experiences as CPAs and advisors while staying current with solutions that are changing business and even the world.”
Having a diverse client base that stretches across many different business industries, governments, and nonprofit sectors is part of what’s helped Cherry Bekaert survive, even through tough times. “If one area is experiencing fallout from an economic downturn, for example, there’s another sector that balances it out,” Mark says. Then he adds, “Although what we typically find is that when the going gets tough, that’s when companies are more likely to turn to us to make it through to the other side of whatever’s affecting their business.”
The way the Firm listens and commits to its clients has also evolved. Mark says the Firm has always put clients’ needs first. However, the Firm publicly reaffirmed its commitment when it instituted “Our 5 Client Commitments.” These five commitments clearly articulate what clients should expect when working with Cherry Bekaert:
- Make It Easy
- Keep Our Promises
- Anticipate Your Needs
- Consider Your Interests
- Work as a Team
Around the same time the Firm unveiled “Our 5 Client Commitments,” it adopted the Net Promoter Score® (“NPS”) process to better track client feedback and monitor firmwide performance. By sending out surveys specifically designed to encourage open, honest feedback at regular intervals, the Client Experience team can monitor client satisfaction and see how the Firm is doing at a glance. Mark says the NPS is a valuable tool for “keeping us accountable and making sure we’re doing what we say we’ll do.” At last check, the Greenville office’s NPS was 91, making it one of the Firm’s highest-ranked offices for client satisfaction.
Cherry Bekaert’s professionals are known for their community involvement, particularly throughout the Upstate. The Firm has sponsored Greenville’s Rose Ball for a number of years. Other favorite charities the Firm works with regularly are The Family Effect, Community Foundation for Greenville, and Artisphere. It also supports the Greenville Chamber of Commerce in a variety of ways throughout the year.
Many of the professionals in Greenville are involved with different professional and non-profit organizations; several serving on the boards of these organizations. The local office has won United Way’s Chairman’s Award and a Campaign Award of Excellence for its office-wide involvement with the organization. From the arts to children’s causes to disease eradication, the individuals who make up the Firm are committed to getting involved and enacting positive change in Greenville and the state.
Cherry Bekaert marked the beginning of another new era when the Greenville office moved into a new LEED-certified office building on East Court Street in 2016. The new environmentally friendly building is a symbol of their commitment to doing right for the environment and for the local community.
The Firm’s Greenville office has the familiar, small-town feel of a local community business while having the advantage of the resources of a large firm. It’s that balance that’s made Cherry Bekaert successful for the last 70 years – and which will drive success for its professionals and clients for decades to come.