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SPECIAL REPORT: Heady Growth Strategy Defines Life at Top Firm

Greater Los Angeles Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP, Greater L.A. offices in downtown Los Angeles and Westlake Village Years at firm: 24 Residence: Palos Verdes How has accounting changed during your career? The world has changed enormously since I joined the profession 24 years ago. Regulatory oversight has increased. Massive technology transformations have created opportunities and challenges for businesses. Today, clients look to us for far more than traditional assurance and tax services; we are trusted advisors in helping them navigate their challenges and bend the flashlight around the corner to better anticipate what’s next for their businesses. What is tax time like at your firm? There used to be a well-defined busy season for audit and tax. Today, our professionals are highly in demand all year long. What is one change you would make if there was substantial tax reform? We see our role as a facilitator and intermediary; assisting companies in analyzing the potential effects of tax reform proposals, and helping our clients understand and meet their requirements if proposals become law. That said, there is growing consensus that tax reform may be helpful to make U.S. businesses more competitive globally. Has your firm expanded beyond traditional accounting services? Absolutely. In addition to our market-leading assurance, tax and transactions practices, we have significantly expanded our advisory services, also known as consulting. Clients look to us for our deep industry experience in performance improvement, analytics, risk and cybersecurity, customer experience, strategy, operations, technology, social media, finance and tax. What is your firm’s primary specialty? We are dedicated to delivering high-quality audits and helping our clients meet their complex tax obligations, improve their performance and better manage their capital. One of the many ways we differentiate ourselves is in our service to entrepreneurial companies. EY is the leader in advising, guiding and recognizing entrepreneurial companies in Southern California, on the West Coast, and around the world. Who are your typical clients? Can you name some? Our client list is confidential; however, we serve 40 percent of the Fortune 1000 companies in LA and 37 percent of the Russell 3000 in LA. Our clients span the consumer products, engineering and construction, financial services, health care, life sciences, manufacturing, media and entertainment, private equity, real estate, retail, and technology industries. Does the firm have additional expansion plans? Yes. Our plan is to be the leading professional services organization by 2020. As part of our “Vision 2020” growth plans, EY firms completed 17 acquisitions last year across the broad range of services we offer. Each of our service lines — assurance, tax, advisory and transaction advisory services — has a detailed investment plan with the ultimate goal of building a better working world for our people, our clients and our communities. How do you recruit new partners? Many of our current partners and principals joined EY as interns and have spent their entire careers at the firm. New partners come to us in a variety of ways. In our advisory practice, which is growing exponentially, our new partners come to us from consulting firms, government and other professional services firms. How do you recruit young accountants? We recruit at over 200 U.S. campuses and look for high-achieving individuals whose degrees are in business, accounting, IT and finance, who are involved in clubs or campus activities, and who have strong critical thinking, leadership and interpersonal skills. What was the best day of your career? While I’ve had many outstanding days in my career, the very best was the day I met my wife, Rebecca. We both worked for EY. We’ve been married 13 years and have two sons. Is there something personal your colleagues don’t know about you? Between my family, my career, and my community and board service, there isn’t a lot of time left over for hobbies. That said, I really enjoy helping to coach my sons’ baseball teams! What career advice do you like to give? Whatever you want to be – a CFO, a CEO, a tenured professor, whatever it is – work like you really want it. I worked every day like I wanted to be a partner at EY. People distinguish themselves at our firm by building good relationships with our clients, the business community and with our people inside of EY. – Jacquelyn Ryan

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