Spokane Journal of Business

Moss Adams’ Spokane office pursues another banner year

New partner in charge Amend is leading that effort

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-—Kevin Blocker
Moss Adams LLP named Gregg Amend, above, as the partner in charge of the firm’s Spokane office earlier this year. He replaced Rick Betts, who now serves as a regional managing partner.

Gregg Amend, the new partner in charge at Moss Adams LLP, Spokane’s largest accounting firm, says the firm’s revenues are up 3 percent through the first five months of 2017 compared to last year, which proved to be a record year for the Spokane office.

Amend replaced Rick Betts at the beginning of this year. Betts now is a regional managing partner for the firm and is one of eight Moss Adams employees here reporting to its national headquarters in Seattle.

Revenues here increased 10 percent in 2016 from 2015. 

“We’re coming off our best year ever in Spokane,” says Amend, who Betts helped hire in 1997.

Anna Bresnahan, Moss Adam’s regional marketing specialist here, says the firm has 109 employees in its Spokane office and occupies a total of about 22,600 square feet of office space—including all of the 18th floor and about half of the 17th floor—in the Bank of America Financial Center, at 601 W. Riverside.

Firmwide, Moss Adams annually generates more than $500 million in revenue at 29 offices across the U.S. Amend says the firm doesn’t disclose revenue figures for its individual offices.

Moss Adams has 2,600 employees serving clients, most of whom are middle-market companies across more than 30 industries. The firm offers financial consulting, tax planning, and wealth management for its clients, Amend says.

The Spokane office has almost 1,100 corporate clients and almost 400 individuals as clients here, Bresnahan says.

Most of Moss Adams’ Spokane clients are financial institutions, construction and real estate companies, nonprofits, and government agencies. Other industry-sector clients are in the fields of telecommunications, energy, technology, and manufacturing, he says.

“We’re middle-market industry minded. That’s wheelhouse material for us,” says Amend, who declines to identify Moss Adams clients. The National Center for the Middle Market at the Ohio State University Fisher College of Business defines middle-market businesses as generating annual revenues of between $100 million and $3 billion.

“Our growth as a firm has been fueled by Spokane’s growth in recent years of these middle-market companies, who, like us, are also growth minded,” Amend says.

“As a result, we try to put ourselves in the (business) owner’s shoes. I think that’s one of the things that has helped us become even more successful. We train staff to think like a business owner, and I think that enables us to do a better job,” he says.

Amend says it’s his job to continue helping Moss Adams grow in the same way his predecessors did, and a big part of that involves investing in its employee base.

“We want our staff to be engaged and energized in what they do for our clients. We want them to dive in and own not just a client, but understand and know the entire industry that client is operating in,” he says.

A Spokane native, Amend earned undergraduate degrees from Whitworth University in accounting, economics, and business management. He attended Whitworth from 1993 to 1997 after graduating from Freeman High School in 1993.

“I had no intention of going into public accounting. I got hired here through a friend of a friend of a friend who knew Rick (Betts),” he says.

Amend says he planned to work for a year at Moss Adams, and then enroll in law school.

However, he says, “There was such a great environment here that I just wanted to learn more and do more.” 

Amend also played college baseball at Whitworth, and he says the accounting profession appealed to his desire to accomplish tasks and goals with a group.

He says Moss Adams has always placed a strong emphasis on community service for its employees.

“Right now, we’ve got 60 out of nearly 100 employees who are actively involved in an organization of their choice,” he says. “Our goal this year is to push that to 80. And I’m not talking about just writing checks. The firm has always stressed the importance of community service.”

Amend says Moss Adams will continue to explore advancing technologies that are used to more effectively serve clients.

“For example, in my first year, you’d spend anywhere from three days to two full weeks at the client’s office to complete a full audit,” Amend says.

Now, digital technologies, data analytics, and videoconferencing have reduced travel time and improved communication between the firm and its clients, he says.

“Technology has only increased the quality of what we’ve been able to do, and it’s only going to get better,” he says.

In addition to changes in technology, Moss Adams recently unveiled a new logo as part of a rebranding effort.

“Accountants are traditionally a conservative bunch. The biggest change I ever recall seeing in our previous branding was changing the main color from maroon to red,” Amend says with a laugh.

New signage will debut soon, new business cards have already been distributed to employees, and the firm’s website has been redesigned, he says. 

“It’s all part of our plan to continue to do a better job of how we think and operate,” Amend says. “We’ve had great leadership here, and I’m enjoying the chance to continue that momentum.”

 Kevin Blocker
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Reporter Kevin Blocker, a University of Colorado alum, is a rec league basketball addict. At age 47, he still sports a 32-inch vertical leap. He has three children, all of whom are hooked on hoops.

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