Go to www.amllp.com/bios.aspx?ID=2 and there you will find the bios for members of Armanino McKenna LLP in San Ramon, Calif. Begin with Andy Armanino, the firm's managing partner. This bio isn't presented in the same manner that most other firms' sites display partner's bios.

You will find the answers to the following:

  • What is it about accounting and consulting that first drew your interest?
  • Describe your most memorable Armanino McKenna moment.
  • Make a prediction. Describe your vision of the business future.
  • What's the toughest business decision that you've ever made?
  • Tell us about your favorite client and why you enjoy working with them.
  • Describe your work style.
  • What nugget of wisdom would you offer aspiring accountants?

Here's the favorite client of Armanino. "My favorite client is my polar opposite. But despite the difference in personal dynamics, we have a solid connection and are able to provide their organization with sound strategic direction. Shortly before taking them on as a client, their business went into a downward spiral. It's been very gratifying for me to be able to help turn their business around and enable it to become a real asset within their local community."Armanino also provides details about his favorite vacation, a quote he likes, and the word that best described him:

  • Vacation: After graduating from college, I went to Europe with my buddies and we spent days on end touring cities and the countryside, with no real itinerary. It turned out to be great fun. I really enjoyed the spontaneity of it all.
  • Quote: "Curiosity is the cure for boredom. There is no cure for curiosity."
  • Word: Passionate

The standard profile for Armanino and his contact info are on the right side of the page, and the bios for all the partners are done in similar style. I found what drew Brad Cless, the partner in charge of the tax department, to accounting and consulting. "It's very creative, like art. Most accountants just look at the numbers, but you can take it to a much higher level. Numbers are only a small part of what we do. Every day is different and what draws me to this profession is working with people, giving them helpful advice, and providing solutions to financial challenges."Then there was audit partner Paul Peterson's recital of his most memorable Armanino McKenna moment. "The first time I pulled an all-nighter with Joe Moore, our former managing partner. I remember him at 11:30 p.m. saying something like, 'Okay, it looks like we will be here for awhile. Shall we get dinner?' The only nearby business that was open turned out to be a 7-11. We dined on chips and donuts that night."

All the responses weren't great, but potential clients and new staff get an insight into the leadership of the firm, including an understanding of how they think, their professional outlook, and their interaction with clients. This information is invaluable to anyone evaluating whether to enter a relationship with an accounting firm. That is probably what I like best about this presentation. It's also fresh, unique, and creative.

In today's competitive world, this is a good way for a firm to differentiate itself from the pack.

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