Grant Thornton is ramping up its plans to expand internationally with the upcoming promotion of the U.S. member firm’s CEO Ed Nusbaum to chief executive of Grant Thornton International on Jan. 1.

Nusbaum and Stephen Chipman, his successor as CEO of the U.S. firm Grant Thornton LLP, told the editors of Accounting Today and WebCPA about their plans for next year. They see opportunities to expand the firm’s market share, especially against the Big Four.

“Our objective is to try to grow and build our international organization,” said Nusbaum. “We’re in about 100 countries and the objective is to try to increase our revenue base, increase our number of clients, improve our client service, and my role is to lead the team to do that. It starts with branding and improving our visibility and it continues with client service in all of our service lines: audit, tax and advisory services.”

Chipman, who has been running the firm’s Greater China Management Corp. in recent years, said his experience in China could prove helpful, even though he will now be running the U.S. side of the firm. “The international activity of our clients here in the United States continues to increase,” he said. “Over a third of our revenues in the U.S. today are with clients that have international operations. That’s one of the fastest-growing parts of our business, so the ability for us to work with Ed in the global organization and to expand our international footprint is really critical to our success. Hopefully my background can help with that.”

Chipman said he plans to build the firm’s footprint in the U.S. while working with the global organization that Nusbaum will be running. He also wants to expand the opportunities for Grant Thornton employees in the U.S. to go overseas and work in an international environment, both short and long-term.

Nusbaum, who was appointed this week to the Financial Accounting Foundation’s board of trustees, said he plans to encourage the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s convergence of U.S. GAAP with International Financial Reporting Standards. 

“We want Grant Thornton to be recognized as a global brand in every country, as an organization that’s not just a U.S. or U.K. or French or Australian or any other country’s firm, but as a global organization that provides seamless client service throughout the world,” he said. “The No. 1 objective is to build that global brand and global reputation and then to grow the firm, both by bringing in new clients and increasing market share, but also by increasing the size and quality of our various member firms. That takes you to the emerging markets like China, India and Russia, where we have to continue to expand and grow, and some of the smaller emerging markets as well that provide tremendous opportunity for growth for us.”

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