St. Louis (Sept., 25 2003) -- In this time of corporate mistrust and a questionable economy, Brown Smith Wallace -- the second-largest independently owned CPA firm in Missouri -- thought it best to offer a written guarantee to current and potential clients.

The firm claimed it never had a problem with trust or the quality of work in its 31 years, but a decision to re-brand prompted them to issue a written guarantee as well as a new corporate logo and tagline.

“We had been thinking about the idea of re-branding, but it is coincidental with what’s been going on in the market that we chose to focus on how to differentiate ourselves,” said managing member Jeffrey Smith. “In an era where people are questioning [CPAs’] core values, even though many firms say they guarantee this or that, few have put it in writing. We are making it formal and willing to stand by our words.”

The guarantee, which is now on all of the firm’s brochures, states: “We guarantee that as a client of Brown Smith Wallace, you will receive the greatest value for services provided. If for some reason you are not completely satisfied with the value received let us know. We will remedy the situation without delay, either by reworking the project or reducing our fees to reflect your perception of value.”

In addition to the guarantee, the firm developed a new corporate tagline: "A Measurable Difference," which is also located on all firm materials and logos.

The written guarantee and tagline came about through independent research. Late last year, Brown Smith Wallace engaged the services of Capstone Marketing to gather data from St. Louis metro area businesses about what they wanted in a CPA firm. They surveyed 200 of Brown Smith Wallace clients and another 200 non-clients in the area.

“The most important thing that we found was that people are looking for a firm with high integrity, professionalism,” Smith said. “We always thought we needed to be bigger and offer more, but we really found out if we offer what clients need and had these qualities they didn’t care about size.”

Brown Smith and Wallace has approximately 120 employees and services over 8,000 clients in insurance, manufacturing, construction, distribution, finance, healthcare and non-profit businesses.

Smith also noted that the firm had felt size had, in part, precluded it from taking on larger private companies that often selected a national firm such as one of the Big Four.

“Maybe now they will give us more of a chance, if our research is correct,” he said.

-- Seth Fineberg

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