CEO Message

Building trust in a changing world

Brad Preber
Chief Executive Officer
LinkedIn profile

To all our stakeholders,

In a fiscal year filled with unexpected challenges, one of the most important things we did came in mid-January: We adopted a new purpose statement for our firm, articulating what each of us has long felt is our firm’s reason for being:

“To make business more personal, and build trust into every result.”

We fulfill this purpose through a combination of collaboration, agility and care. Everything about that statement feels right to me, and I hope those of you who know our firm will agree.

Looking back at the full fiscal year, we began just as we planned, by collaborating to deliver value and quality to our clients. Six months in (our fiscal year runs from August to July), we were achieving great success: new clients, growing relationships and record high revenue signaled we were on track for the best performance in our firm’s history.

Then, the world changed. The COVID-19 global pandemic arrived, with the resulting economic recession not far behind. By the beginning of March, we knew — like every other organization — the pandemic reality would bring an entirely new set of challenges, requiring an extremely agile response.

We wasted no time adjusting our mission, with our newly articulated purpose in mind. We committed to three very specific and clear objectives, and have stuck with them:

  1. To protect our people;
  2. To be there for our clients; and
  3. To keep our firm strong.

We developed new pandemic-related solutions for clients at lightning speed. We developed and launched our Pandemic Rapid Risk Assessment Tool in a week (providing initial consultations free of charge) and our CARES Act Planning tool in two weeks. We were the first among our peers to move to a work-from-home policy, and expanded our remote technology capacity so fast no one missed a beat. By taking time to listen to our teammates and care about their experiences, we shipped office equipment to our teammates’ homes, developed new benefit programs for our colleagues and offered new partnerships with meal planning and food delivery vendors to help ease some of the challenges of working from home for our team.

The year’s second major wave of change began when Mr. George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis on May 25, sparking renewed activism to advance racial equality and social justice. Again, after listening closely to our teammates, we launched a quick start Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) Task Force to explore ways our firm can become a stronger positive force for justice. We announced a range of new programs, policies and philanthropic initiatives to pursue those goals. You can read more about these commitments in this report.

Throughout the year, we continued our commitment to delivering the highest standards of quality for our clients. I’m pleased to report that for the third year in a row Grant Thornton placed in the top two among large professional services firms in the latest quality inspections by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). We continue to implement new training, tools and technology in our pursuit of ever-higher quality results for our clients.

At the end of the fiscal year, despite the many unexpected challenges we faced together with our clients, our firm performed well. Net revenue grew modestly, but enough to set a new record for our firm. This performance will enable us to invest in our top talent and the innovations that will drive growth for the future.

Most important, through all the challenges of fiscal year 2020, our culture — as created and sustained by each of our colleagues — was revealed to be our greatest strength. In the moment when we needed it most, we came together as one firm, a community aligned to our shared values and committed to our shared future. We demonstrated the truth in our new purpose statement, by truly making business more personal for our clients and people, and by building trust into every result.

That’s how we responded with creativity and resolve to the greatest test of our careers, and that’s how we’ll continue to serve through collaboration, agility and care – all to go beyond expectations for those we serve.

Thank you for your interest and trust in our firm. I welcome your thoughts.


Bradley J. Preber