In 1924, 26-year-old Alexander Richardson Grant founded Alexander Grant & Co. in Chicago. Grant, who had been a senior accountant with Ernst & Ernst (now Ernst & Young), chose to leave the comfort of an established company to pursue his plan for public accounting. Alexander Grant was committed to providing services to mid-sized companies, a commitment the firm still holds today.
Despite the untimely passing of Grant in 1938, Alexander Grant & Co. continued to grow nationally under the guidance of several dynamic and innovative chief executive officers. The 1950s and early 1960s were a time of both explosive growth and centralization for the firm. The national office in Chicago was established and net revenue exceeded $5 million in 1961.
During the mid-1960s, the firm’s leadership decided it was the ideal time to expand internationally. In 1969, with Wallace E. Olson at the helm, Alexander Grant & Co. joined with firms from Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom to establish the organization of Alexander Grant Tansley Witt. This organization operated successfully for 10 years.
By 1980, Alexander Grant & Co. joined with 49 other accounting firms, including Thornton Baker in the UK, a firm with similar qualities, clients, personnel numbers and values, to form a global organization, Grant Thornton International. Following its merger with Denver-based Fox & Co. in 1985, Alexander Grant & Co. became the ninth largest accounting firm in the United States, behind that era’s cadre of “Big Eight” firms.
In 1986, Alexander Grant & Co. changed its name to Grant Thornton, reflecting its affiliation with the United Kingdom firm Thornton Baker, which also changed its name to Grant Thornton.
Today, Grant Thornton LLP is the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, one of the world’s leading organizations of independent audit, tax and advisory firms. These firms help dynamic organizations unlock their potential for growth by providing meaningful, forward-looking advice. Proactive teams, led by approachable partners in these firms, use insights, experience and instinct to understand complex issues faced by privately owned, publicly listed and public sector clients and help them to find solutions. More than 42,000 Grant Thornton people, across more than 120 countries, are focused on making a difference to clients, colleagues and the communities in which we live and work.
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