Having worked with a range of companies in a variety of senior-level roles and as a consultant, I know it can sometimes take awhile to truly know a company when you’re new. How the company really operates and what its values are may take some time to reveal themselves. But I found the opposite to be true when I became a part of the RoseRyan leadership team in late 2018. Even during my very first meeting with the other executives here, I could tell that this firm is different. I had never before experienced the degree of candor and willingness to share information by senior leaders. The transparency stood out and was most welcome as I got myself acquainted with what this exciting, unique finance and accounting consulting firm is all about.

Now, as I start 2020 and step into the CEO role here, I am looking closely at all that sets our firm apart and how we can improve. It’s a job made easier by the firm-wide transparency encouraged by Kathy Ryan, who founded RoseRyan 26 years ago and will continue to oversee our overall mission and strategy in her new role as Chair. At RoseRyan, we all have the common goal of sharing information to improve our performance as individuals and as a firm. This allows us to make unified, smart changes, particularly as people feel free to share a different position than someone else during the decision-making process. The dialogue is much richer than it would be if we worked at a company where speaking up is discouraged.

In some ways, I shouldn’t have been surprised at the forthcoming nature of RoseRyan. For five years in a row, the firm has been recognized as a Top Workplace by the Bay Area News Group, an honor based entirely on the results of confidential employee satisfaction surveys. The surveys have revealed that employees feel we’re working toward the same goals. And I’ve seen it firsthand: As the discussions flow and a decision is reached, there is alignment around carrying out the plan. Whether we need to execute an internal mandate or we’re helping companies take on a big accounting change like the new revenue recognition or lease accounting rules, we’re the kind of people who get things done.

Plans for 2020: 5 Focus Areas

In my new role, the can-do attitude is infectious and has me thinking about what sets our consulting firm apart, and what we will focus on in the year ahead. I have a lot of plans on my plate as we plot out our growth strategy, explore opportunities in our solution areas for fast-moving companies, and build upon the solid foundation set by Kathy.

  • Exploring untapped potential: I am very proud to be able to lead an established, dynamic team that is so strong and that offers so many perspectives and areas of expertise. One of the challenges I am looking forward to is how to unleash the untapped potential we have as individuals and as a team.
  • Aligning decisions with the culture: My values are already deeply aligned with those of RoseRyan, a firm known for its clearly defined culture. It’s a natural fit for me as I make decisions. With the shared values (Trustworthy, Excel, Advocate and Team), I expect alignment on decisions and how to carry them out to go smoothly in the months ahead.
  • Becoming more customer-centric: There’s a renewed emphasis on what our clients need—and may need—going forward. While some of our competitors may look at their business as a series of transactions rather than building long-term, authentic relationships, we have always been “customer-centric” at RoseRyan. I think this will be a key element to our continued, future success. People do business with people. We understand and live that every day.
  • Building upon a solid history: While I am only a part of RoseRyan’s most recent history, I strongly value the path RoseRyan has taken to reach this point. I am thrilled to have Kathy as my leader and business partner going forward. It is a rare opportunity to have the founder still deeply engaged in driving the company forward. She is a deep fountain of wisdom that I plan to tap into on a daily basis.
  • Learning from our customers: The companies we help along all the stages of the business lifecycle, from venture-backed startups finding their way to more established companies hitting their stride, let us solve some of their biggest challenges. Every company has its own set of challenges to get through and opportunities to make the most of. Every customer I meet is a source of learning—we learn from them and they learn from us. This makes the work of leading this firm quite rewarding.

This latest observation presents one of the challenges I’m most looking forward to addressing in 2020. How can we meet our customers’ needs in the future beyond the services we’re currently providing? Our consultants are problem-solvers by their very nature, and often pick up on ways that they can offer additional expertise to customers. We’ll be exploring more of these opportunities as we continue to get to know our customers and take them further, faster, in 2020.

As CEO of RoseRyan, David Roberson leads the day to day business and builds upon the firm’s established reputation for taking companies further, faster. He also serves as CEO of Kukuza Associates, a RoseRyan subsidiary that provides accounting and finance services to cannabis companies. RoseRyan Founder and Chair Kathy Ryan named David to the CEO post in January 2020 to champion RoseRyan into the next era of growth. David previously served as a senior vice president for Hewlett-Packard Co.; president and CEO at Hitachi Data Systems, where he has previously held the titles of COO, CFO, CIO and general counsel; and he has served as a director of 12 companies including Brocade, Quantum, IGT, Spansion and IDT.