Gary Shamis, Principal at Winding River Consulting, has had a lifelong career in accounting, growing his father’s accounting firm from $225,000 in revenues to approximately $100 million. He built the 37th largest independent accounting and consulting firm in the nation before combining SS&G, Inc. with BDO USA, LLC in 2014. Tune in and hear Gary talk about why execution is harder than strategy, how developing niches can include both services and industries, and why scooping up talent when you find them is critical to success.
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Guest Bio: Gary Shamis
Gary Shamis is Principal at Winding River Consulting. His innovation and leadership earned him honors such as E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year; a Top Ten Managing Partner Elite (Accounting Today) where he was called the “very model of the modern managing partner, and this list is more or less unimaginable without him”; Most Admired Peer (INSIDE Public Accounting); more than a dozen appearances on the Most Influential list (Accounting Today); and numerous other industry accolades. He has served his profession within the ranks of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, including testifying before the Securities and Exchanges Commission on its behalf, and Ohio Society of CPAs.
He has written and edited for industry journals and is the co-author of How to Manage Your Accounting Practice: Taking Your Firm from Chaos to Consensus (2009), Stratagem: Simple, Effective Strategic Planning for Your Business and Your Life (2013) and Building Blocks (2019).
With more than two dozen nonprofits on his resume and even more awards on his shelves, Shamis has been at the helm of the boards of North Coast Community Homes, Inc., Hillel at Kent State, and the Cleveland Jewish News, to name a few.
Master of Accountancy, The Ohio State University B.S. Biology, Tulane University
“To me, the thing that is the most valuable is the ability to execute and not really the ability to strategize.”
“The biggest competing aspect of execution is in smaller firms, partners are busy producing. It’s easy not to find the time to move organizations forward and execute.”
“Strategy is not hard to do. Strategy is not hard to develop. You need to know where to look at it or look for it and it comes to you in a lot of different ways. I think what’s really hard is the execution.”
“One of the primary reasons people want to engage you is because of their perception of what you know.”
“If you want to grow fast, you’re not going to do it organic. The best you are going to do is five to 10 percent a year.”
“It’s a talent business. What I see is the smaller firms are hesitant at acquiring talent, they are much more cost-conscious in decisions like that than larger firms. It’s a bigger risk.”
“When you find talent, you hire them today whether you need it or not.”
“It’s still a relationship business. You may process differently but you’re still going to talk to your clients.”