RubinBrown

THE SCOOP

Almost top 50

In addition to audit, assurance, tax and forensic accounting services, RubinBrown provides investment advisory services to individuals, businesses, retirement plans, foundations and endowments through its wholly owned subsidiary RubinBrown Advisors.  ABACUS Recruiting, RubinBrown's staffing affiliate, matches HR departments with financial, accounting and bookkeeping job candidates.  The RubinBrown Benefits Group bills itself as a "one-stop shop" for employee benefit services, including administration, consulting and plan design for 401(k), ESOP, 403(b) and profit-sharing plans.  For clients with IT needs, the RubinBrown IT Group delivers hardware, software and other tech consulting services.

RubinBrown's clients cover the gamut: think public and private companies, Fortune 500 corporations, high-net-worth individuals, government agencies and nonprofit organizations.  The firm's industry expertise includes media and entertainment, real estate, automotive, home builders, hospitality, contractors, public sector, manufacturing and distribution, mortgage bankers, nonprofits and professional services.

In the 2008 Accounting Today ranking of the country's top-100 firms by revenue, RubinBrown slipped from the top 50, sliding from No. 46 to No. 55.  It remains a member of Baker Tilly International, the world's No. 8 professional services network, with 145 firms in 110 countries and global aggregate fee income of $2.9 billion.

The spirit of St. Louis

As you might guess, RubinBrown is named for its founders: Mahlon Rubin and Harvey Brown.  In 1952, Mahlon Rubin shared an office with another accountant named Sidney Gornstein, and three years later Harvey Brown moved in.  Rubin and Brown hit it off, so in 1958 they formed an official partnership and relocated to Clayton, Mo.  They soon merged their practice with that of their old officemate, forming Rubin, Brown, Gornstein & Company (RBG).

The firm continued to grow, hiring its 100th employee sometime in the 1980s and establishing its IT, benefits and investment advisory affiliates in the 1990s and 2000s.  Current headquarters in St. Louis opened in 2002, and in early 2005, RBG launched its first-ever rebranding effort, moving forward as RubinBrown.  In late 2005, the newly named company opened its second office, in Kansas City, following a merger with Henderson, Warren and Eckinger.

KC catching up

A 2008 report by the St. Louis Business Journal named Rubin Brown the metro area's largest accounting firm, based on the number of local CPAs.  Over in Kansas City, RubinBrown ranks among the city's top-10 largest accounting firms. 

Headcount at RubinBrown stands at approximately 320.  The majority of its 170 CPAs are concentrated in St. Louis, but Kansas City is catching up quickly, and a spate of recent promotions has increased RubinBrown's partnership in both offices.  As managing partner John F. Herber says, "In the midst of a competitive market and a tough economy, we continue to see steady growth."

Under 40 dynamo

In May 2008, RubinBrown partner Todd Pleimann, CPA and managing partner of the Kansas City office, was named to Ingram's 40 Under 40 Class of 2008.  Pleimann is widely credited with driving the firm's growth in Kansas City, doubling that location's revenue since he took charge in 2005.

An 18 year veteran of RubinBrown, Pleimann has also been active in the firm's career development and mentorship programs.  He was a key player in developing the RubinBrown University training program, which now offers more than 150 continuing education courses to all firm professionals.  In his spare time, he's become a prominent part of the Kansas City civic world, holding positions with the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council, the Kansas City Council on Philanthropy, the Kansas City Area Development Council and other organizations.

RubinBrown's trailblazers

Also in the awards department, the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants (MSCPA) honored two RubinBrown women-Colleen Conrad and Felicia Malter-as 2008 Women to Watch at an awards ceremony in August.  Conrad and Malter, both partners, were among just five women in the state to receive the award, which recognizes women who have made significant contributions to the accounting profession.

Conrad, a partner in the real estate services group, also serves as chair of the AICPA Board of Examiners and the AICPA Joint Trial Board.  Malter, who joined the partnership in 2006, just three years after starting at the firm, is part of RubinBrown's homebuilders services group.  She also helps oversee the RubinBrown Leadership Education & Development Program, which provides leadership training for those moving up the ladder.

It's getting hot in here

In 2008, RubinBrown unveiled two new industry services groups: professional services, and media and entertainment.  According to managing partner John Herber, the firm had been acquiring professional services clients gradually, and by the time the roster totaled 300 clients, it made sense to form a separate industry group.  Kenneth Rubin was named partner-in-charge of the professional services group, which consolidates services for architects and engineers, law firms, physician and other health care practices, advertising agencies and public relations firms, insurance agencies, investment advisors, interior designers, staffing firms and travel agencies, and management, marketing, technology and other consultants.

RubinBrown's media and entertainment services group is said to be the first of its kind in St. Louis, a city that has no shortage of professional athletes, broadcasters, musicians, authors and sports teams.  Lawrence Rubin, the group's partner-in-charge, noted that his firm "has been working in this area for 50-plus years, and the growth has been explosive in the last three to five years."  In addition to audit, accounting, tax and consulting services, the media and entertainment group helps clients like Nelly and Larry "Big Shot Larry" Hughes with wealth management and litigation support.


Betting on gambling

In a September 2008 interview with the St. Louis Business Journal, RubinBrown's Chelle Adams discussed her latest achievement: starting a gaming industry group within the firm's hospitality division.  A few months in, Adams said, "I started with a business plan, and I identified different type of clients that are out there and started building it from there.  We now have 12 individuals that are working with me on gaming clients.  We have casinos in Missouri, Illinois and Louisiana."

Adams, who's Filipino-American, also holds the distinction of being RubinBrown's first ethnic minority partner.  "I was surprised by that when I was told," she admitted.  "I didn't realize we hadn't had one before.  It was exciting ... When I was growing up, being biracial in a small Oklahoma town was hard on me.  I didn't want to be different.  But now, looking back, really making sure my daughter understands where her heritage is, it's very important."

Room to grow

Things are looking more spacious at RubinBrown's Kansas City office.  In fall 2008, the firm expanded into 12,700 square feet of new space in Overland Park, having outgrown its previous Corporate Woods office.  RubinBrown dispatched the same architect firm that designed its corporate headquarters to redo the new Kansas City space, to maintain aesthetic consistency.  (That means neutral colors, a glass entryway and a sleek, classic feel.) 

HR Director Lynn Davis noted that RubinBrown's office design isn't accidental.  Because all partner and manager offices are the same size and placed amidst other team members' workspaces, the layout reflects an "everybody's equal" mentality.

 

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RubinBrown


1 North Brentwood Blvd.
Saint Louis, MO 63105
Phone: (314) 290-3300
Fax: (314) 290-3400
www.rubinbrown.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Managing Partner: John F. Herber
  • 2010 Employees: 316

Major Office Locations

  • Saint Louis, MO

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