Cultivating Success Through Culture – Aprio’s Approach to Client Work, Acquisitions and Strategic Partnerships

Cheri Husney

Wednesday, September 20th, 2023

For financial consulting, accounting and professional services firms, the role of culture is sometimes overlooked, yet serves as a pivotal factor of organizational success. As Chief Growth Officer of Aprio, a premier, full-service business advisory and accounting firm that advises on key business issues and builds wealth for clients with headquarters in Atlanta, I’ve had the opportunity to witness this firsthand. In my role, I have seen the value of not only prioritizing culture internally but also integrating key principles in business decision-making with external relationships, including in client engagements, firm combinations and strategic partnerships.     

Leveraging Our Expertise 

Our expertise in accounting, tax and advisory shines in the upper middle-market and private client space, catering to a diverse range of business structures, from early-stage and entrepreneurs to family businesses and enterprise organizations. Our comprehensive suite of services includes advisory, audit, tax, private client services and outsourcing, which allows us to tailor solutions based on the unique needs of each client. Furthermore, our deep industry expertise is extensive – including sectors such as technology, manufacturing, government contracting, real estate, construction and healthcare. 

Prioritizing Cultural Alignment at The Forefront of All Business Decisions

Aprio’s journey began in Atlanta in 1952 and has grown from a local presence to a 20-office national firm. This successful growth trajectory is a result of our thoughtful mergers and acquisitions and strategic partnerships. In an effort to ensure that all partnerships and acquisitions benefit both employees and clients alike, we prioritize shared values and cultural alignment to guide strategic business decisions. 

Our commitment to a people-first culture is embedded in our DNA. The core of the company’s distinctive approach is outlined in “The Aprio Way,” our 31 fundamentals that we live by and use internally and externally to foster a sense of shared purpose and thinking. These fundamentals are seamlessly integrated into the fabric of the organization and serve as a compass, engaging our team members and guiding decision-making. This list of fundamental values is utilized as an internal and external resource, with each week focusing on a different core value, including “value differences” and “listen generously.” Internally, you can find these values throughout the Aprio offices painted on walls, displayed on tables in conference rooms and distributed in weekly emails across the firm, ensuring the principles remain top-of-mind during conversations throughout the week. 

Aligning Core Values And Strategic Partnerships

When entering strategic partnerships, we seek out organizations that provide complimentary services to Aprio along with widespread benefits to our clients, ensuring the organization has similar values and viewpoints in line with Aprio’s culture.

A prime example of a strategic partnership that extends beyond services is our longstanding partnership with Xero, the global cloud-based accounting software company. Xero and Aprio have a strong cultural alignment, which has allowed us to provide benefits and better serve our clients in areas beyond technology solutions and services. Our mutual approach to creatively driving business forward enhances the overall experience for our clients. 

Our relationship with Xero has not only provided us with the tools and resources we need to enhance our service offerings, but has extended into external areas of the business, including complementing Aprio’s commitment to diversity efforts. Xero is an organization that prioritizes diversity, inclusion and belonging at every core business decision. 

Given their deep expertise and industry knowledge, Xero has contributed to our mutual partnership, offering a wealth of knowledge that extends beyond core accounting tools and services. This stems from one of Xero’s key principles: focusing on the human experience. Recognizing that many small business owners come from diverse backgrounds, Xero ensures that product development and recruitment are approached from an inclusive lens focused on providing services to a diverse customer and partner base. This expertise has translated directly in support of Aprio’s DEIB commitment, demonstrating the value of choosing partners who align with our firm’s overall vision and mission. 

As organizations look to grow their business and extend services and relationships, it is imperative to ensure that partnerships and acquisitions are not solely determined by service offerings. By fostering a sense of cultural alignment, organizations are better positioned for seamless collaboration and sustained growth, as having a similar approach and commitment to positive outcomes is essential to success. With growth for our organization on the horizon as we continue to explore markets and industries, our values-driven approach will remain at the forefront of our decision-making and will remain a key lever to our continued success.