EVERETT — It’s a fresh look and a chance to re-tell its story.
Accounting firm Moss Adams just remodeled its sizable office in downtown Everett and last month launched a companywide rebranding.
The moves are aimed at driving efficiency and collaboration while showing clients and potential employees what sets Moss Adams apart.
This coincides with a change in leadership at some of Moss Adams’ biggest offices in Washington, including Everett, where Rob Grannum was named partner in charge two years ago.
The firm rebuilt the eighth floor of the Everett Mutual Tower at 2707 Colby Ave. last year and reopened in January. Out went individual offices and in came collaborative work spaces.
“A couple of years ago, we started thinking about our space use, how we face our clients, how we face the market, how we face the workforce we’re trying to attract and retain,” Grannum said.
The last part is an important piece. Millennials are used to a different office setting than what has been offered in the past, Grannum said.
“They work at tables, not desks and cubicles,” Grannum said.
Most of Moss Adams’ 29 offices are undergoing remodels. The Everett location is one of Moss Adams’ biggest offices, with 110 employees and 16 partners.
After the remodel in Everett, employees don’t have permanent desks but instead check out areas and rooms as needed in what is called a “hoteling concept.” White noise is piped in to dampen conversations.
Before, each of the partners in Everett had an office that lined up against the windows. Now, the window areas have been opened to free views of Port Gardner Bay and Mount Baker, especially in a kitchen and dining area that has become an office hub.
One wall is the “Wall of Gratitude,” where people can write messages of thanks to coworkers. Another wall is set aside for upcoming events and social committee ideas.
“We did it at the beginning of the year and we just went through our busiest time of the year,” said Kurt Lippmann, a partner in Everett who is the firm’s national aerospace leader. “From my perspective, I thought it went really, really well. To me, the collaboration and communication was vibrant.”
Partner Noni LaLone has been impressed with the added technology, including video conferencing and new monitors and laptops.
“It’s really fun to be able to meet with a client and pull their tax return up on the screen and walk them through it so they can see exactly what you’re talking about and not flip through the paper pages and get lost,” LaLone said.
“It just makes for a smooth and efficient meeting.”
As for the rebranding, Moss Adams compared its website and informational materials with those of other accounting firms.
“It became obvious to us that our peer firms are trying to tell the same story,” Grannum said. “So we knew that we wanted to tell our story a little bit differently. That’s what this brand launch is all about.”
So what makes Moss Adams different? History and roots in the Northwest, and the fact it is the only accounting firm of its size headquartered on the West Coast.
There are thousands of smaller mom-and-shop accounting firms across the U.S. Then there are the four largest accounting firms across the country. Moss Adams fits into a middle category of larger regional firms.
Moss Adams started in 1913 in Seattle, where its headquarters remain. The firm grew up with the timber industry but has embraced the industries that have thrived on the West Coast, such as aerospace and tech.
With the rebranding, Moss Adams brought in a new logo. The ‘M’ looks like Western mountains. The website features photos of woodsy settings, rolling coastal waves and mesas in desert areas.
Beyond the imagery, Grannum notes the deep roots of many of their accountants in Snohomish County. He started with the firm in Everett in 1998 and lives in Snohomish County. His commute is a reliable 10 minutes each way.
“It’s not necessarily because there’s that much business in Snohomish County,” Grannum said. “It’s a way of life. Our partners have chosen to build our business here, because they live in Snohomish County.”
Many of the partners in Everett have deep ties to the county, including Lippmann, who built his home in Lake Stevens, and LaLone, who grew up in Lake Stevens and lives in Stanwood.
“It’s really important that our community knows we’re here to stay,” LaLone said. “We want to help serve you, we want to help your companies grow and prosper.
“And we want to help build up Snohomish County and Everett in the way we can. By doing this remodel it’s proof we’re here to stay, we’re really invested in this community.”