Leadership Insights from a Top 20 Accounting Firm CEO

Nilesh Shah CEO Blick Rothenberg on the BD Academy Accounting Influencers podcast with Rob Brown
Nilesh Shah CEO Blick Rothenberg on the BD Academy Accounting Influencers podcast with Rob Brown

Nilesh Shah

Nilesh Shah has over the years specialised in international tax with a focus on US based clients whom he has advised on expanding their international footprint. His clients have ranged from large household names to tech start-ups. He took over as Chief Executive of Blick Rothenberg in February 2017.

Nilesh has considerable experience in M&A, both on behalf of clients and Blick Rothenberg having been heavily involved in our acquisitions since he took over as Chief Executive. He also sits on the Board of our parent company, Cogital Group as well as our international association, BKR. Shownotes:

  • The benefits ot training and moving up the ladder from a small accounting firm
  • Blick Rothenberg has trebled in size over almost 3 years (200 people to 520 people) with zero change in their culture, values and ethos
  • The secret to growth is keeping things as simple as possible, no matter what size you get
  • The Blick Rothenberg culture revolves around people – happy people means happy clients
  • Insights on being private equity owned and driving growth through acquisitions
  • The key difference between small, mid-tier and large accounting firms from somebody who has worked in all three
  • The grass roots approach to modernising and driving change in an accounting firm
  • What an open accounting firm culture means when sharing information, numbers, vision and strategies
  • Doubts about how sustainable the partnership model will be for accounting firms down the line
  • What it takes to be promotable in an accounting firm like Blick Rothenberg
  • Who has it right, the older parents who gave up family time to work and build a career, or younger parents who flip this?
  • The challenges of succession, and why it motivates some accounting firms to sell because they have no natural exit
  • Why the accounting profession is in a confused state currently with the technological change happening
  • For accounting firms, a client’s perceptions of value doesn’t change, even if costs go up, which means greater efficiency is needed
  • The best accounting firms and brands fulfil a promise and do what they way they do on their website and in their values
  • The accounting profession is no different to any other service business like hotels, airlines or banks
  • Accounting clients still have not got used to ‘self help’ and DIY for a lot of basic things, and so still call their accountant
  • The service element is for accounting clients is not just around the personal touch but the whole experience of interaction with the firm
  • Growth in accounting firms comes from finding and hiring the right talent with commercial acumen
  • Younger partners in accounting firms are less driven by equity and longevity, but instead by personal satisfaction and achievement
  • The value of belonging to an international accounting network to serve clients with global interests
  • The ways in which accounting firms win work have changed over the years
  • Commercial acumen can be coached and trained, although some people have it naturally
  • The most frustrating accounting professionals are those who have no ambition to change or take risks.

' It's important to like the people you work with if you want to get things done in a progressive accounting firm' says Nilesh Shah CEO of @BlickRothenberg on the #Accounting Influencers #Podcast #accountants #accountex… Click To Tweet


In his spare time Nilesh enjoys travelling, playing golf, watching most sports and supports various animal based charities.

Blick Rothenberg on Twitter

Nilesh on LinkedIn

www.blickrothenberg.com