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A Big 4 Alum-Turned-CEO Who Stayed in the Trenches

accounting CEO

A few years ago we published an article about what makes a great accounting CEO. Or rather, we published an article about a survey from PwC that asked CEOs what they think makes a great CEO.

In that piece, we highlighted a quality identified by many CEOs that surprised PwC—humility. This included “maintaining a modest opinion of your own importance” and “being open to listening and learning.”

Does that sound like any CEOs you know?

A quick glance at any day’s financial headlines would yield a big fat “no.” But employees at some accounting firms today have a different viewpoint.

Some CEOs still prefer custom suits over hoodies, but startup culture and millennial mindsets are transforming the role from inaccessible figurehead  to hands-on operator and cohort at some firms.

A different kind of boss

In our search for a modest boss, we found quite possibly the world’s most approachable, hands-on, and humble CEO. His name is Adam Strach, and he’s the founder of Washington, D.C. Metro Area accounting firm Pipaya. Despite running an organization that’s executed over $1 billion in transactions, mostly in mergers and acquisitions across the aerospace, defense, and government services industries, he’s kept his feet on the ground.

“Adam is a great leader,” says Leah Jones, a Pipaya Director. “He is open to new ideas, he is an avid mentor and coach, and he works harder than anyone in our company.” Strach is also well known for treating his team as equals. “Adam genuinely cares about the well-being of his employees and always puts them first,” says Patrick Young, another Director.

Other Pipaya employees describe Strach as “down-to-earth,” “personable and easily approachable,” and “never too busy.”

Side-by-side with the CEO

Why does Strach employ such an humble management style? Simple: Because it works. When founding the company in 2009, he was able to recruit a staff made up almost entirely of Big 4 alumni. Pipaya has continued to grow rapidly since, joining the Inc. 5000 in 2017.

“Because Adam works so closely with each member on our team, his passion, knowledge, and drive transfer directly to each one of us,” says Liz Butler, Director of Operations. “We are all in alignment operating like founders working for the same mission, which has resulted in tremendous growth.”

When searching for a job, consider the boss

With small businesses and startups enjoying an influx of talent, think carefully about the type of boss you’d like to work for before taking a job. Not everyone will be fighting with you in the trenches.

About Pipaya

Pipaya is a boutique accounting and advisory firm that provides expert M&A accounting and advisory services to middle‐market companies interested in buying, selling, or growing their businesses.Our team enjoys a positive working environment and culture that offers flexibility (work from home), autonomy, and transparency, while acknowledging each other’s accomplishments and rewarding success.

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