At the time, the accounting giant had operations in 100 countries—many of which were significantly affected, one way or another, by the downturn. “The U.S. [and] Continental Europe were hurt significantly, the UK not quite as badly, but places like Australia [and] Canada were doing fine—and China was still booming,” he recalls. “It impacted different countries in different ways, and dealing with that from a global perspective was challenging.”
Still, by 2012, the accounting powerhouse was logging a 10.4% growth rate. Revenues continued to climb in 2013 with a jump of 8.1% to $4.5 billion, affirming Grant Thornton as the fastest-growing accounting firm in the world for two years running. Under Nusbaum’s tenure, it also extended its global reach. Today, the firm operates in more than 130 countries with offices outside the U.S. accounting for about 71% of revenues.
Given his success steering the company toward stronger revenues and a larger global footprint, Nusbaum’s unanimous reappointment to a second three-year term by the firm’s board of governors back in March came as little surprise. However, the pressure is on to continue the firm’s global growth path.
“I think the biggest concern of companies right now is that the world is in such flux, nobody knows if the recovery is real, how long it will last and what the implications are,” says Nusbaum. “For example, there are clear signs of recovery even in places like Spain and Greece, but a lot of uneasiness [exists] about how resilient that recovery is and how long it will last. And, of course, everybody’s worried about whether or not they should be investing more in Asia.”