Moss Adams gets a new look to celebrate western history

By Emily Hamann
The Bellingham Business Journal

It’s a fresh look and a chance to retell its story.

Accounting firm Moss Adams has moved to a new office in Bellingham and recently launched a companywide rebranding.

The moves are aimed at making the firm more efficient, while putting on display to clients what sets Moss Adams apart from its competitors.

The firm moved its office from the third floor at 2200 Rimland Drive, across the street to the Olympic Building at 2219 Rimland Drive in February. The new office is actually smaller — the redesigned office concept takes up less square footage. Out went individual offices and in came collaborative work spaces.

“First and foremost we were able to put in technology that enables us to serve our clients in a much better way and interact with them in a different way,” Todd Kooiman, Bellingham’s partner in charge, said.

Most of Moss Adams’ 29 offices located around the Western U.S. are undergoing remodels. The Bellingham location has 60 employees and six partners, and was the third office to get the upgrade.

In the old space, private offices were lined up around the outside, around the windows. Cubicles were in the middle, and didn’t have access to very much natural light.

Now there are convertible sit/stand desks throughout the office space. Each day employees come in and can choose a new place to sit.

“It enables us to sit around different people, interact with different people, really build stronger relationships within our group,” Kooiman said.

The new format took some getting used to, but now employees seem to like it, Kooiman said.

“I think we had our challenges at the beginning,” he said. “But I definitely think it’s working out really well and we’ve all adapted.”

One of the challenges was getting used to the noise level. White noise is pumped through the office so conversations don’t carry too far. Still though, depending on their job, some employees might not be accustomed to trying to work while someone next to them is talking on the phone.

“I think we overcame it very easily,” Kooiman said. “We’re all adults. If something’s not working, you can simply look at someone and ask them to take it into an office.”

There are some offices, which can be reserved, for private meetings, team meetings, and conference calls. They’re arranged in a variety of configurations and with different tech tools. Those tools makes it easier for employees to work together across different Moss Adams offices, Kooiman said.

That type of collaboration is also a part of the larger Moss Adams rebrand, Kooiman said.

“We’re different,” he said. “We want this to be part of our strategy, part of our culture is to be collaborative, inviting, working together, being proactive, being ready for change, being adaptable.”

So what makes Moss Adams so different? Its history and roots in the Northwest and its role as the only accounting firm of its size based on the West Coast.

There are thousands of smaller mom-and-shop accounting firms across the U.S. Then there are four largest accounting firms across the country.

Moss Adams fits into a middle category that are larger regional firms. Of these firms, Moss Adams is the only one headquartered on the West Coast.

Moss Adams started in 1913 in Seattle, where its headquarters remains. 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.

“It’s kind of embedded in who we are that we’ve been in the West and want to bring that type of service mentality and embody those characteristics in how we serve clients,” Kooiman said.

“It’s that way of doing business. I think it’s change-ready. It’s forward-looking. It’s very positive. It’s optimistic, if you will, in how we approach different challenges.”

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