Russell Bedford International - Case Study

Russell Bedford in Atlanta: Leading the Way in Employee Satisfaction

The Russell Bedford International network was proud to see its firm, WBL CPAs + Advisors (WBL) clinch the top spot as the #1 ‘Best Firm to Work For’ within its size category across the USA. This epitomises the importance Russell Bedford places on people, and how firms in the network should ensure that they constantly look after their talent in the workplace. So, what makes WBL stand out in such a competitive field?  

With a shrinking pool of finance and accounting professionals, and increased competition from other industries, accounting firms must go the extra mile to foster a workplace culture that not only attracts talent, but also retains the best and brightest in the field.

To remain competitive, accounting firms must stay abreast of the latest trends in recruitment and retention. This involves equipping employees with the technical skills and digital capabilities necessary to navigate the evolving demands of the profession. From traditional accounting skills to proficiency in artificial intelligence and data analytics, firms must ensure that their teams are well-equipped to meet the challenges of tomorrow. But as well as keeping up with the latest in technology and skills, firms also need to be innovative in their approach to employee engagement and satisfaction.

Creating a Great Environment

According to Steven Horn, a Partner at WBL, and also a Global Board Director at Russell Bedford, it all begins with hiring the right people who are:

collaborative, friendly, and bright. We have created a culture of camaraderie where the team works together to provide our clients with the best possible service while helping each other develop and grow as professionals.

Steven Horn

Partner at WBL, and also a Global Board Director at Russell Bedford

Managing Partner, Bruce Benator emphasises the importance of having happy employees. He believes that when employees are content, they produce better work and are more loyal to the company.

Bruce Benator

Managing Partner

Our firm is our people, and it is particularly important to us to be a ‘great place to work’, for them and for our clients. When accounting professionals have so many opportunities available, it is critical that we offer them an environment where they can have career advancement, an opportunity to learn and grow, a strong financial package with the benefits that are important to them, and the work-life balance they need for their personal happiness and wellbeing.

Key Factors for Success

The success of Russell Bedford’s firm in Atlanta in keeping their employees happy revolves around three main areas: having flexible schedules, recognition & support, and being family-friendly.

1. Flexible Schedules:  

The firm understands the importance of maintaining a balance between work and personal life. They offer flexible schedules, including options for remote work and compressed work weeks. For instance, during less busy periods, employees can finish early on Fridays. Jamie Burak, Director of People and Culture at WBL, highlights that they prioritise understanding each employee's needs and adjust work schedules accordingly to accommodate life changes.  

Jamie Burak

Director of People and Culture, WBL

 2. Recognition & Support:  

WBL makes sure every employee feels valued and has opportunities for growth. They have a coaching and mentoring program in place to guide employees in their career development. The firm also emphasises that there's room for quick advancement within the company. They encourage interns to aim for full-time associate positions and assure them that the doors to advancement are wide open.

3. Family-Friendly Policies:

The firm supports employees with their responsibilities outside of work. That's why they have family-friendly policies in place. These include comprehensive health benefits, maternity and paternity leave, and support for childcare. Petra Orquiola, Partner and Director of Assurance Services at WBL, appreciates the flexibility the firm offers, especially as a mother of two daughters. She credits this flexibility for her growth within the company and has been with WBL for 18 years.

Petra Orquiola

Partner and Director of Assurance Services, WBL

Russell Bedford International Young Partners & Managers Conference 2023


Such an achievement for a Russell Bedford firm in being a #1 ‘Best Firm to Work For’ reflects an unwavering commitment to fostering a supportive and inclusive workplace culture. By prioritising employee well-being and professional development, the firm not only attracts top talent but also retains it. Their focus on flexibility, recognition, and family-friendly policies resonates deeply with their employees, making WBL standout in the accounting industry. Stephen Hamlet, Russell Bedford’s CEO, acknowledged WBL’s consistent high ranking in employee satisfaction surveys as a testament to their culture of flexibility and organic growth, solidifying their position as a leader in the field.

Stephen Hamlet

CEO, Russell Bedford