Alumnus: Accounting '97
When Brian Davis launched his CPA and consulting practice ClearView Group, he wanted to break away from the austere stereotypes of the profession and create an environment that puts people before numbers.
“Too often accountants end up being scorekeepers for other business people,” says Davis, managing director and CEO of ClearView. “I believe accountants should be good business people first.”
A Baltimore native, Davis came to Towson on a presidential scholarship and was one of the charter members of the TU chapter of Beta Alpha Psi. After graduating in 1997 and passing the CPA exam, he started his career at Deloitte. From there he went to SC&H Group to build their consulting practice. After more than a decade, Davis left in 2011 to do business the way he wanted.
“I felt that creating a culture that was collaborative and put people first was the most important thing to do. As a result, there’s a spirit and culture in our building that is unlike any other firm you’ll find.”
With this approach, Davis says the firm attracts people who are passionate about helping others grow their business.
“Accountants tend to be rules-driven people,” says Davis. “But what we’re looking for are principles-driven people. Technical skills are the bare minimum. You have to understand the human dynamic and have principles like respect, courage, gratitude, trust and loyalty.”
ClearView gets its name from the transparent approach Davis wanted to apply to all aspects of the business.
“We have one client that needed an expertise we didn’t offer at that time, so we referred him somewhere else. I have people that always come to us first because we give them a straight answer no matter what it is,” he says.
This transparent, people-centric philosophy is working. The company has grown from just Davis and his cell phone to 30 full-time staff and 15 contractors in four years. To accommodate its rapid growth, ClearView more than doubled its Hunt Valley office space this spring. But by the end of the year, it will have outgrown that expansion as Davis expects to double the full-time staff to 60.
“We’re growing because we’re not worried about what other firms are doing,” Davis says. “We are focused on being the best firm. People come here for the right reasons; to be treated with respect and be part of something great.”
In terms of corporate culture, Davis wants to make ClearView the Google of CPA firms. ClearView offers flexible work hours, casual dress codes and company trips. The company even provides the opportunity for the team to participate in group work outs every morning. Last year, the Baltimore Business Journal ranked ClearView No. 2 for small businesses in its Best Places to Work series.