If you think you’ve got a good idea, but you lack the courage to act upon it, it will remain just that – an idea.
But if your idea is born of passion and purpose – and you combine that with faith, resolve and a little genius – you can change the way business is done.
For Brint Ryan, founder and CEO of Ryan, LLC, his vision began in 1991 as a two-person sales and use tax consulting firm, specializing in tax recovery for Texas businesses.
Within two years, Brint’s firm was generating annual revenues of nearly $2 million. Today, Dallas-based Ryan, LLC is a leading global tax services firm with the largest indirect tax practice in North America, and the seventh largest corporate tax practice in the United States.
Ryan provides a comprehensive range of state, local, federal and international tax advisory and consulting services on a multi-jurisdictional basis.
With a multi-disciplinary team of more than 925 professionals and annual revenues exceeding $233 million, Ryan serves 6,500 clients in 40 countries, including many of the world’s most prominent Global 5000 companies.
And it all started with an idea. And an observation that the Big Four firms were failing to recover millions of tax dollars for corporate clients because they were using a restrictive, hourly compensation model that was limited by the client’s budget.
“I became convinced that a performance-based fee model would work well in the tax recovery business. I was 27, and I was fortunate enough not to know better, because if I knew then what I know now, I’m not sure I would have the courage to do it,” Brint explains. “I decided we’d try a new business model – you know, put our money where our mouth is. If we’re successful in recovering money – if we create value for our clients – we share it. If we don’t, well, you don’t pay us.”
Performance-based fees, sometimes called contingency fees, had been used for years in property tax, but it was a new concept in the areas of income tax and transaction tax.
“Our single-minded focus on results has proven to be very effective. We’ve had some of the largest recoveries in our industry; and frankly, we’ve built what we believe is the No. 1 model for this type of work,” said Brint, whose recent accolades include Pi Kappa Alpha’s Distinguished Achievement Award (UNT, Epsilon Delta ’83); the 2010 Houston Work-Life Roundtable CEO of the Year; and the 2010 Customer Service Institute of America CEO of the Year.
“Global 5000 companies try to pay the correct amount of tax that they owe, but taxes are complicated. Frequently, these companies overpay. They’ll miss opportunities for deductions. They’ll miss exemptions. They may not apply for all the tax credits to which they’re entitled. Our job is to go back and audit the payments they’ve made, audit the transactions they’ve entered into, and determine if they got it right,” Brint said. “If we find a deduction that they didn’t take, then our fee is based on a percentage of that savings, a percentage of the value that we deliver. But the converse is also true – if they’ve done everything right, and we don’t save any money, then they haven’t made an additional investment just to find that out.”
Empowered by the dynamic myRyan work environment, which has been recognized as the most innovative in the tax services industry, Ryan employees do not have office hours, or office locations.
“They’re measured primarily on two counts: their financial results and their client service scores. If they meet those two metrics, they can work when and where they want to,” Brint said. “You can’t achieve the best results and keep your eye on your clients unless you have happy, enthusiastic employees. They drive the business.”
Ryan’s focus on work-life success led the firm to launch myHealth in 2010, an employee wellness program that encourages physical fitness and stress management.
“We’re dealing with intellectual capital – with people that are creative, that can find effective solutions to problems,” Brint said. “Those people are in high demand. So we’ve created a workplace that effectively serves as a talent magnet.”
For nearly 20 years, Ryan has followed 20 Client Service Principles that have enhanced the firm’s “best of class” reputation.
“These principles are the precepts that our people are expected to follow every day in the field. The best analogy I can give is that it’s like a cookbook – the key ingredients to providing the highest level of client service professionally possible,” Brint said. “That recipe begins with putting the interests of the clients first, focusing on results, and exceeding client expectations.”
These ingredients, combined with the firm’s proven commitment to giving back to the community through the Ryan Foundation, has led Ryan to be named a True Blue Business – adding to the firm’s long list of achievements.
Ryan ranks tenth in the medium business category of the Dallas Business Journal’s 2011 list of Best Places to Work. Ryan is a multi-year winner of Sloan Workplace Flexibility Award and ranked third on the Dallas Morning News 2011 Top 100 Workplaces list.
“It’s truly an honor to receive True Blue recognition,” Brint said. “It’s an acknowledgement that we’re doing business the right way. We’re following our principles, staying true to our core values. We’re taking care of people, and ultimately, delivering the best results we can for our clients.”
Ryan, LLC is located at Three Galleria Tower, 13155 Noel Road, Suite 100, Dallas, TX 75240.
Contact them at 972-934-0022 or visit ryan.com.
To inquire about the True Blue Business Recognition Series, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Dawn Redig, Blue Ribbon News, for publication in the True Blue Business special supplment to the Wall Street Journal, Q1 Edition, March 7, 2012; all rights reserved.