A Whetstone is a tool used to sharpen a cutting edge. Although a simple tool, it must be applied correctly to be effective. The Whetstone Group’s mission is to help our clients improve value drivers and hone their competitive edge. Each tool has been tested and refined by professionals with decades of experience in the accounting profession. When applied properly these tools can restore your sharp focus and offer you new ways to not only compete, but also grow.
In August of 2000 Larry Bildstein and Carrie Steffen founded The Whetstone Group. Combining their knowledge of the accounting profession, Larry’s experience as a regional managing partner with RSM McGladrey and Carrie’s leadership in the RSM’s national marketing office, The Whetstone Group offers CPA firms nationwide proven and effective tools for top-line growth and increasing firm value.
Carrie is a founding shareholder and President of The Whetstone Group, Inc. Since 2000 Whetstone has provided growth consulting services to hundreds of CPA and professional service firms nationwide. She has 25+ years of professional services marketing experience, and has been named a consultant to watch on Accounting Today’s 100 Most Influential People in Accounting list.
Carrie helps clients:
- Determine how to best organize for growth and build a sustainable growth culture
- Develop comprehensive growth plans, providing ongoing support and consultation
- Establish accountability for business development and meet their revenue goals
- Implement follow-up strategies to help manage the sales process with prospective clients and maximize their ROI on marketing
She is also a skilled trainer and provides group sales training as well as one-on-one coaching that enables attendees to better understand the sales cycle and develop the personal skills necessary to close sales. Firm leaders, practitioners and marketing professionals benefit from her knowledge and dynamic approach.
Before joining Whetstone, Carrie was an in-house marketing director in the national marketing office of RSM US, LLP.
Carrie has presented for the AICPA, the Association for Accounting Marketing‘s (AAM) Annual Summit, the Indiana CPA Society annual meeting, DFK USA, CPAmerica, AGN North America, Moore Stephens North America, MSI Global Alliance’s International Managing Partner Conference, BKR International, PKF North America and The International Group of Accounting Firms (GAF). She has been published in AAM’s MarkeTrends, The Journal of Accounting Marketing, CPA Practice Management Forum and INSIDE Public Accounting. She has been a frequent guest on the Accounting Today podcast, the Radical CPA’s Let’s Get Radical podcast and Thompson Reuters’ Pulse of the Practice. Carrie is also co-author of the book Bridging The Gap: Strengthening The Connection Between Current Emerging Leaders, which is available for purchase on Amazon.com.
Carrie is past-President of the CPA Consultants’ Alliance (CPACA), a working group of leaders united in their efforts to further leadership within the CPA profession. Through collaboration, the CPACA offers deliverables and solutions CPA firms can use to advance leadership in their firm. She is also former treasurer of the National Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM), has served multiple terms on the Board of Directors and is currently a member of the strategic technology planning committee. Carrie is also a member of the CPA Consultant’s Trust.
Larry Bildstein, CPA
Larry is CEO of The Whetstone Group, Inc. Whetstone’s mission is to help CPA firms and professional service firms nationwide find growth and hone their competitive edge.
Larry helps clients:
- Develop and implement strategic plans to increase firm value
- Align the five critical firm pillars of infrastructure, finances, people, client service and growth
- Improve accountability among firm partners
- Create organizational structure that aligns with compensation systems
- Maximize the value of firm mergers through integration consulting
Larry provided strategic leadership as the Regional Managing Partner of a $50 million annual revenue unit within McGladrey. He also was a Client Service Coordinator where he provided business advice, growth consulting, and mergers and acquisitions assistance in addition to tax and financial services to a variety of business owners.
Prior to starting Whetstone, Larry was the Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications of RSM McGladrey, Inc. and Executive Partner of McGladrey & Pullen, LLP.
Larry has been published in AICPA‘s The Journal of Accountancy; Partner Advantage Advisory; Guide to Marketing: A Supplement to Accounting Today, Accounting Technology, and Practical Accountant; CPA Leadership Report; RSM McGladrey Network’s NetWorks Newsletter; the Institute of Management and Administration, Inc. Partner‘s Report; CCH CPA Practice Management Forum; and on the Association for Accounting Marketing’s website.
In addition, Larry has been a speaker at numerous conferences and seminars including the Association for Accounting Marketing‘s Annual Summit; American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Tax Strategies for High Net Worth Individuals Conference; RSM McGladrey Network‘s Annual Forum; The Alliance of Professional Associations’ NSA Winter Conference; the BHD Association of Chartered Accountants; the ICLEF Conference; and the PKF North America Firm Management Conference.