A growing service
RSM Chio Lim senior partner Teo Cheow Tong and partners Derek How and Terence Ang describe how the firm continues to support Singapore’s businesses as they grow.
RSM Chio Lim was founded in 1985 as KH Chio & Associates, a small, fourperson practice. It expanded quickly by growing with their clients; since 2004, RSM Chio Lim has consistently been ranked the largest accountancy and consulting firm in Singapore outside the Big Four. The firm offers a comprehensive range of advisory and business solutions under the umbrella name of Stone Forest. It also has a wholly owned subsidiary in China that supports foreign businesses there.
This year, the firm celebrates its 30th anniversary with its combined headcount of 1,200 staff. 'Throughout the years, we have positioned ourselves as advisers to growing businesses,' says senior partner Teo Cheow Tong, who leads talent management for the firm. 'We operate in our own niche market, and we are recognised as the obvious choice in that market. This has worked well for us.' This niche market is clearly distinct from the type of clients served by the Big Four firms, explains audit services partner Derek How.
'Our clients are typically owner-managed, entrepreneurial and internationally active businesses. We organise our services around helping them grow their businesses and doing business outside Singapore. 'In addition, our other value-add is that we are able to support them in their non-core areas so that they can better focus on the revenue-generating aspects of their businesses.' RSM Chio Lim's clientele and strategy require the firm to focus on two key areas.
The first is talent retention, because the firm's approach so heavily emphasises interpersonal contact and the direct involvement of senior people. The second is client service, which the partners describe as a critical success factor in its growth over three decades of operation.