For more than 60 years, Stone Carlie has worked hard to live up to its tagline, ‘Going beyond the numbers,’ as it provides tax and financial services to businesses and individuals. “We’re not just going to offer the basic services you need—we’re going to do our best to exceed your expectations and bring great ideas to create an effective plan,” says managing partner Jeff Ward.
Founded by Carl Carlie and Sid Stone in 1950, Stone Carlie initially focused on traditional tax and accounting but since has evolved into a full-service CPA firm that includes wealth advisory and specialized financial resources. “We’ve never left tax services as the core of our business, but we’ve grown drastically in areas that serve the middle market—businesses between $10 million and $1 billion,” Ward says.
The 100-person firm, headed up by partners Mark Carlie, Marie Carlie, Kevin Carlie, Richard Kraner and Ward, works with a range of privately and publicly owned businesses in a variety of industries to provide tax consulting, compliance, accounting, assurance and auditing services. With the downturn in the economy, Stone Carlie has seen a growth in its work with companies that are former clients of larger regional or international firms. “They’re a big fish for us, and that’s something they’re not used to,” Ward explains. “We recently received this feedback from a client: You can get in the door with your credentials, but you stay in the door by providing the service that’s demanded. That’s our differentiator—these companies enjoy the relationships and level of attention we offer.”
Individuals also seek out Stone Carlie for that personal attention, especially with its wealth advisory group, headed by Kraner, who recently was named a Five Star Best in Client Satisfaction Wealth Manager for the fifth year. With tools that include comprehensive estate planning, retirement planning and investment consulting, Stone Carlie Wealth Advisors help clients make timely decisions for their portfolios, Ward says. “They stay on top of the clients’ needs with a strong emphasis on communication and planning.”
In addition to traditional services, Stone Carlie has increased its focus on specialty services to meet their clients’ particular needs. The firm offers resources that include corporate debt financing and restructuring, systems security and process assurance, international tax consulting and CFO staffing solutions for industries like construction, real estate and nonprofits. “Just knowing how to do a tax return doesn’t necessarily help someone who feels they’re in a specialized industry, so we need to know what other ideas we can bring them to help save money and make their company more efficient and valuable,” Ward explains.
The qualified and experienced staff at Stone Carlie is key to providing quality service to its clients. The firm aims to make sure their employees are supported and allowed to thrive in the workplace. “People really feel like their input matters,” Ward says. “They’re a part of a team and given as much responsibility as they want, so they’re challenged, but not overwhelmed.”
While Stone Carlie is the 11th largest CPA firm in St. Louis, it is careful in its growth goals, making sure that it is able to provide personal attention while staying on top of emerging services and industry segments, Ward says. A new nonprofit initiative, SC Cares, will allow the firm and its employees to make a coordinated effort toward giving back to the community. Just another way Stone Carlie is focused on going beyond the numbers. “We’re excited about what SC Cares will mean to St. Louis. We want to get our employees out, not talking about business, but helping the community and showing that we care.”