Attendees of Dan’s Taste of Summer events this season saw many a boldface name in the culinary world, such as top chefs, restaurateurs and food personalities, under the tent. Another big name on the scene was Louis C. Grassi, CPA, CFE of Grassi & Co. Accountants & Success Consultants. In fact, Grassi lent his considerable expertise to tabulate the judges’ votes in the annual GrillHampton contest among participating restaurants. But he’s not just a top “numbers guy.” Lou is a serious oenophile who has visited many of the world’s wine regions and who often entertains in his Bridgehampton home. He says, “I love the food out here. This is a special, blessed place. When I hit exit 70 all the stress in my body automatically evaporates!” A South Queens native, Lou says “I love the beach—loved it since I was a child.”
Grassi is the Chief Executive Officer, Managing Partner, and recognized as the driving force behind Grassi & Co.’s growth. The company’s team consists of more than 250 of the most talented professionals in the New York Metro area. These pros are credentialed variously as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), Certified Fraud Examiners (CFEs), Certified Financial Planners (CFPs), and Certified Construction Industry Financial Professionals (CCIFPs). Lou’s career spans four decades and has afforded him extensive tax, accounting and consulting experience. Grassi & Co.’s client portfolio is a testament to the fact that Lou’s counsel has proven instrumental to the success of many companies in a variety of industries.
Everyone knows what a good accountant does, but what is a “success consultant?” Lou says, “I coined the term 20 years ago, I believe it is our mission as a firm to help our clients in every way possible. We take a holistic approach by helping to get the client’s personal life in order as well. The centerpiece of our responsibility is helping clients to succeed. Many of our clients are such amazing people.”
Lou asserts that his company takes a proactive role with clients, performing such value-added services as profit-enhancement studies, operational reviews, performance benchmarking, forensic accounting, cost analysis, incentive compensation programs, estate and succession planning, corporate restructuring, and corporate retreat facilitation. In fact, Lou often runs retreats himself. He says, “They deserve it, they deserve the highest level of service and the most innovative ways to save on taxes and help to succeed in their business and personal life. Our staff creates a business plan for each client every year to figure out how to add value. We’re honored to have their business and to earn their trust every day.”
Lou says, “my friends call me “Right-Brain/Left-Brain.” Creativity and math in equal measure, in unique balance. Lou shares that he was originally a music major, but when he saw many of his contemporaries in that field out of work, he asked a guidance counselor what majors got the jobs. The short list included accountant. Lou had been doing tax returns for friends and family since high school, so he made the change and never looked back.
A nationally recognized expert, Lou is frequently called upon as a lecturer and business advisor. He has worked as an adjunct professor at Columbia teaching a graduate level course in finance and accounting.
Currently, Lou serves as Chair of Moore Stephens North America, part of an international association of more than 300 independent accounting and consulting firms. He was also a member of the Nassau County Audit Advisory Committee and a former member of the Nassau County Comptroller’s transition team. Additionally, Lou serves on the boards of Flushing Financial Corp, a $5 billion U.S. bank, and BRT Realty, a publicly traded real estate investment trust.
Grassi & Co.’s own strategic plan is to double in size over the next five years, opening offices in key East Coast cities. In fact, the specific goal is to go from being the 70th largest accounting firm in the U.S. to the 35th. But Lou stays humble and focused. He says, “I’ve been blessed with so many people in my life who have helped me to get to the next level. Even competitors I’ve admired—I visited them when the firm was small and young and I learned, it enabled us to grow and to learn from their mistakes.”
Recently his peers rated Lou “The Most Admired Peer” in the country.