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Client Spotlight: Peter Henley, Clark Nuber

Firm Name: Clark Nuber

Location: Bellevue, WA

# of Offices: 1

# of Partners: 21

# of Employees: 190+

Rank of Firm: “Firm to Watch” by Accounting Today’s 2016 Top 100 Firms

Peter Henley, Chief Information Officer at Clark Nuber, believes in love at first sight. He felt it when he laid eyes on his first spreadsheet. “As soon as I saw my first spreadsheet,” Henley remembers, “I knew what I would be doing for the rest of my life.”

Henley was pursuing his degree in accounting just as the PC revolution was happening. Getting a job in public accounting out of college, Henley prepared tax returns in the winter and sold accounting and tax software in the summer. But Henley became really fascinated with spreadsheets and the power behind them. “They revolutionized the profession, to say the least,” Henley says, noting that in the time before email and the internet, the accounting profession was the largest user of PCs. Today, Henley says, “we basically sell technology. Tech is at the center of our mean deliverables in consulting and compliance work.”

That relationship between tech and the accounting profession is what’s kept Henley in public accounting for so long. When the firm he worked for merged into Clark Nuber in 1995, Henley took a position in IT and hasn’t looked back.

When Gary Boomer invited Henley to join the newly formed Boomer CIO Circle more than five years ago, Henley jumped at the chance to network with larger firms and receive insight into what they’re doing with their larger IT budgets. He’s also come to recognize the power of the peer network when it comes to working with vendors. “When a vendor says our firm is the only one having an issue with their software, then I find out that every firm is having the same issue, that information is extremely valuable,” Henley says.

Henley is also proud of several IT initiatives Clark Nuber has implemented in the last few years. They’re currently in the process of moving to a new document management system and plan to have over 900,000 files transferred before the start of the coming busy season. He’s also very proud of their CRM system, which has been going strong for four years now. “Many firms have been struggling with CRM for over a decade and still don’t have full adoption,” Henley says. But Clark Nuber has had great success in getting a lot of use and information out of their system.

Get to know Peter

Henley grew up in the suburbs of New York City with two Wall Street attorneys for parents. He moved to Utah, mostly for the skiing, before ending up in Seattle. He’s been married for four decades and has two adult children, one living in China and the other in Illinois. When he’s not skiing or spearheading IT initiatives for Clark Nuber, Henley plays pool competitively.

Henley’s career path has been a winding one. He started out fighting forest fires, then worked as a timber feller for the logging industry, then a logging equipment mechanic before finishing his degree and getting a job in public accounting and moving into a tech role.

Henley’s favorite piece of advice for a younger generation is, “Do what you love to do, in a place you love to do it, with people who love to do it with you.” He’s found that in his role with Clark Nuber. “The culture and the people here have been a huge part of why I’m still here after 21 years.”

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The Boomer CIO Circle

The Boomer CIO Circle is a community of IT leaders from forward-thinking firms who are committed to aligning technology and firm strategy at the highest levels of the firm. In order for IT professionals to properly lead in their firms today, they need skills in project management, leadership, operations, marketing and human resources. Members of the Boomer CIO Circle focus on developing the skills necessary to improve leadership beyond technology, allowing IT leaders to grow into executives that offer a unique and needed perspective in firms.

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