Patrick Niemann. Ernst & Young

Patrick Niemann. Ernst & Young Photo by Thomas Wasper

It’s no wonder Ernst & Young recently completed an extensive renovation in its downtown office.

With all the new talent coming on board, the accounting giant needed the space.

Ernst & Young’s presence in Los Angeles has doubled over the past decade, with a substantial 2,200 employees now packing into the Figueroa Street location.

Driving that expansion has been Patrick Niemann, managing partner for Ernst & Young’s greater Los Angeles office.

A 28-year veteran of the firm, Niemann has overseen the growth that lifted the accounting firm into the top spot on the Business Journal’s list of the city’s accounting firms this year after finishing in the No. 2 slot last year.

Before becoming managing partner, Niemann led the firm’s greater L.A. audit practice and served as industry leader for consumer products, media and entertainment.

In 2020, Niemann gets to preside over a major milestone for Ernst & Young, which will celebrate 100 years in Los Angeles — a feat not many companies can boast of.

The office renovation itself is an expression of the company’s appreciation for L.A. as it includes a tribute to iconic sites such as the Hollywood Bowl, the Capitol Records building and the Griffith Observatory.

We caught up with Niemann as a busy 2019 drew to a close.

What are the main things you’ve done over the past year to help boost Ernst & Young to the No. 1 spot on our list of accounting firms?

I’d say it’s been truly a team effort. I’m exceptionally proud of our local team. We care a lot about what we do, and caring a lot about the clients we serve has made a huge difference. For us, we have to provide exceptional client service, but that’s only possible by attracting and retaining top talent. So, we do a lot to focus on our people. We want to ensure that they’re developing their skills and careers.

How do you increase the size of your staff so dramatically but at the same time ensure that you have top talent?

We are fortunate to be in a place like L.A. that has so much talent. But at the same time, the competition for that talent is fierce. So, there are a lot of things that we have to do to attract the best people. One of the things that comes to mind is how much we invest in our people. When I think about our firm as a whole — and L.A. is part of that global effort — we invest about $550 million a year in the development of our people.

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