One of the founders of Bauknight Pietras & Stormer, Russell traded a career with a Big Four accounting firm for the opportunity to become an entrepreneurial CPA with two partners and an assistant. Twenty-six years, nine shareholders and 60-plus employees later, Russell admits he never looked back once taking the leap to form BPS.
“Starting and running a company is never easy; it will give you gray hair. But as I tell clients, having business advisors you trust can reduce risk and increase the chances of success.”
Russell has built a solid tax, business consulting, trust and estate practice by serving as a knowledgeable, honest advisor. He admits he doesn’t always have an immediate answer, but he always finds someone who does. He also admits to telling clients “no” when warranted. And he listens intently to clients to gain a thorough understanding of an issue and then uses what he learns as the basis for solutions.
“Businesses come to me with a variety of matters: expansion plans, borrowing money, employment issues. I’m very practical and fair-minded. People appreciate that I have an answer that helps.”
It’s an approach that serves BPS clients well. Russell currently serves as a fiduciary to more than 60 trusts and estates. Russell was chosen as the court appointed fiduciary to the James Brown Estate and Trust and is credited with rebuilding the Godfather of Soul’s estate assets so that it continues to benefit James Brown’s charitable and personal interests. This expertise is also put to work for clients in related areas of wealth management, trusts and estates, financial planning, and charitable gifts. Russell speaks at national conferences on topics related to wealth management and business planning.
Prior to BPS, Russell was a senior tax manager with Ernst & Young after beginning his career with Washington, DC-based Bond Beebe. With nearly four decades of public accounting experience, he is in high demand among family-owned businesses and wealthy individuals, concentrating his efforts consulting on general business and continuity issues, estate and financial plans, as well as plans for major charitable gifts.
When not assisting clients, Russell has discovered a new passion unlike anything he’s done before: following his daughter’s equestrian events. As much as he enjoys being in the thick of things, he’s grateful to be sitting ringside and not clearing fences on a 1,200-pound horse.
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