A Perfect Match: Wen Rittsteuer's Journey to Accordion MD
Accordion's MD Spotlight Series
Wen Rittsteuer was first approached by an Accordion recruiter in early 2022, but she wasn’t looking for a career change; she had developed strong connections with her then-colleagues and enjoyed the work that she did. But once she began the recruiting process, it was such a positive experience that she knew was indicative of what it would be like to be part of the Accordion team.
Now, with nearly one year as a Managing Director in Accordion’s Turnaround & Restructuring Practice under her belt, Wen reflects on why she ultimately made the leap to Accordion – and why she’s so glad she did:
Q: What excited you most about the opportunity at Accordion?
As I learned more about Accordion through the recruiting process, it seemed like a great fit. Not only did the collaborative culture and entrepreneurial energy stand out, but I found that the services that Accordion offers matched my background perfectly (as I’d spent the majority of my career in restructuring, executive/interim management, and services centered around the Office of the CFO). I also needed to organize a delayed start date to seamlessly transition out of my previous role, and the Practice Leader at Accordion respected and accommodated my request without concern.
When considering the switch to Accordion, I was excited by the prospect of being part of a high-growth organization that still managed to feel like a small and entrepreneurial company.”
Q: Tell us about the work you do for your clients. What types of problems do you help clients solve?
As a Managing Director in the T&R Practice, I work with companies that are facing financial and operational challenges. The most immediate and urgent need is typically centered on liquidity – understanding and managing cash flow. Clients need credibility from a trusted advisor, especially in situations where additional capital may be needed or to prevent debtholders from taking immediate action when in violation of covenants or in default.
What’s more, companies facing significant challenges often need interim leadership, and MDs like myself sometimes step in to serve in executive roles such as interim CFO, CRO, or CTO in crisis situations to help drive change from within and/or make the difficult decisions. There’s a misconception that restructuring professionals are brought in when a company is ready to file for bankruptcy, but the reality is that bankruptcy is only a small percentage of the work that we do.
Q: How does working at Accordion – at the intersection of sponsors and management teams for PE-backed companies – differ from working at other firms?
With PE-backed companies, there’s more of a sense of urgency to drive growth, improve profitability, and create value, as portfolio companies are often under intense sponsor scrutiny. It’s exciting to not only assess the situation, but to develop a concrete plan and work alongside management teams to actually execute that plan.
Q: How would you describe Accordion’s culture?
One of the best things about Accordion’s culture is that team members of all levels are treated and valued the same, and the firm puts in a concerted effort to keep everyone connected. The firm-wide “Monday Morning Meetings” are a great example of this. Every week, we set time aside to introduce new hires, give critical updates, and recognize Accordionites who are doing exceptional work and who are exemplifying our core values.
The firm recognizes that its greatest asset is the people here; the Senior Leadership Team understands this well and invests heavily in the development of our people and in maintaining our culture – despite how quickly we’re growing.”
Q: In what ways do you work cross-functionally – with MDs/Accordionites from different practice areas – to deliver for a client or drive BD initiatives?
We’re always collaborating across teams here. We have eight different practice areas, but companies often need cross-functional support that involves more than just one service. We’ve been successful at both retaining and winning new clients because we’re a full-service team that brings in the resources and expertise that are best suited to the needs of the client and situation – without the confines of specific practice areas.
Q: What do you enjoy most about working at Accordion? What gets you excited to come to work every day?
Accordion really is the best of both worlds. It offers all the benefits of a larger company (advancement opportunities, structure with defined procedures, great resources, stability) while still feeling like a small, boutique firm (nimble, fewer admin tasks, great opportunities to get to know your colleagues).
At Accordion, you don’t feel that cut-throat ‘aggression’ that often characterizes the NYC finance world; there’s a collegial and collaborative atmosphere that genuinely makes work enjoyable.”
Q: As an Accordion Managing Director, how do you “think like an owner”?
I began working at my family business at the age of ten, so I feel like I can really appreciate what it takes to own a business: every decision is centered around client satisfaction, growth, and profitability. Personally, with every client I work with, I put myself in the shoes of the company’s owner and make decisions based on what I think is in the best interest of the company and its stakeholders. It’s a very rewarding process.
Q: What would you say to someone who is thinking about joining Accordion?
If you’re thinking about making a change, there’s no reason not to consider Accordion. Accordion cares about its people, fosters a truly great culture, invests in training and professional development, and supports meaningful MD collaboration. It really is the “better way to work in finance”.
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