Sikich On A Role; Acquires St. Louis Firm

Aurora, Ill.-based Sikich (FY08 net revenue of $43.9 million) acquired the St. Louis-area firm of Stelmacki, Cochran & Sauerburger.

“We presently have a fairly strong presence with our technology people down there, but we found that technology and accounting work very well together,” says MP Jim Sikich.

All 19 employees of SCS joined Sikich, including SCS partners James Cochran, Richard Provaznik, L. Michael Stelmacki and David Sauerburger.

Who Killed The Billable Hour?

This recent article by Jason Rosenthal, JD, picks up where we left off on the February, 2010 issue of INSIDE Public Accounting, looking at CPA firm billing rates versus law firm billing rates. Regardless of which profession you are in, alternative fee arrangements are taking hold because clients are demanding them. View the entire article here.

Weiser Expands Footprint In Pa. With Acquisition of Fishbein & Co.

New York City-based Weiser LLP (FY09 net revenue of $128 million) acquired Fishbein & Co., a 60-person firm in Horsham, Pa., on Jan. 1.

Weiser partner, Kathryn Byrne will relocate to Horsham, to serve as PIC of the newly acquired firm.

“We have been looking in the Philadelphia market for quite some time with our office in Edison, [N.J.] being so close it just made sense,” said Byrne.

Brady Ware Acquires Altanta Firm

Dayton, Ohio-based Brady Ware (FY08 net revenue of $15 million) has acquired Marsh & McConnell of Atlanta, in January, expanding BW’s presence in the South.

Gary Adamson, MP of Brady Ware, says merger talks began more than a year ago. BW sought the acquisition because it wanted to tap into Atlanta’s high-growth economy and because technology makes it possible for the firms to work together despite the distance between them.

Brady Ware has offices in Dayton and Columbus as well as Richmond, Ind.

Beers + Cutler Officially Rebrands as Baker Tilly

Vienna, Va.-based Beers + Cutler (FY08 net revenue of $60.8 million) announced it has officially rebranded as Baker Tilly, just two months after merging with Madison, Wis.-based Baker Tilly Virchow Krause (FY09 net revenue of $207.2 million).

Ed Offterdinger, former MP of Beers + Cutler will serve as the regional MP of Baker Tilly’s East Region, as well as the vice-chair of the firm’s management committee.

The newly branded firm will continue to operate from its office in Tysons Corner, Va., which will soon display the Baker Tilly name.

On June 1, Virchow Krause re-branded as Baker Tilly Virchow Krause (BTVK). The agreement gave VK the exclusivity of being branded Baker Tilly in the U.S. while also working within the BTI network. As for VK, the move was intended to give the firm a chance to vie for the mid-market accounting, tax and business service work the Big Four doesn’t touch. A Washington Business Journal article, dated Nov. 20, reports, “The B+C deal is part of a plan for an aggressive nationwide expansion. The firm aims to double its revenue to $400 million by 2012. ‘That’s a conservative number,’ said Tim Christen.”

February 2010 Of Interest

Who Killed The Billable Hour?
This recent article by Jason Rosenthal, JD, picks up where we left off on the February, 2010 issue of INSIDE Public Accounting, looking at CPA firm billing rates versus law firm billing rates. Regardless of which profession you are in, alternative fee arrangements are taking hold because clients are demanding them.

PCAOB Auditing Standard on Engagement Quality Review Approved by SEC, Effective for Fiscal Years Beginning Dec 15, 2009
The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board announced in January that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approved Auditing Standard No. 7, Engagement Quality Review (EQR). The standard is effective for engagement quality reviews of audits and interim reviews for fiscal years that began on or after Dec. 15, 2009. (PCAOB)

The Domino’s Theory: What Your Company Can Learn from the Customer-Driven “Pizza Turnaround”
When the pizza giant asked consumers to tell the truth, it ended up back at the proverbial drawing board. New product development guru Dan Adams says there’s a lesson in this story for all of us – and he offers some insights on the art of really listening to customers. (New Product Blueprinting)

AICPA Issues Compilation and Review Engagements — SSARS No. 19
The AICPA has issued Compilation and Review Engagements — SSARS No. 19. The effective date is for compilations and reviews of financial statements for periods ending on or after Dec. 15, 2010. Early application is allowed with respect to permitting an accountant to disclose the reasons for a lack of independence in a compilation report. (CPA2Biz)

IRS Extends Moratorium on Small Business Penalties
The Internal Revenue Service has extended its moratorium on collecting penalties on listed tax shelter transactions from small businesses after an influential senator threatened to block the nominations of key Treasury Department nominees. (WebCPA)

AICPA Supports Legislation Requiring US Comptroller General To Be A CPA
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has announced that it strongly supports legislation introduced by Representatives Collin Peterson and Mike Conaway to require the Comptroller General of the United States to be a certified public accountant. (AICPA)

iDonatedIt – The First iPhone – iPod Touch Application For Charitable Donations
BMG Certified Public Accountants of Lincoln, Neb., released iDonatedIt – the first iPhone and iPod Touch application that calculates, tracks, and reports non-cash charitable donations. (BMG Certified Public Accountants)

Actively Manage Your Practice for Higher Profits in 2010
Many accounting firms are managed by continually looking at past events to analyze their practice and make business decisions. Whether it is discovering job overruns in their work-in-process that can’t be billed or reading their financial statements 3 or 4 weeks after month end only to discover that significant losses were incurred the previous month. These events are history at that point in time and cannot be changed. The conversations between partners and employees usually focus on finding fault and to blame the guilty parties. Have you had many of these conversations lately? (Steve Erickson)

High-Performing Firms Leverage Technology
Creating a long-term sustainable business advantage is the key to success for accounting firms, in both good and challenging times, yet some firms do it better than others. What’s their secret? (CCH)

MP Tony Argiz, Named President and Chairman of the Board of the Orange Bowl Committee

MP Tony Argiz of Miami-based Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra (FY08 net revenue of $59.1 million) was recently installed as the 72 nd President and Chairman of the Board of the Orange Bowl Committee.

Argiz, the MP of an IPA Best of the Best firm, an IPA Top 100 and an IPA Most Admired Peer, is entering his 10th year with the committee. Argiz received the gavel from Phillis Oeters, who served as President and Chair during the OBC’s most-recent Festival in 2009-10.

Argiz will preside over the Orange Bowl Committee for the 2010-11 Festival, which includes the 77th Annual FedEx Orange Bowl, the 17th Annual MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic and the 12th season of the Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance. The FedEx Orange Bowl will be played on January 3, 2011 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens.

“I look forward to engaging my fellow members on The Orange Bowl Committee, which has been a tremendous economic partner to South Florida, bringing in thousands of fans that spend millions on an annual basis,” says Argiz, who was first elected to the OBC in 2000.

Carr, Riggs & Ingram Continues Expansion In The Southeast

Enterprise, Ala.-based Carr, Riggs & Ingram (FY08 net revenue of $77.6 million) acquired Roth Murphy Sanford of New Orleans, a move that expands CRI’s footprint to six states while enhancing public accounting and management consulting services throughout Southeast Louisiana.

“Entering the dynamic New Orleans market through this merger follows our firm’s strategic growth strategy and offers our clients additional value in a number of new specialty areas,” saysWilliam Carr, chairman and MP of CRI. “We have already been recognized as one of the fastest growing accounting firms in the nation, and this merger with RMS is the first of many planned for 2010 as we follow our aggressive development plan.”

The firm also recently announced the acquisition of Gainesville, Fla.-based Davis, Monk & Company. “This practice unit, coupled with our six existing Florida practices, will strategically position our expertise throughout the Northern and Central areas of the state,” stated Carr. “Additionally, the Davis, Monk & Company team offers an acute depth of expertise in governmental services almost doubling our already significant practice.”

Cohen & Co. Finalizes Three Mergers In Florida

Cleveland-based Cohen & Co. (FY08 net revenue of $30.8 million) finalized three mergers in Florida.

All three firms had an ongoing relationship with Cohen. Lanese & Associates, Tampa; Mercurio & Bridgford, Sarasota, and Orlando-based KGLC officially merged in January.

The firms will be branded under the name of Cohen Florida, an affiliate of Cohen & Co.

Sikich Continues Growth With Two Chicago Acquisitions, One St. Louis Merger

Aurora, Ill.-based Sikich (FY08 net revenue of $43.9 million) acquired two technology companies in January.

Sikich acquired Hal Weinberger Consulting and MAS Consulting, both located in Chicago.

The merger brings total employment at the firm to more than 340, including more than 70 employees in the Springfield, Ill., office. “Growth in this area [Chicago] is a strategic objective of ours, and this helps us toward that goal,” says Jeff Rudolph, the PIC of technology for Sikich.

Sikich also recently annouced the acquisition of the St. Louis area firm of Stelmacki, Cochran & Sauerburger, building Sikich’s presence in the area.

“We presently have a fairly strong presence with our technology people down there, but we found that technology and accounting work very well together,” says MP Jim Sikich.

“We were searching for a quality firm to merge with, and we think Stelmacki is the firm.”

All 19 employees of SCS joined Sikich in January, including SCS partners James Cochran, Richard Provaznik, L. Michael Stelmacki, and David Sauerburgerwhich joined Sikich as partners.

Sikich says his firm has pursued mergers as part of its strategic plan for the past four to five years. “We’re actively seeking mergers in larger Midwestern cities,” he said. “We’re not just accounting. We do strategic mergers in specialty consulting areas where we want to grow.”