Archives for August 2010

LaPorte Sehrt Romig Hand CPAs Aquires Hidalgo Banfill Zlotnik & Kermali

New Orleans-based LaPorte Sehrt Romig Hand CPAs (FY10 net revenue of $18.4 million) has announced its intention to acquire Houston-based, Hidalgo Banfill Zlotnik & Kermali PC (HBZK), once due diligence is completed by both firms, according to William “Ted” Mason, president/CEO of LaPorte.  The merged firm will operate as LaPorte Sehrt Romig Hand and maintain the current LaPorte Louisiana offices in New Orleans, Covington, and Baton Rouge as well as the HBZK office located at 1770 St. James Place in Houston. 

“This merger — part of our firm’s long-term growth strategy — allows LaPorte to expand our geographical footprint along the Gulf Coast and to more fully serve our clients with offices in both Louisiana and Texas,” Mason states. “Hidalgo Banfill Zlotnik & Kermali’s industry strength in oil and gas adds a new dimension to our firm and their real estate development and construction practices complement our Louisiana practice – enabling the combined firm to better support business expansion and economic recovery efforts in the Gulf Coast.”

Hidalgo Banfill Zlotnik & Kermali, a full-service tax, accounting and business consulting firm in Houston, was established in 1949.  HBZK specializes in tax, audit/assurance and consulting services for oil and gas companies, construction firms, financial institutions, real estate developers, wholesale/retail operations and non-profit organizations.  HBZK principals Harold G. Hidalgo, James M. Banfill, Naushad A. Kermali, and Douglas Hidalgo will become directors in LaPorte.

The combined firm will have a total staff of 160 people and revenue in excess of $23 million.                                                       

“We are pleased to be joining our firm with LaPorte Sehrt Romig Hand in a strategic move that provides an opportunity for our firm to grow in strength, depth and continuity,” says Harold G. Hidalgo, Sr., managing partner of Hidalgo Banfill Zlotnik & Kermali. “With the resources that LaPorte brings, we will be able to serve new and existing clients with more specialized industry expertise and provide state-of-the-industry technical advice and consulting through the international reach of The McGladrey Alliance,” he states. “Not only do both firms share the same commitment to technical expertise but, most important, both deliver a high level of partner involvement in every engagement,” he concludes.

LaPorte Sehrt Romig Hand CPAs is one of the leading accounting, tax, and business consulting firms in Louisiana.  The firm has been recognized by Practical Accountant as one of  the 2009 top 15 firms in the Southwest (ranked 10th).  LaPorte was also designated as a 2009 All-Star Firm by INSIDE Public Accounting.

In addition to traditional accounting and tax services, LaPorte’s specialty services and industry expertise include among others: financial services, law firm management services, healthcare, government, nonprofits, construction, hospitality, family-owned businesses, real estate, business valuation, estate planning, benefits and compensation plans, internal controls, forensic accounting and litigation support services.

LaPorte is an independently owned member of The McGladrey Alliance.  The McGladrey Alliance is a premier affiliation of independent accounting and consulting firms in the United States, with more than 90 members in 42 states and Puerto Rico. McGladrey is the brand under which RSM McGladrey, Inc – a leading national provider of tax and consulting services — and McGladrey & Pullen, LLP – a licensed CPA firm providing assurance services – serve clients’ business needs. Together, they rank as the fifth largest U.S. provider of assurance, tax and consulting services with 7,000 professionals and associates in nearly 90 offices. Both McGladrey firms are members of RSM International, the sixth largest global network of independent accounting, tax and consulting firms.

“This international association provides our clients with extensive industry-specific resources and programs, as well as access to a network of professionals wherever clients require resident expertise,” Mason notes.

For more information, visit the LSRH website at

EisnerAmper LLP Launches New Chapter In The History of Two Northeast Powerhouse Firms

As reported in mid-August, IPA Top 100 New York-based Eisner LLP (FY10 net revenue of $134.7 million) and IPA Top 100 Edison, N.J.-based Amper Politziner & Mattia LLP (FY10 net revenue of $114.2 million) combined forces and opened the doors as EisnerAmper LLP. The resulting entity is a $250 million firm, with more than 1,200 staff and 170 partners serving locations in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and the Cayman Islands.

“We’ve known each other a long time – as tough competitors and through our affiliation with Baker Tilly International,” (BTI) Howard Cohen, MP of APM and the new Chairman of EisnerAmper, tells IPA.

“We’ve had informal conversations for years, but when we sat down together last summer to look at this seriously, it was a natural fit,” adds Charly Weinstein, MP of Eisner and the new CEO of EisnerAmper. “September 2nd, the date of our initial meeting, happens to be the birthday of two of the founders of APM so there was a bit of karma involved in us getting together.”

Both firms have experienced primarily organic growth over the years, with Eisner never having merged a firm and APM completing just two mergers since 1965. This is truly a combination of like-sized firms – Eisner, No. 24 on the recently released IPA Top 100, and No. 27 APM – combine to form the 13th largest firm in the U.S. “We both felt that we would be individually successful executing our respective strategic plans over the next couple of years,” says Cohen. “This combination is about setting the firm up for long-term success,” he adds.

Partners in both firms were informed about the proposal in May 2010; after overwhelming approval from both sides, integration teams started working together to address all aspects of bringing two firms of this size together. In mid-August, APM’s Manhattan office staff moved in to Eisner’s mid-town facilities, and Eisner’s New Jersey office moved in to APM’s location. Positive staff reaction to the combination has brought a lot of affirmation to both Cohen and Weinstein. “We’ve already had staff members asking about building a buddy system to help the two firms become one,” Weinstein says.

Geographically, this combination gives the firm a strong presence in the Northeast. “We’re not actively looking beyond our geography,” Cohen says, but the door is open to possibilities elsewhere – especially in Boston or Washington, D.C.

Weinstein says, “We’re not looking to become a national firm with offices all over the country, but to the extent we have strong niche practices, we want them to be national niche practices.” He adds that they would continue to seek ways to build their niches in enterprise risk management, mergers and acquisitions, business and asset valuation, debt financing, internal audit, forensic accounting and litigation consulting, reorganization and insolvency, and international expansion.

Allan Koltin, CEO of PDI Global, Inc., consultant to both firms on the merger, commented, “If this were the Harvard Business School, they would highlight this merger to illustrate successful strategies for merging. Amper wanted to be bigger in New York and Eisner wanted greater market share in New Jersey and Philadelphia.” Koltin adds, “Eisner can offer some of Amper’s niches … and Amper can offer some of Eisner’s niches … in their respective markets (and to existing clients) the day after the merger.”

The combined firm will be the largest member of PKF North America, the association that Eisner joined last year after enjoying a long relationship with BTI.

With the New York/New Jersey marketplace being so competitive, IPA would not be surprised if other firms are seeking to build a similar mega-merger. Neither Cohen nor Weinstein were aware [or kept hush] of any current discussions between large New York firms, but indicated that everyone is keeping conversations pretty close to the vest.

Northeast Mega-Merger Creates New Top 15 Firm

According to published reports, IPA Top 100 New York-based Eisner LLP (FY10 net revenue of $134.7 million) and IPA Top 100 Edison, N.J.-based Amper Politziner & Mattia LLP (FY10 net revenue of $114.2 million) are combining practices effective Aug. 17.

The combined firm will be known as Eisner Amper and will employ about 1,200 staff. The newly merged firm is expected to have annual revenues of approximately $250 million, and will jump into the ranks of the IPA Top 15 firms in the nation.

According to IPA’s Top 100 data, Eisner reported an increase in revenue this year of 1%, and Amper reported a negative growth rate of – 4.8%. Eisner is No. 5 and Amper is No. 7 in IPA’s ranking of Top 10 non-national firms in the Northeast.

“For Amper, growing New York City was a major strategic initiative and by combining with Eisner they achieve that goal the day after. For Eisner, they pick up some exceptional niches from Amper and will also be able to take some of their niches into the New Jersey and Philadelphia markets. At $250 million in fees [revenue] throughout New York, New Jersey and the Philadelphia (marketplace), they will be recognized as a powerhouse the day after the merger,” says Allan Koltin of PDI Global Inc., in a previously published news report.

Eisner is currently a member of PKF International, and Amper is a member of Baker Tilly International.

You can read more on this merger next week. Stay tuned.

The IPA 2010 Top 100 Fastest-Growing Firms

INSIDE Public Accounting

1. Kearney & Company / Alexandria, Va.
2. ParenteBeard LLC / Philadelphia
3. Blue & Co. LLC / Carmel, Ind.
4. The Bonadio Group / Pittsford, N.Y.
5. O’Connor Davies Munns & Dobbins LLP / New York
6. Rosen Seymour Shapss Martin & Co. LLP / New York
7. Carr, Riggs & Ingram LLC / Enterprise Ala.
8. Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra LLP / Miami
9. CBIZ Inc. & Mayer Hoffman McCann PC / Cleveland and Leawood, Kan.
10. Novogradac & Company LLP / San Francisco

More on the IPA Top 100 Fastest-Growing Firms in the upcoming August issue.

RubinBrown Acquires Saltzman Hamma Nelson Massaro

St. Louis-based RubinBrown LLP (FY10 net revenue of $54.3 million) acquired Saltzman Hamma Nelson Massaro LLP (FY09 net revenue of $5.1 million) of Denver.

The new entity will operate as RubinBrown and will employ 375 people in offices in Denver, St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo. The merger was effective Aug. 1.

RubinBrown has been looking for a third regional office since it expanded into the Kansas City market in late 2005, principals say.

“Colorado currently has three of the nation’s top ten mid-sized business cities,” John Herber Jr., RubinBrown MP, said in a statement, referring to Boulder, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs. “Plus it is a strong center for government, energy and technology. We see future growth in many of our areas of specialization.”

All SHNM partners will continue as partners in the expanded RubinBrown and current SHNM Gregory Osborn will continue in his role as MP of the Denver office.

RSM McGladrey Acquires Caturano and Company

Minneapolis-based RSM McGladrey Inc. and McGladrey & Pullen LLP (FY10 net revenue of $1.4 billion) acquired Boston-based Caturano and Company, Inc., (FY09 net revenue of $ 67.1 million) in late July, 2010.

The combined Boston practice, approximately 500 employees, will be branded McGladrey and led by Richard Caturano, a co- founder of Caturano. Steve Dooley, who currently leads McGladrey’s Boston practice, will remain with the firm and lead the integration process.

Combined, the new McGladrey in Boston will have deep industry expertise in sectors key to the Boston marketplace. McGladrey has a strong presence in higher education, not-for-profit and financial services.

Caturano has strong market share in high-tech, biotech, manufacturing and professional services. Both have large construction practices, and Caturano has a strong consulting practice in the region. “Richard and his team have led C&Co., through a remarkable period of 400% growth over the last several years, ensuring their clients had the best advice and service,” says Dave Scudder, MP, McGladrey & Pullen. “Further, he has been an active and influential leader in our industry and the Boston community for many years and we are looking forward to having him join our team.”

LarsonAllen Acquires LeMaster Daniels

Minneapolis-based LarsonAllen (FY09 net revenue of $217.9 million) acquired Spokane, Wash.-based LeMaster Daniels (FY10 net revenue of $40.3 million) effective August 4.

The two firms have done business in the past, and that association launched the discussions that led to the acquisition, says Janey Kiryluik, a spokeswoman for LarsonAllen.

LeMaster was an attractive acquisition since LarsonAllen has no offices in the Pacific Northwest, Kiryluik says. Both firms have a range of similar practice areas, including financial services, healthcare, construction and professional services. Kiryluik says the acquisition of LeMaster Daniels is the largest acquisition the Minneapolis firm has undertaken.

INSIDE Public Accounting Releases the 20th Annual Top 100 Firms List…

INSIDE Public Accounting is pleased to present the 20th annual report on the nation’s Top 100 accounting firms. IPA’s independent rankings are among the longest-running, most accurate and up-to-date of the nation’s largest accounting firms.

Strategy drives tactics. Tactics drive headlines. The headline this year focuses on the ability of the IPA Top 100 to move, pivot, change and adapt. Throughout the country, strategic discussions took place among owners to figure out how to react to the challenging economy and how to best position their firms for success once a recovery begins.

“TIGHTEN THE BELT!” was the battle cry for most. But beyond that, strategies were as varied as the firms that pursued them.

How do we preserve partner compensation? Scale back or get rid of unproductive owners, as 16% reported. How do we shore up the bottom line? Reduce staff, as 60% reported, or close some offices, as 18% reported. How do we demonstrate leadership and protect the staff? Require partners to take pay cuts while keeping staff pay neutral, as 35% reported. How do we remain independent and grow? Merge in smaller firms, as 20% reported. How do we compete at the highest levels? Re-brand with an international presence, as New York City-based WeiserMazars did, or create a merger of equals, as Reading, Pa.-based Beard Miller Company and Philadelphia-based Parente Randolph did. Merge with larger Top 100 firms, as both Vienna, Va.-based Beers + Cutler, and Boston-based Caturano and Company did. News on the street is there are more Top 100 mergers in the works.

As a group, the IPA Top 100 had come to expect double-digit growth in revenue and income for most of this (past) decade. Now, regardless if you are on the East Coast, West Coast or in the center of the country, flat is good. Maintaining revenue, income and compensation was the target during the past year. Average equity partner compensation for these firms drifted downward to a still-respectable $537,253. Thirty-five (35) firms reported a drop in equity partner compensation this past year.

Most are very optimistic about the future. After belt-tightening, thinning out less productive staff and partners, and making the proper integration of systems and processes from mergers over the past few years, firms are poised for a quick recovery. Having learned the hard lessons of the Great Recession, IPA Top 100 firms are better prepared for the future and are eagerly awaiting the turnaround to a stronger world economy.

The full list will be in the mail today! Thank you to all survey participants for assisting us in this endeavor. Over 380 firms participated this year, and in September, IPA will unveil the first annual ranking of the “Beyond the IPA Top 100”, those key firms ranking from 101-200.