WithumSmith+Brown Expands New York Presence

Princeton, N.J.-based WithumSmith+Brown (FY11 net revenue of $76.3 million) acquired New York-based EisnerLubin LLP, with about $11 million in net fees, nine partners and 55 professionals. Robert Simon, EisnerLubin’s former MP, will continue to be the PIC of the New York City office.

“We have been seeking a New York City-based partnership for a long time to solidify our position in Manhattan in order to better serve – and expand – our metropolitan New York client base,” says WS+B MP William Hagaman Jr.

CAQ Releases Year End Review

The Center for Audit Quality (CAQ) released the 2011 Year in Review, documenting the work in support of public company audit quality. The document also summarizes the CAQ’s policy, outreach and research activities, including CAQ activities designed to enable stakeholders to more effectively deter and detect financial reporting fraud. Other highlights include the release of the new video on the “System of Investor Protection”; the release of the 5th Annual Main Street Investor Survey; and independent academic research funding on audit-related topics. Full report at www.thecaq.org/publications/CAQ_Year_In_Review_2011.pdf. If you would like a hard copy, contact Jake Leon at (202) 609-8048 or jleon@thecaq.org.

WebsterRogers Names New MP

Florence, N.C.-based WebsterRogers LLP named Debra Turner MP effective Jan. 1. Turner succeeds V. Carroll Webster, who served as MP for more than 27 years. Turner was elected to WebsterRogers’ executive committee in 2008 and has served since 2000 as the PIC of the Lowcountry Economic Unit.

Overheard At The 2012 Winning Is Everything Conference

Leaders across the profession attended the 11th annual “Winning Is Everything” conference in Las Vegas in January, presented by The Advisory Board. Below is a sampling of a few of the insights shared.

  • “I’m looking for advice.” SS&G MP Gary Shamis, who announced that he will be stepping down as MP, when asked what he will be doing next.
  • “Great leadership is hard to come by, so if you have identified someone in your firm who can be a great leader, utilize them!” Gary Shamis
  • “It’s packaging, not hours.” Gary Boomer, on identifying ways to communicate value. “Time does not have anything to do with value.”
  • “There will be a mega-mega merger that will rock the profession.” Allan Koltin’s “One Big Prediction” for 2012.
  • “Those with passion do. Those without passion try.” Gary Boomer on the power of passion in the workplace.
  • “We ride market conditions.” Gale Crosley describing the (inappropriate) default strategy for growth in the accounting profession.”
  • “Grab it while no one else is there.” Gale Crosley talking about opportunities to capitalize on ‘an international market’ that is virtually untouched by domestic CPA firms.
  • “We are a profession that has not learned how to define value.” Gale Crosley”
  • “When you look clear-eyed at this problem, the reality is that we have invested virtually nothing in people to succeed current leadership.” Gale Crosley lamenting the profession’s short-sightedness in dealing with succession planning.
  • “It’s a process, not an event.” Gary Shamis talking about the transition of the MP.
  • “Need to move from the individualized game like golf to the team game like football.” Gale Crosley describing the change in mindset many firms need to establish within their own culture to work more like a team and win the future.
  • “We require every partner age 55 and older to provide a non-binding retirement date estimate.” Charlie Hahn, MP of Baker Newman Noyes, on actions taken in the firm to help with succession planning.
  • “We were opportunistic.” Bob Glaser, MP of Freed Maxick & Battaglia, on the past successes of the firm. He went on to say that as MP, you owe it to your firm to look at all opportunities as they come up, even if its not part of the strategic plan.
  • “I’ve screwed up a lot of things over the years, but I don’t see any of it as having made a mistake.” Steve Mayer describing the need to learn from all opportunities and experiences.
  • “We never made a financial decision based on the cost of the investment. We made the decision based on the cost of the lost opportunity.” Steve Mayer on decision-making perspectives in the firm.
  • “Go backpacking.” Advice from Steve Mayer on finding the critical thinking time needed. It was on backpacking trips that some of the major innovations in the firm were initially conceived.
  • “IQ is not a determinant of success. Character and personality are.” David Maister on the notion that passion, drive and determination are more critical to success in professional service firms.
  • “To be a mile wide and an inch deep is no longer the path to success.” CBIZ CEO Dave Sibits on the need to specialize.
  • “You devalue an organization by failing to have a succession plan. “An observation by Dave Sibits, who examines dozens of acquisition prospects each year.
  • “We’re going to see a number of deals in 2012 among the Top 40 that will be rather shocking.” Dave Sibits, hinting that “by 2015, we may again be back to a Big Eight.”
  • “A very small percentage.” David Maister commenting on how few CPA firms actually put the client’s interests ahead of their own.
  • “Most successful people are the ones who make others want to be with them.” David Maister on leadership.
  • “You have to either please your clients, or come to the realization that these people are unpleasable and get rid of them.” David Maister on client satisfaction, retention and firing.
  • “There will be a day soon when a client asks his smart phone what the gross profit of his business was in the last quarter.” AICPA VP Jim Metzler on rapid advances in technology and the need for CPAs to lead the way.
  • “Businesses that have a cultural focus on “what’s next” will be more successful than those who focus on how we do things now.” Taylor-Made (golf clubs) CEO Mark King on a leaders need to always keep an eye on the horizon and empower the team to look for innovations. “Create an environment where every single team member takes responsibility for the future.”
  • “When you organize around the principle of everything running smoothly, you get no chaos. And with no chaos, you get no innovation.” Mark King on the need to shake things up.
  • “It’s easy to be incremental. It takes real courage to do something extraordinary.” Mark King on the rewards of bold action.
  • “We will pursue perfection. And along the way we will find excellence.” Mark King quoting legendary football coach Vince Lombardi.

Habif, Arogeti & Wynne Names New MP

Atlanta-based-Habif, Arogeti & Wynne (FY10 revenues of $59 million), named Richard Kopelman MP, effective Jan. 2013.

Kopelman will succeed Dan Simms, who will end a nine-year term as MP.

Kopelman joined the firm in 1992 and is a member of the firm’s executive board and leads the firm’s manufacturing and distribution practice. Kopelman also serves on the Board of Directors of the Association for Corporate Growth Association for Corporate Growth and founded Next Generation Manufacturing.

E&Y Names Next Chairman and Global CEO

New York-based Ernst & Young (FY10 revenues of $7.1 billion), has named Mark Weinberger the firm’s next chairman and global chief executive, succeeding James Turley, who has served in the position since 2001.

Weinberger will take the helm in June.

Weinberger currently sits on the Global Executive, the firm’s highest governing body, and runs the organization’s Global Tax practice. He previously served on the Americas Executive and U.S. Operating Committee and ran the Americas Tax practice. Weinberger has been a senior advisory partner for many of the organization’s largest clients and also serves on the Global Markets Executive and Global Public Policy Committees. Mark was the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury (Tax Policy) under President George W. Bush and he was appointed to the U.S. Social Security Advisory Board by President Clinton.

Calibre CPA Group Names New MP

Washington, D.C.-based Calibre CPA Group named James Kokolas MP, on Jan. 1. Kokolas will lead the firm’s 14 partners and more than 80 staff in D.C. and Chicago. Kokolas succeeds Stephen Raeder, after a 10 year-term as MP. Kokolas joined the firm in 1989. “I am very excited to lead the firm on its continuing journey serving our clients”, says Kokolas. “Furthermore, I want to acknowledge and thank Steve for the enormous contribution he has made to the success of the firm, and I look forward to continuing to work side by side with him.”

New MP at BKD

Springfield,Mo.-based BKD (FY11 net revenue of $390.7 million), has named Tom Watson MP of the firm’s Dallas office, effective Jan. 1. Watson is the South Region leader for BKD’s national health care group. Watson was admitted to partner in 2001, and transferred to the firm’s Houston office in 2004. In 2010, he transferred to the firm’s Dallas office to help grow the BKD’s health care practice in that market. Watson succeeds MP Larry King, who is stepping down and into a role that will focus on business development initiatives for the Dallas market. King served as MP of the Dallas practice and its predecessor firm, KBA Group, for close to 30 years. BKD acquired KBA in 2009, and King has been instrumental in successfully integrating BKD policy, procedures and best practices.

Strategic Moves-Mergers

Harrison, New York-based O’Connor Davies LLP (FY10 net revenue of $63.5 million) acquired the Norwich, Conn., firm of Marien + Co. Partner Marcia Marien and 15 staff joined O’Connor on Jan. 1. Marien says her firm has been contemplating a merger for the last few years, in part because it has been difficult to find the talent to grow her own practice. The merger also serves as a good succession planning strategy since Marien says she will no longer have to look for someone to take over the firm once she retires. “We knew this was going to be an exit strategy for a number of years,” she says.

Southfield, Mich.-based Plante Moran (FY11 net revenue of $304 million) acquired the Farmington Hills, Mich., firm of Stuart Franey Matthews & Chantres on Jan. 1. Partners Ken Franey, Ron Chantres, Mike Nordquist and Phil Pflugh joined PM as part of the deal, along with 12 staff from SFM&C.

Cleveland-based SS&G (FY10 net revenue of $64.8 million) acquired the Chicago firm of Russell Novak & Co. Three partners, Richard Hanson, Robb Zerfass, and Barry Epstein, along with 16 staff members joined the firm in Jan. “A year ago, we determined we could achieve growth in areas of specialization, including restaurants, health care, real estate, contractors, manufacturers, and nonprofit organizations. Our bet paid off,” says current MP, Gary Shamis.

Two Syracuse, N.Y., firms, Sovie & Bowie CPAs and Bowers & Co., CPAs joined forces on Jan. 1. “One of the benefits of merging is we have more technology available to us and with a larger firm, we can spread out the technology cost,” says Thomas Bowie, partner at S&B.

Fort Worth-based Weaver (FY11 net revenue of $66.4 million) acquired John R. Hannah & Co., of San Antonio, Texas (one partner and nine staff). John Hannah will take on the role of senior managing director in the firm’sSan Antonio office.

New York-based WeiserMazars (FY10 net revenue of $140 million) acquired Biscotti, Toback & Co., Garden City, N.Y. A team of eight partners and 32 staff joined WeiserMazars on Jan., 1. “Lou Biscotti and his team are among the most highly regarded leaders in accounting and advisory services for Long Island’s substantial food and beverage sector,” says WM’s MP Doug Phillips.

People In The News

Springfield,Mo.-based BKD (FY11 net revenue of $390.7 million), has named Tom Watson MP of the firm’s Dallas office, effective Jan. 1. Watson is the South Region leader for BKD’s national health care group. Watson was admitted to partner in 2001, and transferred to the firm’s Houston office in 2004. In 2010, he transferred to the firm’s Dallas office to help grow the BKD’s health care practice in that market. Watson succeeds MP Larry King, who is stepping down and into a role that will focus on business development initiatives for the Dallas market. King served as MP of the Dallas practice and its predecessor firm, KBA Group, for close to 30 years. BKD acquired KBA in 2009, and King has been instrumental in successfully integrating BKD policy, procedures and best practices.

Carmel,Ind.-based Blue & Co. (FY10 net revenue of $50.5 million), admitted Sara Jacobi to partner. Jacobi began her career in the firm’s Seymour, Ind., office in 1995. In 2002, Jacobi transferred to the firm’s Columbus, Ind., office to manage the tax and business services practice. She was instrumental in developing Aliign, LLC, an affiliated firm providing outsourced payroll,
accounts payable and accounting solutions in Southern Indiana, as well as across the firm. In 2010, Jacobi was presented the Ron Blue award, which is presented to personnel in the firm who excel at business development efforts.

Washington, D.C.-based Calibre CPA Group named James Kokolas MP, on Jan. 1. Kokolas will lead the firm’s 14 partners and more than 80 staff in D.C. and Chicago. Kokolas succeeds Stephen Raeder, after a 10 year-term as MP. Kokolas joined the firm in 1989. “I am very excited to lead the firm on its continuing journey serving our clients”, says Kokolas. “Furthermore, I want to acknowledge and thank Steve for the enormous contribution he has made to the success of the firm, and I look forward to continuing to work side by side with him.”

New York-based Ernst & Young (FY10 revenues of $7.1 billion), has named Mark Weinberger the firm’s next chairman and global chief executive, succeeding James Turley, who has served in the position since 2001. Weinberger will take the helm in June. Weinberger currently sits on the Global Executive, the firm’s highest governing body, and runs the organization’s Global Tax practice. He previously served on the Americas Executive and U.S. Operating Committee and ran the Americas Tax practice. Weinberger has been a senior advisory partner for many of the organization’s largest clients and also serves on the Global Markets Executive and Global Public Policy Committees. Mark was the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury (Tax Policy) under President George W. Bush and he was appointed to the U.S. Social Security Advisory Board by President Clinton.

Atlanta-based-Habif, Arogeti & Wynne (FY10 revenues of $59 million), named Richard Kopelman MP, effective Jan. 2013. Kopelman will succeed Dan Simms, who will end a nine-year term as MP. Kopelman joined the firm in 1992 and is a member of the firm’s executive board and leads the firm’s manufacturing and distribution practice. Kopelman also serves on the Board of Directors of the Association for Corporate Growth Association for Corporate Growth and founded Next Generation Manufacturing.