Archives for June 2013

Accounting & Consulting Group Joins PKF North America

PKF North America has announced that Accounting & Consulting Group has joined its ranks, giving the accounting association 103 members in the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico. Accounting & Consulting Group is based in New Mexico and Texas and provides  audit, tax, business planning and consulting for government, non-profit, agriculture, oil and gas, construction, trust & ERISA clients. “We are truly excited about the opportunity to join PKF North America as we believe our association with them will help us to improve ourselves as well as our client service – two of the principal drivers by which we measure our success,” said MP Ray Roberts.

WeiserMazars Gets New Leader of Tax Department in Long Island

Vincent Paolucci, a partner at New York-based WeiserMazars (FY11 net revenue of $141 million) since January 2012, will now be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Long Island tax department, the firm announced. He will be replacing Donald Bender, who will continue to serve as a member of the firm’s tax practice board that is responsible for setting firm policy. “Vince is a trusted professional with years of experience and knowledge that will allow him to effectively serve as operational leader at our Long Island office,” said Andrew M. Cohen, PIC of WeiserMazars’ Long Island practice.

Eide Bailly Adds Salt Lake City Firm

Fargo, N.D.-based Eide Bailly (FY12 net revenue of $157.7 million) is adding Salt Lake City-based Lake, Hill & Myers (LMH) on July 1, the Sioux Falls Business Journal reported. LMH has a staff of 24, including five partners. “This is all part of our strategic plan to build out our footprint to the west and to serve mid-market clients,” said Dave Stende, Eide Bailly MP/CEO.

Expansion of ADEA Would be Detrimental to Accounting Profession, says AICPA

In a letter to members of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has expressed concern that a significant expansion of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) would be detrimental to the accounting profession and respectfully requested that the EEOC decline to continue on this path.

In a June 25 letter from AICPA President and CEO Barry C. Melancon, CPA, CGMA, the Institute wrote, “We do not dispute that hundreds of thousands of non-partner employees are appropriately covered by the ADEA. However, we believe that accounting firm partners (those who own and control a portion of each firm) are not covered by the ADEA, and we do not believe they should be under consideration, as the possible action contends. Our position is consistent with – and relies upon – longstanding EEOC policy that presumes that partners are not ‘employees’ for purposes of anti-discrimination laws. A change that treats accounting firm partners as ‘employees’ would upend the long-established expectations and business reliance interests of the accounting profession.”

The letter states that, “Accounting firms have structured their partners’ compensation, capital contributions, buy outs, pensions, agreed-upon retirement dates, deferred compensation, voting rights, benefits, governance, and termination policies in reliance on the specific understandings evidenced by partnership agreements. … In particular, retirement policy provisions allow for the predictable progression of lesser tenured individuals into the partnership, and facilitate the orderly transition of a firm’s clients from senior partners to junior partners.”

“As the EEOC considers whether to expand the ADEA’s scope, we hope you will maintain the flexibility that allows CPAs to organize themselves and plan their succession as they see fit within the bounds of the existing law,” the AICPA wrote.

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June 25, 2013

The Honorable Jacqueline A. Berrien Chair, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The Honorable Constance S. Barker Commissioner, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The Honorable Chai R. Feldblum Commissioner, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The Honorable Victoria A. Lipnic, Commissioner, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The Honorable Jenny R. Yang, Commissioner

Dear Commissioners:

We understand that the EEOC is currently considering litigation against accounting firms that could expand the scope of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) by requiring that most partners in the accounting profession be treated as “employees” for purposes of the ADEA.1

As the world’s largest member association representing the accounting profession, with nearly 386,000 members and a 125-year heritage of serving the public interest, we are concerned that such a significant expansion of the ADEA would be detrimental to the accounting profession, and we respectfully request that the EEOC decline to continue forward on this path.

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) represents CPAs in the more than 11,000 accounting firms in the US currently operating as partnerships. We do not dispute that hundreds of thousands of non-partner employees are appropriately covered by the ADEA. However, we believe that accounting firm partners (those who own and control a portion of each firm) are not covered by the ADEA, and we do not believe they should be under consideration, as the possible action contends.

Our position is consistent with—and relies upon—longstanding EEOC policy that presumes that partners are not “employees” for purposes of anti-discrimination laws. A change that treats accounting firm partners as “employees” would upend the long-established expectations and business reliance interests of the accounting profession. Our profession by its nature possesses a high degree of business expertise, and these equity owners of firms have agreed to be partners and to be treated as such, both individually and collectively, by enforceable signed legal partnership agreements. Accounting firms have structured their partners’ compensation, capital contributions, buy outs, pensions, agreed-upon retirement dates, deferred compensation, voting rights, benefits, governance, and termination policies in reliance on the specific understandings evidenced by partnership agreements. The respective firms and their partners have adopted these policies for sound business reasons and have evolved a business model that has thrived and prospered for decades while also serving the public interest. In particular, retirement policy provisions allow for the predictable progression of lesser tenured individuals into the partnership, and facilitate the orderly transition of a firm’s clients from senior partners to junior partners.

Within the partnership structure, our members have adopted internal management practices that allow them to operate most efficiently, while simultaneously maintaining the long-held essential attributes and advantages of the partnership form. Current law allows partnerships to delegate managerial functions to other senior partners or partner boards that are created by the partners themselves. Yet even when our members have delegated day-to-day functions to their peers, it is all of the partners who own and who are ultimately responsible for the firm as a whole. These practices that allow for efficient day-to-day operation do not transform these partners into “employees”, nor should they be swept into the ADEA scope.

We encourage the EEOC not to upend the settled business models of the accounting profession by treating accounting partners as “employees” in the absence of Congress weighing the competing interests. As the EEOC considers whether to expand the ADEA’s scope, we hope you will maintain the flexibility that allows CPAs to organize themselves and plan their succession as they see fit within the bounds of the existing law.

We thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Barry C. Melancon, CPA, CGMA

President and CEO

American Institute of CPAs

cc: Members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

Members of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce

1 See “Discriminating Against Partnerships,” Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2013, at A14.

For further information, contact Jay Hyde at jhyde@aicpa.org or 202-434-9266.

Carl George Advisory Partners with The Platt Group / INSIDE Public Accounting

Carmel, Ind.-based The Platt Group, publishers of INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA), the IPA National Benchmarking Report, and the annual PRIME Symposium announce a strategic partnership with Carl George Advisory to bring deeper expertise and a wider range of services to the profession.

Carl George, who retired last year from CliftonLarsonAllen and founded Carl George Advisory of Fishers, Ind., brings an unprecedented level of experience to The Platt Group, to the annual IPA survey, and the annual PRIME Symposium, built around the IPA Best of the Best firms. George is best known for leading growth at Clifton Gunderson, where he served 16 years as CEO. He played a critical role in the 2012 mega-merger with Minneapolis-based Larson Allen to form CliftonLarsonAllen, an IPA Top 10 firm.

The Platt Group will benefit from George’s knowledge and experience in strategic planning, goal-setting and data analysis. IPA subscribers can learn from George’s insights into solving some of the most persistent management challenges facing firms: partner accountability, successful M&A, leadership development and sustainable growth.

George will work with IPA to author articles, assist in the development of the annual PRIME Symposium agenda, and will be available through The Platt Group for service and consulting offerings to firms looking to move to the next level or striving to become the “Best of the Best.”

“As a longtime thought leader in the profession who has played a huge part in the growth of Clifton Gunderson, Carl will be a tremendous asset. The Platt Group is looking forward to offering a greater variety of services through this alliance,” says Kelly Platt. Platt adds that George’s insights as COO and CEO of his former firm will be applied to the data collected through the annual IPA National Benchmarking Report, benefiting firms looking to grow and plan for the future.

“Carl will help us to dig down deep and quickly identify gaps and areas of improvement for firms,” she says. “I see the challenges and opportunities of many firms when reviewing their survey data, and our team will be better positioned to assist participating firms not only in collecting their data, but in helping them improve their performance metrics, through different offerings. Carl will be a great asset for uncovering best practices, authoring articles and assisting firms willing to make a change in moving forward in best practice style.”

“I’ve long respected the work of The Platt Group, and look forward to bringing my years of experience to this dynamic team in order to assist firms, and the growth of The Platt Group,” George says.

Mike Platt comments, “We have tremendous respect for Carl and have admired his accomplishments for a long time. We’re looking forward to bringing our collective talents together to enhance the value of what The Platt Group can deliver to the profession and to firms individually.”

The Platt Group continues to expand. In May, The Platt Group hired Christie Lugenbeal as the company’s marketing director, and also expanded the 10+ year relationship with Christina Camara, who joined The Platt Group in a much expanded role and currently serves as managing editor of INSIDE Public Accounting. “We are in a positive growth mode,” says Kelly Platt. “We plan to expand our offerings, products and enhance the experience of our clients.”

Save the Date: The PRIME symposium, Nov. 4 – 6, 2013, The Conrad Indianapolis

About The Platt Group

The Platt Group (http://www.insidepublicaccounting.com/) is the publisher of the award-winning newsletter, INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA), and the award-winning National Benchmarking Report. With more than 25 years of independent reporting and more than 23 years of survey and benchmarking experience, IPA works with managing partners, CFOs and thought leaders across the nation to provide practical ideas, benchmarking data and information to help firms succeed. Reach The Platt Group at info@plattgroupllc.com.

About Carl George Advisory

Carl George began Carl George Advisory after his retirement from CliftonLarsonAllen. George has received numerous awards, including being named one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting” by Accounting Today, and special recognition from the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) for its Financial Literacy Initiative, and from Ball State University as an Alumnus of Distinction. He was inducted into Ball State’s School of Business Hall of Fame in 2007. Reach George at carl@carlgeorgeadvisory.com.

Abacus Worldwide Admits its First 15 Members

Abacus Worldwide, a new international association of accounting, legal and business consulting firms, has admitted its 15 founding members. They are:

  • B&B Gestao Contabil Ltda. – Sao Paulo, Brazil (Accounting Firm)
  • Cunha Oricchio Ricca Lopes Advogados – Sao Paulo, Brazil (Law Firm)
  • Daren B. Tanner, P.C. – Beaverton, Ore. (Accounting Firm)
  • De Bruijn & Co Accountants – Belastingadviseurs – Amsterdam, Netherlands (Accounting Firm)
  • Ehrenstein Charbonneau Calderin – Miami (Law Firm)
  • Godoy Oliva & Asociados, S.C. – Guatemala City, Guatemala (Accounting Firm)
  • Integritas Limited – Nicossia, Cyprus (Accounting Firm)
  • KAP Gatot Permadi Azwir & Abimail – Jakarta, Indonesia (Accounting Firm)
  • Kronos Consulting – Lima, Peru (Consulting Firm)
  • LM Audit & Tax GmbH – Munich, Germany (Accounting Firm)
  • Maryam Bin Belaila Auditing – Dubai, United Arab Emirates (Accounting Firm)
  • Perello Polanco & Asoc – Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (Accounting Firm)
  • Pérez Alfaro & Asociados Contadores Ltda – Montevideo, Uruguay (Accounting Firm)
  • Schneider Boerema PLLC – Raleigh, N.C. (Law Firm)
  • Souza, Berger, Simões e Plastina Advogados – Porto Alegre, Brazil (Law Firm)

Abacus is seeking additional accounting, law and consulting member firms globally including in, but not limited to, China, Hong Kong, UK, India, Australia, California, New York, Mexico.

“We were established to bring together growing, like-minded and quality accounting, legal and business consulting firms,” said Julio Gabay, Abacus Worldwide president and CEO. “Member by member, our mission – to be the No. 1 resource for growing firms looking to do business locally and internationally – is beginning to develop.”

 

Myriad Group CPA is New President-Elect of Kentucky Society of CPAs

Kevin Schwartz, partner at Myriad CPA Group of Owensboro, Ky., will start a one-year term as president-elect of the Kentucky Society of CPAs on July 1 and become that group’s president in 2014. At age 39, Schwartz may be the youngest member to lead this 89-year-old group, society officials said.

Reznick Honored for Demystifying Low Income Housing Tax Credit

David Reznick, co-founder and former chairman of the board of CohnReznick predecessor, Reznick Group, has received the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers (HAND) Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is presented for lifetime achievement or for exemplary service to affordable housing. “David Reznick’s leadership and competency in demystifying the complexities of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, a critical tool used to develop and preserve affordable housing, gave the nonprofit sector the confidence to use this tool to further its mission,” said Nina Janopaul, President, HAND.

Kennedy Admitted to Partner at Levin Swedler Crum

Todd Kennedy has been admitted to partner to Levin Swedler Crum of Fairlawn, Ohio. Kennedy, one of the 18 employees at the firm, helps to oversee the firm’s financial statement audit practice, focusing on employee benefit plans and privately held businesses.

Baker Tilly Admits Seven New Partners

Chicago-based Baker Tilly Virchow Krause (FY12 net revenue of $259 million) has admitted seven new partners: Christopher Crowder, a member of the consulting team based in Washington, D.C., Monica Modi Dalwadi, in the risk advisory services and internal audit practice, Jodi L. Dobson, in the energy and utilities team, Laurie Horvath, with the not-for-profit services group, Christopher E. Jeffrey, in the risk and internal audit services group, Amar K. Kothapalli, who specializes in working with financial institutions, and Peter T. McElwain, a member of the firm’s tax and assurance group.