Firms in the News: February 14-20

Anchin, Block & Anchin Receives Award

New York-based Anchin, Block & Anchin (FY12 net revenue of $93 million) has been named the U.S. Overall Accountancy Firm of the Year for the second year in a row in the annual International Hedge Fund Awards. Winners were selected by Acquisition International Magazine.

“Anchin is thrilled to once again be recognized by Acquisition International Magazine’s International Hedge Fund Awards as the U.S. Overall Accountancy Firm of the Year,” says Jeffrey Rosenthal, PIC of the firm’s financial services practice. “This recognition is a testament to our hard work and devoted team, who consistently bring the highest levels of service and technical expertise to our clients.”

Bedel To Chair Indiana CPA Political Action Committee

Mike Bedel, a partner and director of audit and assurance services at Indianapolis-based Sponsel CPA Group (FY12 net revenue of $3.1 million), has been elected chairman of the Indiana CPA-Political Action Committee (CPA-PAC).

Mike Bedel

Mike Bedel

The Indiana CPA-PAC supports the legislative interests of the CPA profession. Through contributions from individual CPAs statewide, the CPA-PAC supports the campaigns of candidates for the state legislature who support the best interests of the clients, employers, businesses and the public served by the CPA profession.

Bedel served on the Indiana CPA Society Leadership Cabinet for two years, and has been a Trustee of the PAC since January 2012.

“I have been proud to represent Hoosier CPAs as a trustee of the Indiana CPA-Political Action Committee, and am now honored to take up a leadership position,” says Bedel. “We will work together to uphold the high standards of our profession and address their concerns directly to our elected officials.”

Sobel & Co. Launches New Practice Group

Livingston, N.J.-based Sobel & Co. (FY12 net revenue of $15 million) announced the launch of its valuation advisory, due diligence and commercial damages consulting services group, led by Christopher Young, a corporate finance industry veteran.

In this position, Young will be responsible for sourcing and the preparation of valuations, due diligence and commercial damage assignments, as well as testifying as an expert witness, when called upon.

Mountjoy Chilton Medley Is Rebranding

Louisville, Ky.-based Mountjoy Chilton Medley (FY12 net revenue of $37.2 million), an IPA 100 firm, is in the midst of re-branding.

Re-branding occurs about every five years at Mountjoy Chilton Medley (MCM), in part because the business world inevitably changes, but even more so because the firm is constantly evolving. In the past year alone, two services were added to the consulting department, itself the newest addition to the firm, joining the traditional assurance and tax departments.

The re-branding is nothing new to Diane Medley, MCM’s MP. The only female managing partner of the Top 100 accounting firms nationwide, Medley and John Chilton founded Chilton & Medley with five people and a revenue budget of $350,000 in 1988.

PwC Faces Malpractice Suit Over SemGroup Audit

PwC (FY12 gross revenue of $10.1 billion), an IPA Top 25 firm, is facing a trial in a malpractice lawsuit related to SemGroup, an Oklahoma oil-and-gas service company, which filed for bankruptcy in 2008 after risky investments in futures cost the company more than $2 billion.

SemGroup, based in Tulsa, emerged from bankruptcy in 2009, and two years later, the former chief executive settled civil charges. Thomas Kivisto was accused of misleading investors about energy trading conducted by the company. No wrongdoing was admitted in the settlement, but he paid a $225,000 penalty and gave up his rights to more than $1.1 million in stock.

Now, the Wall Street Journal reports that SemGroup’s creditors are seeing $1.1 billion in damages from PwC, which stated that SemGroup’s financial statements were fair and accurate. PwC was SemGroup’s auditor from 2004 to 2008.

The case is “one of the most egregious instances of auditor malpractice in Oklahoma history,” according to Bettina Whyte, the lawyer in charge of pursuing litigation to recover funds for creditors.

“During the time Kivisto was engaged in the speculative trading activity and his own self-dealing, rather than sounding alarm bells, PwC issued unqualified opinions in support of the company’s financial statements year after year,” court papers say. “In so doing, PwC committed malpractice, causing SemGroup and its stakeholders to suffer billions of dollars in damages.”

A PwC representative told the Wall Street Journal in a statement that the firm “looks forward to defending its work” at the trial, set for August. “SemGroup’s financial statements were correct and PwC’s audit work complied with professional standards. The losses at issue in this case resulted from business decisions made by SemGroup management and an unprecedented rise in the price of oil in 2008.”