Archives for April 2015

Fuoco Group Completes Third Merger of 2015

Hauppauge, N.Y.-based Fuoco Group is proud to announce the merger of MCG Financial Services, Approved Accounting Associates and NHC Hospitality Consultants, a trilogy of accounting and consulting firms (“MCG”) based in Boca Raton, Fla., founded and operated by Joel Mason.

In addition to providing traditional accounting and tax services, Mason’s experience in the hotel and hospitality sector, as well as other industries, provides added diverse knowledge and capabilities to the Fuoco Group.

“We are very pleased with this latest merger and welcome Joel Mason and his staff into our firm,” says Lou Fuoco, chairman and CEO of Fuoco Group. “I am excited that our M&A strategy is off to a robust start in 2015 with our third merger. Not only does this merger increase our market share and overall capabilities in Southeast Florida, but it adds a hotel and hospitality niche to our organization that was otherwise a general service.”

“It is with great pleasure and excitement that I join Fuoco Group and assist in their expansion.” says Mason, now a director of Fuoco Group. “I’m looking forward to continuing to deliver unique offerings to our cliental.”

This merger is part of Fuoco Group’s Florida strategic growth plan. The firm is also looking to continue with growth opportunities in new areas such as Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New Jersey and Boston.

KPMG Opens First Ignition Center

New York-based KPMG LLP (FY13 gross revenue of $6.1 billion) opened the first of several planned high-tech work environments designed to facilitate the cross-functional teaming critical to the successful design and delivery of emerging solutions to its clients. Dubbed “Ignition Centers,” the environments are modeled after leading technology parks and business incubators around the world that feature dedicated, project-focused workspaces designed for information sharing, collaboration and increasing efficiencies during the creative process.

The new Ignition Center, based in Denver, stands to bring approximately 125 new jobs to the area in highly-sought-after fields including data science, enterprise architecture, application programming, solution development and IT integration.

“While we have offered these types of solutions for some time, we are now focused on centralizing the design and prototyping of these solutions in collaborative workspaces ­- enabled by the technology necessary to spark innovation,” says Stephen Chase, KPMG’s U.S. advisory management consulting leader. “Companies today need to think leaner, faster and more efficiently if they want to compete with emerging startups. These new centers will allow us to immerse our clients in an environment that replicates this start-up experience while also facilitating collaboration, creativity and teamwork.”

In addition to KPMG’s strong presence in the region, Denver was chosen as the location for the first center because its metropolitan area boasts a booming information technology workforce, including software developers and computer programmers and is rated as a top city for Millennials to develop their careers. KPMG plans to open additional Ignition Centers later this year.

Office-less, open floor plans, casual dress codes and recreational facilities create a casual, immersive environment for clients to identify and implement solutions that align business strategy with actionable execution. KPMG Ignition will also feature demonstrations of a variety of solutions via an interactive forum, along with seamless and scalable application infrastructure, including servers, internal and externally accessible network and software labs.

Five Suggested Topics for Your Firm’s Annual Partner Summit

Joe Tarasco

Joe Tarasco

By: Joseph Tarasco

As accounting firm leaders begin planning the agenda for their annual partner summits, consider the following discussion topics:

Putting the firm in a strategic position to create and sustain a competitive advantage. Strategic positioning is defining how your firm will best compete now and in the future for clients and talent. Strategic positioning is established by developing a business model that includes:

  • Developing creative new and innovative service offerings to meet the needs of clients and the marketplace.
  • Targeting clients of the right size, in specific industries, that the firm has the best possible chances of engaging.
  • Establishing and enhancing niches and specialties in focused areas rather than many small initiatives.
  • Establishing additional business locations to expand the firm’s geographic market reach.
  • Developing leaders and professional talent within certain niches and specialty areas.
  • Maximizing lead generation in target markets.

Accepting that what made the firm successful in the past may not take it successfully into the future. Long-term success depends on the partners’ ability to avoid being squeezed between the past and the present. Firms need to analyze, explore and determine new strategies to capitalize on marketplace opportunities and respond quickly with an appropriate action plan. Partners should review their professional talent, the firm’s processes and structure and how they are aligned.

Managing the pyramid for future success. Many accounting firms have become very top heavy and under-leveraged, which has been fueling the volume of merger activity over the last five or so years. Developing a proper pyramid structure with the right partner-to-staff ratio is difficult but necessary for delegation and succession planning. There is a direct connection between partner-to-staff ratio and profitability, growth and succession planning.

Exploring mergers and acquisitions to achieve the next level of success. Evaluate mergers and acquisitions to grow the practice and obtain the necessary talent to provide the right combination of services and expand the firm’s geographic reach. Keeping up with local competition for clients and staff while the profession consolidates is a necessary strategy that should be evaluated on an annual basis.

Evaluating partner performance and leadership. Partner performance accountability and related compensation decisions are an integral part of what defines a firm and its future success. It’s worth the time and effort to evaluate partner performance and to encourage the behaviors needed to add value to your firm. Chances of reaching peak potential are better if partners are formally accountable to each other for performance and attaining stated leadership goals and objectives. Getting your firm to the next level of success is not just about working hard and producing billable hours, it’s also about inspiring change, unleashing talented partners, and making contributions for the firm’s long-term future. Leaders need to be role models by proving that they are prepared to change how they act, evaluate and reward.

Joseph A. Tarasco is founder and CEO of Accountants Advisory Group, a consulting firm focusing on practice management, marketing and human capital strategies to help CPA firms achieve long-term success and profitability.

Baker Newman Noyes Continues Growth in Massachusetts by Expanding Financial Services Practice

Portland, Maine-based Baker Newman Noyes (BNN) (FY13 net revenue of $27.7 million) and Shatswell MacLeod & Company, PC (Shatswell MacLeod) of West Peabody, Mass., announced that the external audit and tax practices of Shatswell MacLeod and BNN will join forces under the BNN umbrella. The transaction is expected to be completed on July 1. Glen MacLeod, CEO of Shatswell MacLeod, along with his other partners, John Marsh, Kevin O’Brien and Joseph Jalbert, will become audit principals at BNN. John Fitzgibbons, the leader of Shatswell MacLeod’s tax practice, will also join BNN.

“We’ve known Shatswell MacLeod for a long time; their firm is a respected leader in the community banking space,” says Eleanor Baker, BNN’s managing principal. “We welcome their team’s focused approach to client service, deep experience and expertise as we grow this practice area together to meet the increasing needs of the financial services sector in New England and beyond.” BNN already serves a diverse banking client base that includes commercial and savings banks, credit unions, trust companies and investment advisory firms.

“We are excited to join a firm that shares our focus on high-level client service. Combining our two firms’ external audit and tax practices brings an even higher level of expertise, support and attention to our valued clients,” says MacLeod.

All of the employees of Shatswell MacLeod’s external audit and tax practices will become employees of BNN and continue to operate out of the existing Peabody and Springfield, Mass., offices, further expanding BNN’s presence and commitment across Massachusetts.

In a separate transaction, Shatswell MacLeod will be spinning off its well-known internal audit, IT and regulatory compliance practice areas. Tom Jendrysik, a current partner in the internal services division of Shatswell MacLeod will be taking the lead.

Thomson Reuters Appoints Akellian as Managing Director of Wealth Management

Thomson Reuters announced the appointment of David Akellian as managing director of wealth management. Akellian will be based in New York and will report to Abel Clark, managing director, financial sector.

In his new role, Akellian will lead the Thomson Reuters North American wealth management business, which delivers a complete suite of integrated front office and back office technology solutions to leading wealth management firms to manage their daily brokerage operations and complex regulatory and compliance requirements. Akellian and his team will extend Thomson Reuters partnership with customers and deliver the next generation of innovative and market leading solutions.

Akellian has more than 30 years’ experience in the financial services industry and is ideally suited to lead Thomson Reuters North American wealth management business. He joins Thomson Reuters from LPL Financial, where he was most recently executive vice president and head of Platform Solutions.

“We are delighted to welcome David to Thomson Reuters,” says Clark. “We are committed to our customers’ success and helping ensure that they thrive in a rapidly changing market. The appointment of David to lead our North American wealth management business, with the vast experience that he brings, is a clear demonstration of this commitment. David will provide key leadership as we further enhance our best in class solutions that address key operational challenges and let advisors focus on building relationships and growing their business.”

MGO Admits Davis as New Partner

Sacramento, Calif.-based MGO (Macias Gini & O’Connell LLP) (FY13 net revenue of $33.4 million) admitted Brandy Davis as a partner in the firm’s media and entertainment practice.

“Brandy brings exceptional business management expertise and a reputation for building lasting client relationships with many of the industry’s leading players,” says Kevin O’Connell, CEO and MP of MGO. “We’re excited to have her as part of the MGO team.”

Davis has more than 15 years of business management and taxation experience, specializing in industry executives, artists and high-net-worth individuals. Her areas of expertise include tax planning, estate planning, financial planning, risk management and consulting.

“My goal is to help my clients achieve their goals – to help them successfully manage their day-to-day financial affairs and make informed investment decisions,” says Davis. “MGO’s commitment to client satisfaction make it the perfect fit for my practice.” In her new role, Davis will continue to work closely with clients and industry thought leaders to drive service excellence and practice growth. She will be located in the firm’s Century City, Calif., office.

CPAmerica International Touts Initial Success with Crowe Horwath National Tax Office Opportunity

The Crowe Horwath LLP National Tax Office (NTO) recently accepted its 33rd CPAmerica International member firm. The nearly 10-month old program, which gives members access to NTO resources and specialists, has already exceeded CPAmerica’s participation expectations.

CPAmerica member firms that participate are treated similarly to Chicago-based Crowe Horwath LLP’s (FY14 net revenue of $670.2 million) own regional offices. Three of the four new firms who joined CPAmerica in the past few months have chosen to participate in the program.

Some benefits that are offered by NTO include having a senior member of NTO assigned to each member firm, professional time for technical consultations at a discounted rate and expert advice on tax services including mergers and acquisitions, accounting methods and periods, high level partnership issues, and accounting for income taxes.

“It was the best money we have spent,” says Carl Harper, partner at Pulakos CPAs, PC. “We have had prompt responses to our questions and received a PowerPoint that we presented to clients, comprehensive 3115 templates and updated templates for the new revenue procedures.”

“This program has great potential for our firms by providing access to expertise not otherwise available,” says Alan Deichler, president of CPAmerica. “The NTO offering provides CPAmerica members a unique combination of access to Top 10 expertise and sharing with like-minded firms throughout the country. I know of no other accounting association in such a position for its members.”

KPMG Elects Doughtie as U.S. Chairman & CEO

Lynne Doughtie

Lynne Doughtie

New York-based KPMG (FY13 gross revenue of $6.1 billion) in the U.S. has elected Lynne Doughtie to serve as its next chairman and CEO, for a five-year term starting July 1. Doughtie currently leads KPMG’s advisory business, and has distinguished herself in numerous leadership positions since launching her career in the firm’s audit practice three decades ago.

“It is an honor to have the chance to lead KPMG at such a pivotal moment, when ensuring quality and confidence in the work we do has never been more important,” says Doughtie. “Our firm, our clients and the entire marketplace are looking at a future of unprecedented change and extraordinary opportunity, where ‘business-as-usual’ is going to mean constant innovation and transformation. I’m excited to team with our incredibly talented people, as we work closely with companies and other organizations to help them address their most complex challenges and opportunities.”

Doughtie will succeed John Veihmeyer, who has served as U.S. Chairman and CEO since 2010 and simultaneously as global chairman of KPMG International since February of 2014. When Veihmeyer became global chairman, he indicated that he would serve the remainder of his term as U.S. chairman and CEO through its close on June 30, 2015, before focusing exclusively on his international role. He will continue to be based in the U.S. as he leads KPMG globally.

“Lynne Doughtie is an incredibly innovative, thoughtful and inspiring leader, who has the exact qualities needed to lead our firm and our people in a time of increasing complexity and change,” says Veihmeyer. “She has been a key member of our management team during a period in which we have built a strong culture within KPMG, that promotes integrity, high performance, and diversity and inclusion, and I know Lynne will continue to champion these values. She has led our U.S. advisory practice to unprecedented levels of success and established it as KPMG’s fastest growing business. Lynne will be an extraordinary and inspiring leader for KPMG and our people. I’m also pleased that she will be joined by P. Scott Ozanus, who will continue in his role as deputy chairman and COO. Scott has been a true steward of the firm and has been instrumental in the development and execution of our strategy and the unprecedented growth the firm has experienced over the last several years.”

Doughtie joined KPMG’s audit practice in 1985 and went on to serve in a number of national, regional and global leadership roles, including as the lead engagement partner for some of the firm’s major clients. She is a member of the U.S. firm’s management committee and KPMG international’s global advisory leadership team. Since 2011, she has led KPMG’s advisory business in the U.S., charting a path of tremendous growth, including the establishment of market-leading positions in business and risk consulting and transaction advisory services. She has also overseen the expansion of KPMG’s capabilities in innovative services and solutions, including information security, strategy, digital/mobile and transformation.

Ozanus has been re-elected deputy chairman and COO, a position he has held since 2012. Ozanus, who led KPMG’s tax practice before becoming deputy chairman and COO, has played a critical role in the development and execution of the firm’s strategic initiatives. He will continue to be instrumental in the firm’s efforts to strengthen existing services and expand into new and innovative areas through investments, alliances and acquisitions.

The election of Doughtie and Ozanus was ratified by the KPMG partnership in a vote completed April 20.

Grant Thornton Ranked Among Top Employers in Vault Accounting 50, the leading career resource for employer ratings and rankings, has ranked Chicago-based Grant Thornton LLP (FY13 net revenue of $1.3 billion) fifth on its Vault Accounting 50, an annual ranking of the best accounting employers to work for in North America. This marks the fifth consecutive year the firm has ranked in the top five.

Grant Thornton ranked among the top 20 in every quality of life category. According to Vault, the firm’s internship program “is an excellent opportunity for students to gain real-world experience while learning what it’s like to be a full-time staffer.” In addition, Vault highlights the firm’s many career development opportunities, including offering significant responsibility early in one’s career, the opportunity to work with a diverse client base, and frequent, formal training.

“At Grant Thornton, we’re building a healthy, high-performance culture by giving our professionals access to a robust offering of work/life options and quality learning opportunities, both formal and informal, to help them develop and stretch their skills,” says J. Michael McGuire, CEO of Grant Thornton. “Our consistent ranking is reflective of the firm’s commitment to collective and individual growth. The key to our success lies in our people.”

According to Vault, other areas of note for the firm include its focus on offering flexibility in schedules. Vault also cites that the firm’s business outlook is very bright, it is growing and employee morale is strong.

Grant Thornton Grows Strategic Federal Tax Services Practice

Liz Wallace

Liz Wallace

Liz Wallace has joined Chicago-based Grant Thornton LLP (FY13 net revenue of $1.3 billion) as a managing director in the firm’s strategic federal tax services practice, based in Metropark, NJ.

Wallace joins Grant Thornton from KPMG LLP, where she was a senior manager and leader of the Metro New York commercial tax credits practice. While there, she developed new credit service offerings and was responsible for increased practice revenue, achievement of utilization goals and development of a three-year growth plan. She also directed and conducted new business development activities and spearheaded new initiatives and service offerings.

“Liz’s deep knowledge of research and development tax credits, energy and sustainability tax incentives and new incentives that arise through legislation, judicial and other guidance will be integral in meeting the needs of our growth-oriented clients throughout the state,” says Frank Kurre, Grant Thornton’s Metro New York and New England MP. “Her arrival reinforces our continued commitment to the growth of our specialty tax areas in the Metro New York market.”