Archives for June 2015

National Organization Selects Atlanta Firm as Marketing Book Authors

Bonnie Buol Ruszczsyk

Bonnie Buol Ruszczsyk

bbr marketing, an Atlanta-based firm specializing in marketing strategy and tactical implementation for professional services organizations, has written and released their first book, Take Your Marketing Online: Proven Ways to Grow Your Firm in the Digital Age. This book, published through the AICPA, describes a variety of strategies and methods CPAs can use to make the most of their online marketing.

“I was honored when the AICPA approached me about writing this book,” says Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk, founder and owner of bbr marketing. “I have great respect for the AICPA and the education they provide to accountants and the industry as a whole. Our firm was only too happy to contribute to their overall body of knowledge and help accountants take their marketing online more effectively.” Some of the key topics covered include building a marketing plan, improving websites, blogging, content marketing, social media, search engine optimization, analytics and more.

Ruszczyk, with contributions from Kelly Lucas, bbr marketing’s client marketing director, and Sarah Warlick, the firm’s content director, created a comprehensive book that educates accountants about their digital marketing options, providing advice, strategy and tactics for implementation. “Given that the audience has varying levels of digital marketing understanding, it was important to write content that would be approachable for those new to the concepts, but also provide insight and sophisticated strategies for those who are already immersed in the digital world,” says Bonnie.

When searching for an author on this subject, the AICPA wanted someone who could provide marketing expertise that wasn’t an all-or-nothing approach, so that each firm could customize their strategies around the advice based on current needs and expand their efforts as their firm grows. “Following a speaking engagement at a conference, where I presented on topics related to the book, the AICPA began talking with me about writing this book, explaining they were impressed with the way I grabbed the attention of the audience,” says Ruszczyk. “They said they liked that I explained concepts that were new to many audience members in a way that was meaningful, sending them home with practical tips that they could use immediately.” The AICPA seemed equally impressed with bbr marketing’s own firm growth. “They could appreciate that in just a few years of being in operation we’ve managed to build a name for ourselves. We’ve become known for our ability to make sometimes intimidating marketing concepts more readily understandable for accountants and can explain ideas and strategies to them in a way that resonates.” bbr marketing is honored to have partnered with the AICPA to write and publish a book that is sure to help CPAs at any digital marketing level properly position and grow their firms.

To learn more about Take Your Marketing Online and to order your copy, visit

Overheard At The Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) Summit, June 7–10, Orlando, Fla.

Zombie Loyalists: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans

“In every customer service interaction in America we expect to be treated like crap.” We think service is great if they meet basic expectations. A lesson: “Be one level about crap.” – PR expert Peter Shankman, CEO of The Geek Factory Inc.

Be transparent: “When you screw up and own your mistake you turn a hater into a lover.” – Peter Shankman

Assoc. Accounting Marketing 2014

Growth Through Niches

How to ‘drive a wedge’ between a client and their existing accounting firm? Provide valuable education, consistently, at no cost, to show your firm is on top of the issues facing them. – Eric Majchrzak, chief marketing officer, BeachFleischman, and AAM’s 2015 Marketer of the Year.

How to bring energy to a stagnant niche? “It starts with talking with your clients. Go to their events. You will learn so much from doing that and you’ll be a more effective marketer.” – Eric Majchrzak

Listen and stay involved with clients in your niche, especially if you’re a veteran. “Make sure you continue to operate like you’re a scrappy start-up.”– Joe Kovacs, Marketing Director, Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman

CPAs can bring huge value to clients by understanding the problems they will have in a couple of years. – Joe Kovacs

The “I” in Diversity and Inclusion

“Diversity is who we are; inclusion is what we do.” – Richard Caturano, National Leader, Culture, Diversity and Inclusion, McGladrey

How MPs think about diversity: “It’s in the back of their minds, but it doesn’t come to the front of their minds, and that happened to me.” – Richard Caturano

“Fair isn’t everyone getting the same thing. Fair is everyone getting what they need in order to be successful.” – Richard Caturano

Despite What Most MPs Believe, Diversity Won’t ‘Take Care Of Itself’ – Richard Caturano

Ecosystem of M&A From an Operational Perspective

Rule No. 1 of M&A: “If you don’t want to eat lunch with someone, don’t do a merger.” – Joel Sinkin, president, Transition Advisors

Think of the 4Cs when choosing the right successor: Chemistry, Continuity, Culture and Capacity – Joel Sinkin

How to address client fears. Tell them: “I’m still there, the fee’s the same, I brought in an expert in your industry to help you, staff’s still here, the location’s the same.” – Joel Sinkin

“Time kills all deals. The longer you negotiate the more likely someone gets angry.” – Joel Sinkin

View the list of AAM Marketing Achievement Award winners.

Ziegler Elected President of California Society of CPAs

During her inaugural address as the new chair of the California Society of CPAs (CalCPA) for 2015-16, Jennifer Ziegler stressed that relationships with government leaders, CPA firms and minorities are highly important to her.

Jennifer Ziegler

Jennifer Ziegler

Ziegler said her top priorities for the year are:

  • Advocating for members on issues that affect the profession;
  • Attracting, educating and supporting CPAs in their professional and personal growth; and
  • Enhancing and promoting the visibility of the profession and CalCPA.

Speaking at the CalCPA Council’s annual meeting, Ziegler encouraged Society members to reach out to state lawmakers.

“A large part of CalCPA’s government relations efforts is based on building and maintaining relationships with elected leaders,” she noted. “With the variety of issues facing our profession, it’s more important than ever to educate policy makers on the real-life impact of legislative proposals.”

Ziegler previously served as CalCPA’s first vice chair. As managing director for Berkeley Research Group of Los Angeles, she consults with clients and counsel and provides expertise in forensic accounting, litigation support, expert witness testimony and fraud investigations.

Bowman & Company LLP Names Cesaro as MP

Michael Cesaro

Michael Cesaro

Voorhees, N.J.-based Bowman & Company LLP (FY14 net revenue of $14.7 million) named Michael Cesaro to MP effective July 1.

Prior to being elected to this new position, Cesaro was head of the governmental services department of the firm.

Bowman & Company specializes in providing audit, accounting, tax planning and preparation services, as well as employee benefit plan administration and management consulting services to a range of commercial and non-profit clients.

Moss Adams Admits New PIC

Trace Skopil

Trace Skopil

Seattle-based Moss Adams LLP (FY14 net revenue of $429 million) announced that Trace Skopil will lead its Eugene, Ore., office as the PIC.

“We are thrilled to have Trace take the helm in our Eugene office,” says Chris Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Moss Adams. “He’s served Moss Adams clients for more than 30 years and truly knows the local community. We’re excited to see him take things to the next level.”

Most of Skopil’s years in public accounting have been with Moss Adams in Eugene. He leads the office’s construction practice, and also provides accounting and consulting solutions for clients in manufacturing and forest products. He will lead six partners and 60 professionals in the Eugene office.

“We often say that Moss Adams offers personalized service with the resources of a national firm,” says Skopil. “In Eugene, it’s very much about the bonds and relationships you build with the community and your clients—it’s at the heart of what we do. I’m very excited to continue working with our existing clients as well as help the firm grow its presence in Eugene.”

REDW’s Business Valuation, Forensic and Litigation Services Department Admits Tobiason

Albuquerque, N.M.-based REDW LLC (FY14 net revenue of $26.2 million) admitted Michael Tobiason as a practice leader of valuation services in the business valuation, forensic and litigation services (BVFLS) department. He will work in REDW’s Phoenix office.

Michael Tobiason

Michael Tobiason

Tobiason joins REDW after serving as a shareholder and director of the consulting business unit at Anderson ZurMuehlen, where he performed and oversaw business valuation and litigation support services as well as succession planning and strategic planning services. He has extensive experience in developing business exit strategies, performing business price evaluations, evaluating tax implications and alternative transaction structures and assisting with negotiations between buyers and sellers.

Additionally, Tobiason brings to REDW a well-rounded understanding of the unique needs of clients within multiple industries. In his more than 25-year career, he has worked closely with financial institutions, manufacturing and wholesale/retail operations, retail auto dealerships, contractors, professional service organizations, oil and gas producers and high-tech service companies.

“We are thrilled to add Mike’s business valuation expertise and experience as an expert witness to our talented team,” says Ed Street, REDW principal and head of the BVFLS department. “Our clients will greatly benefit from his skills and proficiency he will add to REDW’s business valuation, forensic and litigation services team.”

“I have been in the CPA business for more than two decades and have long admired REDW’s reputation as a leading public accounting and consulting firm in the Southwest,” says Tobiason. “I’m excited for the opportunity to join a fast-growing, highly respected firm that offers the right combination of expertise, talent, resources and culture.”

Baker Newman Noyes Expands in Boston

Portland, Maine-based Baker Newman Noyes (BNN) (FY14 net revenue of $29.8 million) moved to new office space in downtown Boston at 175 Federal Street. The move provides the firm with more than twice as much space as their previous location.

The firm used this move as an opportunity to create a working environment that provides its Boston-based employees and principals more space and improved use of technology. The project was led by principal and COO Sean Sinclair. “Our Massachusetts presence is growing rapidly, and that is evident with the recent increase in our Boston workforce as well as our expanded internship program there,” says Sinclair. “It is important we keep pace with our continued growth. This move was the perfect opportunity to provide a modern and efficient working space for our current employees, while keeping in mind our needs in the future.”

BNN employees were involved in designing their new office and were excited to have a hands-on role in selecting the space, working alongside the architects on the design and creating an environment that reflects the energy and enthusiasm of its people. As a result, the firm achieved its goal: a sleek and bright workplace that meets the needs of an evolving team.

“This project was a huge success and we are very excited to be working in our new space,” says Mark Audi, PIC of the Boston office. “The whole process embodied the team spirit and collaborative approach that makes our firm successful.”

CPAmerica International Builds Stronger Bonds in Third Year of Visitation Improvement Program

CPAmerica International members recently completed the third year of its Visitation Improvement Program (VIP). The VIP was created as a special program that allows member firms to see the inner workings of their fellow association members in order to continue to improve as a team.

By the close of 2015, more than 70% of CPAmerica member firms will have participated in VIP. Twenty-seven firms have sent a team consultant more than once since the start of the program in 2012. The goal is that all 72 CPAmerica member firms participate in VIP by the end of 2016.

The VIP Program involves two CPAmerica Leading Partners forming a consultation team to visit another firm for two days, during which time the CPAmerica VIP team focuses on identification of one or two major goals to support the visited firm’s continuous improvement.

“This program is intended to allow a trusted colleague to give you their take on your business in a structured environment,” says Alan Deichler, president of CPAmerica. “Members spend two and a half days getting to know each other’s firms and then make recommendations based on what they see. So far, we have had a great response to the program and participants have taken the time to make thoughtful recommendations.”

At the end of the program, the VIP team makes their recommendations and discusses their perspective with the VIP firm being visited. A follow-up conference call is made after 12 weeks to revisit the suggested action items and discuss any areas of concern.

Ultimately, the firm can choose to implement or not implement any of the recommendations, but a deeper connection with other members of the association has been established. They have become each other’s trusted advisor.

The dues-funded VIP Program is designed to provide a practice management enrichment experience for all involved, both visited firm and team consultants.

Find out more information about VIP by visiting:

ABBB Announces Merger

Great Bend, Kan.-based Adams Brown Beran & Ball Chartered (ABBB) (FY14 net revenue of $15.8 million) announced an upcoming merger with David A. O’Dell CPA LLC of McPherson, Kan., effective June 29.

David O’Dell will join ABBB at their McPherson office.

“Our decision to merge was based on a number of factors, but for the most part we recognized that we share identical service philosophies – always putting clients first and focusing on giving back to the community,” says O’Dell.

“We have always had a great deal of respect for the team at David O’Dell CPA LLC,” says Brian Staats, MP at ABBB. “Combining our resources and knowledge base is a tremendous win for our clients and our professionals.”

ABBB provides a wide range of traditional and non-traditional CPA and consulting services to clients throughout Kansas, including agriculture organizations, construction companies, feed yards, financial institutions, governmental and not-for-profit organizations, manufacturers, medical practices, oil and gas companies, professional service firms, real estate companies and small businesses.

CohnReznick LLP Announces First Chairman of the Board and New Executive Board Members

Ken Baggett

Ken Baggett

New York-based CohnReznick LLP (FY15 net revenue of $575 million) has appointed Ken Baggett, co-CEO, as its first chairman of the board and elected Kevin Clancy, Risa Lavine and Ira Weinstein to serve as members of the Executive Board. Baggett will begin his role as chairman on Oct. 1, when he and Tom Marino step down as co-CEOs. Frank Longobardi will become the firm’s new CEO at that time.

Baggett has served as co-CEO of CohnReznick for three years, since the firm was formed out of the J.H. Cohn and Reznick Group combination. Prior to that, he served as managing principal of Reznick Group for 10 years.

In addition to his chairman duties, Baggett will be significantly more active in the firm’s affordable housing practice, assisting clients with opportunities and being more involved in the professional organizations that support the affordable housing community. He has extensive experience in providing structuring advice to developers, builders, syndicators, investment banks, corporate investors and housing finance agencies. In addition, Baggett will be actively involved in Nexia International, the firm’s international network, focusing on building relationships and issues of critical importance to clients’ global interests. Finally, he will be working with his long-standing network of professional contacts to further the firm’s M&A pursuits in strategic markets.

Kevin Clancy

Kevin Clancy

Clancy is a partner and national director of CohnReznick advisory group’s restructuring and litigation advisory practices. In this role, he provides financial advisory and litigation support services specializing in the areas of bankruptcy, debt restructuring, and investigative and forensic accounting. He is also OMP of the firm’s Edison, N.J., office. Clancy was previously a member of J.H. Cohn’s Management Committee prior to the formation of CohnReznick.

Risa Lavine

Risa Lavine

Lavine is a principal and Chief of Staff based in CohnReznick’s Bethesda, Md., office. She champions the execution and implementation of major people-centric strategies with a keen emphasis on leadership development; partner development and succession; and driving the firm’s culture of excellence. Lavine also helps to lead the firm’s women’s initiatives, WomenCAN and Executive Women’s Forum.

Ira Weinstein

Ira Weinstein

Weinstein is the co-managing principal of CohnReznick’s Baltimore office and co-leader of the firm’s new markets tax credits practice. He is focused on transaction advisory and finance services for projects utilizing the New Markets Tax Credit, historic rehabilitation tax credit, investment tax credit, production tax credit and low-income housing tax credit.

The Executive Board is responsible for the firm’s business and growth strategy along with the CEO and oversees the day-to-day operations of the Management Committee. Each member’s term is three years with provisions for reelection.