Archives for July 2015

IPA INSIDER: July 2015 News

Listed below are the Top 10 most-read stories on the INSIDE Public Accounting blog for the month of July.

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  1. A New Role for Accounting Firms: Market Developer
  2. BDO USA Admits Talley to Director in the Risk Advisory Services Practice
  3. CohnReznick LLP Announces First Chairman of the Board and New Executive Board Members
  4. EKS&H Expands to California
  5. Overheard At The Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) Summit, June 7–10, Orlando, Fla.
  6. Two Vermont Firms Join Forces
  7. Marks Paneth Expanding to Purchase, New York
  8. CLA Acquires New Bedford, Mass., Firm
  9. Conner Ash and Martens & D’Angelo to Merge in September
  10. Brown Edwards Admits New Partners

Moll Named Chair of Delaware Society of CPAs

Jonathan Moll

Jonathan Moll

Jonathan Moll, a director at Belfint, Lyons & Shuman of Wilmington, Del., has been named chair of the Delaware Society of Certified Public Accountants (DSCPA).

The DSCPA is Delaware’s premier professional association comprised of more than 850 CPAs and accounting professionals in public practice, industry, government and education. Moll’s top priorities are the initiatives regarding education, advocacy and support of the DSCPA CPE Program.

54 Dogs Seized in Southeast Ohio, Rea Employees Collect 175 Pounds of Food

The Humane Society of the Ohio Valley (HSOV) became the new home to 54 Jack Russell/Beagle-mix dogs earlier this month, after area officers were made aware of deplorable conditions within a home in Fleming, Ohio. Armed with a search warrant, the pups were seized and transported to the humane society, which immediately found itself in need of food, medicine and cleaning supplies.

After learning of the crisis, employees at New Philadelphia, Ohio-based Rea & Associates (FY14 net revenue of $33.4 million) offered help. Staff in the Marietta, Ohio, office collected more than 175 pounds of dry dog food, 12 gallons of bleach, and eight boxes of treats and cash donations in two days.

None of the dogs are spayed or neutered, and officers found all 54 in various conditions, some pregnant, nursing or just puppies, some packed in cages and others running loose, with a variety of infections and illnesses, the Marietta Times reported.

“Rea & Associates is always very kind to us,” said HSOV Director Linda Pettit. “We talk to them frequently and they are always happy to help. In fact, whenever there is a need, this whole community just comes together. They really love animals here.”

ORBA Director Named a Five Star Professional

Steven Lewis

Steven Lewis

Steven H. Lewis, a director at ORBA of Chicago, has been named a 2015 Five Star Certified Public Accountant by Five Star Professional.

Five Star Professional conducts research to help consumers select professional services assistance. The Five Star award is presented to wealth managers, real estate agents, mortgage professionals and other service professionals in more than 45 markets in the U.S. and Canada. The Five Star award recognizes exceptional and quality services to clients.

“My clients’ trust is my top priority,” Lewis says. “I always work diligently to advocate in their best interests, now and in the future.”

He specializes in serving high income and high-net-worth individuals, including physicians, attorneys, professional athletes, consultants and other entrepreneurs. Lewis was also named a Five Star Certified Public Accountant by Chicago magazine in 2014.

Marcum Bernstein & Pinchuk Names COO

New York-based Marcum Bernstein Pinchuk (MarcumBP) has announced that Stanley Chang has joined the firm as COO, a newly created role to support the firm’s rapid growth in China.

The firm has a substantial China practice, with five offices there. Chang, based in Beijing, is responsible for firm-wide operations and will lead the advisory team in China. MarcumBP currently provides services to over 50 clients in the China market.

Chang has led regional and global compliance projects across various industries. He specializes in working with clients in provincial/state governments and non-profit organizations in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, South Africa, Taiwan, and the United States.

“Stanley Chang is extremely well qualified to help drive the continued growth of our advisory business in China, for companies seeking to expand overseas, as well as for foreign entities seeking investment opportunities in the China market – particularly in the U.S.-China trade corridor,” said Drew Bernstein, co-MP of MarcumBP.

Chang is a 30-year veteran of the Asian and U.S. capital markets and is currently a board member of the China Institute of Internal Auditors (CIIA).

Heidi LaMarca Named New MP of Windham Brannon

Heidi LaMarca has been elected MP of Windham Brannon of Atlanta (FY14 net revenue of $21.3million), succeeding David Kloess.

Heidi LaMarca

Heidi LaMarca

LaMarca joined Windham Brannon in 1994, and serves as a principal and the audit practice leader for the firm’s employee benefit plan services, which includes employee benefit plan audits, Form 5500 filings and advisement. With more than 20 years of accounting and audit experience, LaMarca’s expertise covers a wide range of disciplines, including financial statement audits, reviews and compilations for a variety of industries and not-for-profit organizations. Prior to Windham Brannon, she worked for KPMG in Atlanta.

“On a daily basis, Heidi has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills with her teams, as well as the technical expertise and innovative thinking needed to bring value not only to our clients but to the firm as well,” says Charles McGimsey, practice leader for litigation and support services at Windham Brannon.  “We’re confident that she will move our firm forward by finding new and efficient ways to address clients’ needs and expectations; identifying and developing new business opportunities; attracting and nurturing the next generation of accountants; and implementing technology to keep up with the speed of business.”

Platt’s Perspective: Shifting The Power Of Billing To Clients In Real Time

“Disruptive innovations.” It’s a phrase we continue to hear more and more often, as new approaches to old ways of doing things continue to be developed. One interesting innovation recently entered the legal profession, and is sure to have an impact in the near future on accounting firms as well.

For as long as the profession has been around, the billing process has been managed and controlled by the service providers themselves. Law firms (and accounting firms) enter hours worked in the time and billing system, review reports, write off time as they feel appropriate, issue discounts (or premiums) as they feel appropriate, and send the invoice out the door. Occasionally, especially in the legal world, clients are surprised by the size of the bill, object to the cost, and the firm adjusts the bill based on the client’s pushback. Sound familiar?

Mike Platt

Mike Platt

Enter a new generation of apps designed to shift the control to the client, removing some of the secrecy inherent in the traditional billing process. In the last 18 months, new disruptive products such as ViewABill, LeGuard and Apperio have  appeared, allowing law firm clients not only transparent access to the billing process, but also the power to “throttle back” the amount of work being delivered by the firm based on real-time access to hours in the online system. This collaborative approach between client and attorney is intended to help clients budget better and eliminate surprises when the bill arrives.

According to ViewABill, the first of these companies in the market, the initial response by law firms was fear that the software would drive a wedge between them and their clients. In an article earlier this year in Bloomberg Business, ViewABill reports that half the top law firms in the country are now using their software, helping the firms to promote a culture of collaboration with their clients. A marketing video for LeGuard  touts the “revolutionary way to control legal billing by holding lawyers accountable for the number of hours they bill to a client.” Apperio provides customizable dashboards to track time, provide real-time alerts based on spending thresholds the clients set, and compares performance to other law firms, encouraging the firm’s clients to “keep your eye on the ball.”

Based on the annual IPA National Benchmarking Report, more than 95% of the revenue generated in firms still comes from the traditional “dollars times hours” formula. It’s just a matter of time before this same technology innovation permeates the accounting profession.

  • Could this promote a culture of greater collaboration between firms and their clients?
  • Could it drive the profession to issue invoices in a timelier manner?
  • Could it eliminate those awkward after-the-fact billing questions from clients?
  • Could your clients demand that YOUR firm provide this type of access?

Whether this specific disruptive innovation is met with defensiveness or eagerness, the fact remains that it is here now, and is part of the growing trend empowering clients. Firms that embrace collaborative billing, prepare for it, create processes to maximize its potential, and appropriately communicate to clients, in my opinion, will win.

Hunzelman, Putzier & Co. Announces New Partner

Hunzelman, Putzier & Co. of Storm Lake, Iowa, announced that Steve Campbell has been admitted to partnership in the firm.

Campbell joined Hunzelman, Putzier, & Co. in 2007 upon graduation from Buena Vista University. His accounting and auditing experience is with counties, cities, utilities, owner-operated businesses, farming, and tax.

AICPA Significantly Revises Two Governmental Auditing Guides

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has revised two key publications that are relied upon by auditors of governmental and not-for-profit entities that expend federal awards and those who audit state and local government financial statements. The guides are a facet of the AICPA’s Enhancing Audit Quality initiative.

The 2015 edition of the AICPA Audit Guide, Government Auditing Standards and Single Audits, is used by auditors performing single audits of federal expenditures, as well as audits performed in accordance with Government Auditing Standards (the Yellow Book).

“In particular, this year’s guide provides critical information for auditors to manage the transition from performing single audits under OMB Circular A-133 to the new OMB Uniform Guidance regulation for single audits,” said Mary Foelster, AICPA director of governmental auditing and accounting. Foelster oversees the Institute’s Governmental Audit Quality Center.

The audit requirements contained in the new Uniform Guidance for single audits generally become effective for December 31, 2015, year-end single audits and later. Audits performed prior to that time will be under OMB Circular A-133, but there are still Uniform Guidance implications for expenditure testing in those audits.

The 2015 edition of the AICPA Audit and Accounting Guide, State and Local Governments, provides the latest authoritative guidance and critical “how-to” advice for audits of state and local governments.

A critical addition to this year’s guide, updated as of March, 1, 2015, is a comprehensive new chapter that addresses the accounting and financial reporting requirements under GASB’s new pension standards, as well as related auditing considerations for both audits of governmental pension plans and the employers that participate in those plans.

BlumShapiro Creates BlumShapiro Consulting

West Hartford, Conn.-based BlumShapiro (FY14 net revenue of $68.5 million) has rebranded its consulting services business into BlumShapiro Consulting, with office locations in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

BlumShapiro Consulting, with its new tag line, “Let’s imagine doing,” provides strategic, operational and tactical expertise in management consulting, technology consulting, project and portfolio management, software and business process outsourcing and more.

“The rebranding of BlumShapiro Consulting reflects the growing needs of clients for a single source of advisors with the expertise and commitment to improve business performance,” said Carl Johnson, BlumShapiro MP. “BlumShapiro Consulting is a continuation of our mission to service all aspects of our clients’ businesses.”