Archives for October 2015

BDO Survey: Public Companies Lack Cyber Security Mitigation Strategies

According to a new survey by Chicago-based BDO USA (FY15 gross revenue of $1.05 billion), 69% of public company board members report that their board is more involved with cybersecurity than it was 12 months ago.

A similar percentage (70%) say they have increased company investments to defend against cyber-attacks during the past year, with an average budget expansion of 22%. Despite this increase in awareness and resources, just 34% of corporate directors report that they have documented and developed solutions to protect their business’s critical digital assets, BDO reported.

Moreover, less than half (45%) have a cyber-breach response plan in place and only one-third (35%) of directors say their company has developed cyber-risk requirements for their third-party vendors.

“This year’s BDO Board Survey clearly shows that cybersecurity is moving up on the boardroom agenda.  Corporate directors report that they are being briefed more often and they are responding with increased budgets to address this critical area, said Shahryar Shaghaghi, national leader of technology services for BDO Consulting. “Nevertheless, the survey also reveals that there is much work to be done in terms of implementation of cybersecurity mitigation strategies.”

More than one-fifth (22%) of board members say their company experienced a cyber-breach during the past two years, double the percentage of 2013 (11%).

These are just a few of the findings of the 2015 BDO Board Survey, conducted by the Corporate Governance Practice of BDO USA in September 2015.  The annual survey examines the opinions of 150 corporate directors of public company boards regarding financial reporting, executive compensation, risk management and other corporate governance issues.  For the full survey report go to 2015 BDO Board Survey. Announces Alliance with Vertex SMB today announced a strategic alliance with Vertex SMB, a leading provider of cloud-based sales and use tax technology solutions for small to medium-sized businesses.

Businesses that sell online or operate in multiple states can find it daunting to stay compliant with ever-changing regulations from a host of jurisdictions and taxing authorities. Vertex SMB’s tax calculation and returns platform helps CPA firms and their clients manage their tax compliance obligations, announced.

“We know CPAs and their clients are facing increasing complexity related to calculating and remitting state sales taxes,” says Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of “To help firms successfully manage this complexity for their clients, we are launching a cloud-based tax compliance platform with Vertex SMB.”

Vertex SMB is a business division of Vertex Inc., which provides tax technology solutions to nearly half of the Fortune 1000. The Vertex SMB solution runs on the same advanced software platform that those larger enterprises use, although one tailored for ease of use by smaller companies. A pay-as-you-go pricing model with no long-term contracts ensures that businesses only pay for what they actually use each month.

Benchmarking Numbers to Watch Related to Succession

By: Michael Platt, publisher, INSIDE Public Accounting

Mike Platt

Mike Platt

The 100 largest firms in the nation, the IPA 100, are telling us that succession is not their top concern. In fact, only 15% of the IPA 100 said it was one of the three biggest challenges facing the firms. While on the surface this may appear as a victory, other issues – staffing, growth and profitability – have nudged out succession as the top three sources of concern.

All those issues affect succession, of course. IPA has been able to analyze data from hundreds of CPA firms over the past 25 years through the IPA annual Survey & Analysis of Firms and the IPA National Benchmarking Report, one of the longest-running and largest MAP surveys in the accounting profession.

Numbers to Watch Among the IPA 100

Data tells us there are several metrics related to succession that accounting firm leaders need to watch closely:

  • Equity Partner Retirements: Of the 75 IPA 100 firms that provided information on retiring partners, 77% experienced equity partner retirements either last year or this year. That represents a total of 136 partners retiring in 2014 and more than 110 expected to retire in 2015. These firms include 2,840 partners, with retiring partners representing 8.7% of the total.
  • Newly Admitted Partners: Those same firms admitted 230 equity partners in 2014 – 70% more than retired. Expansion in the partner ranks is coming from both internal staff and lateral hires, which accounted for 42% of admitted partners.
  • Retirement Obligations: Retirement payouts, which reflect the annual financial commitment by the firm to retired partners, averages 1.5% of a firm’s total net revenue. Based on IPA data, retirement obligations as a percentage of net revenue are actually down over the last few years due to renewed growth in top-line revenues.
  • Average Partner Age: The average age of the partner group, at 52.2, is increasing, despite the naming of new (presumably younger) equity partners, and mandatory retirement clauses in effect for 75% of the IPA 100.

How IPA Can Help

Compare your firm to firms of similar size, to those within your region or to the Best of the Best firms, using the 2015 IPA National Benchmarking Report. It offers detailed information on more than 500 firms with over 80 pages of tables, graphs and analysis, along with in-depth analysis of the IPA 100, IPA 200 and Best of the Best firms. Order the full report today or read the executive summary. Survey participants can also order the one-page customized Financial & Operational Report Card, an extremely valuable tool to help firm leaders get laser-focused on what’s working, what’s not working and where the firm needs to improve. Consider inviting IPA to your next partner retreat for a customized presentation based on your firm’s survey results in the context of a global view of what’s happening around the profession.

Capstone Marketing Creates Online Community of MPs

Capstone Marketing of Palm Harbor, Fla., is pleased to announce the creation of the Capstone Community, a community of MPs interested in education and collaboration regarding CPA firm growth and client retention.

Jean Marie Caragher

Jean Marie Caragher

A two-year program that will begin in January 2016. Members will meet via online meetings and receive one hour of individual coaching 10 times each year. Membership in each community is limited to 10 firms of similar size that are geographically exclusive. Members will have 24/7 access to the Capstone Community Library, including templates, checklists, videos and more.

“There are many managing partners interested in growing their firms and retaining clients who don’t have a peer group or internal marketing expertise,” explains Jean Caragher, president of Capstone Marketing. “The Capstone Community will fill the gap and provide managing partners with targeted tools, training and teamwork to enrich their firms.”

Learn more about the Capstone Community at  To register go to

Collins to Lead HBK Dealership Group

Rex Collins

Rex Collins

Rex Collins has joined Canfield, Ohio-based HBK (FY14 net revenue of $51.2 million). He will direct the dealership industry group.

Collins has worked extensively in the dealership industry since 1984 – on the inside as a department manager, a general manager and an owner, as well as an independent CPA providing tax, accounting and business consulting specifically to dealers.

For decades HBK, formerly Hill Barth & King, has focused on serving dealerships with a team of industry-savvy financial professionals. “Having Rex quarterback our team, with his depth of knowledge and experience in what is a very complex field, not only helps us grow that business but adds immediate and substantial value to our existing dealership client base,” says MP Chris Allegretti.

Rex has worked with hundreds of dealers from coast-to-coast since 1987 on creative tax planning and financial statements issues. Moreover he has perfected the art of supporting them with a wide range of transaction work, as well as providing consulting on operations, government regulatory compliance, valuations and M&A feasibility studies.

“Throughout the past six or so years I have collaborated with HBK professionals on various projects, which led to my observation of a real commitment by HBK to be a meaningful advisor to the dealership community,” Collins said. “Their dealership team understands the business, is dedicated and proactive, and I have always been impressed by their attention to detail and genuine concern for their clients’ well-being.”

McGladrey Rebrands as RSM US

RSM US LLP, formerly McGladrey LLP, is celebrating the launch of its new brand, which unites fellow firms from more than 110 countries in the RSM International network under a common brand.

The unified brand is part of an initiative to further RSM’s vision to be the first-choice advisor to middle market leaders globally.

As a centerpiece of the rebrand, RSM is launching The Global Real Economy, a semi-annual global edition of its flagship publication, The Real Economy. The reports address a range of international issues relevant to middle market firms around the globe. This global thought leadership initiative is part of a larger effort by RSM to provide actionable insights and analysis to middle market companies about the issues most relevant to their businesses.

RSM is also launching an advertising campaign in the U.S. as part of the rebrand entitled, “The Gauntlet,” with national television spots airing on Headline News, CNN, Bloomberg TV and The Golf Channel.

“It is extremely important that our thought leadership and creative assets represent the global issues our clients face every day and underscore our commitment to help them experience the power of being understood,” says Andy Bosman, principal and chief marketing officer of RSM US LLP. “Our unified brand gives us a broader range of global expertise and perspectives to provide even more relevant insights to middle market businesses on a daily basis.”

MarksNelson Appoints McElhaney to Executive Committee

Angie McElhaney

Angie McElhaney

Angie McElhaney, a member and chair of the assurance and business advisory practice at MarksNelson of Kansas City, Mo., (FY14 net revenue of $13.8 million) has been appointed to the firm’s executive committee.

McElhaney, who has been a partner at the firm since 2010, is now part of the three-person executive committee that runs MarksNelson, joining MP Mark Radetic and COO David Kaseff, the Kansas City Business Journal reported.

“I am honored to have been elected to MarksNelson’s executive committee and look forward to the added responsibility that comes with the position, including guiding the firm’s vision and ensuring we meet our goals,” McElhaney said in a release. “Being elected as a female on the committee shows our firm’s continued commitment to gender equity and dedication to positioning women in leadership roles.”

Marks Paneth was named one of the best accounting firms for leadership equity by the Accounting MOVE Project in 2014.

Leibowitz Joins Andersen Tax

Jay Leibowitz has joined San Francisco-based Andersen Tax as managing director in the Orange County, Calif., office

Leibowitz will be joining the commercial practice, specializing in federal tax. He has over 30 years of experience serving corporate clients, specifically with tax planning, restructuring, mergers and acquisitions including due diligence reviews, tax accounting methods and accounting for income taxes. He has experience in serving both multinational, publicly-traded corporations as well as private businesses.

Prior to Andersen Tax, he was the vice president of tax at DaVita Healthcare Partners in Seattle. Before that, he was a tax partner at Deloitte in Los Angeles for over 25 years. At Deloitte, Jay was responsible for serving a diverse corporate client base and providing consultation regarding tax issues such as multistate and international planning.

“Jay has experience in a large number of industries, such as health care, financial services, entertainment, technology, manufacturing, and retail. His tremendous track record will be a great asset to our clients as they look for solutions to achieve their mission,” says Bill Amon, managing director of the Los Angeles office.

“Jay is the fourth corporate partner that we have added in Los Angeles in the last six months. We are responding to the tremendous opportunities for our firm by companies that desire independent and quality tax advisors,” says CEO Mark Vorsatz.

Graham Joins CohnReznick As Tax Partner

Jay Graham

Jay Graham

Jay Graham has joined the Roseland, N.J., office of New York-based CohnReznick (FY15 net revenue of $575 million) as a partner in the firm’s tax practice.

With more than 20 years of diversified public accounting experience, he has provided tax services to privately held C corporations, S corporations, partnerships and individuals in a variety of industries. He has extensive expertise in tax compliance and consulting, ASC 740, and Tangible Personal Property Regulations.

Prior to joining CohnReznick, he was a managing director and partner for a Top 10 accounting firm with over 100 offices nationwide. He also spent half of his career at Big 4 accounting firms. Graham has instructed in-house training sessions for Tangible Personal Property Regulations and ASC 740.  He has also taught tax courses before the Tax Executive Institute (TEI) on ASC 740 and mergers and acquisitions.

Siegfried Appoints New Professionals For Director-Explore Program

Wilmington, Del.-based The Siegfried Group is proud to announce the addition of 11 new professionals to join the second class of Siegfried’s Director-Explore program, which is one step in a multiple-year intensive track toward becoming a managing director.

This group will take part in a boot camp program, where they are immersed in sales trainings led by Rob Siegfried, CEO and founder, as well as other members of senior leadership, and learn first-hand about Siegfried’s leadership advisory and sales efforts.

Successful members of this group will go on to become market associates and will support the markets in the areas of business development and recruiting. The next several steps in the program will enable these professionals to concentrate more of their time on providing leadership advisory and talent delivery services to clients and prospects.

The 11 professionals selected for the program are:

  • Lauren M. Castellon, who joined the firm as a professional resource in the Washington, D.C. market in 2013.
  • Jesse Cox, who joined the firm in 2013 as a professional resource and later on became team leader. He now joins the Philadelphia Metro leadership team as part of the Director-Explore program.
  • Sean Maffei, who joined the firm in 2013 as a professional resource and later went on to become a team leader. He now joins the New York Metro leadership team as part of the Director-Explore program.
  • Michael Piecuch, who joined Siegfried in 2014 as a professional resource and now joins the Los Angeles market’s leadership team. “
  • Anthony Rosenblum, who joined Siegfried in August of 2015 in the Detroit market, to be part of the second class of the Director-Explore program.
  • Jake Safarik, who joined Siegfried’s NorCal market in early 2015 as professional resource and now is a member of the Director-Explore program.
  • Ben Skaggs, who joined the firm in 2014 as a professional resource in the Charlotte market and now joins the second class of Siegfried’s Director-Explore program.
  • Vickie Schmuker, who joined the firm in 2011 as a professional resource and later went on to become the professional resource director for Chicago and Cleveland.
  • Catherine Tran, who joined Siegfried in 2015 and currently is part of the Director-Explore class in the Boston market.
  • Erica Vandell, who joined Siegfried in 2013 as a professional resource, and quickly rose to the position of team leader through her exceptional performance and dedication to the firm.
  • Tiffany Watts, who was a professional resource with Siegfried from 2011 until 2012. She spent the past few years working for companies such as DCP Midstream and now returns to Siegfried’s Denver market to take part in the second class of the Director-Explore program.