Archives for 2018

New Jersey CPAs Say Minimum Wage Should Be Raised, But Not to $15

More than 55% of the 1,204 New Jersey CPAs surveyed earlier this month by the New Jersey Society of CPAs support raising the state’s minimum wage from the current $8.60 per hour, or $8.85 starting Jan. 1.

However, if the minimum wage were raised to $15 an hour – even over a period of years – 63% of those surveyed said it would hurt the state’s economy.

The majority of those surveyed supported a minimum wage hike even without exemptions for seasonal or teenage workers. Nearly 50% of survey respondents said such exemptions would not affect their opinion. Yet, 32% said they would be more likely to support a gradual minimum wage hike to $15 with the exemptions included.

Gov. Phil Murphy is in favor of having a $15 minimum wage in the state without any exemptions, but opponents and others have supported the exemptions to get more widespread acceptance of the full hike. New Jersey’s current minimum wage also excludes employees who are tipped, student workers and other exempt occupations.

Raising the minimum wage will have an inflationary impact, causing ripple effects which will impact consumers, and ultimately drive businesses out of New Jersey, say respondents, according to NJCPA. As one commented, raising the minimum wage is “nothing more than a short-term stop gap…It’s a false front for the politicians, not a true economic creator or benefit.”

Any wage hike should also be indexed to reflect the difference in cost of living in various New Jersey communities, according to respondents. Several cited the need for the wages to remain below $15, though increased from its current level, as it is a minimum wage designed for entry-level workers and not a living wage to support a family.

Armanino Welcomes Dallas Firm in New Year

San Ramon, Calif.-based Armanino LLP (FY17 net revenue of $242.7 million) has announced that it is expanding in Dallas by bringing on Fred J. Bastie & Associates, effective Jan. 1.

Founder Fred Bastie will join Armanino as a partner in the tax practice, and his team, which includes three other CPAs and two principals, is expected to join the larger firm as well. They will move to Armanino’s Dallas office, which is less than two miles from their current location.

“Fred and his team are well-respected in the Dallas community, and we are very excited for them to be joining with Armanino,” says Perry Kaufman, PIC for Texas at Armanino, in a statement. “Their expertise in individual, estate and gift, and real estate taxation are a great addition.”

The deal is expected to give Bastie’s individual clients access to greater expertise in tax consulting, international tax, wealth transfer strategies, business management and family office services, while his business clients will have access to a set of solutions including outsourced finance and accounting, expertise in M&A advisory, audit capabilities, technology consulting and business strategy.

“By joining together we can continue to provide our clients with a high level of personalized service while adding all the resources Armanino has to offer,” says Bastie, in a statement. “Armanino is a great fit for us, and I look forward to continuing to provide exceptional tax planning and consulting to all our clients.”

Armanino, named as an IPA Best of the Best Firm for 15 out of the last 16 years, expanded to Dallas in January 2017 by merging in Travis Wolff.

Marcum to Merge In Silverman Kendall

New York-based Marcum (FY17 net revenue of $469.5 million) will merge in Silverman Kendall of Horsham, Pa., on Jan. 1.

The Silverman Kendall team will join Marcum’s Philadelphia office in Center City. Samuel A. Silverman and Jordan M. Kendall will both become Marcum partners.

Founded in 2001, Silverman Kendall is a firm specializing in manufacturing companies and professional service organizations, with a niche in the commercial printing industry. It provides a full range of accounting and consulting services to family-owned businesses, owners, executives and other high-net-worth individuals.

“Sam Silverman and Jordan Kendall built a very highly regarded firm with a focus on serving an industry that is instrumental in business-to-business and consumer commerce. Their niche expertise and their history as advisors and confidantes to their clients make them a perfect fit for Marcum,” says Jeffrey M. Weiner, chairman and CEO.

Silverman says, “We clicked with Marcum from the outset. The mutual chemistry and the business logic of joining a national firm of Marcum’s depth and stature will bring immediate benefits for our clients across the country as well as for our service team.”

Deloitte Board Nominates New U.S. CEO to Replace Engelbert

Joseph Ucuzoglu

Joseph Ucuzoglu

According to The Wall Street Journal, Deloitte LLP’s board has nominated Joseph Ucuzoglu, who leads the firm’s audit practice, as its official candidate to replace CEO Cathy Engelbert, who will apparently serve just one term.

The Journal, citing internal emails, reports that Janet Foutty, head of Deloitte’s consulting business, was nominated to be U.S. chairman. Both candidates are subject to a vote by Deloitte’s partners and principals early next year.

The board chose Ucuzoglu after deciding earlier this year not to nominate Engelbert for a second term. The Journal reported in June that the move stunned partners.

“Until this week, there was still a chance Ms. Engelbert’s name might be put back into consideration as part of Deloitte’s elaborate CEO-selection process,” writes reporter Michael Rapoport.

In an email the Journal obtained, Mike Fucci, Deloitte’s current U.S. chairman, said that while Ucuzoglu and Foutty are “the most qualified and best prepared candidates” to lead the firm, write-in candidates have been submitted to the board for consideration.

Engelbert says in a prepared statement that it had been “my privilege” to serve as CEO. “I am excited for the future and look forward to supporting a successful and smooth transition process to new leadership through the end of my term.”

Engelbert became the first woman CEO of a U.S. Big 4 firm when she took the job in 2015.

Moore Stephens North America Appoints Three New Board Members

Bruce Zicari

Bruce Zicari

Members of Moore Stephens North America (MSNA) have voted in three new members to join the MSNA Executive Board.

“The Bonadio Group has been proud to be part of the MSNA Team for over two decades, delivering great value to our firm, our people and our clients,” says Bruce Zicari, incoming MP at Pittsford, N.Y.-based The Bonadio Group (FY18 net revenue of $97.9 million). “I am honored to be appointed to the MSNA Board and look forward to working with my fellow board members, as well as the member firms, to collaborate, innovate and improve.”

In addition to Zicari, Patrick Fuelling, partner at Troy, Mich.-based Doeren Mayhew & Company (FY17 net revenue of $72.6 million), and Dan Natale, managing partner at Segal LLP of Toronto, Ontario, joined the board, effective Jan. 1.

Patrick Fuelling

Patrick Fuelling

“At Doeren Mayhew, we see the benefits of being a member firm with Moore Stephens on a daily basis. Leveraging a network of specialized resources across the globe has helped us gain opportunities we might not have otherwise been able to,” says Fuelling.

Natale says, “Since joining MSNA, Segal LLP has developed strong, mutually rewarding relationships with member firms across the association and I look forward to working with my colleagues on the board to help MSNA and its members meet our goals.”

The executive board is democratically elected by their peers to set the direction for North America, so clients are assured the same professional standards and quality services are provided everywhere.

Dan Natale

Dan Natale

“Each new board provides a unique set of insights and perspectives to propel our association forward, and the addition of Bruce, Pat and Dan will certainly keep that momentum going,” says Tony Szczepaniak, chief executive officer of MSNA.

The executive board consists of nine members. In addition to Zicari, Fuelling and Natale, Andy Armanino, MP of San Ramon, Calif.-based Armanino LLP (FY17 net revenue of $242.7 million), and Tony Caleca, MP of Creve Coeur, Mo.-based Brown Smith Wallace (FY17 net revenue of $46.3 million), will remain as chair and vice-chair, respectively. Also retaining their seats on the board are Lou Grassi, CEO and MP of New York-based Grassi & Co. (FY17 net revenue of $59.6 million), Rick Davis, CEO of Greenville, S.C.-based Elliott Davis (FY18 net revenue of $119 million), Cheryle Burke, COO of Woburn, Mass.-based DiCicco Gulman & Company (FY17 net revenue of $26.4 million) and Beth Leonard, MP of Lurie LLP of Minneapolis (FY17 net revenue of $28 million).

Leaving the board is Greg Hutchins, partner at Los Angeles-based Holtin Carlin & Van Trigt (FY17 net revenue of $135.9 million).

UHY LLP Announces Hopkins’ Admission to Partnership

Laurie Hopkins

Chicago-based UHY Advisors (FY17 net revenue of $140.8 million) has announced that Laurie Hopkins has been admitted as an audit partner in the St. Louis office.

She has more than 30 years of experience in public accounting serving clients in the greater St. Louis community. She joins UHY from CBIZ & Mayer Hoffman McCann, where she served as the lead managing director and attest practice leader in the St. Louis office in addition to serving as a member of MHM’s national board of directors.

Hopkins says, “I chose to join UHY because of the opportunity to work with a team that has a solid foundation in the St. Louis market that is supported by a strong national presence and international network. I look forward to the opportunity for growth with a group of partners that are well respected and team members that are dedicated to serving their clients and their community.”

Her move to UHY was followed by UHY acquiring the accounting, tax and attest practice of CBIZ/MHM in the St. Louis area. Hopkins and six employees from the CBIZ accounting practice in St. Louis will be joining the UHY team in St. Louis.

Lake Appointed as Tax Advisory Council Chair for Florida Tax Watch

Karen A. Lake

Miami-based Berkowitz Pollack Brant (FY17 net revenue of $57.9 million) announced that Florida Tax Watch has named associate tax director Karen A. Lake as chair of the tax advisory council.

Florida Tax Watch is a non-profit research institute and government watchdog for the state of Florida. It provides independent research and analysis of issues related to state and local government taxation, expenditures, policies and programs. Membership is comprised of community leaders and volunteers representing major industries in the state.

Lake has been an active member of Florida Tax Watch and is a member of the board of directors. Active in industry associations, she is on the board of directors of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA) and is chair of the organization’s state tax conference and state tax section. Lake leads the state and local tax (SALT) practice at Berkowitz Pollack Brant.

Janover Names Kamen Partner

Mindy Kamen

Garden City, N.Y.-based Janover LLC (FY17 net revenue of $30 million) announced that Mindy Kamen has been accepted into the partnership, effective Jan. 1.

Kamen joined Janover from college and has risen through the ranks, from staff accountant to principal, to now being the youngest partner at the firm. This promotion has been earned through her hard work, commitment to excellence, high performance, and an understanding that client relations are deep and beyond calculation, the firm announced.

As a recognized leader at the firm, Kamen is involved in many internal firm committees and represents the firm at college recruiting fairs and career fairs, training new hires, mentoring staff members and providing in-house seminars.

Mark Goodman, Janover’s MP says, “Mindy’s talent, exceptional abilities and professional acumen will continue to benefit our clients and serve as a role model for Janover.  I have no doubt that she will contribute to the growth and strength of our firm, now and in the future.”

Friedman LLP Launches Qualified Opportunity Zone Consulting Practice 

Steven Bokiess

New York-based Friedman LLP (FY17 net revenue of $101.5 million) has announced a new offering: Qualified Opportunity Zone (QOZ) consulting services.

The QOZ program, created under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is a tax-incentivized investment initiative meant to spur economic growth in low-income communities while providing investors with additional capital to expand existing businesses, form new businesses or fund real estate developments, the firm reports.

Leading the new practice group will be partner Steven Bokiess, who brings more than 20 years of experience advising prominent real estate organizations involved in a wide range of properties. He has provided tax consulting and compliance services to a variety of real estate and asset management clients, including REITs, real estate partnerships, private equity funds, hedge funds, investment advisors, broker/dealers and mutual funds.

“With QOZs currently spanning 12% of the land area of the nation, there is a tremendous opportunity for individual, trust or corporate investors to reap significant tax advantages,” says Robert Charron, partner and tax practice leader at Friedman. “The expansion of our service offerings to include this new practice group further demonstrates our commitment to staying on the pulse of industry and policy changes to deliver excellent client services.”

Trust and Business Insight are More Critical than Ever in the Digital Age, CPA.com CEO Says

Erik Asgeirsson

Technology is transforming all major practice areas within the accounting profession, and CPAs will increasingly adopt a more strategic role in delivering trusted information and insights, the chief executive of CPA.com said.

“Our priority is to help build an ecosystem that allows CPA firms to succeed in delivering both the trust driven by compliance work and insights from emerging advisory services,” says Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com, in a keynote speech at the recent 2018 Digital CPA Conference. “This has been an effective approach with client accounting advisory services, and the same lessons are now being applied to tax, audit and assurance services.”

Asgeirsson went on to speak about how the cloud, artificial intelligence and digitized data are reshaping practice areas:

  • Client accounting advisory services (CAS) – Virtual CFO and controller services are becoming firmly established and firms are embracing best practices. The focus is now on automating data inputs, building scale and deepening advisory insights with high-value business intelligence.
  • Audit and assurance services – “You can’t have cloud auditing, with the power of artificial intelligence-driven efficiency and insight, without cloud accounting.” On the assurance side, CPA.com, AICPA and CaseWare International this year launched OnPoint PCR, a dynamic, smart solution for preparation, compilation and review engagements. In a major commitment to innovation, the AICPA, CPA.com, CaseWare and a consortium of leading CPA firms are collaborating on the development of a Dynamic Audit Solution, elements of which would benefit all audit practices.
  • Tax – Driven by client demand, CPA practices are moving beyond tax compliance to integrated planning services that incorporate retirement and other financial and life planning services.

The AICPA and CPA.com are planning expanded training and curriculum to support the continued extension into advisory services. CPA.com also continues to play a key role in fostering innovation through thought-leading initiatives, such as its executive roundtables – including one at this fall’s World Congress of Accountants in Sydney, Australia – with key accounting technology providers, firm leaders and influencers from within the profession. The company also oversees, in collaboration with the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, a startup accelerator focused on early-stage companies in fintech and educational technology.