Archives for 2020

Dannible & McKee Admits Mickel Pompeii

Mickel Pompeii

Syracuse, N.Y.-based Dannible & McKee has admitted Mickel Pompeii as a partner in the firm’s tax practice.

Pompeii has been with the firm since 2009, working in the areas of individual, partnership and corporate tax planning, financial planning, multi-state taxation, research and development, and international taxation and reporting.

“Mickel has consistently excelled in terms of service excellence, contribution to the firm’s growth, investment in people and expert knowledge,” says MP Michael Reilly. “We are very pleased to welcome him into the partnership and look forward to the future.”

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Kenneth Guidry Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Kenneth Guidry

The Houston Business Journal has named Kenneth Guidry, director and founding shareholder at Houston-based IPA 200 firm PKF Texas, as its first Most Admired CEO Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.

“Kenneth Guidry epitomizes the spirit of the Most Admired CEO recognition, and it’s only fitting that he would be chosen for this inaugural recognition,” says Bob Charlet, market president and publisher of the Houston Business Journal. “His leadership was integral in the ascent of the firm to its current status in Houston. He is the consummate professional, and his legacy will also include a robust history of impact with business, community and charitable organizations.”

Guidry will be honored at the virtual Most Admired CEO event on Aug. 20.

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AICPA Offers Student Hardship Grants

Undergraduate and graduate accounting students who have suffered monetarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for education grants under a new program introduced by the AICPA. Funded by the AICPA Foundation, the grants provide $2,000 to up to 25 students experiencing extenuating circumstances, such as loss of job or internship, to cover education-related expenses.

To be eligible, students must be enrolled full time in an accredited business and/or accounting program for the 2020-2021 academic school year and have completed at least 30 semester hours (or equivalent) of college coursework, including at least six hours in accounting. Applicants must provide student copies of their college transcripts, a copy of their resume, documentation of their financial hardship and a statement about how the hardship affected their future studies and plans to obtain CPA licensure.

“The coronavirus pandemic has caused financial hardship for many Americans, including college students,” says AICPA Foundation president Ernie Almonte. “We know many students are struggling to cover the cost of their education. The Foundation is committed to supporting these students as they complete their education and enter the profession.”

Scholarship applications will be accepted from July 1 to Aug. 31.

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KPMG Bulks Up Management Team

New York-based Big 4 firm KPMG announced several new additions to its management team:

  • Greg Engel is succeeding Jeffrey LeSage as vice chair of tax.
  • Scott Flynn is succeeding Frank Casal as vice chair of audit.
  • Tandra Jackson has been named vice chair of growth and strategy.
  • Will Williams is succeeding COO Laura Newinski as vice chair of operations.

The above individuals will join four leaders who will continue in their roles on the management team: Darren Burton as vice chair of HR, Lisa Madden as vice chair of risk management, Tonya Robinson as vice chair and general counsel – legal, regulatory and compliance – and Claudia Saran as vice chair of culture.

“Our management team will harness the talents and capabilities of the entire firm to empower our clients and our people to confidently meet today’s challenges and thrive in the future,” says chairman and CEO Paul Knopp. “As we begin to write a new chapter for our firm, one that is built on integrity, growth and execution, we will differentiate ourselves in the market by the quality of our people and our services, and the strength of our culture and values.”

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IPA 200 Firm Admits Patrick Mangan as Shareholder

Patrick Mangan

West Palm Beach, Fla.-based Caler Donten Levine Cohen Porter & Veil PA, an IPA 200 firm, has admitted Patrick Mangan as a shareholder.

Mangan joined the firm in 2016 and specializes in income and estate tax planning, compliance for high-net-worth clients and gift and generation-skipping transfer tax issues. He was instrumental in opening the firm’s office in Stuart, Fla., in 2017.

“In less than four years, Patrick has contributed to changes in our work environment and mentoring our staff,” says firm president and shareholder Lou Cohen. “Patrick has maintained leadership roles in improving firm processes, recruiting, networking and marketing, which in turn has had a positive impact on the firm’s development and growth.”

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CohnReznick Adds Two to Executive Board

Sheslie Royster

New York-based CohnReznick, an IPA 100 firm, announced the election of partners Sheslie Royster and Kristen Soles to its executive board. They will serve three-year terms, along with Northeast regional MP Alan Wolfson, who was re-elected.

Kristen Soles

With more than 30 years of experience in partnership taxation, federal and state tax energy incentives, financial instruments and transaction taxation and corporate tax, Royster leads the firm’s tax practice out of its Baltimore office. Soles leads the government contracting industry practice in Tysons, Va., specializing in FAR/CAS compliance, indirect cost rate structuring, cost reporting and final incurred cost proposal compliance.

“Considering today’s challenging business environment, the role of our board takes on even greater importance in establishing and driving CohnReznick’s strategic priorities,” says CEO David Kessler. “Sheslie and Kristen bring forth unique qualifications and leadership skills that will help CohnReznick and our clients capitalize on the many different opportunities that lie ahead.”

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Dixon Hughes Goodman Unveils Re-Entry Framework

In response to questions from clients concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, Charlotte, N.C.-based Dixon Hughes Goodman, an IPA 100 firm, has created a new Re-Entry Readiness Framework.

The framework’s risk analytics platform can be used to track daily changes in virus metrics, the acceleration/deceleration of the curve related to infections, helping businesses to find the potential risks or opportunities these changes pose as they contemplate reopening, make supply chain decisions and issue travel guidelines.

“This framework and analytics platform has enabled us to make critical re-entry decisions based on data and our threshold for risk,” says John Roberts, MP for services. “We have used the framework to communicate with our team members and give them the assurance that their health, safety and well-being is our top priority, which was our guiding principle from the beginning of our efforts toward re-entry.”

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Postlethwaite & Netterville to Head Up Louisiana Small Business Grant Program

Baton Rouge, La.-based Postlethwaite & Netterville, an IPA 100 firm, has been selected to administer the state of Louisiana’s new Main Street Recovery Program.

Among the firm’s responsibilities will be vetting and processing applications to determine eligibility and award amounts for the $300 million program, which will dole out up to $15,000 to small businesses to help them recoup expenses related to COVID-19.

In the first 21 days of the program, only small businesses that have not already received federal aid or insurance settlements will be eligible for a grant. After this period, if any money is still available, the program will be open to all small businesses so long as they are based in Louisiana, have suffered a business interruption due to the pandemic, have filed recent tax returns and have no more than 50 employees.

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Cherry Bekaert Grows Austin Presence With Acquisition

Richmond, Va.-based IPA 100 firm Cherry Bekaert is beefing up its presence in the Austin, Texas, market by merging in PMB Helin Donovan – its third acquisition in the area since 2018. PMB partners Don McPhee, Kelly Logan and Chris Bona and more than 20 professionals from the firm will join Cherry Bekaert’s Austin practice.

“The Austin community continues to be a strategic growth market for Cherry Bekaert,” says CEO and MP Michelle L. Thompson. “The PMB team’s long-standing reputation and alignment to our shared values made it a great fit. We look forward to continuing to bring Cherry Bekaert’s deep expertise in the technology, life sciences and advanced manufacturing industries, among others, to the growing, diverse and innovative central Texas area.”

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MPs Take Slow, Safe Approach to Reopening Offices With Dozens of Data Points to Consider

As firm professionals have adjusted – first to the shock of the pandemic and then to working from home – another anxiety-ridden shift is beginning as states slowly allow returning to work.

Firm leaders interviewed by IPA are in no rush to unlock the doors. They are giving staff the option to come back when they are comfortable to do so, while weighing the risks of reopening and consulting guidance from numerous sources: their own HR experts, legal counsel, and state and federal health officials. Some are contacting vendors to conduct temperature checks, hiring sanitation crews and planning for social-distancing safeguards that were unimaginable even a few months ago.

Here are some of their comments:

  • A survey of staff by Miami-based MBAF, an IPA 100 firm, shows close to half are so concerned about their health that they want to continue to work from home at least through the summer. To avoid staff from working too close together when the office reopens, about 40% of the 30,000 square feet will have to remain unoccupied, says MP Tony Argiz.
  • Lou Grassi, MP of New York-based Grassi, says the IPA 100 firm won’t push employees to come back to the office immediately. Staff were invited to return starting June 15, with plans to sanitize offices weekly and implement six-foot distancing and other precautions. Grassi says staff will be encouraged to give feedback. “If there’s something about this that doesn’t make sense, we need to know.”
  • At Atlanta-based Aprio, an IPA 100 firm, Larry Sheftel, vice president of human resources, says the firm has contacted vendors about on-site temperature checks, and he expects far more remote working than pre-pandemic times. He says firm leaders are well aware that many staff will likely feel nervous about coming back. “Things may not really approach normal until the fall.”

Remote work under an extended lockdown has its own stresses and many will welcome their cubicle like an old friend, but even so, employees who walked out the door in March are different people now.

Todd Nordstrom, author, public speaker and coach, writes that some will be fearful of their health; some will be grateful for the care and concern they’ve been shown; some will be raring to move forward; others will be thinking that work isn’t as important as they once believed.

“We must realize that we don’t yet understand the emotional impact this pandemic has created in the hearts and minds of employees. And, we’ll never know unless we ask,” Nordstrom says in Forbes magazine.

Here are some of the considerations, compiled from legal and business publications:

  • Remember that at a bare minimum, follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and state and local governments. Rules are constantly changing and may not be consistent.
  • Create a re-entry task force to write interim policies until the pandemic is over, including disciplinary actions for violations of policies, including frequent hand washing, sanitizing frequently touched surfaces, wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and the like. Even-handed, consistent and thoughtful are the watchwords here. Don’t wing it, the National Law Review
  • Ask employees whether they have been exposed, have a sick person at home, or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, such as cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or loss of taste and smell.
  • Supply paper towels instead of hand dryers because the jets can disperse virus particles, the Harvard Business Review reported. Disable water fountains and ice machines. Close common areas altogether rather than enforce social distancing.
  • Make a plan for notifying employees if they have been in contact (within 6 feet) of a coworker who has tested positive. Attorneys say the infected staffer should not be named; otherwise employers are in violation of federal privacy laws.
  • Think about how to approach concerns from employees about actions of their coworkers who congregate in crowds outside work.
  • Review time-off policies, including sick leave, and revamp business continuity plans to deal with the next crisis.

“It will be a fragile environment, so you want to be really deliberate and consistent in how you approach things,” says Kent Lambert, managing shareholder in the New Orleans office of Baker Donelson, on the legal news website Lexology.com. “Try to be responsible and fair and even-handed and put safety first. If you approach things in that way, you’ll be in good shape.

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