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Co-Founder of WithumSmith+Brown Passes at Age 84

(L-R) Withum Co-Founders Len Smith, the late Fred Withum & Ivan Brown

Fred Withum, 84, who co-founded Princeton, N.J.-based WithumSmith+Brown (FY19 net revenue of $223.3 million), has died, the firm announced.

Withum, considered a visionary within the profession, co-founded the firm in 1974 and retired in 1987. Withum was instrumental in shaping the firm’s three core pillars for commitment: clients, people and communities. Under his leadership, the firm held first-of-their-kind planning meetings and partner retreats in the 1970s to chart the firm’s future course.

“From our early years as a firm, Fred was instrumental in instilling in us the importance of client service, integrity, growth and community service,” says Len Smith, who co-founded the firm with Withum as well as Ivan Brown and Doug Sonier. “These principles have stayed with us for over 40 years and have become the foundation for the Withum Way. Fred was a big believer in planning, and often reminded us of a quote from Lewis Carroll, ‘If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.’”

Sonier adds, “Fred was a true entrepreneur who encouraged and supported each of us in expanding the firm’s footprint and services. The confidence he instilled and demonstrated – combined with measured risk-taking – were key components that contributed to the growth and success of the firm.”

Today, Withum is ranked No. 25 on the 2019 IPA 100 listing of the largest accounting firms in the country. Withum, with 15 offices, is an independent member of HLB, the global advisory and accounting network.

At a time when most firms did not acknowledge the importance of community involvement and work-life balance, Withum was a champion, the firm says.

“He encouraged us to join and actively participate in charitable and professional organizations. In addition, he advocated for providing pro-bono and reduced-fee services to not-for-profits, many with June 30 FYE, which was a win-win proposition,” Brown says. “A strong proponent of family involvement, Fred also encouraged us to carve out time to watch and participate – via coaching and similar activities – in our children’s lives.”

Withum also championed peer reviews. In 1977, Withum became one of the first non-national accounting firms to voluntarily participate in the AICPA peer review program that evaluates firm processes and procedures. Since then, Withum has successfully passed all 13 peer reviews conducted.

According to MP and CEO Bill Hagaman, this feat underscores one of Withum’s well-known quotes: “Our services are for sale. Our integrity is not.” Hagaman adds, “This truism still applies, as Withum team members continue to hold up the highest levels of values and ethics and expect the same from those with whom they work.”

Memorial contributions can be made in Withum’s honor to the Vermont Institute of Natural Science, P.O. Box 1281, Quechee, VT 05059.

More news from WithumSmith+Brown

WithumSmith+Brown Welcomes New Business Developer

Heather Murphy- Walker

Princeton, N.J.-based WithumSmith+Brown PC (FY18 net revenue of $207.6 million) announces the appointment of Heather Murphy-Walker to its New York office team.

In her role as business development executive, Murphy-Walker will spearhead all office-growth initiatives and serve as the conduit for the firm’s client base.

Murphy-Walker has more than 10 years of marketing and business development experience in the professional services sector. Prior to joining Withum, she was a consultant for NABA. In this role, she spearheaded all marketing and communications efforts, as well as key operations aspects related to their annual convention. Previously, Murphy-Walker was a consultant with a technology CPE firm and held communications and marketing management roles with AICPA during the course of an eight-year period.

“Heather’s background of leading product development and refining and focusing marketing and sales strategies are a tremendous value add to our team roster of talent,” says Mike Stallone, PIC of Withum’s New York office. “We welcome her contributions and track record for success in building relationships throughout New York City and beyond.”

Murphy-Walker says, “I’m eager to assist current and prospective clients by helping them articulate and understand their unique business needs and how Withum can help them achieve – and exceed – their goals.”

WithumSmith+Brown Announces Formation of Digital Currency and Blockchain Technology Services Group

Princeton, N.J.-based WithumSmith+Brown PC (FY18 net revenue of $207.6 million) has announced the formation of a digital currency and blockchain technology services group to address the unique challenges posed by digital assets, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. As an extension of the firm’s technology services group, the team provides a deep level of expertise to a diverse client base involved with and entering into today’s new alternative asset class.

“Blockchain technology and the rising use and influence of digital assets/tokens are not a passing trend, they are becoming part of the fabric of our technology community and the possibilities of their impact and disruptions across all industries are unlimited. We are embarking into a new era that can permanently and dramatically change how we do business,” says Chris DeMayo, partner and team leader of the new group. “Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology pose highly unique challenges, from technology to accounting and regulatory issues – all of which our experienced, forward-thinking team is uniquely prepared to address on a client-by-client, industry-by-industry basis.”

Led by DeMayo, the digital currency and blockchain technology services group is made up of a team of 12 experts including thought-leaders Deep Gujral, principal; Carl Scheuten, partner; Joe Murray, manager; and Ryan Babiak, partner among others. The firm also is a member of, or accredited by, several prominent industry groups including the Accounting Blockchain Coalition, established to foster best practices in navigating accounting issues related to digital assets, and the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance.

WithumSmith+Brown Admits Three New Partners

Ryan Babiak

Ryan Babiak

Princeton, N.J.-based WithumSmith+Brown PC (FY17 net revenue of $175.4 million) has announced that three senior managers have been admitted to partnership. Ryan Babiak, Joseph Cassano and Shawn Gillon are the newest partners to join the firm’s growing corporate leadership team, effective July 1.

“Ryan, Joe and Shawn represent a new generation of firm partners who embody our enduring company values and Withum Way traditions,” says Bill Hagaman, MP and CEO. “Collectively and individually, they represent passion, innovation, community and strength for their profession, clients, colleagues and peers. We congratulate each on this pinnacle of professional achievement.”

Joseph Cassano

Joseph Cassano

Babiak, based in the firm’s Whippany, N.J., office, specializes in accounting for income taxes, federal and multi-state income tax for business entities, equity-based compensation and U.S. international taxation. He also is a member of the firm’s start-up and emerging growth technology services group.

Cassano is based in Withum’s New York office, where he specializes in financial reporting, tax and accounting services for hedge fund clients and also has experience working with domestic and offshore investment funds, fund-of-funds vehicles, investment advisors and related management entities. A 14-year industry veteran, he serves a diverse roster of clients as a member of the firm’s financial services/alternative investments group, including broker-dealers, private equity groups and hedge funds.

Shawn Gillon

Shawn Gillon

Gillon, based in the firm’s East Brunswick, N.J., office, is a CPA with more than 15 years of experience focusing on auditing, accounting and consulting services. A member of the firm’s insurance services team, he works with an array of insurance companies and captives. He also serves a variety of clients in the real estate and not-for-profit sectors.

The three new partners join an impressive corporate leadership team at Withum comprised of more than 120 partners. Established in 1974, Withum is a public accounting firm providing advisory, tax and audit services to businesses and individuals on a local-to-global scale. Withum also is a member of HLB International, a worldwide network of independent professional accounting firms and business advisers committed to assisting clients to build and expand globally.

WithumSmith+Brown Welcomes Ruggieri as a Principal

Kathy Ruggieri

Kathy Ruggieri

Kathy Ruggieri has joined Princeton, N.J.-based WithumSmith+Brown PC (FY17 net revenue of $175.4 million) as a principal in the firm’s Healthcare Services Group.

In addition to traditional tax and audit services, Withum’s Healthcare Services Group provides consulting and advisory services, including those related to revenue cycle, internal audit and corporate compliance, valuations and fair market value assessments and opinions, cloud solutions and cybersecurity.

“Highly accomplished and results-driven, Kathy brings to her new role a depth of expertise that will advance Withum’s posture and strength in healthcare during this increasingly complex post-reform era,” says Bill Hagaman, MP and CEO. “Her insight, knowledge and leadership are a tremendous asset to our firm and a diverse healthcare client roster that is continually evolving to provide the highest quality of care.”

Ruggieri has more than 34 years of health care experience who most recently served as vice president of a New Jersey-based, health care finance and technology consulting firm. In this role, she oversaw revenue cycle, revenue integrity, reimbursement and emerging payment model strategy.

“I am pleased to join Withum’s Healthcare Services Group and galvanized by the talent and vision of our team members, who not only keep pace with – but remain in front of – the latest industry advancements and trends,” says Ruggieri. “I’m looking forward to helping shape the firm’s future health care services path, including a leadership role with revenue cycle consulting services.”

WithumSmith+Brown SOC Team Authors and Presents Inaugural AICPA SOC for Cybersecurity Certification

When the AICPA hosted its flagship System and Organization Controls (SOC) for Cybersecurity Certification course this past week, members of Princeton, N.J.-based WithumSmith+Brown’s (FY17 net revenue of $175.4 million) SOC for Cybersecurity Services Group served as lead instructors for the curriculum. This first-of-its-kind program also was authored by the professionals from the advisory, tax and audit firm. In total, seven Withum professionals also are among the first CPAs nationwide to earn the AICPA’s SOC for Cybersecurity digital badge.

A market-driven, flexible and voluntary reporting framework, SOC helps organizations communicate their cybersecurity risk management program initiatives as well as effectiveness of controls.

Withum’s certified SOC for Cybersecurity team members includes Tony Chapman, partner and SOC practice leader; Anurag Sharma, principal; Scott Mahoney, senior manager; Jim Bourke, partner, director of advisory practice; Stephanie Fitzgerald, SOC senior manager; Anupam Goradia, SOC senior manager; and Andrea Fernandez, SOC staff auditor. These certifications have earned Withum the distinction of having more AICPA-authorized SOC specialists, to perform peer reviews on SOC engagements, than any other CPA firm nationwide.

“As a leader in SOC and cybersecurity and information security services, Withum has once again distinguished itself – this time as it relates to the new cybersecurity risk management reporting framework,” says Chapman. “Our firm is among the first and has the highest concentration of fully designated SOC professionals authorized to provide peer reviews.”

AICPA has retained Withum to write, present live and record on-demand viewings of the first SOC for Cybersecurity Certificate training course for SOC professionals. Three of Withum’s professionals, Chapman, Sharma and Mahoney, served as course authors and presenters. Topics addressed in the AICPA-sponsored course offer an overview of the cyberthreat landscape and terminology, various SOC services, components of a cybersecurity risk management program, utilization of criteria to assess an entity’s controls, key steps for performing the cyber risk-management examination and factors to consider while forming the opinion and preparing the practitioner’s report.

SOC for Cybersecurity is a new entity-wide cybersecurity audit that allows organizations to report on their cybersecurity management programs to internal and external stakeholders with credibility. For clients whose cybersecurity risk management programs are mature, an independent third-party firm can perform a comprehensive examination to assess cybersecurity risk management programs.

WithumSmith+Brown’s Digital Solutions and Services Group Welcomes Williams

Fabian Williams

Fabian Williams

Princeton, N.J.-based WithumSmith+Brown (FY17 net revenue of $175.4 million) welcomed Fabian Williams as a principal in the digital solutions and services group.

“Fabian’s deep expertise and years of experience with Office 365 and SharePoint is a tremendous asset to Withum’s digital solutions and services group,” says Daniel Cohen-Dumani, partner and group leader. “As a recognized Microsoft most valuable professional (MVP), Fabian will provide insight and technical leadership to drive us into the future.”

“I am extremely happy and excited to join Withum and energized by the leadership and technical talent of our team members,” says Williams. “I’m looking forward to helping shape the firm’s future path within our Office 365, Azure and SharePoint solutions and offerings.”

WithumSmith+Brown Welcomes Crowley to New Business Development Role

Katelyn Crowley

Katelyn Crowley

Princeton, N.J.-based WithumSmith+Brown (FY17 net revenue of $175.4 million) welcomed Katelyn Crowley to its Boston office team where she will spearhead all business development initiatives and serve as the conduit for the firm’s client base.

Crowley has more than 10 years’ marketing and business development experience. Prior to joining Withum, she was a vice president with a niche government grant and contract accounting firm. In this role, she led and executed all marketing and business development efforts. Prior to that role, Crowley worked with Fortune 100 companies to build intranets and implement change-initiation strategies through digital solutions.

“Katie’s background in both professional services and digital solutions are a tremendous value add to our team roster of talent,” says Steve Yardumian, PIC of the Boston office. “We welcome her contributions and track-record of success in building relationships with incubators, accelerators and related life science and technology companies throughout New England and beyond.”

“I’m eager to assist current and prospective clients by matching them with Withum’s innovators and cloud transformation experts in order to leverage their digital tools, share information and collaborate at the highest levels,” says Crowley.

WithumSmith+Brown Implements New Integrated Private Client Service

Princeton, N.J-based WithumSmith+Brown (FY17 net revenue of $175.4 million) formed WithumPlatinum, a new integrated private client services strategy designed to serve the financial planning and management needs of high-net-worth individuals and families. The services span family offices, estate and trust planning, cybersecurity, privacy and identity protection, wealth management, insurance advisory, charitable planning, special needs planning, private business advisory and income-tax planning.

“WithumPlatinum marks the formal fusion, so to speak, of the collective and objective deep advisory services for which Withum has become known and recognized nationally,” says Bill Hagaman, MP and CEO. “WithumPlatinum’s consultative and advisory services offer a holistic, independent perspective free of ties to any proprietary products. Our clients’ interests and financial health are our foremost concerns, all based on their unique situation.”

“A recent Withum study indicated cybersecurity is the paramount concern of high-net-worth individuals, eclipsing both terrorism and major illness,” says Hagaman. “We have an extremely talented team dedicated solely to this area who address the exposure of high-net-worth individuals and their families, who are at highest risk due to their profile, wealth and level of activity.”

WithumPlatinum manages what information, if any, is in cyberspace and how it’s related to personal safety as well as the integrity of financial and personal affairs. Services range from an online footprint risk assessment, evaluation of home-network vulnerabilities, standard cybersecurity protocols and a cyber and identity theft insurance review.

“Clients connected to a business as an owner or executive have the option to share WithumPlatinum with key executives to ensure the business – a material consideration in proper management of family affairs – runs efficiently and smoothly,” says Hagaman.

WithumSmith+Brown Opens New Office

Princeton, N.J-based WithumSmith+Brown (FY17 net revenue of $175.4 million) hosted a ribbon-cutting reception to mark the firm’s successful relocation to its new “office of the future” in East Brunswick, N.J.  

Founded in 1974, WithumSmith+Brown has offices spanning eight states and nearly 1,000 staff members. The new office will hold more than 200 employees who provide tax, audit and advisory services to a wide range of industries. John Mortenson has been named the PIC of the East Brunswick office.