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Aprio Launches Forensic and Investigative Services

Nicole Ponziani

Nicole Ponziani

Atlanta-based Aprio LLP (FY17 net revenue of $85.1 million) has launched a new team within its litigation support and forensic accounting services group – forensic and investigative services.

The team is led by Nicole Ponziani, who uses proprietary models to work with attorneys and clients in gathering evidence in the investigation of alleged “bad acts.” Her involvement includes the handling of internal and criminal investigations through subject interviews and tracing of assets with proven results.

Some examples of Aprio’s forensic and investigative services work include:

  • The Aprio team was engaged to investigate and analyze a multi-million-dollar asset misappropriation involving a financial institution. Hundreds of transactions and identified recipients were found to be fraudulent. Restitution was sought and the proper documents were provided to the regulators, insurance carrier and law enforcement.
  • The Aprio team performed an internal investigation on a multi-million-dollar private company. We identified a significant misappropriation of assets. Under our guidance the company rectified the inadequacies in their internal controls. A claim to their insurance carrier and a report to law enforcement was prepared.

Ponziani, with a degree in criminology, has more than 17 years of experience having worked with local law enforcement and fraud countermeasures compliance in areas such as fraud investigations, financial services regulatory compliance, FCPA, RICO, HR investigations, money laundering and Ponzi schemes.

“It is our goal to minimize the impact that an investigation has on our clients’ businesses operations,” said Howard Zandman, PIC of litigation support and forensic accounting services. “The forensics and investigative services team’s expertise in getting beneath the surface enables us to reach solutions efficiently and effectively and provide evidence that is clear, understandable and withstands the rigors of court.”

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Aprio Relaunches HPC as Aprio Cloud

Atlanta-based Aprio LLP (FY17 net revenue of $85.1 million) announced that it has completed its acquisition of HPC, a cloud-based accounting firm also based in Atlanta, and it is being relaunched as Aprio Cloud. Aprio announced the acquisition in June.

“With the acquisition of HPC, clients will get their nights and weekends back, no longer spending time on accounting,” says Richard Kopelman, CEO and MP at Aprio. “They will also receive timely reporting on their actual performance, allowing them to grow profits by making sound business decisions with real-time data.”

HPC complements Aprio’s existing outsourced accounting services practice that was established in 2016, giving clients a cloud accounting solution using “best of breed” products and processes.

Aprio Cloud brings together more than 50 best-in-class applications, from companies such as Xero, Bill.com, Receipt Bank, Karbon and Expensify. The technology stack delivers “anytime, anywhere” financial information through data visualizations and dashboards, allowing clients to make smarter, faster decisions.

“Combining our market leadership in cloud accounting with Aprio’s highly respected reputation, breadth of specialty services and global reach made sense for our business and our clients’ businesses as well,” says Bruce A. Phillips, founder of HPC. Phillips will serve as managing director and partner of Aprio Cloud.

Clients may select an Aprio Cloud service package with fixed fees:

  • Bronze – Simplify reconciliation and data processing, and get help with data review and reporting, tax advisory, filing and compliance.
  • Silver – Outsource accounting and automate data processing. Access insights and advice for a greater understanding of financial information.
  • Gold – Get outsourced accounting, an HR department and virtual CFO for smarter planning and faster closings.

Aprio Re-elects MP and Executive Committee Members; Names New Partners

Richard Kopelman

Atlanta-based Aprio LLP (FY17 net revenue of $85.1 million) announced that Richard Kopelman has been re-elected as the firm’s MP. In addition, the firm has re-elected three executive committee members and added five new partners to Aprio’s leadership team.

Kopelman has been the firm’s MP since 2012 and was re-elected to serve Aprio as MP for three more years. Under Kopelman’s leadership, Aprio has grown its revenue by 40% and added five new services lines to the business. In 2017, Richard championed an industry-leading rebrand transitioning the firm from Habif Arogeti & Wynne to Aprio, and since 2013 has spearheaded six combinations including the firm’s first two outside of the Atlanta market.

In addition, Aprio re-elected three members to its Executive Committee:

  • Yelena Epova, PIC, International Services
  • Michael Levy, PIC, Transaction Advisory Services
  • Alan Vaughn, PIC, Real Estate & Construction

These three partners join existing committee members: Adam Beckerman, Rob Casey and Sam Tuck.

Aprio admitted five new partners in 2019 as it continues to build success for the firm. Naming new partners demonstrates Aprio’s commitment to its team members’ professional growth and development, but also the recognition of the strategic foresight, expertise, dedication and passion these individuals demonstrate in advising the firm’s clients to get to their next.

Aprio’s newest professionals admitted into the partner group, as of Jan. 1, include:

  • Jessica Hussain, Retail, Franchise & Hospitality
  • Michael Lange, Manufacturing & Distribution
  • Thomas Prevatt, Professional Services
  • Thomas Scott, Technology & Blockchain
  • Jagruti Solanki, Technology & Blockchain

“As Aprio continues to grow, it is important that we promote individuals who can be strong leaders and guide the firm to its next,” says Kopelmanr. “It is an honor to promote our co-workers to partners, they have each played an important role in the firm’s success and I know they will continue to develop professionally and advise our clients to achieve what’s next.”

Aprio Combines with Magoon Freeman Spain & Jones, LLC

Joe Spain

Atlanta-based Aprio (FY17 net revenue of $85.1 million) has combined with Magoon Freeman Spain & Jones (MFSJ) of Alpharetta, Ga., expanding the firm’s presence in the state.

MFSJ is a boutique accounting firm serving closely held businesses, nonprofits and individual clients for more than 40 years. About 15 former MFSJ team members will continue to operate from their Alpharetta office as Aprio | MFSJ

Aprio says that its combination with MFSJ will increase the firm’s retirement plan business by 15%.

“Our existing clients will benefit from Aprio’s unmatched breadth of services as they look to their next,” Joe Spain, MP and co-founder of MFSJ, said in a statement. “Aprio’s reputation is well established for providing clients with future-focused advice and we’re delighted about the combination of the firms.”

Aprio MP Richard Kopelman says, “This combination will allow the MFSJ team to take advantage of our investments in business process automation, data analytics, as well as increased opportunities for skills building and career development through Aprio University.”

Gary Adamson, CEO of Adamson Advisory, advised both firms on the merger. “MFSJ has been a leader in the North Atlanta market for many years and was attracted to Aprio’s outstanding talent pool and extensive range of services focused on the middle market.”

MFSJ is the third merger announced by Aprio in 2018 and the sixth transaction in Georgia since 2007.

Aprio Names New Partner

Rob Shirley

Atlanta-based Aprio (FY17 net revenue of $85.1 million) is pleased to announce that Rob Shirley has joined the firm as a partner. Shirley will be located in Aprio’s Birmingham, Ala., office and in his role will be responsible for expanding Aprio’s presence in the Alabama market.

“Rob has a long history of providing clients with a high level of client service and delivering results, which makes him a strong cultural fit for the firm and reinforces our commitment to the Aprio Way,” says Richard Kopelman, CEO and MP.

Shirley has more than 25 years of experience in both public and private accounting, including six years with a top national accounting firm. He has assisted clients with growing their businesses, including through merger and acquisition, securing debt and managing risks. He has also worked as a financial leader for a national wholesale life insurance distribution company and a regional securities firm. Rob’s expertise extends to construction, manufacturing, retail, not-for-profit organizations and health care.

“It is a privilege to come to such a growth-oriented firm as Aprio,” says Shirley. “I’m excited to grow our presence in the Alabama market and help businesses navigate to their next.”

Aprio to Expand Virtual Capabilities with Acquisition of HPC

Atlanta-based Aprio LLP (FY16 net revenue of $76.3 million) has acquired Atlanta-based HPC, a technology-driven, cloud-based accounting firm with a global footprint. When completed, the acquisition of HPC, with its strong technology processes and experienced cloud team, will allow Aprio to eliminate time-consuming data entry, which can now be done through automation and machine learning, and significantly enhance its ability to provide clients actionable insights.

“We need to meet our clients where they are and serve them the way they want to work,” says Richard Kopelman, CEO and managing partner of Aprio. “Once we add the experienced staff and technology stack that HPC provides, Aprio will be able to further service our clients at the speed of now. After HPC is on board, we will be prepared to deliver the next generation of client service fueled by the transformation of machine learning and artificial intelligence. We will be able to leverage a myriad of technologies and create the best cloud-based accounting practice for our global small to mid-size clients. Clients want to collaborate with us and engage with their business data to gain real-time insights that will drive growth and take them to their next.”

Once completed, the acquisition of HPC will complement Aprio’s existing outsourced accounting services practice that was established in 2016, giving clients the ability to have a cloud accounting solution using best of breed products and processes. Bruce Phillips, CEO and founder of HPC, is expected to lead the practice as president and partner in charge.

“We are excited to have signed our agreement to join Aprio because, like us, Aprio is continuously changing and adapting to what’s next. Once closed, Aprio will provide our clients a breadth of new services like sophisticated international tax planning and structuring, and tax credits and incentives, including the R&D tax credit, which is so critical for technology companies,” says Phillips. “Once we become part of Aprio, we will continue our tremendous growth and further increase our capabilities, so we can advise and partner with our clients to help them be ready for the future.”

Aprio Expands Private Client and Entrepreneurial Tax Practices with Acquisition

Atlanta-based Aprio LLP (FY16 net revenue of $76.3 million) acquired RRB Business Services, also of Atlanta, effective Jan. 1.

“Aprio continues on its incredible journey of strategic growth and expansion with high performing firms,” says Allan Koltin, CEO of Koltin Consulting Group. “RRB is a highly respected firm in the Atlanta market with many high net worth and privately held clients. This combination will be wonderful for their clients in terms of the additional services and resources they will be able to take advantage of.”

RRB is a boutique accounting firm with 30 years of experience serving a diverse client base of privately owned companies, non-profit organizations, high-net-worth individuals and estates as well as small, commercial, professional and industrial businesses.

Aprio has a long history working with and advising high-net-worth individuals and entrepreneurial clients and combining with RRB only makes us stronger,” says Richard Kopelman, CEO and MP at Aprio. “As we continue our expansion efforts throughout the U.S., we know that our emphasis on collaboration, culture and entrepreneurialism will allow us to attract the right firms, like RRB, and focus on smart growth.”

Aprio Admits New Partner and Directors

Sandi Buttram

Sandi Buttram

Atlanta-based Aprio LLP (FY16 net revenue of $76.3 million) admitted one new partner and four directors, effective Jan. 1.

Sandi Buttram has been named a partner in the real estate and construction group. Buttram has more than 11 years of experience advising commercial real estate companies.

“Sandi will play a strategic role in the expansion of Aprio’s commercial real estate practice in 2018 and beyond,” says Alan Vaughn, PIC of Aprio’s real estate and construction group. “Her industry expertise and high-quality client service make her an invaluable part of the Aprio team.”

Aprio has also named four new firm directors:

  • Frank Ciaburri, engagement director
  • Olga Bardina, engagement director
  • Oscar Hsiao, engagement director
  • Simone Smith, director of customer relationship management

“Each of the Aprio professionals who have been promoted to director have made a significant, positive impact on the experience of Aprio clients,” says Richard Kopelman, CEO and MP. “These individuals demonstrate advanced technical knowledge within audit, tax and operations and their contributions to the firm have enabled our clients to achieve what’s next.”

Winter Rejoins Aprio as Partner in Real Estate and Construction Group

Atlanta-based Aprio (FY16 net revenue of $76.3 million) announced that Kelli Winter has rejoined the firm as an assurance partner in its real estate and construction group. Winter started her career at Aprio in 1991.

Winter joins Aprio from CohnReznick and brings more than 15 years of experience serving clients in the real estate and construction industries, with a specific focus on the affordable housing market. During her tenure there, Winter established an audit practice for the firm in Austin, Texas, and was a part of the firm’s global outsourcing implementation team.

Before joining CohnReznick, Winter spent over 10 years in operational and financial management roles with both public and private organizations, including a Fortune 100 company.

“Kelli’s years of experience serving the real estate industry across the U.S. make her an invaluable addition to Aprio’s real estate and construction group,” says Richard Kopelman, CEO and MP. “As the demand for affordable housing continues to grow in the U.S. and more investors look to these types of multi-family developments, Kelli will play a strategic role as Aprio expands its affordable real estate practice nationally.”

Aprio Expands into Indianapolis Market

Scott Brown

Atlanta-based Aprio (FY16 net revenue of $76.3 million) announced that it has expanded into the Indianapolis market. Aprio’s expansion into the Midwest will be led by Scott Brown.

“Scott’s approach to client service aligns with the advisory approach Aprio is known for. Together we plan to quickly grow our Indianapolis presence and introduce Aprio’s comprehensive advisory, tax and assurance services to this market,” says Richard Kopelman, CEO and MP.

Brown has more than 30 years of experience serving as a business advisor and strategist for growing companies across the U.S., with a focus in the Midwest. In his role at Aprio, Brown will be focused on growing the firm’s presence and identifying opportunities to bring Aprio’s robust tax, accounting and specialty services offerings to companies in the region.