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Armanino Launches AI Lab

An IPA Best of the Best firm, San Ramon, Calif.-based Armanino LLP (FY17 net revenue of $242.7 million) has launched the Armanino AI Lab, designed to help businesses interested in using AI technologies.

“More than 75% of companies believe AI is fundamental to their future success, but the majority of those aren’t taking advantage of AI technology today and don’t know how to,” says Tom Mescall, PIC of Armanino’s consulting practice. “Armanino’s AI Lab will serve as a one-stop shop that enables its members to harness the opportunities that AI offers without being left behind by their competitors.”

The announcement came May 20 at the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Executive Roundtable, hosted by Armanino at its offices for C-level executives to see a demonstration of AI and discuss practical ways to apply it.

The three components of AI are predictive analytics, robotic process automation and virtual assistants. Members of the Armanino AI Lab can access peer-to-peer meetings, exclusive product and vendor reviews, Armanino’s data scientists and AI developers and consultants. Members can also learn about AI best practices and execute on AI proof of concepts.

The firm says that in a survey of the Roundtable event attendees, more than 75% ranked predictive analytics as most important to their organizations. Additionally, 83% believe their data infrastructure will need further improvement to achieve the best results. Meanwhile, 60% of event attendees have not started their first initiative.

Prior to launching its AI Lab, Armanino researched the most common business cases for using AI – from finance, supply chain, customer experience and talent management to compliance and privacy.

“As we continue to build out the Armanino AI Lab, we are proud to align ourselves with many of the world’s technology and software leaders in the AI space,” says John Horner, PIC of Armanino’s data and analytics practice. “This makes it easy for clients to access our knowledge and relationships, thereby decreasing their investment time and increasing their benefits of embracing AI technology.”

Armanino has already accepted several existing clients into the Armanino AI Lab and will continue to add members. To submit your membership application, visit: learn.armaninollp.com/ailab.

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Armanino Expands to Orange County with Bolar Hirsch & Jennings Deal

San Ramon, Calif.-based Armanino LLP (FY17 net revenue of $242.7 million) has acquired Bolar Hirsch & Jennings LLP of Irvine, Calif., (FY18 net revenue of $18.8 million) effective June 1.  This transaction expands Armanino into Orange County and builds on the firm’s existing presence in Southern California.

“Bolar Hirsch & Jennings is a highly specialized tax firm with an amazing group of people and will put us in the hub of Orange County, where they have created a successful and trusted brand for nearly 30 years,” says Matt Armanino, CEO of Armanino LLP. “Armanino has been strategically investing in the Southern California market to ensure we can better serve the market with an expanded geographic footprint that covers all the major hubs in the region. With this addition, we will now have a total of five offices throughout Southern California.”

Bolar Hirsch & Jennings’ robust tax practice includes specialization in high-net-worth individuals, real estate and corporate tax solutions. This expertise is complemented by Armanino’s existing ability to serve individuals with a full family-office offering and businesses with expanded tax expertise and audit, consulting and technology solutions. The transaction brings value to individual tax clients looking for greater depth of expertise and a full suite of household finance solutions, and to Orange County-based companies that can take advantage of a wider set of available solutions to assist businesses at any stage of their lifecycle, from startup to wind-down.

“Our focus on driving the best results for clients is why Bolar Hirsch & Jennings is a top accounting firm in Orange County, and joining with Armanino will allow us to bring even more solutions to clients that will make their lives easier and optimize their business operations,” says David Hirsch, co-MP at Bolar Hirsch & Jennings. “This transaction not only expands our capabilities, but gives clients access to a large network of experts, including a real estate team well versed in real estate investment trusts (REITs), private equity funds and audit capabilities for all real estate businesses.”

“Bolar Hirsch & Jennings is a top-flight firm in Orange County with a stellar reputation for its client service and acuity in niche tax matters,” says Allan Koltin, CEO of Koltin Consulting Group, who advised both firms. “With this agreement, Armanino is extremely well positioned throughout Southern California.”

The former Bolar Hirsch & Jennings team will continue to operate from its Irvine office at 18101 Von Karman Ave., 14th floor.

Armanino’s strong growth is anchored in its pursuit of expanded service lines, technology solutions and specialized expertise. The firm has been listed on INSIDE Public Accounting’s Best of the Best Firms list for 17 out of the last 18 years and is regularly featured in best places to work lists.

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Armanino Brings Trust-as-a-Service (TaaS) to Blockchain

San Ramon, Calif.-based Armanino LLP (FY17 net revenue of $242.7 million) has partnered with TrustToken to build a solution that will add transparency and trust to digital assets.

As a global leader in digitizing assets that can be seamlessly and securely exchanged across liquid markets, TrustToken and its TrueUSD® stablecoin cryptocurrency can be monitored via a dashboard hosted by Armanino. The solution connects directly to third-party escrow accounts holding the U.S. dollars that collateralize TrueUSD tokens, and runs its own ETH nodes to ensure accuracy of the outstanding TrueUSD token supply.

“Blockchain technology is all about enabling us to transact in a trustless peer-to-peer way. It’s important to us to build products that further advance this mission,” says Andries Verschelden, PIC of Armanino’s blockchain practice. “Through our dashboard we will create direct transparency into the marketplace and increase trust for all users, thus allowing a wider adaptation of this important product.”

“This sets a new standard not only for stablecoins, but for all tokenized assets in the future,” says Rafael Cosman, co-founder and head of engineering and product at TrustToken. “With real-time confirmation of funds provided by one of the world’s leading accounting firms, traders will know at all times that their tokens are backed by real-world value.”

Continuous attest has long been a goal within the audit profession, and this proprietary, real-time dashboard offering complete transparency regarding how digital assets are backed is a step in this direction, TrustToken says. The firm is developing programmatic approaches for auditing and attesting on underlying assets, whether fiat currencies, cryptocurrencies, precious metals, real estate or debt obligations.

“At Armanino we want to advance the audit function into the digital age. This means relying on technology to increase speed and effectiveness in bringing trust to our community,” says Scott Copeland, PIC of Armanino’s audit practice.

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Armanino Opens New Office in Seattle

San Ramon, Calif.-based Armanino LLP (FY17 net revenue of $242.7 million) has added a new full-service office with tax, audit and consulting resources located in downtown Seattle to meet the needs of its established clients and develop new opportunities in the Pacific Northwest.

As a region ripe with expanding technology companies, world-class nonprofit organizations and a strong midmarket presence, Armanino recognized a prime opportunity to bring value to the market, the firm announced.

“We are seeing a need for more specialized resources in the region, whether that means consulting with us for technical accounting or SOX, complex tax issues or a broader outsourced finance solution,” says CEO Matt Armanino. “We’re also excited about the potential to grow a connection to the robust local talent pool and, being a top 1% Microsoft partner, our new proximity provides direct access to Microsoft.” Microsoft is headquartered in nearby Redmond, Wash.

Armanino’s aggressive growth is anchored in its pursuit of expanded service lines, technology solutions and specialized expertise. The firm has been listed on INSIDE Public Accounting’s Best of the Best list for 15 of the last 16 years, and has a Net Promoter Score that is nearly double the average for the accounting industry.

Armanino’s Seattle location is at 801 Second Ave.

Armanino has seven offices in California, in San Ramon, San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Woodland Hills and El Segundo. The firm is also operates from offices in Dallas and Naperville, Ill.

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Armanino Expands Privacy Services Practice to Protect Client Data

San Ramon, Calif.-based Armanino LLP (FY17 net revenue of $242.7 million) announces the expansion of its privacy services practice to help business leaders address and comply with the quickly changing privacy and breach notification laws.

“Data privacy is crucial for all businesses, particularly those entrusted with sensitive consumer data,” says Liam Collins, partner and practice leader for risk assurance and advisory services. “Armanino’s privacy services practice was founded with the understanding that data privacy is a critical business issue for clients and a fundamental right for all consumers.”

The practice offers a full spectrum of services including privacy managed services, privacy impact assessments, data inventory, privacy program assessments, outsourced data protection and compliance.

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Armanino Launches Blockchain Practice

San Ramon, Calif.-based Armanino LLP (FY17 net revenue of $242.7 million) has announced a new blockchain practice, which will offer a range of services for businesses interested in using the burgeoning technology.

“Blockchain technology and crypto assets have the potential to become a high impact innovation that brings value and security to businesses, and with a growing number of our clients currently in the space, it made sense to assemble a team well-versed in this new technology,” says Andries Verschelden, partner and blockchain practice leader.

The firm describes blockchain a technology that increases trust among customers, vendors and third parties through “transparent, secure and immutable transactions.”

The blockchain practice offers strategy, assurance and systems implementation solutions for businesses, including:

  • Proof of Concept – Assessments for blockchain, including distributed ledgers, permissioned blockchains, hybrid solutions and permission-less blockchains.
  • Design and Implementation – Full vendor selection, functional and technical design, configuration, testing, user training, system integration and ongoing support.
  • Security Review and Monitoring – Assurance on digital assets on the balance sheet, high-volume digital currency transactions, custodial holdings, smart contract and enterprise blockchain environments. Armanino was among the first to complete financial statement audits for clients with high digital asset transaction volumes.
  • Cryptocurrency On-Ramp – Crypto readiness systems review, crypto-specific accounting solution selection and implementation, technical accounting guidance, custody solutions, cold storage controls environment consulting, and digital asset tax strategy and process design.

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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.

Armanino Launches Program to Encourage More Women to Become Partners 

Andy Armanino

San Ramon, Calif.-based Armanino LLP (FY17 net revenue of $242.7 million) has launched a program designed to drive career advancement for female managers.

Called the Executive Access Program, the initiative will match high-potential female managers with executive committee members to provide them the opportunity to build relationships and understand the path to partnership. The inaugural class includes 18 women.

The firm also announced a Transparency to Partnership educational track to provide clearer insight and more transparency about what it takes to be a partner. Training modules will offer information on partner qualifications, the benefits of partnership, flexibility and expectations, partner profiles and other relevant topics. These courses will be available to all interested firm employees, in order to address misconceptions and barriers.

Both initiatives were developed by Armanino’s Women’s Advancement Network (WAN) and comes after extensive survey findings of male and female Armanino partners and managers provided insights on barriers and opportunities for female partner promotion.

Results revealed that women were opting out of the partner track at twice the rate of men and that executive sponsorship was one of the most important factors in achieving partnership. The survey also revealed gaps in the understanding of the qualifications and benefits of partnership for both men and women. The Accounting MOVE Project conducted the internal survey.

“Armanino is committed to not only meeting but exceeding the industry average of female partners,” says MP Andy Armanino. “In the past three years, 29 percent of internal partner promotions were women, a trend we would like to see increase in the future.”

Armanino Adds Experts in HR and Business Development to Law Firm Services Group  

Terri Oppelt

San Ramon, Calif.-based Armanino LLP (FY17 net revenue of $242.7 million) has welcomed industry veterans Terri Oppelt as director and Kendra Edson as client relations and marketing manager to the firm’s law firm services group. Both professionals bring unique service capabilities that help law firms maximize operational efficiency and value.

“Terri and Kendra bring deep expertise in issues critical to law firms, such as profitability and HR compliance, to a practice that is unique in the market,” says David Roberts, PIC of law firm services at Armanino. “Our team has decades of experience working with and inside of law firms, providing a wide array of solutions such as outsourced accounting and operations, firm strategy, succession planning, compensation strategies and more. With the addition of Terri and Kendra, we can now offer solutions to meet even more law firm operating needs in areas such as business development, marketing and HR.”

Armanino is the only firm in the western U.S. with a combined consulting and accounting practice that is exclusively dedicated to serving the business needs of law firms

Oppelt consults in all areas of law firm management and operations, including strategic planning, compensation, accounting and billing, administration support strategies, HR and leadership, organizational change, training and retreats.

Edson leads the team’s business development and marketing initiatives. In her role, she oversees efforts to expand and improve relationships with law firm clients and strategically engage new clients.

Armanino Strengthens Cybersecurity with Launch of Risk Assurance and Advisory Services

San Ramon, Calif.-based Armanino LLP (FY17 net revenue of $242.7 million) announced it has launched a combined risk assurance and advisory services practice to enhance its ability to offer a wide range of risk and compliance solutions to clients. The move brings an innovative approach to compliance with a holistic approach to compliance requirements, increased automation, real-time reporting and deep cybersecurity expertise.

The new service will combine traditional risk assurance services such as SOC 1/2/3 audit compliance, ISO 27001, internal audit, SOX 404 and HITRUST certification with a strategic advisory capability that includes critical needs such as business continuity, cybersecurity and privacy services, and enterprise risk management.

“The new risk assurance and advisory practice is an integration of several risk-centric solutions that enables us to provide our clients with a more efficient and effective approach to managing their key risks,” says Liam Collins, PIC of risk assurance and advisory services. “This combination strengthens the firm’s ability to strategically engage with each client and provide a custom-tailored risk assurance plan that will protect their organization.”

Joining the practice is managing director Todd Bishop, who brings nearly two decades of experience in compliance, internal audit and IT assurance. Prior to joining Armanino, he led Gap Inc.’s SOX 404 financial program, was chief audit executive at Dolby Laboratories and spent over a decade at PwC.