Hofstede Tapped to Become New CEO of Wisconsin Institute of CPAs

Tammy J. Hofstede

The Wisconsin Institute of CPAs (WICPA) has announced that Tammy J. Hofstede will succeed Dennis F. Tomorsky as the organization’s new president and CEO on Jan. 1.

“After a thorough, months-long national search process, during which the search firm and search committee interviewed many qualified candidates, the decision was made to appoint Tammy Hofstede as the new president and CEO,” says board chair Michael Akers.

Hofstede has been with the WICPA for 26 years, having joined the organization as an accounting intern in 1992. Since then, she has held the positions of accounting assistant (1993-1995); accounting, legislative, foundation and technology coordinator (1995-2002); executive assistant and foundation coordinator (2002-2007); director of finance and operations (2007-2011) and, most recently, chief financial and operating officer (2011-present).

“No one knows this organization and its members better than Tammy,” says Tomorsky, who served as president and CEO for 12 years. “Her long history and deep knowledge of the WICPA and CPA profession will make this a very smooth transition. Tammy’s demonstrated leadership is certain to have a significant positive impact on the organization and its members.”

“Through the years, I have experienced many changes encompassing both the accounting profession and the WICPA, and I am excited to continue my involvement working with our staff and members, moving the organization forward and making individuals, our profession and the WICPA stronger,” says Hofstede.

The WICPA has more than 7,300 members working in public accounting, industry, government and education.

Two Industry Experts Join Friedman Leadership Team

Shaji Varghese

New York-based Friedman LLP (FY17 net revenue of $101.5 million) has announced that Shaji Varghese, partner, and Brandon Baker, principal, have joined the firm’s Philadelphia office, bringing with them a wealth of cross-industry expertise.

Varghese is an audit partner at Friedman LLP, bringing more than 25 years of experience managing audit engagements for clients from start-ups to large organizations. Prior to joining Friedman, Varghese dedicated the majority of the past 14 years as a partner in a large internationally registered accounting firm focused in auditing public and private companies. He has extensive experience supporting clients across industries including life sciences, biotech, real estate, software and technology, financial services and manufacturing.

Baker is a tax principal at Friedman LLP, with more than 15 years of experience working with private clients to ensure multi-generational wealth. He guides clients through federal and state income tax challenges arising from closely held business interests, their inherited wealth and transfer tax matters. He spent six years in the private wealth practice of a Big 4 accounting firm.

“As part of our commitment to delivering excellence in client services, we strategically select industry experts who bring powerful insights to our clients. Shaji and Brandon have in-depth industry knowledge and value a hands-on and personalized approach when it comes to individualized client attention,” says Harriet Greenberg, co-MP and leader of the fashion and diamond and jewelry practices at Friedman.

“What drew me most to Friedman is the firm’s highly personal approach to client services. While many mistake tax and audit as purely numbers-based, it’s much more about human interest and strategizing the best options available based on an individual’s unique needs,” says Varghese.

PKF O’Connor Davies Welcomes GKG CPAs

Kevin J. Keane

New York-based PKF O’Connor Davies (FY17 net revenue of $160 million) announces that Chestnut Ridge, N.Y.-based GKG CPAs has joined the firm.

The move is part of PKF O’Connor Davies’ efforts to deepen the firm’s expertise in key practice areas. GKG brings experience in transportation, food manufacturing and processing, employee benefit plans and not-for-profits.

“GKG is perfect fit for the firm’s strategic growth goals,” says MP Kevin J. Keane. “We’re eager to work with like-minded individuals with a strong dedication to serving clients, and GKG has demonstrated that commitment over the years.”

Six partners and about 40 employees will join the firm. Some will move to PKF O’Connor Davies’ Woodcliff Lake, N.J., office and others will remain in GKG’s Newburgh, N.Y., location. For 25 years, GKG has provided comprehensive business consulting, tax and estate planning, auditing, reviews and compilations, and accounting and financial management services to middle- and large-market businesses and individuals with complex needs.

“PKF O’Connor Davies has a strong reputation for its industry-leading practices and unmatched focus on client service,” says GKG MP Donald R. Karlewicz. “We’re thrilled to join forces with an established and internationally renowned firm.”

Joe Tarasco, CEO of Accountants Advisory Group, facilitated and advised both firms on the transaction.

Rehmann Grows in Florida With Addition of Lammn Krielow Dytrych

Randay Rupp

Troy, Mich.-based Rehmann (FY17 net revenue of $116 million) is expanding its presence in Florida by combining with Lamn Krielow Dytrych & Co. (LKD) of Jupiter, Fla.

The combination brings together two companies focused on the financial services industry.
Founded in 1970, LKD, with 26 associates and about $5 million in revenue, serves southeast Florida by offering traditional and non-traditional business and financial services. In addition to audit, accounting and tax services, LKD provides assistance in litigation, business consulting and forensic accounting.

“Our firms share compatible values that focus on our clients and associates,” says Rehmann CEO Randy Rupp. “Both firms understand the value of building strong client relationships and providing opportunities for associates that yield innovative and proactive solutions.”

LKD clients will receive an array of additional resources through Rehmann’s large network of CPAs, consultants, wealth advisors and corporate investigators.

“Rehmann shares our philosophy of helping our clients grow and succeed, and this combination will broaden our existing services, enabling us to offer even more comprehensive business advice,” says Marty Dytrych, owner and shareholder at LKD. “As we begin our next chapter, we are excited to increase the level of service options and experiences for our valued clients.”

LKD associates will continue to serve clients in their Jupiter office under the Rehmann brand.

Platt’s Perspective: A Side Of AI And Technology Developments That No One Is Talking About

Mike Platt

Mike Platt

I have attended many conferences, partner retreats and association meetings over the last few months and, as you would expect, THE topic that is top of mind for many firms is technology innovation and how automation will change what we know about providing accounting and tax services. But I find one thing very troubling in all these conversations – they tend to be myopic and don’t address what I believe to be the more “clear and present” danger. Let me explain.

Many firms are rightly thinking about automation, new service opportunities and how they can be more efficient in what they do. All recognize that they cannot compete financially with investments in these technologies being made by the Big 4 and many of the Top 20 firms. And while the conversation about what might be possible in the future is of academic interest, far too many are dismissing it as, “While that might be reality for the Big 4, we don’t serve American Airlines as a client and our clients don’t need that level of sophistication in their tax and audit services.”

Yes, it’s true that you aren’t auditing American Airlines. Yes, it’s true that the vast majority of your clients don’t need these sophisticated systems to audit their accounts. And yes, it’s true that it will be several years before many of these disruptive technologies are affordable and available to firms of your size.

But here’s my biggest concern with that thinking, and why I feel compelled to sound the alarm. What happens when the largest firms perfect the technology to the point of significant cost savings in servicing their Fortune 500 clients? The answer is THEY WILL MOVE DOWN MARKET because now it will be affordable and profitable to do so. They will be able to very profitably serve the Fortune 1000. The Fortune 5000. Local construction companies. Mom & Pop grocery stores. YOUR CLIENT BASE.

It is this threat to your future that I believe isn’t being talked about with the intensity and volume I believe it should be. What will happen when your longtime client goes through a generational change of leadership and they feel that – for a similar fee as yours – they would prefer having the name, cache and resources of a Big 4 behind them? And with the technology innovations, it won’t be long before the Big 4 can profitably compete for a piece of your client base. Let that sink in for a moment.

Implementing all the new technology that is being talked about today will certainly provide your firm with cost savings and operational efficiencies. But what are you doing today to ensure that the relationships with every current and future decision-maker in your client companies are rock solid to ensure that when the Big 4 come knocking – and they surely will – your client doesn’t open that door?

I encourage all MPs, executive committees, state society leaders and consultants to the profession to include this perspective in their discussions of the future, because this is a conversation we are not hearing anywhere, and one we believe is a “clear and present” threat that needs to be planned for.

Aldrich Welcomes Four New Partners in 2019

Tracey Davis

The Aldrich Group of Companies, based in Salem, Ore., has admitted four new partners effective Jan. 1: Tracey Davis, Ryan Johnson, Nicole Rice and Matt Van Doren, who represent a range of disciplines across the organization including Aldrich Wealth Advisors, Aldrich Benefits, and the construction and communications industry groups.

“Our new partners have each demonstrated exceptional leadership, expertise and client service in their time with the firm. We are thrilled to welcome them into our partnership,” says CEO Martin Moll.

Tracey Davis, Partner, Employee Benefits Consultant Davis is an employee benefits consultant specializing in large and mid-market employers with particular expertise in self-funding. She uses her in-depth knowledge of the market and strong partnerships to implement creative solutions for funding, medical management, and cost containment with an eye on the future direction of health care.

Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson, Partner, Communications and UtilitiesJohnson is an expert on the taxation of communications and power companies. He specializes in both business and individual taxation and has extensive

Matt Van Doren

experience consulting on the structure of entities and transactions, including mergers and acquisitions.

Nicole Rice, Partner, Wealth Manager Rice has dedicated her professional career to helping individuals and corporate clients achieve their short- and long-term financial goals. She has experience in wealth management, retirement planning, tax accounting, design and implementation of non-qualified benefit plans, insurance and qualified benefit plans.

Matt Van Doren, Partner, ConstructionVan Doren provides financial and accounting services, tax planning and consulting services including construction accounting, cash flow modeling, financial projections and construction best practices.

PKF O’Connor Davies Establishes Governance Committee

Tom Blaney

New York-based PKF O’Connor Davies (FY17 net revenue of $160 million) has established a formal governance committee, which will recommend members for the executive committee and advise committee members.

The committee will be led by partner Thomas Blaney, who will serve as chair. Additional committee members are partners Clare Cella, Robert Cordero, Ed O’Connor and Marc Rinaldi.

“This governance committee is a powerful opportunity to put some additional structure around how we select our leadership team and guide the direction of the firm,” says MP Kevin J. Keane. “For nearly two decades, Tom has been a trusted and vital part of the PKF O’Connor Davies executive leadership, which makes him the perfect individual to lead this new governance initiative.”

The governance committee will support the executive committee in selecting new members and providing input and counsel related to governance policies and best practices. This governance committee is among several steps the firm has taken to formalize its governance and leadership practices. The committee is designed to help the firm adapt as future initiatives and priorities emerge.

KPMG Moves into Small Business Tax and Accounting Services with Spark

Zach Olson

New York-based KPMG LLP (FY17 net revenue of $9 billion) has launched KPMG Spark, a tax accounting solution for small and mid-sized businesses.

The Big 4 firm says KPMG Spark “blends innovative technology, intelligent automation and ‘human in the loop’ personalized service” to help clients from the pre-revenue stage to upward of $50 million annually to comply with last year’s domestic tax reform legislation.

Spark uses the technology platform KPMG acquired last summer when it purchased a business then known as Bookly, which at the time solely provided cash-basis accounting assistance to small companies.

“Robotic process automation, intelligent automation and other emerging technologies are just beginning to disrupt the accounting and tax services industries,” says Jeffrey C. LeSage, Americas vice chairman of tax at KPMG. “KPMG Spark reflects KPMG’s commitment to bringing innovative solutions to an expanding range of clients so we can help them drive growth, gain efficiencies and create greater value.”

KPMG Spark provides online bookkeeping, tax preparation and related services, supported by staff.

“The KPMG Spark solutions are designed to give business owners the tools they need to gain back the time they are spending on finance management, so they can pursue their passions and grow their businesses,” says Zach Olson, who joined KPMG as a managing director as part of the Bookly acquisition.

HBK, Spire Group Join Forces

Tom Angelo

Canfield, Ohio-based HBK CPAs & Consultants (FY17 net revenue of $80 million) has announced the signing of a merger agreement with the Spire Group of Clark, N.J.

The merger gives HBK its northernmost office and the newest in its mid-Atlantic region, which is comprised of Princeton and Cherry Hill in New Jersey and Blue Bell, Pa.

“We are pleased to welcome the Spire Group team to HBK,” notes HBK mid-Atlantic PIC Jim Bartolomei. “They are a group of outstanding and accomplished professionals who will strengthen our position in the region.”

The Spire Group is comprised of 50 team members, five of whom are joining HBK as principals. The firm has operated as the Spire Group since 2012 with the merger of SGA Group of Clark, N.J., and Carr Daley Sullivan & Weir of Livingston, N.J.

“The Spire Group was built on the pillars of client service, entrepreneurship and a culture that is centered around our team members’ success,” says Spire MP Tom Angelo. “We found those same pillars in the HBK family. We are excited to be able to bring our talents and expertise to scale collectively with the breadth and depth of HBK. Together, we will bring tremendous opportunities to our clients and our team members in the years to come.”

In addition to its tax, advisory and assurance practice, Spire operates Spire IT. Spire IT was founded in 2010 to provide technology and consulting services.

“The Spire Group has succeeded at building an award-winning culture and growing a highly respected office in a very competitive market. And their successful IT practice is proof of their innovative and entrepreneurial practice style,” says Christopher M. Allegretti, CEO and MP of HBK.

Major Midwest Expansion Ahead for K·Coe Isom

Jeff Wald

Salina, Kan.-based K·Coe Isom (FY18 net revenue of $68.2 million) is expanding deeper into the Midwest with its announcement of a new office location in Indianapolis. The move makes room for further growth and answers the pressing resource needs of Indiana’s food and agriculture businesses.

A national leader in food and agriculture consulting and CPA services, K·Coe Isom devotes two-thirds of its business to providing solutions for the food-supply chain and the financial, sustainability, legislative and operational issues they face.

Jeff Wald, CEO at K·Coe Isom, stated that the reasons behind this expansion were quite simple, “Our reputation precedes us. Our presence in Indiana spans decades as we serve many farm and ranch operations there already, and this move will make it easier to provide our food & ag specialization, expertise, and national resources.”

With the opening of the new Indianapolis office on December 10, it brought 10 seasoned K·Coe Isom professionals to the greater Indianapolis area, with K·Coe Isom looking to expand their employee base considerably over the first five years.

“This move represents our depth of commitment to the communities and food and agriculture businesses of Indiana,” adds Wald.