EY Leader Says Refugees Are ‘Ideal Talent Source’ for German Companies

The Big 4 firm EY is leading an effort to integrate refugees into German society and encourage companies to hire from this “ideal talent source.”

A European arm of New York-based EY (FY16 gross revenue of $11.2 billion) has established a roundtable of 50 German companies to share ideas and expand upon government efforts to hire refugees. EY has provided companies with information, tools and mentoring to help them welcome refugees into the workforce and society as a whole.

“We have to keep in mind that refugees represent an incredible addition to the workforce,” says Julie Teigland, who is EY’s MP for Germany, Switzerland and Austria. “Many refugees are highly educated. They are displaced simply because of the issues they’re facing at home. They represent an ideal talent source if we can find a way to integrate them locally into our business and make them feel welcome.” Teigland comments came at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in an interview with Refugees Deeply, which covers the global refugee crisis.

Since 2015, Germany has seen more than 1 million asylum seekers, and some of their biggest issues center on the practicalities of daily life, such as language and cultural differences. Teigland’s team has developed a handbook on “what you need to know about Germany to survive,” but multinational companies are well positioned to offer flexible hiring practices and teach new skills. “Multinationals can offer those platforms – sometimes more effectively tailored – hand in hand with the government,” Teigland says.

Private sector companies can work together with government on integrating refugees, Teigland says. “I can only speak from a German perspective, but [German chancellor] Angela Merkel has opened the door for support and assistance, working hand in hand with the private sector, to achieve the best results. I don’t think [the refugee issue] is a problem that can be solved by government alone. The private sector needs to get involved, and flexible work and reskilling are parts of the answer.”

AICPA Appoints Chair of Certified in Financial Forensics Credential Committee

Jeffrey Buchakjian

Jeffrey Buchakjian

AICPA appointed Jeffrey Buchakjian chair of the certified in financial forensics (CFF) credential committee. Buchakjian is a partner and forensic accounting specialist in the financial advisory services group of New York-based EisnerAmper (FY17 net revenue of $352.6 million).

The CFF credential committee plays a role in promoting the growth of financial forensics services by raising the level of awareness of the CPA and CFF credential, as well as the CPA’s role in financial forensics. In addition, the committee works to develop and maintain qualification requirements for credential applicants, develops initiatives to recruit and retain credential holders, and serves as technical advisors to the AICPA regarding educational offerings for potential credential holders.

Buchakjian specializes in providing litigation consulting and forensic accounting services to attorneys, public and private corporations, and governmental agencies. He provides consulting and investigation services on matters involving financial fraud, commercial litigation and disputes, insurance claims and asset tracing. Buchakjian is frequently asked to conduct seminars, and continuing professional and legal education programs in the areas of forensic accounting and fraud.

“The CFF is a highly recognized and well-respected credential in the field of forensic accounting,” says Buchakjian. “I look forward to working with my fellow committee members across the country to continue to develop thought leadership and increase awareness of our growing profession.”

Rotz & Stonesifer Acquires Butler Gingerich & Company

Chambersburg, Pa.-based Rotz & Stonesifer acquired Butler Gingerich & Company of York, Pa.

Butler Gingerich & Company’s four certified public accountants and three professional staff members will join Rotz & Stonesifer and will retain the York office location.

Butler Gingerich & Company has been serving businesses and individuals in the York area for more than 40 years, specializing in individual and small business tax, and accounting and business valuations.

“Our clients will benefit from Rotz & Stonesifer’s industry expertise and expansive suite of specialty services. We look forward to bringing more value to the local business community,” says Leon Butler of Butler Gingerich & Company.

Lumsden & McCormick Admits Two Partners

Jill Johnson

Jill Johnson

Lumsden & McCormick (FY16 net revenue of $16 million) of Buffalo, N.Y., admitted Jill Johnson and Brian Kern partners, effective Jan. 1.

Johnson, who has been with the firm since 2002, works in the assurance division with a focus on audit and information technology controls serving health care institutions, nonprofit organizations, and health and human service agencies.

Brian Kern

Brian Kern

Kern joined the firm in 2006. He is a commercial tax expert, focusing on structuring tax strategies, high-net-worth individuals, privately owned commercial businesses, manufacturing and real estate.

Grant Thornton International Welcomes Ramey to Global Leadership Team

Jason Ramey

Jason Ramey

Jason Ramey will join the global leadership team at Grant Thornton International Ltd. (GTIL), serving as global leader for service lines and industries. He will report to GTIL’s chief executive, Peter Bodin.

Ramey will drive deeper consistency, alignment and collaboration across all service lines including audit, tax and advisory across the global network of member firms. He will also guide global teams to expand capabilities in strategic markets.

“Technology and automation are transforming our clients’ needs, not to mention their expectations,” says Ramey. “I look forward to helping the Grant Thornton network better serve our global clients through new initiatives and services grounded in collaboration and innovation.”

Ramey previously served as the national MP of international client services for Chicago-based Grant Thornton (FY16 net revenue of $1.7 billion).

He joined Grant Thornton U.S. as a partner in 2007 and served in several leadership roles, including international business center director and senior adviser while on assignment in China. He returned to the U.S. in 2011 and served as national MP of international client services, where he was responsible for driving U.S. strategy implementation for global initiatives and development of international business. In this role, he chaired GTIL’s international business center steering committee and also served as partner sponsor for the firm’s global mobility program. Ramey has also led efforts to launch the firm’s Japan, China, India, and Latin American business groups in the U.S.

CS&L CPAs Admits Messal as Principal

Jennifer Messal

Jennifer Messal

Bradenton, Fla.-based CS&L CPAs (FY16 net revenue of $7.8 million) admitted Jennifer Messal as principal.

Messal provides full service tax consulting and compliance, specializing in federal taxation. With more than 15 years of experience, she has experience working with family businesses spanning multiple generations placing importance on estate and succession planning. She focuses her talents on delivering personalized service in valued relationships as a trusted advisor.

“Jennifer has been a key player in driving the growth of our tax practice and we value her exceptional contributions to the firm,” says Bob Stanell, managing principal of CS&L CPAs.

Andersen Tax Names Boston Office Managing Director

Mike Hough

Mike Hough

San Francisco-based Andersen Tax (FY16 net revenue of $220.2 million) named Mike Hough as the office managing director in Boston. Hough has more than 17 years of experience in tax practice and been with Andersen Tax since its inception.

Hough specializes in helping individuals and families navigate sales of closely held companies, plan for equity compensation events, as well as design and implement tax efficient wealth transfer and philanthropic strategies. He tailors his practice to work closely with founders and substantial shareholders of closely held companies, private equity managing directors, executives at public companies, and high-net-worth family groups.

“As the firm continues to grow, it is important to provide new opportunities for people at all levels and functions, and I want to maximize the benefit of their perspective and experience. Mike demonstrates Andersen’s core values of stewardship and transparency, and I have no doubt that he will continue to make outstanding contributions as a leader in the firm,” says Mark Vorsatz, CEO and global chairman.

“Mike has continuously displayed strong leadership skills and a commitment to providing best-in-class client service. I am confident in his unparalleled focus and dedication to driving the team forward in Boston,” says U.S. managing director, Dan DePaoli.

Andersen Tax Names Regional Managing Director and Alternative Investment Funds Client Group Lead

Jerry DesRoches

Jerry DesRoches

San Francisco-based Andersen Tax (FY16 net revenue of $220.2 million) named Jerry DesRoches as the new East Coast regional managing director and Chris Spiegelman as the firm’s alternative investment funds client group lead. In these new roles, both will work to drive results across the eastern region and the alternative investment funds practice.

“Both Jerry and Chris have high levels of engagement, experience and passion for the firm, and I believe this transition is a good opportunity to ensure we are best aligned from a leadership and responsibility perspective,” says U.S. managing director, Dan DePaoli.

DesRoches helps families develop state-of-the-art customized income tax and estate planning solutions. He has more than 30 years of experience with tax and financial matters affecting entrepreneurs, private equity and hedge fund principals, executives and wealthy individuals. Currently, DesRoches is transitioning his responsibilities as the office managing director of Andersen Tax’s New York office.

Chris Spiegelman

Chris Spiegelman

Spiegelman is based in the firm’s Greenwich, Conn., office and has more than 25 years of diverse tax experience including extensive knowledge of alternative investments, partnership taxation and real estate taxation. He focuses on assisting investment partnerships with tax planning and compliance, fund structuring, and fund accounting and administration.

“As the New York office managing director, Jerry has been an invaluable asset and I look forward to his continued service and execution of the firm’s strategies in this new leadership role,” says Mark Vorsatz, global chairman CEO. “Additionally, Chris is a natural leader and has deep knowledge of alternative investments with specific skills in consulting with partners regarding their individual taxation, estate planning and federal and state compliance for management companies.”

EY Moves to Offshore Executive Assistants

In 2016, New York-based EY (FY16 gross revenue of $11.2 billion) began a trial period of offshoring executive assistants (EA) with 20 equity partners and directors. Now 15% of the 274 EAs at the firm work offshore.

“The key number is we’re finding with this model that an offshore EA costs approximately 40% of an onshore EA,” says Alison De Kleuver, finance and operations director, whose EA resides in Australia.

The move was about saving money but had the added bonus of allowing a number of non-partner employees to now have access to a dedicated EA.

Top 10 Trends in Business Intelligence

Tableau, a visual analytic company, hosted a webinar that gave an overview of top trends in business intelligence.

No. 10: Impact of Liberal Arts on Data Analytics: There is a growing importance placed on the value of how to tell stories with the data that you have, which is a communication skill set that is stronger in liberal arts students.

No. 9: Data Insurance: Companies need to assess the risk of data loss and know the value of the data they hold. Only 15% of U.S. companies have insurance policies specifically for their data, according to Ponemon, a company that conducts research on privacy, data protection and information security policy.

No. 8: Crowdsourced Governance: As self-service analytics expand, a funnel of valuable perspectives begins to inspire new ways of governance of the data, ensuring that the right people have access to the right data as you move from centralized governance structure to decentralized.

No. 7: Multi-Cloud Debate: Managing more than one cloud solution (multi-clouds or hybrid cloud strategy) spreads risk. Integration of multiple cloud options becomes very important as some predict that by 2019, 70% of enterprises will have a multi-cloud strategy.

No. 6: Promise of Natural Language Processing (NLP): Voice capabilities to access data such as Alexa, Siri and Google Home could be utilized to provide a simpler interface with technology making data more accessible to more people.

No. 5: Rise of the Chief Data Officer: According to Gartner, a research and advisory company, by 2019, 90% of large companies will have a chief data officer role in place. This role would include thinking through the end-to-end data strategy and how to monetize the data for competitive advantage.

No. 4: Location + Internet of Things (IoT): Leveraging location-based (geospatial) data and IoT devices can add context to better understand what is happening and what we predict will happen in a specific location which allows for personalized experiences.

No. 3: Don’t Fear Artificial Intelligence: Machine learning is rapidly becoming a valuable supplement, and assistant, for the analyst. It means more efficiency and less interruptions.

No. 2: Academics Investment: By 2021, 69% of employers will demand data science and analytics as a critical skill set of job candidates. The hard skills of analytics are no longer an elective; they are a mandate. There have been large investments by colleges and universities in analytics and data science degrees.

No. 1: Data Engineer Role: There has been a large growth in this specialty which plays a fundamental part in enabling self-service access to data analytics platforms. The role develops, constructs and tests different data architecture systems, essentially curating data for users.