New Jersey Society of CPAs Names Deloitte’s Kyle Sell President

Kyle Sell

The New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJCPA) has named Kyle Sell, audit and assurance partner at Deloitte & Touche LLP in Parsippany, N.J., president for the 2019/2020 term.

Since joining the NJCPA in 2004, Sell has served on numerous committees and interest groups. From interviewing NJCPA scholarship candidates interested in the accounting profession to teaching at his alma mater, Lafayette College, he knows first-hand how to inform the next generation about the benefits of becoming a CPA. As president, he will focus on engaging more young professionals as well as work to ensure the accounting field remains open and diverse to all.

“Taking on the role of president seems to be a natural fit for Kyle, whose dedication to the next generation and to furthering the profession are truly commendable,” says Ralph Albert Thomas, executive director at the NJCPA. He succeeds Sarah Krom, MP of SKC & Co. CPAs, in Boonton Township, N.J., who served as president for the 2018/2019 year.

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Wipfli Announces Changing Roles for Leaders

Milwaukee-based Wipfli LLP (FY18 net revenue of $317.9 million) has announced several changes to its leadership team, which became effective on June 1.

Seven of the firm’s senior partners are taking on expanded leadership roles as Wipfli welcomes Kurt Gresens as its new MP and 12 new partners from within the firm’s ranks. These changes are a result of Wipfli’s continued growth and its focus on preparing the firm for the future.

Partners with new roles are:

Kelly Arduino — Health Care Industry Leader 

Arduino has over 18 years of experience in health care, with an emphasis in health care finance and strategy. She functions as a business advisor and facilitator for her clients and is often the liaison between and among health care organizations as they develop “partnerships” or other joint planning efforts.

Stephanie Cavadeas – Audit and Accounting Quality Control Partner

Cavadeas has more than 16 years of experience working in the nonprofit and governmental practice group overseeing audits of grant-funded nonprofits, community-based organizations, and associations/membership organizations. For the past several years, she has been in charge of Wipfli’s internal inspection program and has been highly involved with our triannual outside peer review.

Kelly Fisher — Practice Partner

Fisher has more than 17 years of public accounting experience in manufacturing, technology, professional services and international operations, including experience with a Big 4 accounting firm. Most recently, she focused on leadership and management of the firm’s tax practice. In her new role, innovation and strategic transformation will be a primary focus.

Ken Kortas — Business Solutions Group Leader 

Kortas has more than 25 years of management and information technology consulting experience. He is a specialist in identifying business requirements and defining and implementing management plans. Business processes, organizational designs and information technology strategies are integral parts of his skill set.

Scott Nelson — Audit and Accounting Leader 

Nelson has more than 30 years of experience serving clients in the manufacturing, wholesale, broadcasting, relocation and service industries. As a client relationship executive, he focuses on gaining an understanding of the client’s goals and managing Wipfli’s client service team to assist in achieving those goals.

Scott Schumacher — Tax Practice Leader

Schumacher has more than 20 years of experience working with businesses to claim and substantiate a tax incentive for research and development activities. In addition, he works with closely held and family-owned businesses in the manufacturing and distribution sectors, providing them and their ownership group with tax compliance and planning services.

Dan Szidon — Core Services Leader 

Szidon has nearly 30 years of professional experience at Wipfli, working in audit and accounting services, as well as consulting on various business issues. More recently, he has focused the practice on providing financial and consulting services and firmwide management.

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BKD Red Team Launched to Help Fight Cyberattacks

BKD Cyber has announced the addition of a new service named BKD Red Team to its service line. BKD Red Team is a digital attack simulation that can emulate the actions a hacker might take during a cyberattack. The simulation results are then used in training sessions with the client’s IT security department.

“We look forward to working with organizations to help them better prepare for these attacks by anticipating what a hacker would do once inside their network as well as train their security team,” says Cindy Boyle, partner and team leader with BKD Cyber. BKD Cyber is a service of Springfield, Mo.-based BKD (FY18 net revenue of $594.6 million).

BKD Cyber professionals can perform this simulated digital attack under controlled conditions using the same actions that actual cybercriminals could use to access and harvest data from an organization. This exercise can help assess how a real-world breach would affect an organization. BKD Red Team also can train security teams to more quickly respond to a cyber incident.

In addition to showing a network’s vulnerabilities, BKD Red Team can identify the actual data that was compromised, the firm says. The team can provide recommendations on how to better safeguard sensitive data and avoid costly breaches. According to the Ponemon Institute “2018 Cost of a Data Breach study,” the total cost of a data breach averaged $3.86 million, up almost $250,000 from the previous year. In addition, it takes organizations an average of 197 days to realize they’ve been breached.

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Using Stolen PCAOB Data to Cost KPMG $50 Million

Big 4 accounting firm KPMG LLP will pay $50 million to settle SEC allegations that it altered past audit work after receiving stolen information from the PCAOB, which the SEC oversees, Bloomberg reported.

According to a June 17 statement, KMPG admitted wrongdoing and agreed to hire an independent consultant to review its internal controls. “KPMG’s ethical failures are simply unacceptable,” SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said in the statement. “The resolution the enforcement division has reached holds KPMG accountable for its past failures and provides for continuing, heightened oversight to protect our markets and our investors.”

The fine stems from what was called a “steal the exam” scheme, from 2015 to 2017, in which KPMG professionals and former PCAOB employees worked together to help the firm, which had suffered a high rate of deficiencies. In the end, six KPMG professionals were dismissed after an investigation found they tried to obtain confidential information that would reveal which audits the PCAOB planned to review in its annual inspections. “With the data, the former employees oversaw a program to revise certain audits to reduce the likelihood government inspectors would find shortfalls,” Bloomberg reported.

The investigation resulted in January 2018 criminal charges against three former PCAOB officials, who went on to work for KPMG, of stealing information tied to PCAOB exams.

In an email statement, a company spokesperson said KPMG has learned important lessons and is a stronger firm because of steps taken to improve its culture, governance and compliance program. The SEC says its probe is continuing.

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Michael Leigh Joins Grassi & Co. to Lead Cyber and Information Security Practice

Michael Leigh

New York-based Grassi & Co. (FY17 net revenue of $60.8 million) has hired Michael Leigh, a nationally recognized cyber and information security expert, to lead the firm’s practice.

By bridging the gap between the executives and practitioners of an organization, Leigh addresses cyber risk by focusing on empowering his clients to approach their security strategy from a business standpoint, not just a technical one – making him a valuable asset to the businesses and organizations the firm services.

He has held the position of global head of digital forensics and incident response for NCC Group, an international security consulting firm; and has held senior leadership positions in information security for major technology providers, including Cisco Systems and Oracle Corporation.

Services include incident response, analyzing and remediating cyber security incidents; penetration resting, assessing an organization’s security posture by simulating threat-actor actions; and virtual chief information security officer (VCISO), which act as an organization’s senior security management by defining the security strategy and converting that strategy into action. The team designs programs that are tailored to clients’ needs.

“By bringing someone with Michael’s expertise to the firm, we are able to save our clients from security risks that could have a catastrophic impact on their financials, their reputations and those of the clients they serve,” says CEO Louis C. Grassi. “With data being the core of nearly every business decision made today, this role is one of the most vital as we help navigate our clients in the direction of success they desire.”

Leigh says he is able to identify risks that are most important to clients’ businesses and build protections around these assets. “My approach results in saving the client precious time, effort and money – not to mention many sleepless nights and headaches.”

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BMF Launches Cyber Technology Group

Akron, Ohio-based Bober Markey Fedorovich (BMF) (FY18 net revenue of $19.1 million) has announced a new practice area, BMF Cyber Technology Group, which will offer high-level IT, network and cybersecurity solutions.

The firm, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary, says the new practice group is part of the evolution of its core financial and advisory service offerings. Now, the firm says, “we are better equipped to serve our clients with the skills, tools and resources they need to run an effective IT department while protecting their most critical component – their data.”

Chad Voller

Managing director of CTG, Chad Voller, notes that most IT professionals begin their careers on the help desk, and over time progress to become system administrators and then as department leaders, they’re asked to manage processes, people and budgets.

“They’re asked to do these things with no background or training in executive management,” he says. “No wonder so many IT executives feel overwhelmed, and so many business leaders are looking for more impact from their IT teams. Technology is a competitive lever for any organization, but no tech team can provide that level of insight to senior management when they’re stuck running through service tickets.”

Voller has experience in all three critical elements for improving IT performance and security: operational, management and executive coaching support, the firm says. Working in corporate IT positions and managing a global technology department for a publicly traded corporation, he supported three national and two international locations. He has earned several certifications and consults and speaks on IT operations management, disaster recovery, project and change management.

Voller joined the firm as its director of IT three years ago. He’ll manage both roles while growing his three-person team.

“I honestly think that with just a little sprinkling of success that this could be a really fantastic revenue opportunity for the firm going forward,” Voller told Crain’s Cleveland Business. “It is so relevant for every business out there that we could see this turning into one of the leading books of business within the landscape of the firm.”

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Canada’s MNP Acquires Technology Firm

Calgary, Alberta-based MNP has acquired Mantralogix, a technology firm that will merge with MNP on July 1.

Kerry Mann, president and CEO, and COO Jess Mann will be made new partners and bring a staff of 20 experts to MNP. Mantralogix is located in Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto.

Sean Murphy, MNP’s regional MP of consulting for eastern Canada, says, “Merging in Mantralogix, a full-service business management software solutions company and IT consulting firm, will allow us to build on our existing strengths and offer new solutions, particularly in the area of cloud and on-premise enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, in order to bring even greater value for our clients.”

According to the Canadian Accountant, the move is part of a trend of national accounting firms providing ERP software solutions and IT consulting. All Big 4 firms have partnerships with software businesses: PwC with SAP, Deloitte with Oracle and SAP, KMPG with Oracle, Microsoft and IBM, and EY with IBM, Microsoft and SAP.

MNP says Mantralogix’s partnership with the Acumatica and Sage enables them to build, support and maintain successful IT solutions.

“In this dynamic environment the needs of Canadian companies are always evolving, so we are constantly working with our clients to better understand how we can best support them,” says Jeremy Cole, executive vice president for MNP’s Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic region. “MNP has a strong presence serving diverse clients right across the country and we are committed to helping more businesses reach their full potential.”

Kerry Mann says the union will add more specialized services and a broader range of industry expertise and experiences to clients.

“We are always looking at new ways to help our clients achieve their goals. That starts with having the ability to look at a business from every angle to make sure we understand the challenges and opportunities they face and how we can truly help to bring value to the relationship,” says Mann. “This merger is a great example of how two firms can come together to enhance each other’s service offerings and give our clients the edge they need to stay competitive and grow for the future.”

The Mantralogix team plans to move into MNP’s Mississauga office in the future. MNP has more than 4,500 employees in more than 75 locations.

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Prager Metis Names New OMP in New York

Stuart Mayer

New York-based Prager Metis CPAs (FY18 net revenue of $98.2 million) announces that partner Stuart Mayer has been named OMP in the New York office.

His key responsibilities include growth, profitability, management and leadership, and  organization and personnel. He will also continue to lead the firm’s private companies group from the Manhattan office.

“This achievement is a testament to Stuart’s professional growth and dedication to the success of the firm,” says Lori Roth, MP of the Northeast region of Prager Metis. “We are excited to see him excel in this role and I am certain his leadership will allow for continued success and growth in our New York office.”

Mayer focuses his practice on new business and client development in a variety of industries including fashion, online media and interactive services companies. He also works extensively with the real estate industry, including CIRAs, developers, management companies and rental companies.

He has been featured as “Executive of the Month” by New York Real Estate Journal, and was selected as a “Top 40 Under 40” by Long Island Business News.

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Wipfli Admits 11 New Partners

Milwaukee-based Wipfli LLP (FY18 net revenue of $317.9 million) announced the continued growth of the firm with the promotion of 11 new partners effective June 1.

The newly promoted partners are based in the firm’s various offices across Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin.

“We are very pleased to welcome this diverse group of partners to Wipfli’s partnership. They embrace the firm’s core values and the outward mindset and will play a key part in helping us create a lasting, positive impact,” says Kurt Gresens, MP.

The firm’s new partners include:

  • Jaili Fajardo
  • Brian Gaumont
  • Casey Kretz
  • Chris Lockhart
  • Anita Mahamed
  • Kevin Scully
  • Nick Smith
  • Dana Springer
  • Ryan Swiderski
  • Michelle Swoboda
  • Mike Vaccarella

Wipfli’s 2019 partner class joins amid continued growth for the firm, which has also announced a new managing partner.

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Warmels & Comstock and Layton & Richardson Join Clark Schaefer Hackett

Warmels & Comstock and Layton & Richardson of East Lansing, Mich., have agreed to merge with Cincinnati-based Clark Schaefer Hackett (FY18 net revenue of $64.8 million), effective July 1.

“We are excited to have Warmels & Comstock and Layton & Richardson join CSH. Both firms have established practices that exemplify CSH’s mission of bettering the lives of our clients, people and communities. We are looking forward to expanding our reach in Michigan,” says CSH President Kerry Roe.

Warmels & Comstock and Layton & Richardson have served the Greater Lansing community for more than 50 years. As part of CSH, they will continue to provide accounting and tax solutions to businesses and individuals and dramatically expand their business advisory services to include Data Analytics, Strategic HR, Operational Process Improvement, Technology and more.

“Our firm culture of putting the client first, working hard, and acting with integrity is a perfect match for the culture at CSH. We look forward to a smooth transition that will enhance our service offerings and provide additional growth opportunities for our staff,” says Dan Warmels, co-founder of Warmels & Comstock.

CSH continues to grow through strategic acquisitions. Over the last few years, CSH has acquired CPA and advisory firms including Cincinnati-based JD Cloud and Toledo-based LublinSussman Group. In October 2018, CSH acquired Cincinnati-based Definity Partners, a leading workforce development, training and technology firm.

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