Mazars USA Names New OMP, Practice Leaders

New York-based Mazars USA (FY18 net revenue of $205 million) announced that partner Paula Ferreira will succeed Michael Coletti as the New Jersey OMP and Coletti will succeed Kathryn Byrne as the manufacturing and distribution practice leader. Both changes are effective Sept. 1.

Ferreira’s more than 20 years of experience encompass tax planning and business consulting services, augmented by her solid background in individual, corporate, partnership and LLC tax issues. In addition to her new role as the New Jersey office leader, she will continue to serve as the New Jersey entrepreneurial business services leader.

Coletti has approximately 20 years of experience providing advisory, audit, accounting and tax services, and specializes in delivering such services to domestic and international companies in industrials, food and beverage, and consumer products. He has extensive experience in advising clients on exit strategies, succession planning and restructuring. He is also experienced in relating to contractual arrangements, gross profit improvement analysis, costing and valuation of inventory, as well as debt and equity transactions.

Mazars USA also announced that partner Robert Kastenschmidt was named Mazars global consulting leader. He served previously as national consulting and advisory practice. He also serves as a member of both the global sectors and services team, as well as the global leadership team.

Kastenschmidt has over 20 years of experience providing accounting and management consulting services to clients in a range of industries, both in the U.S. and internationally. He has devised and implemented transformational business strategies while minimizing operational expenses, improving enterprise processes, and building talented teams across a variety of professional disciplines.

“As a firm, we consider consulting a critical growth area,” Kastenschmidt says. “Leading the expansion of this practice and being able to contribute to the success of both Mazars USA and Mazars Group is a real honor. Client complexity, needs and engagement size continue to increase, creating tremendous synergies between these two leadership roles.”

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Dean Dorton Putting Its Bet on Tax at Travers Stakes

Lexington, Ky.-based Dean Dorton Allen Ford (FY18 net revenue of $31.6 million), which specializes in serving the equine industry, will again sponsor Tax, this time as he races in the 150th Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 24.

Tax’s road to the Travers Stakes includes placing fourth earlier this year at the Belmont Stakes and his most recent win of the Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga on July 27. Tax is ridden by jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., trained by Danny Gargan and owned by R. A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch and Corms Racing Stables.

As Tax continued to progress, it made sense for Dean Dorton to continue to sponsor him, the firm says. “There isn’t a better fit for a horse named Tax,” says Patti Reeves, co-owner of Tax with her husband Dean.

“We are thrilled to continue this sponsorship as Tax competes and it has given us the opportunity to talk more about our brand and our history that is deeply rooted in serving equine clients in such a broad spectrum,” says David Bundy, president and CEO of Dean Dorton. He acknowledges that it’s “somewhat strange” for an accounting firm to sponsor a horse, “but Tax really is the perfect fit and this is a perfect opportunity for us as a firm.”

Dean Dorton has provided extensive accounting, tax and business consulting services to the equine industry since 1979. Dean Dorton’s equine practice serves a variety of equine industry operations including breeding and boarding farms, racing stables, performance horse operations, equine veterinary firms, equine auction firms, industry publications, racetracks, bloodstock agents, equine insurance agencies and industry associations.

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Boeckermann Grafstrom & Mayer Hires First CFO

Clare Chisholm

Bloomington, Minn.-based Boeckermann Grafstrom & Mayer (FY18 net revenue of $19.5 million) announces that Clare Chisholm has joined the firm as its first CFO.

Chisholm will direct and oversee the fiscal functions for Boeckermann Grafstrom & Mayer (BGM), as well as for the other entities of the BGM Group, which includes BGM Wealth Partners, Bridge West, Cornerstone Private Asset Trust Company, Element Technologies and Hunter Advisors.

“Since our founding in 1982, BGM has experienced steady growth,” says COO Brad Mayer. “Our strategic vision for the future includes expanding our service offerings, the industries we serve and our areas of expertise – all to best serve our clients.”

Chisholm, who has more than 25 years of experience, started her career in public accounting, and then transitioned to corporate management, leading finance, IT and operational teams. Prior to joining BGM, she worked for a regional accounting firm as its director of client accounting services and director of finance.

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Albin Randall & Bennet Joins CPAmerica

Albin Randall & Bennet of Portland, Maine, is the sixth firm this year to join CPAmerica, an association of independent CPA firms.

Albin Randall & Bennett (ARB) is a full-service CPA firm that works with organizations throughout New England in the automotive, construction, manufacturing, credit union and nonprofit industries. The firm also serves closely held businesses and family groups.

“Our memberships in national associations, including CPAmerica, provide us with additional resources to serve clients of all sizes with a broad range of needs. This is why our new tagline ‘National Savvy. Local Sensibility.’ feels genuine to us. It’s sending the right message to the marketplace in a time when national firms are acquiring local firms, shifting the landscape of professional services in Portland, and New England as a whole,” says MP Cheri Walker. “ARB is committed to the New England economy and the businesses and families within it, so it’s important that we have access to national industry leaders through our association memberships.”

Each firm undergoes a quality review prior to obtaining membership in CPAmerica, which provides shared best practices, networking opportunities and access to experts for member firms. CPAmerica is a member of Crowe Global, which has members in more than 750 offices in more than 130 countries.

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BKR Survey: Full Adoption of Remote Work Slow, but Possible

Aiysha (A.J.) Johnson

Aiysha (A.J.) Johnson

By: Aiysha (A.J.) Johnson, BKR International

Professional job posts have a newer feature. It’s called “remote,” and it proactively tells applicants that the physical location of their work is negotiable. Depending on the job search site, applicants can find 30,000 to 60,000 listings for remote work at any given time. It is defined as employees working in a physical location almost exclusively outside of the company’s offices – even another state or country. And it’s not limited to sales positions.

Although remote work has always been an option in some industries, the accounting profession is moving slowly toward this option as a way to retain and attract the best talent. For the industry’s more consultative future, will remote work become the norm rather than the exception?

To get a pulse, BKR International asked member firms about their expectations for remote work arrangements in the near future. Their responses indicate that full adoption may be slow, but possible and attractive. Here are four real scenarios to consider for your firm.

Scenario 1: It is a unique situation.

Some firms adopted a remote work arrangement years ago in order to employ a professional with a special skill set. At Hauppauge, N.Y.-based Albrecht Viggiano Zureck & Company, one employee has worked remotely for two decades.

“She lives in Maryland and works on government entities on the audit side of the practice,” says Kenneth Laks, a partner at AVZ and a BKR Americas board member. “Around six times a year, she will come up to New York, but most all of the work is done remotely from her home,” Laks adds. “It has worked out very, very well…but again she is known and trusted from building a confidence with us over time.”

Many firms note that a remote work arrangement is still considered on a case-by-case basis rather than as a general opportunity available to anyone. While firms have written policies regarding flexible scheduling arrangements, including occasional work-at-home options, a true remote work arrangement is still tailored to the needs of the firm and clients as much as for the employee.

Scenario 2: It’s a method to keep key talent.

For Gumbiner Savett of Santa Monica., Calif., (FY18 net revenue of $21.1 million), a formal work-from-home policy for qualified individuals as well as one full-time remote employee communicate options to candidates — as well as to current staff.

“We are open to remote work options with existing staff we want to retain,” says Irene Valverde, director of human resources and practice development. “We are a digital office, so everything is accessible to employees via our network. Our phone system also allows for forwarding of outside calls so that communication is seamless.”

Although Valverde doesn’t see remote work as a possibility for all positions, the firm evaluates the option based on individual talent and responsibilities. “We have no formal plans right now to hire remotely, but we are open to it,” she says.

Scenario 3: It’s a method to hire needed talent.

Now that more firms have adopted cloud-based technology and mobile devices, openness to remote workers has improved from just a few years ago. Still, few if any firms actively advertise for remote positions.

“When we hire, we are hiring for specific talent. So, for the right talent, we are willing to consider remote work arrangements,” says Mark Thomson, managing director of Ostrow Reisin Berk & Abrams of Chicago (FY18 net revenue of $29.5 million). “We currently have four remote employees,” he says.

Technology has made remote work easier and more secure, but firm leaders don’t focus on the tools alone. “We believe that the key to hiring great remote talent is to set expectations at the outset – outline key performance indicators, goals and communication standards to set remote workers up for success,” Thomson adds. “You still must meet with remote employees, and outline their specific arrangement, so that everyone is on the same page and the employee understands expectations.”

Scenario 4: It’s a business strategy.

Performance is paramount whether an employee works in the office or remotely. However, the firm leaders interviewed on this topic agree that the hunt for talent necessitates alternative ways of thinking about service delivery and growth.

“We also recognize that, as the market for hiring public accounting talent continues to be tight, firms will need to search outside of their geographic location, whether it be outside the state or even the country,” says Thomson.

Remote hiring becomes more of a business strategy when it’s about how the team can best serve clients, too. For example, a coastal, mid-sized accounting firm focused on alternative energy may establish a “wind power” team in the Midwest. Maybe the talent is more available there. It’s cheaper for younger professionals to live there, plus it’s also near clients. To adopt this mindset as a growth strategy will take time, policy and technology. But firm leaders are certainly discussing and preparing for their options.

A.J. Johnson is executive director of the Americas Region for BKR International, the global accounting association with 160 independent accounting and business advisory firms in over 500 offices and 80 countries.

PBMares Hires Managing Director for Transaction Advisory Services

Enrique C. Brito

Enrique C. Brito

Newport News, Va.-based PBMares (FY18 net revenue of $41.4 million) announces that Enrique C. Brito has joined the firm as managing director of its transaction advisory services team.

Brito will drive the strategy, growth and innovation of consulting solutions in mergers and acquisitions, business strategy, business intelligence, corporate finance, business valuation, due diligence and operational improvement. Brito has more than 25 years of experience with an extensive track record in leading M&A transactions for middle market clients. He has raised more than $1 billion in equity and debt capital from institutional sources for companies in the U.S., Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina and Peru.

“In today’s professional services environment, you need to be intimately familiar with your clients’ and prospects’ financial habits, goals and objectives so you know what solutions to bring to them,” says Keith Wampler, leader of the firm’s consulting service Line and board chair. “Enrique’s background and experience has prepared him to form these strong relationships to fully understand their needs and provide value-added solutions to help them reach their goals.”

Brito has worked in investment banking, has co-founded an investment advisory firm and served as a partner and practice leader of corporate advisory services at an executive advisory firm. He then started his own consulting firm, where he advised middle-market clients on business strategy and M&A, two of his top specialties.

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Moore Colson Joins Technology and Startup Incubator

Atlanta-based Moore Colson (FY18 net revenue of $26.6 million) has joined Digital Ignition of Alpharetta, Ga., an incubator that provides services to new tech companies.

Digital Ignition was first launched in 2016 as a co-working space, but over the last year, officials have expanded the offerings to include attorney, accounting and other incubation services.

Moore Colson says firm experts are on site during regular office hours to assist startups and established companies with accounting-related support. Staff are experts in the specialized financial reporting, tax and IT control requirements facing tech companies, the firm says.

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Alexander Thompson Arnold Admits Marcie Williams as Partner

Marcie Williams

Marcie Williams

Union City, Tenn.-based Alexander Thompson Arnold (FY18 net revenue of $26.6 million) has admitted Marcie Williams to the partnership.

Williams has been with the firm for 12 years in the Jackson, Tenn., office. She is an assurance partner specializing in internal school funds, school districts, single audits, contractors and other for-profit engagements.

“This is a goal I have been working toward for some time,” says Williams. “I have always enjoyed the people I work with and the niches I have developed throughout my career. Becoming a partner in these areas of practice and continuing relationships with my coworkers and clients is not only a privilege but an honor.”

Williams has gained extensive experience in several divisions of ATA, including technical review, which has made her a valuable resource. Additionally, she leads regular internal training sessions and offers guidance to staff and newly acquired firms to maintain quality control standards, the firm announced.

“Marcie has shown exceptional leadership over the past 12 years,” says MP John Whybrew. “She takes initiative and is always a team player.”

ATA has 16 office locations in Tennessee, Indiana, Kentucky and Mississippi. The firm is an alliance member of BDO USA.

Over 500 Mazars Employees Volunteer Across Six States for Fifth Annual “Days of Service”

New York-based Mazars USA (FY18 net revenue of $205 million) recently completed its fifth annual Days of Service initiative, in which more than 500 partners and employees volunteered at more than 30 community and non-profit programs.

Covering six states – New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, California and Illinois – the Days of Service initiative is part of the firm’s “We ARE Mazars” program, which fosters employees’ personal growth, professional growth and giving back, the firm says.

Volunteer activities included:

  • Working with New York school children, including participating in a dance exploration workshop with PS 230K, exploring the wonderful world of science with students from PS 196K, building inventions using cardboard and other materials with students from PS/IS 366 M and celebrating fitness during PS 196K’s field day.
  • Working with Children’s Specialized Hospital, New Jersey Community Food Bank and West Lake School in New Jersey.
  • Helping at The National Greyhound Adoption Program in Pennsylvania.
  • Inspecting, sorting and packaging donations to be distributed to children by the Cradles to Crayons program.
  • Partnering with the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island to prepare a meal for the families staying there.

“Every year, our Days of Service demonstrates the dedication of our Mazars teams to helping others by supporting local charities and other organizations,” says chair and CEO Victor Wahba. “It’s a great privilege to be able to make a difference in the communities where we live and work, and I am grateful that so many of our team members take part in this program.”

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AICPA, NASBA Join ‘Advanced Professions’ to Launch New Coalition to Protect Licensing

The AICPA and NASBA have helped found the Alliance for Responsible Professional Licensing (ARPL), a new coalition focused on educating policymakers and the public about the importance of rigorous professional licensing standards.

The coalition was formed to “ensure the voices and concerns of the advanced professions are heard by lawmakers amid the growing debate around licensing,” the coalition announced.

“Weakening professional licensing standards on a state-by-state basis will destroy the confidence in qualifications and completely disrupt existing mobility models for advanced professions like ours,” warns Barry Melancon, president and CEO of AICPA. “Employers will be less inclined to accept out-of-state licenses if some states have rigorous requirements and others have weak requirements. The result: it will become more difficult for CPAs to move and maintain their careers across states.”

Bills have been introduced in dozens of states around the country that would reduce state licensing requirements, not only for CPAs, but also for surveyors, architects and engineers. Some of the proposals could have eliminated the hard-fought ability for CPAs to serve clients and employers outside of their home state without getting an additional license.

NASBA CEO Ken Bishop adds, “When a CPA performs an audit of a business or government, the public must have confidence in its accuracy, thoroughness and integrity. The most effective way to maintain this confidence is to continue to have CPAs show rigorous education, examination and experience for their licensing requirements.”

ARPL members also include the American Institute of Architects, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying and the National Society of Professional Engineers. Find more information on ARPL’s new website.

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