UHY Advisors Promotes Houston To Head Tax Practice

David Houston

Chicago-based UHY Advisors (FY17 net revenue of $140.8 million) has named David Houston to lead its tax practice in its Columbia, Md., office. Houston joined UHY in 2018 as part of the firm’s merger with bgr CPAs.

“We are thrilled to have Dave lead our tax practice,” says Harold Mohn Jr., UHY Advisors Mid-Atlantic CEO. “Under Dave’s leadership, we will be able to serve our clients with even greater skill and effectiveness.”

Houston serves a broad base of clients across most industry lines. He specializes in succession planning, income tax, and estate tax planning, particularly for closely-held business owners. In addition, he is highly knowledgeable and proactive in providing tax services to high-net-worth individuals and real estate professionals. He has successfully represented clients in front of the IRS and state and local government agencies.

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Deloitte UK Partners Get Big Payout, Feeding Criticism

Partners at Deloitte UK will receive an average profit share of £882,000 for the first half of this year, which is the largest payout in 10 years, according to the London-based Financial Times.

The big payday comes despite loud criticism of audit quality by Big 4 firms.

The average equity partner for the past decade has earned a profit share of more than £9m since 2009. The 699 Deloitte equity partners take a portion of profits, typically allocated by seniority and performance, instead of a salary, the newspaper reported.

“Our 2019 results reflect the long-term investment we have been making across our business and, in particular, in audit quality and the training, technology and talent required to support it,” says Richard Houston, chief executive of Deloitte in the UK and North and South Europe. “This investment has helped us succeed in the market and improved the financial performance of our audit business.”

PwC’s UK partners made an average of £712,000 last year, EY partners made £693,000, and KPMG partners made £601,000. Deloitte is the first of the Big 4 to report its 2019 financial results.

The figures may add fuel to the fire of criticism of poor audit quality, anti-competitive behavior and conflicts of interest among the Big 4 firms. The Financial Reporting Council has proposed that the Big 4 split their audit and consulting businesses.

A regulatory inspection this year showed a decline in the quality of Deloitte’s audits for 350 companies in the Financial Times Stock Exchange. The Financial Reporting Council said 75% of its audits required no more than limited improvements, down from 79% in 2018.

Grant Thornton Announces Promotions

Chicago-based Grant Thornton (FY18 net revenue of $1.87 billion) has admitted 42 new partners and principals, and promoted 39 to managing director.

“Providing our clients with distinctive service, quality results and innovative thinking is what makes Grant Thornton stand out among professional services firms, and we’re proud to count these dynamic new leaders as an important part of our team,” says Bradley Preber, interim CEO of Grant Thornton.

By service line, advisory accounted for the largest number of promotions (43%), followed by tax (28%), audit (25%), and internal client services (4%).

The newly admitted partners are:

  • Danny Allustiarti, audit, San Jose, Calif.
  • Melissa Black, tax, Chicago
  • Eddie Demosthenes, audit, Phoenix
  • Adam Erickson, audit, Minneapolis
  • Bob Forchetti, audit, Philadelphia
  • Laura Frei, audit, Dallas
  • George Geyer, audit, Philadelphia
  • Jeremy Goss, audit, New York
  • Jon Haugeberg, tax, Chicago
  • Hunter Jackson, audit, Charlotte, N.C.
  • Carl Kenyon, tax, Houston
  • Dan Lynes, tax, New York
  • Patrick McAuley, advisory, Charlotte, N.C.
  • Brandan McGaughey, audit, Houston
  • Russell Norris, tax, Charlotte, N.C.
  • Jared Novotny, tax, Minneapolis
  • Shalin Pathak, audit, Chicago
  • Jason Pizza, advisory, Chicago
  • Peter Poulos, tax, Chicago
  • Steven Propester, audit, Oklahoma City
  • Frank Russo, tax, New York
  • Chris Sheehy, audit, Dallas
  • Angie Sosa, tax, Reno, Nev.
  • Bryan Walker, advisory, San Francisco
  • Edward Weaver, tax, Chicago
  • Stacey Whitfield, audit, Columbia, S.C.

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Andersen Tax Adds Managing Director Jerry Fish to National Tax Practice

Jerry Fish

Jerry Fish

San Francisco-based Andersen Tax (FY18 net revenue of $281 million) announces the addition of Jerry Fish as a managing director in the U.S. National Tax (USNT) practice in the Chicago office.

Fish comes to the firm with more than 21 years of experience in accounting for income taxes, income tax compliance, tax legislation, tax planning, and mergers and acquisitions. Previously, he served as a partner at BDO.

“Jerry has great experience in maintaining a full-service tax client base while also managing multiple engagement teams. His skillset and expertise will be an invaluable asset to our USNT team and Chicago office,” says Dan DePaoli, Andersen Tax U.S. country managing director.

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Gelman Rosenberg & Freedman CPAs Announces New Office and Name – GRF CPAs & Advisors

Bethesda, Md.-based Gelman Rosenberg & Freedman CPAs (FY18 net revenue of $25.8 million) has rebranded as GRF CPAs & Advisors and has moved into a new office in Bethesda, at 4550 Montgomery Ave.

“The new name reflects the firm’s growing advisory services practice and signals an increasingly diverse client base of nonprofits and associations, private businesses, government contractors and individuals,” the firm announced. The firm has launched a risk and advisory services practice while expanding its technical resources for government contractor clients.

“While these changes punctuate an exciting new chapter for our firm, our leadership is still committed to GRF’s legacy of exceptional client service supported by a unique firm culture where employees are valued and celebrated. Our mission and values are unchanged,” says  president and MP Jackie Cardello. “True to the firm’s values, GRF has several community service projects planned in the coming months.”

GRF has served clients locally, nationally and internationally for more than 38 years, and is best known for its nonprofit focus. The firm provides services to more than 600 tax-exempt organizations annually including international non-governmental organizations, trade and membership associations, human and social service organizations, cultural arts organizations, private foundations, faith-based organizations, public interest organizations and other charitable institutions.

GRF’s work with international clients has taken team members to over 100 countries. The firm also serves a variety of small and community-based nonprofit organizations.

GRF’s new corporate logo features overlapping geometric shapes, which reflects the team collaboration necessary to offer clients a more complete solution to support their financial and operational goals. To complement the new branding, the firm also adopted a revised tagline, Personal Service with Powerful Solutions.

Former AICPA Chair Joins Business Learning Institute

Former AICPA Chair Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, global executive director of finance thought leadership for Oracle, has joined the Business Learning Institute to offer a variety of courses on the intersection of emerging technologies and the future of work and finance.

Among her BLI course titles are:

  • Are We There Yet? Why Not?
  • Fingers Crossed Is Not A Path To Double-Digit Revenue Growth
  • Getting Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable
  • Inclusive Leadership: Does It Really Work?
  • Leading From The Middle
  • Why Standing Still Is Not An Option
  • Will SkyNet Become Self-Aware?

Kimberly Ellison-Taylor

“Her depth of knowledge is nearly unequaled, and her devotion to teaching and lifelong learning will help BLI clients master the skills they’ll need to succeed in a changing and complex world,” says Tom Hood, president and CEO of the Business Learning Institute and the Maryland Association of CPAs. “The skills she brings to the Business Learning Institute are exactly what we need to help our profession become more future-ready.”

It’s a homecoming of sorts for Ellison-Taylor, who was born and raised in Baltimore and served as chair of the Maryland Association of CPAs’ board of directors during the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

Ellison-Taylor’s career achievements include leadership roles at Oracle, Motorola, KPMG, Prince George’s County Government and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. She has received numerous awards and recognitions for her leadership in the profession and serves as a member of the AICPA Assurance Services Executive Committee and as vice chair for the AICPA’s National Commission for Diversity and Inclusion.

INSIDE Public Accounting Unveils The 2019 Best of the Best Accounting Firms

Continuing the tradition of more than 25 years, INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA) has unveiled the 2019 list of the Best of the Best public accounting firms in the September issue of the monthly publication. This group, the highest performers within the profession, are ranked on more than 50 metrics. The 2019 Best of the Best produce superior financial results while planning for long-term, sustainable growth.

In 2019, 550 firms were eligible for this accolade by participating in IPA’s Annual Survey and Analysis of Firms, now in its 29th year.

Best of the Best firms represent the top 10% of all firms that participated in the 2019 survey. IPA’s proprietary scoring formula looks at a variety of metrics related to growth, income, productivity, tools of governance, staff turnover, time management and other areas that speak to the framework of the firm to determine the annual Best of the Best.

The IPA Best of the Best firms are presented in three categories:

  • Best of the Best above $5 million in revenue (50 firms ranging from $5 million to more than $600 million)
  • Best of the Best under $5 million in revenue (10 firms ranging from $2 million to $5 million)
  • Best of the Best in Canada (five firms ranging from $4 million to $32 million)

They represent what is possible in a public accounting firm and are the peer group that high-performing firms can benchmark themselves against.

“For firms looking to benchmark their own performance against the highest performing firms in the nation, the IPA Best of the Best firms is the group to emulate,” says Mike Platt, principal of INSIDE Public Accounting. “Best of the Best firms are evaluated across many dimensions, and collectively represent the best the profession has to offer.”

You may view the entire list of the 2019 Best of the Best online.

IPA also ranks and provides key profit indicators of the 400 largest public accounting firms across the U.S. Visit the INSIDE Public Accounting website for more details.

You may order copies of the IPA Best of the Best newsletter (Sept. 2019), the IPA 400 firms newsletter (Aug. 2019) by contacting: (317) 733-1920; editor@plattgroupllc.com.

Virginia CPAs Commit to Advance Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

The Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA) has joined a coalition aiming to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace. More than 750 CEOs have come together for CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™.

Signing on means the society is pledging to cultivate a workplace where diverse perspectives and experiences are welcome. The signatories have already shared more than 700 ideas for actions through CEOAction.com.

“Diversity and inclusion is one of our core organizational values as we strive to foster an environment that respects and reflects a diversity of people, cultures and perspectives,” says Stephanie Peters, VSCPA president and CEO. “The evidence is clear that businesses with diverse talent are far more innovative and achieve greater financial results, and it’s a critical focus for future relevancy of the CPA profession.”

A recent study found that 85% of those surveyed reported that diversity is a key component to fostering innovation. Data from the AICPA shows that minorities represent only 1 in 6 professionals at accounting firms nationwide, yet by 2044, minorities will become the majority of the U.S. population.

The pledge was launched in 2017 and ramped up following an incident in September 2018 when Botham Jean, an African-American associate at PwC, was shot and killed in his Dallas home by an off-duty police officer. PwC was a founding signatory of the pledge.

The AICPA has put together a toolkit (PDF) on how to get started with the pledge.

Lawrence, Kan., Office of Mize Houser & Company to Become New Firm

Topeka, Kan.-based Mize Houser & Company (FY18 net revenue of $31.9 million) announced that its Lawrence, Kan., office will become Kindred CPA, a separate, independent firm on Oct. 1.

The change, the firm says, is the result of strategic discussions about how to best focus resources among practice areas.

The new firm will be owned and directed by Ken Hite, a shareholder with Mize Houser since 2011. Kevin Kressig and Abram Chrislip will also be directors of the new firm, and professionals and staff of the Lawrence office will transition to Kindred CPA as well.

“Strategically, the Lawrence market for tax and accounting services is unique when compared to our Overland Park and Topeka locations,” says James Hilbert, managing shareholder for Mize Houser. “Serving these clients takes a different approach and leadership to deliver services to a more traditional small business and individual income tax client base.”

“We’re grateful to all the clients we’ve served over our 67-year history of providing accounting, tax and consulting services to the Lawrence community,” Hite says. “Our name is meant to convey the goal to be of kindred minds to those we serve, sharing the worthy goals of our clients, co-workers and the community.” The office location will remain the same.

Whitley Penn Professionals Receive Honors

Amanda Beabout

Fort Worth, Texas-based Whitley Penn (FY18 net revenue of $114.1 million) announces that Amanda Beabout, senior audit manager in the Houston office, has been named president-elect of the Bauer College Alumni Association’s board of directors. Bauer College is the College of Business located within the University of Houston.

Beabout serves clients in the energy, construction, professional services, manufacturing and distribution and ERISA industries. For the Bauer College Alumni Association position, Beabout will serve one year as president-elect learning from the current president and assisting with the planning and leading of meetings and serving as a liaison between the college and the alumni board.

Celina Cereceres

Additionally, Celina Cereceres, PIC of the firm’s public sector group, has been named a 2019 Women Who Mean Business honoree by the Houston Business Journal. The list includes 30 women who represent a myriad of industries in the Houston area, including energy, finance, health care, real estate, professional services, law, hospitality, government and non-profit.

Cereceres has more than 18 years of audit experience overseeing audits and other attestation engagements for school districts, universities and colleges, other large governments, and non-profit organizations. She remains active with the Communities in Schools Bay Area, the Texas Education Agency Advisory Committee, the Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO), and is a member of the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership Education and Workforce Committee.

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