OnDefend Joins BDO Alliance USA

OnDefend has joined BDO Alliance USA as an independent member of BDO Alliance. OnDefend can provide access to strategic relationships, marketing and resources by drawing on the capabilities of BDO USA and other Alliance members.

“We believe the professionals of OnDefend share BDO’s commitment to exemplary client service and we want to welcome them into the BDO Alliance USA,” says Michael Horwitz, BDO USA, LLP partner and executive director of Alliance Services.

OnDemand is primarily known for enterprise cybersecurity testing and compliance consulting. They recently launched CyberSURE, the company’s new cybersecurity solution for midsize and smaller businesses that previously had no affordable or viable option to become cyber secure.

A proprietary user-led software solution, CyberSURE is a plug-and-play security platform that assesses a company’s real-time cyber risks, assigns a Cyber Score, lists recommendations and provides tools and support to secure the company. Once the client’s Cyber Score improves, they receive a Cyber Secure Certificate to certify they are safe to do business with. CyberSURE clients also have access to a discounted cyber insurance policy to cover issues related to attacks and hacks.

“CyberSURE is a first of its kind solution giving local and regional companies an affordable way to visualize their current cybersecurity risks as well as the tools to become cyber secure,” says OnDefend Cofounder Ben Fink. “CyberSURE will help these companies meet the goal of securing and protecting their company from threats while giving them an easy way to ensure a cyber-safe future.”

“We are excited to expand our relationship with BDO USA,” says OnDefend Cofounder Chris Freedman. “Being a trusted Alliance member allows opportunities to work even more closely in collaboration with BDO USA and its Alliance members across the country.”

Robbins Appointed as CEO of Kreston International

Liza Robbins

Liza Robbins

Liza Robbins has been appointed to succeed Jon Lisby as Kreston’s CEO, effective Aug. 1.

Robbins joins Kreston after nine years as CEO of top 10 global association Morison KSi. As a marketing and business development leader and visionary, she has been instrumental in the development of the association, expanding its coverage to over 80 countries and leading on the successful merger of Morison International and KS International.

“I am delighted that we have succeeded in securing Liza and considerable thanks are owed by the network to the Kreston International Chairman and Board for the thorough and extensive recruitment exercise that has been completed so successfully,” says Lisby. “Liza has a proven international track record as a change agent and has extensive experience in the fields of information technology, media as well as professional and membership services. With the technology revolution already disrupting the global accounting profession, I have no doubt that Liza will be an exceptional asset to our network and the further development of our growth strategy.”

“I have followed and admired Kreston International for many years so I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the network as CEO on August 1,” says Robbins. “Kreston is a world class organization that thrives by skillfully and uniquely combining deep personal relationships with superior global expertise. Kreston is extremely well placed to deliver lucrative opportunities to member firms and their clients and I am excited to drive the network to its next stage of development and further strengthen our partnerships.”

Topel Forman LLC Joins Moore Stephens North America as a New Member

Moore Stephens North America has announced the addition of Chicago-based Topel Forman LLC to the MSNA association. Topel Forman joins the 40 member firms that make up MSNA with over 130 collective office in most major North American cities.

Topel Forman was founded in 1961 with headquarters in Chicago and an additional office in Denver. Topel Forman is a third-generation full-service accounting firm made up of nine partners and 65 professionals.

“We are very excited about the addition of Topel Forman to Moore Stephens North America,” says Tony Szczepaniak, CEO of MSNA. “Not only do they have a strong and established presence within the Chicago market, but their Denver location will help us expand into a new region, allowing our members to better serve their clients.”

“Topel Forman is very excited to become a member of the Moore Stephens organization,” says John Riley, MP of Topel Forman. “We believe this association will complement and further enhance the services that we provide to our clients within the ever-changing accounting industry, so we can continue to provide them with world class client service. We are looking forward to collaborating with the member firms both here in North America and internationally.”

SD Mayer & Associates Joins BDO Alliance USA

SD Mayer & Associates of San Francisco, joined BDO Alliance USA, a nationwide association of independently owned local and regional accounting, consulting and service firms.

“Our membership with BDO Alliance USA will allow us to serve our clients with greater flexibility, efficiency and cost effectiveness,” says Stephen Mayer, founder and MP of SD Mayer. “As a member firm, we can draw upon the expertise of a nationwide network of professional service firms that share the same values of excellent client service and collaboration for the benefit of clients.”

EisnerAmper Singapore Joins EisnerAmper Global Network

EisnerAmper Global, the network of independent member firms including New York-based EisnerAmper LLP (FY17 net revenue of $352.6 million), welcomed EisnerAmper Singapore as its newest member firm.

EisnerAmper Singapore, formerly Saw Meng Tee & Partners of Singapore, provides specialist accounting, advisory, outsourcing, and risk and regulatory services to international and domestic clients operating in Singapore and across Asia.

“As Asian markets shift from a traditional lending model to alternative investment vehicles, global institutional investors continue to rely on EisnerAmper and the member firms of EisnerAmper Global for advice,” says Nicholas Tsafos, financial services industry growth leader and chairman of the board.

Ten CPA Firms Join BDO Alliance USA

BDO Alliance USA, an alliance of independently owned local and regional accounting, consulting and service firms, welcomes 10 new CPA firms as members.

The following firms have joined the BDO Alliance USA:

  • ATA CPA Group of Edison, N.J.
  • Bates Carter & Co. of Gainesville, Ga.
  • Cobb Ezekiel Loy & Company (FY16 net revenue of $1.5 million) of Graham, N.C.
  • Guilmartin DiPiro & Sokolowski of Middletown, Conn.
  • Lerro & Chandross of Boca Raton, Fla.
  • Munninghoff Lange & Co. of Covington, Ky.
  • PBC Advisors of Oak Brook, Ill.
  • Scott Guber of Hauppauge, N.Y.
  • Tate & Tryon CPAs and Consultants (FY16 net revenue of $22.6 million) of Washington, D.C.
  • Lancaster, Pa.-based Trout Ebersole & Groff (FY16 net revenue of $14.8 million)

“We know that members share a desire to keep pace and evolve with where the industry is going. They find they can do that with the BDO Alliance USA and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow members. We welcome these new firms and their talents into our program,” says Michael Horwitz, BDO USA partner and executive director of alliance services.

BDO Alliance USA now has 197 CPA member firms in 487 locations nationwide.

ACCA and DFK International Sign Pact

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and DFK International have signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen the global talent pool of the accountancy profession.

The partnership will see ACCA and DFK cooperate on a number of areas of interest including joint events, information sharing and providing access to initiatives and services to attract new finance and accounting talent.

“By partnering with DFK, our respective memberships can benefit from being part of a truly global network with local expertise,” says Helen Brand, chief executive of ACCA. “DFK member firms are passionate about ideas, innovation and new technology, with especial strengths in helping start-ups and fast-growing businesses thrive and prosper. As such, they are a natural partner for ACCA.”

“ACCA and DFK share a commitment in the belief that organizations around the world should be able to access the in-depth experience needed, helping start-ups and fast-growing businesses build their dreams,” says Martin Sharp, executive director of DFK International. “This partnership enables our international membership to benefit from the latest global insights into professional and ethical standards.”

Nexia International Names Chief Digital and Information Officer

Darren Enderson

Darren Enderson

Nexia International, a global network of independent accounting and consulting firms, has named Darren Enderson as its first chief digital and information officer.

Enderson will be responsible for creating and implementing a new IT strategy for Nexia as it embarks on an exciting journey to review, develop and improve its technology capabilities across the network. He will work with member firms to further align technology and best practice standards, improve collaboration and communication and achieve commercial benefits through global technology contracts.

Darren previously worked at BDO LLP UK for 18 years, where he was head of IT architecture with both a local and global remit. Globally, he chaired the technical committee overseeing the international network’s audit technology platform, which supported the global audit methodology used by member firms. In the U.K. he was responsible for ensuring that business needs were supported by IT strategies.

“This is an exciting opportunity for me to build the technology function across the Nexia network. From my past experience with an international and member firm model I know what can be achieved and I see a clear willingness from Nexia’s CEO and chairman to support changes with technology at its core,” says Enderson.

Swink Smith Coplen & Company Joins CPAmerica International

St. Louis-based Swink Smith Coplen & Company joined CPAmerica International.

Swink Smith Coplen & Company has provided accounting and consulting services in the St. Louis metropolitan area since 1980. The firm prides themselves on being progressive in technology and industry practices, while adhering to the fundamental values of honesty, integrity and professionalism in each of their client engagements.

“The resources available through the association will allow us to expand our depth of knowledge and continue to grow,” says David Smith, shareholder and director of audit services of Swink Smith Coplen & Company.

“They now belong to a group that is determined to improve through sharing and where members support each other’s success through discussing best practices, sharing experiences and building professional relationships.” says Alan Deichler, president of CPAmerica.

IPA Spotlight On … Colin Farmer, Alliott Group

Name: Colin Farmer

Title: Worldwide Chairman

Association: Alliott Group

Accomplishments:

Colin Farmer

Colin Farmer

  • MP at Alliotts, founded in 1869, an independent mid-tier firm of Chartered Accountants with offices in London and Guildford, England.
  • Played significant role in helping to develop Alliott Group over the last 20 years from a relatively small and informal grouping of firms into a commercially focused alliance with a foothold in many of the world’s commercial centers.

Alliott Group is an association of more than 170 independent accounting and law firms. Do you foresee competition emerging between the two groups as the Big 4 expand in the U.K. and PwC opens a firm in Washington, D.C.?

From what I can see, the Big 4 are more focused on selectively picking off areas of law that complement their existing services. Areas that are vulnerable include inter alia and immigration, which sit tidily with expat tax work, and employment law, which ties in nicely with HR consulting, compliance, commercial contracts and due diligence. It’s not difficult to imagine the Big 4 starting to offer a one-stop shop service. Competition is healthy, and for clients it makes sense – they can deal with a single vendor, realize greater efficiencies and be more confident that ‘the left hand knows what the right hand is doing.’ Alliott Group has been a multidisciplinary alliance since 2004, so we are firm believers in the benefits clients can enjoy as a result of independent firms of accountants and lawyers working together closely – they are natural partners and able to meet the total needs of the client.

You’ve been involved in Alliott Group for over 20 years. How has the organization evolved?

Alliott Group has been through much change in 20 years – we are now in over 60 countries and have 25 member firms in North America alone. There is now a very solid membership core. There have been the inevitable growing pains that any expanding business goes through, but the end result is that we have become a commercially focused organization that is aligned with the needs of growing professional firms and their clients. Just as important is our success in retaining and developing an underlying group culture that emphasizes the importance to business of strong interpersonal relationships between professional people at all levels of the firm.

What are your plans for expanding geographically?

I always watch with interest as some international associations of independent firms bring in new member firms nearly every month. You have to wonder how rigorous the due diligence process is behind some of these appointments. Organic, sustainable growth is of greater interest to us. While one of our objectives is to have an accounting and law firm member presence in every U.S. state and in every major market worldwide, there has to be a strong business case for expansion. Specific regions we are targeting for further growth include North and South America and Africa. However, firms have to understand from the start what it means to be an Alliott Group member firm. We will continue to hand-pick member firms based on the needs of our member firms’ clients.

Are emerging technologies such as blockchain, AI and data analytics an opportunity or a threat for the accounting profession?

The efficiencies generated by new technologies present threats to specific service lines provided by accounting (and law) firms – however, they will disrupt all industries. Most of these technologies, however, are not quite there yet. Technologies based on predictive analytics are impressive, but we are still some years away from computers being smarter than specialist (human) accountants! New technologies are going to be at the center of accountancy and law services in the future. Accountants need to embrace these changes and collaborate with technology businesses so that they can connect with tomorrow’s business leaders and the next generation of digital native accountants. Firms need to work out now how they fit into tomorrow’s client world, what their competitive differentiator is, and dare I say it, how they will add value rather than provide traditional services that look set to be commoditized.

How do you see Alliott Group changing 20 years from now?

We are in an unprecedented era of change – the ground is shifting under our feet on so many levels, with technology changing business models, people and the way professional services are procured. We feel that our vision, strong leadership and strategic plan means that we are well equipped to thrive in a market sector with a clear need for greater efficiency and cost effectiveness. Alliances such as ours will continue to provide an alternative, attractive model for sourcing high-caliber advisory services. In our view, too many associations are living on past glories and failing to learn from what is happening in the wider business world. Alliott Group and our members need to be bold in their thinking and to embrace wider opportunities to collaborate. We plan to disrupt rather than be disrupted.