Mazars Announces Alliance with 4 Regional U.S. Firms and MNP in Canada

Mazars, the Rouen, France-based accounting firm, is expanding its presence in the U.S. through an alliance with five of the top 20 firms in the U.S. and Canada.

Mazars announced that the Mazars North America Alliance would include the following firms: Springfield, Mo.-based BKD (FY19 net revenue of $662.9 million), Seattle-based Moss Adams (FY18 net revenue of $691 million), Southfield, Mich.-based Plante Moran (FY18 net revenue of $542.1 million), Charlotte, N.C.-based Dixon Hughes Goodman (FY19 net revenue of $462.5 million) and Calgary, Alberta-based MNP, with net revenue of roughly $760 million.

Mazar’s CEO, in an interview with Reuters July 11, said the move will almost double its size as a way to challenge the market dominance of the Big 4. “Our ambition is to become a European champion with an international scope,” Mazars’s CEO Herve Helias told Reuters. “When they call me the fifth big, I like it.”

Mazars would not take any stake in the firms, but will expand services to its existing international clients through professionals from some of largest firms in North America. Mazars, with about 24,000 professionals worldwide, will increase that number to about 40,000 under the alliance.

According to the Financial Times, the alliance formation may be related to a belief that the U.K. will begin to require two auditors for the 350 largest companies as part of a reform effort following prominent audit failures among the Big 4. The Times says the firm is familiar with the joint-auditor system, as top companies in France has worked under the requirement for many years.

Mazars has also been in the news for another reason: The U.S. House of Representatives oversight committee has issued a subpoena to its U.S. branch, New York-based Mazars USA (FY17 net revenue of $189 million), to obtain President Donald Trump’s tax records.

 

And on July 12, in a hearing in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Trump’s lawyer faced more than an hour of tough questions over his arguments that lawmakers don’t have the power to investigate the president. “President Donald Trump appeared to be facing an uphill battle to keep Congress from obtaining his financial records,” USA Today reported. The oversight committee’s attorneys have argued that it has broad and inherent power to investigate possible conflicts of interest.

BKR International Names Raymi Mejia New Americas Regional Board Chair

Raymi Mejia

Raymi Mejia

BKR International has appointed Raymi Mejia, partner at Mejia Lora & Asociados (MLA) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, as chair of the Americas regional board.

Mejia has served as a board member for BKR’s Americas Region since 2012 and, most recently, as the board’s vice chair. He has been instrumental as a liaison with Latin American and Caribbean member firms for the association. He will also represent the Americas region on BKR’s worldwide board.

Mejia has more than 25 years of experience in audit and tax. He has served as an advisor in the negotiations of transfer pricing agreements between the National Association of Hotels and Restaurants and the General Directorate of Internal Taxes. He has vast experience in the hospitality sector, participating in audit and tax advice to the main international hotel chains with locations in the Dominican Republic.

“As we focus on the firm of the future, it is vital that our Americas regional board sustains leadership from both emerging and developed economies to best represent the global market,” notes A.J. Johnson, BKR’s Americas regional executive director. “

BKR International has also appointed Kenneth B. Laks to the Americas regional board for three, two-year terms. Laks is a partner at Hauppauge, N.Y.-based Albrecht Viggiano Zureck & Co. (AVZ). AVZ has been a member of BKR International since 1986. Laks is a frequent presenter at BKR member conferences around the world on issues regarding international taxation. He serves as chair of BKR’s worldwide international tax committee and is also a member of its Americas regional international tax committee.

Karen Brenneman, MP at Hall Kistler & Company of Canton, Ohio, and ex-officio chair of BKR’s Americas region will remain a member of BKR’s worldwide board.

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New Jersey CPAs Agree U.S. Student Loan Debt is Financial Crisis

More than 80% of 623 CPAs polled in June by the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJCPA) said they either “strongly agreed” or “somewhat agreed” that student loan debt at $1.6 trillion in the United States is a financial crisis.

More than 75% of respondents considered student loan debt in New Jersey to be a “major problem.”

Poll respondents said their clients have put off major life decisions and purchases due to their high student loan debt. Of the nearly 270 respondents who said they knew someone who delayed this kind of decision or purchase, 80% said they put off buying a home and an almost equal number said they chose not to save for retirement. More than 65% put off saving for emergencies, while 42% put off getting married and 39% delayed having children.

Suggested solutions:

  • Federal and state governments limit public college price increases – Schools, for example, should have to publicly report the amount of funds on hand and used for infrastructure each year as excess funds should be used to lower tuition. Respondents also recommended limiting tuition percentage annual increases for any institution for which students use student loans to attend.
  • Companies help reduce student loan debt – Companies can offer employees bonuses to pay their student loan obligations. The federal government could also give a tax deduction to an employer who offers to pay off part of an employee’s student loan debt up to a limit of their 401(k).

“The poll is a telling sign that student loan debt is a major problem in the United States. New Jersey’s legislature needs to recognize this and welcome programs and initiatives to shrink student loan debt, particularly if they want young professionals to remain in the state,” says Ralph Albert Thomas, CEO and executive director at NJCPA.

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Perry & Associates CPAs Joins RSM US Alliance

Jodey L. Altier

Marietta, Ohio-based Perry & Associates CPAs has joined RSM US Alliance, an affiliation of independent accounting and consulting firms.

This affiliation gives Perry & Associates CPAs, A.C. access to a full range of national and international capabilities through Chicago-based RSM US LLP (FY19 net revenue of $2.4 billion). The U.S. alliance includes more than 75 independent member firms in 38 states, the Cayman Islands and Puerto Rico.

The move is designed to expand services to Perry & Associates’ clients and people. The firm will have access to new tools, expertise and practice management resources, including technical resources, marketing and business development, practice management, talent management and career development, dedicated client services and networking opportunities. This access includes a broad range of national and international resources.

Perry & Associates President Jodey L. Altier says, “Our firm mission is to understand client needs and to provide extensive services to those clients and enhanced development for public accountants without leaving our small-town communities. Having access to the resources of RSM, a large global firm, will help us meet our mission.”

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UHY Advisors Announces Creation of UHY Advisors Alliance, First Member

Chicago-based UHY Advisors Inc. (FY17 net revenue of $140.8 million) has established the UHY Advisors Alliance and welcomed Grobstein Teeple LLP as its first member.

The UHY Alliance will allow member firms to use specialized services as well as add regional offices to better meet client needs. The alliance will provide UHY access to locations in the growing Orange County, Calif., market, among others. Grobstein Teeple has three offices in Southern California and one in Washington, D.C.

As an alliance member, Grobstein Teeple will receive the support of the national UHY network, including access to their industry specialists and national infrastructure, further enhanced by the global resources of UHY International.

Grobstein Teeple specializes in providing accounting and consulting services in a variety of areas, including insolvency, litigation, receiverships, family law, forensic accounting, fraud investigations, business management, fractional CFO and cybersecurity.

UHY COO Richard David says, “This alliance complements UHY’s already robust national presence with access to several offices in California and helps establish our position in a rapidly growing West Coast market. The alliance also offers Grobstein Teeple resources to our national network of 18 locations and as a portal to UHY International resources in nearly 100 countries.”

“Both firms have already seen the benefit of these additional resources and talents in meeting existing and prospective client needs,” says MP Howard Grobstein.

Leveraging the existing network built by Grobstein Teeple, UHY’s presence in California will expand beyond Orange County, creating a larger market for the firm’s West Coast office. As of June 13, the firms have aligned to work with clients in California on accounting services, business consulting and litigation support.

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Global Tax Network Joins Moore Stephens

Moore Stephens North America (MSNA) has announced the addition of Minneapolis-based Global Tax Network US (GTN) to the association.

GTN, founded in 2000, provides mobility tax planning and compliance for clients in over 100 countries. The GTN team of more than 80 employees provide specialized expertise to corporate global mobility programs, expatriates, foreign nationals, short-term international assignments and permanent transfers. Their services include premier tax solutions for emerging to mid-sized mobility programs and dedicated account management that provides personal assistance from mobility tax specialists.

MSNA CEO Tony Szczepaniak says, “Global Tax Network brings something incredibly unique and valuable to Moore Stephens North America. Their focus on global mobility tax opens doors for our members and provides solutions for their clients, filling a gap we didn’t know we had. They’ve already taken on several collaborative projects and formed some significant relationships within the association.”

David Kolb, president of GTN, says, “Membership brings value to our employees and clients through additional strategic relationships and connecting with other like-minded firms, ones that are dedicated to collaboration, innovation and improvement.”

GTN is the newest firm to join the association’s 44 member firms in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. With a presence in most major North American cities, GTN joins Lurie LLP (FY18 net revenue of $28.9 million) as the second member based in Minneapolis.

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CPAmerica Welcomes Mathieson Moyski Austin & Co.

Mathieson Moyski Austin & Co. (FY17 net revenue of $3.7 million) of Wheaton, Ill., has joined CPAmerica, an accounting association of independent CPA firms.

Founded in 1987, Mathieson Moyski Austin & Co. offers tax planning and preparation, accounting, audit and other assurance services for businesses in a variety of industries. The firm also offers business consulting and investment management services.

“Growth has brought us new opportunities and this association expands our peer resources and support to take advantage of those opportunities,” says MP Michael Moyski. “Our goal is to continue to provide superior service to our clients, and we know this association shares our priorities: to offer premier client services, to develop our talented staff and to grow as a firm.”

Alan Deichler, president of CPAmerica, says, “We are excited to bring Mathieson Moyski Austin & Co. into the CPAmerica community. 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.”

CPAmerica is a member of Crowe Global, which has members in more than 750 offices in more than 130 countries and ranks among the top-10 global accounting networks.

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Moore Stephens North America Announces Award Winners

The accounting association Moore Stephens North America (MSNA) has announced the winners of its second annual MSNA awards that recognize significant contributions to the advancement of the organization.

The winners were announced recently at the MSNA Spring Conference in Chicago.

The 2019 Collaboration Award was presented to the team at Beene Garter of Grant Rapids, Mich. (FY18 net revenue of $14.5 million).

“Over the years, Beene Garter has been a firm that consistently collaborates in areas we are both working in, as well as areas each other may be exploring,” says Tony Caleca, MP of Creve Coeur, Mo.-based Brown Smith Wallace (FY17 net revenue of $46.3 million).

Moore Stephens Award Winners

Caleca notes the regular collaborations in audit and tax, as well as the opportunities Beene Garter has made possible through the sharing of new software and processes. With a “what can we do to help” approach, their eagerness to collaborate has led to great referrals and additional business on both ends.

The 2019 Improvement Award was presented to the team at Vancouver, British Columbia-based DMCL. DMCL has grown by more than 40% in the past three years, and the firm plans to continue serving the community as the largest independently owned accounting firm in the Lower Mainland.

The 2019 Innovation Award was presented to the team at Woburn, Mass.-based DiCicco Gulman & Company (FY17 net revenue of $26.4 million). Through its weekly comedy program, “The Breather,” DGC has introduced a form of stress release through these four-minute videos, while also helping their growing firm get to know their coworkers a little better. With a huge impact on company morale, these videos prove the different ways that innovation can help move firms forward.

“While our members have seen substantial growth and success across the board, we feel it’s important to highlight those firms and individuals who have gone above and beyond,” says MSNA CEO Tony Szczepaniak. “We are proud to acknowledge their accomplishments and give them the accolades they deserve.”

Employees from member firms nominated the individuals, teams or firms the awards, with winners selected by the MSNA Executive Office.

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Inaugural Leadership Growth Academy Program Recognizes 19 Graduates

Moore Stephens North America’s (MSNA) Dynamic Growth Academy, formerly the Leadership Growth Academy, has completed its first program, graduating 19 participants from nine North American member firms.

Nine of the graduates are from Creve Coeur, Mo.-based Brown Smith Wallace (FY17 net revenue of $46.3 million): Kevin Boeving, Scott Brandt, Todd Goldenhersh, Amy Ribick, Anne Ritter, Dan Schoenleber, Greg Smith, Jen Vacha and Debbie Vandeven.

Two graduates are from Demers Beaulne of Quebec, Montreal: Francys Brown and Isabelle Lemieux. Two are from Itasca, Ill.-based CDH (FY18 net revenue of $12.7 million): Phil Lampugnano and Yoko Yamamoto.

Additional graduates are: Chris Leikert, Beene Garter of Grand Rapids, Mich., (FY18 net revenue of $14.5 million); Daniel Gaudet, Woburn, Mass.-based DiCicco Gulman & Company (FY17 net revenue of $26.4 million); Chris Tull, Troy, Mich.-based Doeren Mayhew (FY17 net revenue of $72.6 million); Pete Jones, Frazer LLP (FY17 net revenue of $15.4 million); Stephen Rollins, G.T. Reilly & Company of Milton, Mass., and Eli Gembom, Segal LLP of Toronto, Ontario (FY17 net revenue of $15.8 million).

The program features leadership and business development training from The Center for Character-based Leadership and LVG Advisors. The program includes four two-day sessions, alternating leadership and business development sessions, as well as individual coaching, peer coaching and mentor support.

“The question on my mind was are we able to connect?” says participant Francys Brown. “The end result was that we really connected…and the reason was that we were all on the same journey to partnership. We share the same amount of challenges, the same goals, and it was clear when we were talking together that we were in the same boat.”

The program included participants from nine member firms. The sessions were held at several different member firms in Minneapolis, St. Louis and Chicago, providing members with the opportunity to visit other firms and make new connections.

“I haven’t really had a voice,” said participant Anne Ritter. “And that was figurative voice. I wasn’t outspoken with my peers, and that was something I learned in my leadership group. We spent a lot of quality time together, made a lot of great connections…and I highly recommend every bit of this program.”

The Center for Character-based Leadership provides coaching focused on the complexity of leading in the top two to three levels of organizations and the talents needed. LVG Advisors provides business development training, business development coaching and SAM-Pro services for professional service firms. These services are aimed at building firm revenue, strengthening practice professional confidence and maintaining client loyalty.

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LeaseCrunch Partnering with Moore Stephens North America

The lease accounting software company LeaseCrunch has announced that it is now a strategic partner of Moore Stephens North America (MSNA).

“In addition to delivering an expanded distribution channel for LeaseCrunch software to over 40 firms with more than 150 offices and nearly 7,000 professionals, the program offers LeaseCrunch the ability to partner with Moore Stephens North America member firms by providing products that are integrated into their member client solutions,” says Joel Hess, principal at LeaseCrunch.

“We’re always looking to deepen our bench, and LeaseCrunch delivers solutions to problems our members have faced in the past, and the tools to help them plan for the future,” says Laura Metz, MSNA marketing and communications manager.

The LeaseCrunch software is customizable to the size of the company and enables the accounting firm to either act as bookkeeper or set clients up within the system to manage their own lease portfolio. LeaseCrunch is designed to reduce the time it takes clients to prepare for an audit and for CPA firms to perform the audit.

MSNA has 43 member firms in the United States, Canada and Mexico, with 130 collective offices in most major North American markets and nine member firms on the INSIDE Public Accounting Top 100 Firms list.

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