Kelli Winter Named Tidwell Group’s New PIC of Audit and Assurance

Kelli Winter

Birmingham, Ala.-based Tidwell Group (FY18 net revenue of $24.1 million) announces that Kelli Winter is the new PIC of audit and assurance.

With extensive experience in real estate and construction accounting, Winter has played an integral role in the audit engagements for affordable housing partnerships financed through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Additionally, her areas of expertise include budgeting, forecasting and mergers, and acquisitions.

“We could not have been more fortunate in our acquisition of the level of talent and capability that Kelli brings to our team. With Kelli managing audit and assurance for Tidwell Group, our ability to continue the growth trajectory of our firm with security and confidence is greatly enhanced,” says MP Barry Tidwell.

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MBAF Names John Vides Principal

John Vides

Miami-based MBAF (FY18 net revenue of $132.5 million) has announced that John Vides has been admitted as a principal in the tax and accounting department.

A member of the accounting profession since 2001, Vides has nearly 20 years of experience working with high-net-worth clients related to pre-immigration tax planning and international estate and trust planning. He commonly assists clients on inbound and outbound structuring of investments, wealth transfer strategies, sales and acquisitions of business entities, offshore voluntary disclosure, and more.

“John’s tax and accounting expertise and commitment to furthering MBAF’s mission of providing clients with the highest level of service have made him an instrumental team member,” says CEO Antonio Argiz.

Vides is trilingual, speaking English, Spanish and Portuguese. He is based in Miami.

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BKD Appoints New Regional MP for National Advisory Services

Jerry Henderson

Springfield, Mo.-based BKD (FY19 net revenue of $662.9 million) has appointed a new regional MP for national advisory services (NAS), effective June 1, 2020.

Jerry Henderson, MP of transaction advisory services and performance advisory services, will succeed Mike Burlew, who will retire as of May 31, 2020.

Henderson has more than 26 years of experience serving clients in mergers and acquisitions, private equity and manufacturing and distribution. Prior to his current role, he was the national industry partner for BKD’s national manufacturing and distribution group. Henderson also serves on BKD’s governing board, which establishes firm policy and strategic initiatives.

“I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to work closely with the talented leaders in our NAS practices,” Henderson says. “Our clients are facing an unprecedented level of change and NAS is well positioned to help them navigate a rapidly evolving marketplace.”

Burlew calls Henderson personable, talented and one-firm minded. He will assist Henderson through the transition.

BKD is ranked No. 13 on the 2019 IPA 100 list of largest accounting firms in the nation.

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DHG Welcomes Gareth Montague-Smith as Partner

Gareth Montague-Smith

Charlotte, N.C.-based Dixon Hughes Goodman (FY19 net revenue of $462.5 million) announces that Gareth Montague-Smith has joined the firm and been admitted to the partnership.

Montague-Smith will work from the Raleigh, N.C., office, providing internal audit and other accounting and advisory services to manufacturing, distribution and retail industry clients in the public and private sectors.

“With 22 years of experience providing assurance and advisory services, Gareth is an adept advisor for Carolina businesses,” says Matt Wood, MP for DHG’s manufacturing, distribution and retail industries. “He brings industry knowledge, technical experience and strong leadership skills to guide cross-functional solutions for our clients.”

Montague-Smith joins DHG after serving as a risk consulting managing director in the advisory services practice of a Big 4 firm in multiple North Carolina offices. He has experience leading a commercial internal audit practice and provides clients financial, auditing and internal auditing services across multiple industries.

DHG is ranked No. 17 on the 2019 IPA 100 list of the largest accounting firms in the nation.

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Whitley Penn Announces Podcast Channel: Whitley Penn Talks

Fort Worth, Texas-based Whitley Penn (FY18 net revenue of $114.1 million) has launched a podcast channel, WP Talks.

“We want this channel to be a place that combines information, entertainment and knowledge, where we can connect with our friends and clients alike to discuss issues including market trends, technological advances that could affect accounting, and the tax law changes that have swept the nation in the last 18 months,” the firm says. Whitley Penn employees, clients and contacts, will be featured.

The podcast channel can be found under the name “Whitley Penn Talks” on BuzzSprout, Spotify, Apple podcasts and Google podcasts.

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Trade Publication Names Top 50 Construction Accounting Firms

Construction Executive, a trade publication covering the business of construction, has ranked its top 50 construction accounting firms.

Construction accounting, the magazine says, is one of the most complicated forms of business accounting. “All top CPAs are well versed in accounting, bookkeeping and tax advice. The best bring balance and stability to thousands of construction companies as highly trusted business advisors.”

In the magazine’s first ranking of construction accounting firms, which was included in the July/August issue, the top five firms are listed as CLA (FY18 net revenue of $954.6 million), Chicago-based RSM (FY19 net revenue of $2.43 billion), Chicago-based Crowe (FY19 net revenue of $951.9 million) Seattle-based Moss Adams (FY18 net revenue of $691 million), and Milwaukee-based Wipfli (FY19 net revenue of $362.5million). Find the full listing here.

To determine the ranking, according to Skoda Minotti (FY18 net revenue of $59.4 million), which ranked 33rd, Construction Executive asked hundreds of U.S. accounting firms with a construction practice to complete a survey. Data collected included:

  • Revenues from the construction practice in 2018
  • The number of CPAs in the construction practice
  • The percentage of the firm’s total revenues from the construction practice
  • The number of construction clients in 2018
  • The number of office locations with a construction accounting practice
  • The number of employees with CCIFP certification
  • The year the construction accounting practice was established

The final ranking was determined by an algorithm that weighted these factors in descending order of importance.

The magazine also surveyed accounting professionals on top issues within the industry and quotes professionals from 11 CPA firms on the biggest concerns expressed by their clients.

They report that the No. 1 issue is the labor deficit, and other big worries are business succession, cybersecurity, the impacts of climate change on the bottom line and the possibility of an impending recession.

The results are similar to that of a separate, three-month-long survey of New York contractors and construction industry leaders, conducted by an independent research firm for New York-based Grassi & Co. (FY18 net revenue of $63.6 million). The top concern was the shortage of skilled labor. Other concerns are regulatory compliance, such as minority/women-owned business rules and New York labor laws. Cybersecurity was also raised as a worry, with 76% of respondents saying that the number of people with access to worksite data was a significant security concern. (To receive a copy of the Grassi survey, contact Jennifer Maizel or call (516) 918-5927.)

Overall, however, the outlook among construction industry leaders is positive, according to Joseph Natarelli, national construction services industry leader at New York-based Marcum LLP (FY18 net revenue of $549.7 million). He told Construction Executive: “We have seen a major increase in the number of commercial construction backlogs and improvement in the general business environment. Infrastructure, hospitality and office construction, in particular, have been standouts.”

The magazine advises, “To ensure a healthy business lifespan, treat your relationship with your experienced construction CPA as you would a trusted doctor. Check in regularly, show them everything, heed their advice and get a second opinion if needed.”

A Conversation With BKD’s Dawn Howard On Misunderstandings, Expectations And Buying Decisions

Dawn Howard

Dawn Howard is the marketing director for the East Region of Springfield, Mo.-based BKD (FY18 net revenue of $594.6 million). She is responsible for working with 13 offices in seven states in developing and executing their commercial industries’ strategic marketing initiatives. She is passionate about business development coaching and mentoring for all levels of accounting professionals. Based in she is pursuing her master’s degree in management at the University of Indianapolis.

IPA caught up with Howard recently during a break at the AICPA’s 2019 ENGAGE conference in Las Vegas, where she presented a session on developing a strong sales pipeline process.

What should MPs understand about marketers? I think MPs need to check in with their marketing professionals about whether they feel empowered to hold partners accountable on following up with prospects. If they’re five years or less in the industry they may not feel they have the power to go to a 20-year partner and say, ‘Hey, you’re paying me to help grow the firm, I need to have this conversation with you.’ The MP needs to understand that sometimes they literally need to go to their marketing personnel and say, ‘I need you to know that I have your back.’ A lot of changes can come about with that one simple thing.

What do you think is the biggest misunderstanding managing partners have about the marketing function? MPs need to identify the line of demarcation between business development and marketing, and they need an understanding of what the firm or their particular office actually needs. Do we need someone who’s better on the PR side, or do we need a true business developer? It’s hard to find someone who is equally strong, as well as passionate, in both areas.

How would you define the difference? A business developer has a different mindset. Sales is a process-driven event, certainly in professional services – it’s a relationship game. Marketers look at the holistic view of the marketplace, in placement of ads or PR, so it’s a little bit different. They’re both good, but the MP has to make a determination that if one person is handling both things, that person needs some direction on what is expected. Sometimes marketing personnel think they know what the MP wants and vice versa. It’s imperative to have more than a once-a-year review to get something accomplished with that. My two favorite words strung together (other than free lunch) is ‘realistic expectations,’ and sometimes neither side has that.

Where do you think accounting marketing is going? Does it seem like it is going more in the direction of business development? The way the industry is going is that marketers are starting to understand two things better – one is the business development aspect of their job and the other part is the way that digital is playing into their job. We all have to be business developers. I’m taking a class at the University of Indianapolis right now, and they’re focusing on looking at HR from the outside in, from the perspective of an investor looking at a company. I think marketing needs to start doing that too, even though we don’t have investors, per se, but clients, as well as prospects and the general business marketplace, are on the outside looking in. Marketing people are really closet psychologists when we’re thinking about buyer behavior. For example, you’re not getting a buyer who has $20 million of their own money to suddenly change their advisor overnight, that’s a huge relationship sale. Being able to look at those clients and to understand what actually drives how they make decisions is huge, and really should be included as a part of the sales training for internal marketers.

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Name Change for BKD Corporate Finance

BKD Corporate Finance is celebrating its 25-year milestone with a new name: BKD Capital Advisors, LLC.

BKD Capital Advisors (BKDCA) is the investment banking arm of Springfield, Mo.-based BKD (FY18 net revenue of $594.6 million).

BKDCA provides investment banking services to clients both internally and externally. In the last five years ,it has hired senior middle-market bankers, expanded from three to six offices and broadened its international reach.

After reviewing the breadth of services BKDCA currently provides, leadership decided it was crucial to include “advisors” in the new name to better communicate the broad range of investment banking advisory services. “Advisory is the most important aspect of the services we provide to our clients who, in a liquidity event, are potentially going through the most important transaction of their career,” says BKDCA President Tony Giordano.

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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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Dawson Joins Frazier & Deeter as an International Tax Partner

James Dawson

James Dawson

Atlanta-based Frazier & Deeter (FY18 net revenue of $96 million) announced that James Dawson has joined the firm as a tax partner with a focus on international tax.

“Jim’s years of experience serving the complex needs of global enterprises makes him an excellent addition to our tax team,” says Terri Lawson, PIC of Tax. “As our international tax practice continues to grow his expertise in foreign tax planning and cross border transactions will add value to Frazier & Deeter’s multi-national clients.”

Dawson will serve as a business and tax advisor to growing U.S. and foreign enterprises, focusing on tax efficient global supply chain management, structuring of international business models and operations, cross border transactions, project management and coordination of services in foreign jurisdictions.

“It is exciting to contribute to a rapidly growing international firm like Frazier & Deeter, with an entrepreneurial mindset and focus on exceeding client expectations,” says Dawson.

Prior to joining FD, Dawson served as an international tax partner with two accounting firms, serving in both U.S. and international leadership positions.

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