Brown Smith Wallace Adds Marketing Services

Tom Etling

St. Louis-based Brown Smith Wallace (FY18 net revenue of $50 million) is adding marketing to its advisory services offerings, the firm announced.

The firm has 30 practice areas, and offers cybersecurity, data analysis, software selection and business performance consulting. The advisory services group employs more than 60 professionals.

The new marketing advisory practice will be led by Tom Etling, who previously served as the CEO of Dovetail, a St. Louis-based brand communications agency. He has also served as chief executive officer at St. Patrick Center, which offers housing and other services for the homeless, and he also held senior leadership positions in marketing for the Gateway Arch.

“Our core accounting and tax work and deep relationships with our clients’ C-Suite personnel put us in a unique position to spot trends and opportunities,” says MP Tony Caleca. “Launching the advisory practice was a bold move for the size firm we were in 2002, but it positions us well today as we help our clients grow and transform their businesses in the ever-changing world we live in.”

When the advisory services group began, Brown Smith Wallace had annual revenues of $11 million and employed 100 people. The practice is a strong performer for the firm, with approximately $11 million in annual billings – doubling in size over the last five years.  The firm now employs 300.

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BKD Announces Three OMP Appointments in 2020

Springfield, Mo.-based BKD (FY19 net revenue of $662.9 million) has announced three new OMP appointments, all effective June 1.

Abe Cole and Jerry Henderson are taking on regional MP roles, creating openings for Rachel Dwiggins, who will step into the MP role of the Kansas City, Mo., office, and Jeff Naig, who will become MP of the Des Moines, Iowa, and Madison, Wis., offices. Chris Dalton will serve as MP of the transaction advisory services (TAS) division.

Rachel Dwiggins

Dwiggins has significant experience providing audit and consulting services for not-for-profit and governmental organizations, colleges, universities and charitable organizations. She was a 2010 BKD PRIDE Award winner and was selected to serve as a reviewer for the AICPA’s Peer Review Oversight Program with respect to single audits.

Cole, who has played a major part in helping the Kansas City office achieve high levels of success and efficiency, will continue his MP duties while assisting her through the transition, the firm announced. “Rachel is a proven collaborative leader who is very well respected in our office and throughout the firm. I’m confident Rachel’s leadership will bring fresh, innovative ideas that will take the Kansas City office to new heights,” he says.

Naig has more than 25 years of public accounting experience, including serving as the leader of BKD’s telecommunications industry team. He is the past chairman of the board of directors for the Telergee Alliance, a nationwide organization made up of seven CPA firms serving the telecommunications market.

Jeff Naig

Cole will continue to serve as MP while working with Naig to help make the transition smooth. “I am very proud of the growth and development of our Des Moines and Madison offices, and I’m confident we will continue to flourish as a separate practice unit under Jeff’s leadership,” Cole says.

Chris Dalton

TAS consists of BKD Capital Advisors as well as BKD’s transaction services division, which Dalton leads. He has more than 25 years of accounting experience, including about 16 years dedicated to mergers and acquisition services. He has extensive experience in financial due diligence analysis, transaction structuring, deal negotiation support and post-transaction planning assistance in a wide variety of industries.

“I look forward to working with the team to help grow both TAS and the overall firm,” Dalton says.

Henderson previously led the TAS division. He says, “Chris has demonstrated outstanding leadership of our transaction services practice, having helped fuel double-digit growth for each of the last several years while maintaining excellent financial discipline.” Henderson will finish out his time as MP while Dalton transitions into the role.

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Alex Martin Joins KBKG’s Executive Team, Leads New Practice

Alex Martin

Pasadena, Calif.-based KBKG, announces that Alex Martin has been hired to lead the new transfer pricing practice for cross-border businesses. He has been admitted as a principal and joins the executive team.

KBKG, a sister company of KROST (FY18 net revenue of $33.8 million), provides tax specialty services designed to complement traditional tax and accounting practices.

Transfer pricing is the cross-border pricing of goods, royalties, services and loans that drives how much income tax a multi-national company pays by country. With Martin at the helm, KBKG will assist U.S. and international companies in establishing, documenting and defending transfer pricing practices for the IRS and international tax authorities.

He comes to KBKG with over 22 years of international transfer pricing experience. He has worked for a Big 4 firm, a middle-market firm and at Productive Pricing LLC, his own consultancy.

MP Greg Kniss says, “Alex’s U.S. and global transfer pricing expertise broadens the scope of our tax specialty services provided to both U.S. and international clients. While transfer pricing can be a highly contentious tax issue for multi-nationals, Alex has the experience to deliver practical savings strategies for companies competing internationally. Through his unique expertise in this space, Alex will be an invaluable asset to the businesses and CPA firms we support.”

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Former FASB Leader to Join BKD as Partner

Rick Cole

Springfield, Mo.-based BKD (FY19 net revenue of $662.9 million) has admitted Rick Cole as a partner in the firm’s New York office.

Cole has more than 25 years of experience working with higher education and not-for-profit organizations. He specializes in audits and advisory services for those industries.

“His vast knowledge and skills, combined with his positive attitude, determination and talent will help clients reach new heights of success,” said Ryan Reiff, MP for BKD’s New York office.

Before joining BKD, Cole worked at FASB, where he served as a supervising project manager. Cole was the project manager on Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2016-14, Presentation of Financial Statements of Not-for-Profit Entities; ASU 2018-08, Clarifying the Scope and Accounting Guidance for Contributions Received and Contributions Made; ASU 2019-03, Updating the Definition of Collections; and a project on financial performance reporting for business entities. Cole also was the coordinator for FASB’s Not-for-Profit Advisory Committee and the Private Company Council.

Prior to working for FASB, Cole was vice president and controller at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and served was a senior manager with an international firm, specializing in audits of higher education institutions and other nonprofits.

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IPA INSIDER: September 2019 News

Listed below are the Top 10 most-read stories on the INSIDE Public Accounting blog for the month of September.

  1. INSIDE Public Accounting Releases Annual Ranking of the Top 400 Accounting Firms
  2. CohnReznick Adds Eight Team Members to Restructuring and Dispute Resolution Practice
  3. INSIDE Public Accounting Unveils The 2019 Best of the Best Accounting Firms
  4. IPA Announces the IPA 100 Fastest-Growing Firms
  5. DHG Welcomes Gareth Montague-Smith as Partner
  6. BKR Survey: Full Adoption of Remote Work Slow, but Possible
  7. Report Criticizing PCAOB At Odds with New Survey
  8. Eide Bailly Plans Big Expansion into California With Merger
  9. IPA Vendor Spotlight On . . . LeaseCrunch
  10. BDO Makes Inroads in Seattle Area with Peterson Sullivan Merger

Desroches Partners Elects New MP

Jon Czerwinski

Desroches Partners of Houston (FY18 net revenue of $7.2 million) announces that Jon Czerwinski, an audit partner, has been elected to serve as MP, beginning Sept. 1.

Czerwinski says, “We will move the firm forward while strengthening our client service foundations, embracing technology, delivering new solutions to our clients, and fostering the careers of our team.”

The MP post was previously held by Rod Desroches, who plans to stay with the firm and focus on tax and consulting services. “Jon’s vision and drive are perfect for the firm. Our industry is transitioning, and future growth will be guided by the rapid adoption of new technologies and the expansion of services,” Desroches says.

Thomas Howell Ferguson Acquires Dowdy & Whittaker

Tallahassee, Fla.-based Thomas Howell Ferguson (FY18 net revenue of $19 million) has acquired Dowdy & Whittaker CPAs of Bainbridge, Ga.

Dowdy & Whittaker CPAs, owned by John Dowdy and Charles Whittaker, for more than 30 years has been providing tax and accounting services, primarily tax preparation, accounting and consulting services. By joining with THF, the firm will be able to offer tax services, audit and assurance services, business consulting, merger and acquisition expertise, and disaster and emergency management services to the Bainbridge community and southwest Georgia, the firms announced.

Dowdy and Whittaker will stay involved with the firm while Dennis Gallant from the THF Tallahassee office will take on the role of the Bainbridge market leader. All Dowdy & Whittaker team members will remain with THF, continuing to serve clients from the Bainbridge office.

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;

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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BKD Announces New National Leader for PSAS

Shauna Woody-Coussens

Springfield, Mo.-based BKD (FY19 net revenue of $662.9 million) announces that Shauna Woody-Coussens as the national leader for BKD’s public sector advisory services (PSAS) division.

With more than 30 years of experience, Woody-Coussens focuses on providing a variety of management consulting services across numerous sectors. Her diverse expertise will help her lead the firm in expanding advisory services to current clients, as well as increasing awareness of BKD in the federal marketplace.

“Shauna has proven time and time again that she can successfully lead crucial projects,” Angela Morelock, MP of the practice, says. “Her experience in governmental and public sector consulting is impressive and positions us well to provide insightful and value-driven advisory services to our clients.”

As a managing director in BKD’s forensics and valuation services division, Woody-Coussens provided proactive fraud risk assessments, internal control evaluations and forensic accounting consulting to public sector clients, as well as reactive fraud investigations. She also has extensive experience with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and anti-bribery and corruption investigations. Representative engagements also included testifying before the SEC and the U.S. Department of Justice.

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