Moore Colson Admits Geoffrey Tirone as Partner

Geoffrey Tirone

IPA 200 firm Moore Colson CPAs and Advisors of Atlanta announced that Geoffrey Tirone has been admitted as partner in its consulting practice.

In addition to his more than two decades of experience working with both private-equity groups and strategic buyers on buy- and sell-side transactions, Tirone has also led accounting teams in transitional situations in private industry. His past work spans the manufacturing and distribution, retail, financial services, energy, consumer goods and entertainment industries.

“Geoff’s extensive knowledge and experience with transactions, his passion for practice area growth and his leadership ability make him an excellent cultural fit for our consulting group,” says Moore Colson MP Bert Mills.

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BKD Merges in CampbellWilson

Springfield, Mo.-based BKD LLP (FY18 net revenue of $662.9 million) will acquire health care regulatory consulting firm CampbellWilson of Dallas effective June 1.

BKD will expand its health care practice by taking on CampbellWilson’s proprietary physician time study system, which assists hospitals in capturing reimbursable expenses on Medicare and Medicaid cost reports. BKD will also welcome CampbellWilson’s 10 staff members to its team in Dallas-Fort Worth.

“With the addition of CampbellWilson, BKD will strengthen what’s already one of the largest health care consulting teams in Texas,” says Chris Clark, BKD’s health care industry leader for the couth region. “We’re especially excited about launching the time study system with our clients firmwide, giving us another chance to provide unmatched client service.”

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Managing Partner Viewpoints from the Archives, Part I: Promoting Alignment, Parsing Advice

While deep industry knowledge, technical expertise and the ability to bring in business are all de rigueur for MPs, today’s leaders must also have the skills to handle the messier challenges of a rapidly changing business environment.

This was among the many observations to emerge from the anonymous, candid responses of more than 70 MPs to a brief survey from INSIDE Public Accounting awhile back that shed welcome light on some of the most common frustrations and rewards they have experienced in the position. During this current period of uncertainty in the profession, their insights on two topics from that survey feel particularly relevant and instructive.

What one thing do you wish someone told you when you became MP about aligning the firm behind a common vision?

The Importance of Alignment

MPs aim to make a common, firmwide vision their guiding light, encouraging everyone to work toward the same goals and operate with the same values in mind. It’s a huge challenge, but one of the most important parts of the top job. Respondents generally agreed that alignment is the top priority for any MP. Most recommended to start articulating the firm’s vision on the first day, making it clear and compelling, ensuring it fits with the partners’ individual goals and compensation plans, and remaining vigilant.

These MPs also noted that over-communicating the vision and embodying that vision in every decision and action were crucial components of getting the message across. It’s a goal that one respondent said requires him to be “as much psychologist as MP some days.” Some of the other comments on alignment from MPs included:

“I wish they had told me that this would take time, and that simply saying it once or twice or communicating it in one or two presentations would not be enough. Alignment can be a 12- to 24-month process if done well, so patience is needed to carry this out.”

“Do it sooner rather than later. Lack of common vision is a really big deal; you may not think so, but it really is.”

“Many partners have their own agenda and goals in mind. It is challenging to try to get them to change their goals to ones that would be more beneficial to the overall good of the firm.”

“Partners will say they are behind a vision but watch what they do more than what they say.”

“Compensation structures drive behavior and must align with the vision. If they aren’t aligned, compensation structure will dictate behavior.”

“You will have competing interests at the firm and making sure everyone is aligned on a compelling and differentiating vision will move the firm forward as one. If there is no common vision, the firm will be a sub-par performer.”

When alignment works, respondents said the rewards are palpable. One MP expressed pleasure in seeing everyone “pulling in the same direction,” after a strategic planning process that involved input from all parts of the firm. The result? A newly energized team.

What one piece of advice did you receive about being MP that didn’t turn out to be true?

Differentiating Between Good and Bad Advice

Most MPs were given advice about taking on the top job that turned out to be untrue, while many were relieved that some of the warnings were unneeded. In other words, take most advice going in with a grain of salt, including some of the unfounded advice that our MPs encountered on their way to the top job (accompanied by their comments):

Expect to make more money – “That hasn’t occurred to my satisfaction.”

You can’t please everyone – “While that may be true, we can seek to build positive relationships with all and show them that we care about them.”

It’s a miserable job – “It’s hard, a lot of work and a lot of stress, but it’s not miserable.”

It gets easier – “Turns out, if you grow and merge practices, that is not true.”

You are the boss – “The opposite is really the truth – you work for the benefit of everyone in your firm.”

Dealing with employees is the most difficult part of the job – “Dealing with the partners is more work.”

Keep paying partners more and they’ll follow you – “Partners want increased compensation and the right to challenge leadership and direction.”

Young partners will never develop business like the senior partners – “Our young partners have risen up HUGE and helped take the firm to a much higher and profitable level once those senior partners finally retired.”

Many MPs wouldn’t change a thing, despite misperceptions, stresses and the difficult decisions required. One respondent said that the “visionary/entrepreneurial aspects of the MP role far outweigh the challenges. It is a great opportunity to lead and have a lot of fun learning from peers.” Another added that “I love it, find it rewarding and wouldn’t want to do anything else. It has some frustrating moments, but by far, I love being an entrepreneur and building on the legacy we have started to create.”

These are the types of positive thoughts about the position that MPs will do well to keep in mind as they navigate the challenging waters ahead.

Iannelli to Lead New Strategic Consulting Services Practice for Whitley Penn

Frank Iannelli

Fort Worth, Texas-based Whitley Penn (FY18 net revenue of $114.1 million) has announced that firm veteran Frank Iannelli will lead its recently launched strategic consulting services practice.

The aim of the new practice is to help clients improve operating and financial performance. The new group’s services will include performance improvement, consulting and mentoring, strategic financial services and turnaround and restructuring.

“With the ever-changing business landscape, many of our clients have expressed the need for outsourced services of this type,” says MP Larry Autrey. “When we decided to launch this practice internally, we knew that Frank was the right person to lead the effort.

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BKD Cyber Offers New Virtual CIO Advisory Services

Springfield, Mo.-based BKD LLP (FY19 net revenue of $662.9 million) has announced that BKD Cyber has launched a new service to help financial institutions with IT issues.

With BKD Cyber’s Virtual Chief Information Officer Advisor Services (BKD vCIO), financial institutions can take care of their IT issues without hiring a full-time senior IT executive.

“Financial institutions are already under immense regulatory pressure to keep in compliance with changes to technology. Understanding that pressure and wanting to offer a solution that is affordable and has a demonstrable return on investment, we determined BKD vCIO could help bridge the gap between budget constraints and regulatory requirements,” says Cindy Boyle, a BKD Cyber partner.

The BKD vCIO team is experienced working in diverse IT environments and are knowledgeable about a broad range of IT core platforms and technologies.

Services include IT strategic planning, IT operational oversight, IT steering committee participation, IT testing preparation, and disaster recovery planning, testing and exam. Services are paid on a subscription basis.

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BKD Offers Financial Modeling Software for Colleges and Universities

Springfield, Mo.-based BKD LLP (FY19 net revenue of $662.9 million) has partnered with PFM Solutions to help colleges and universities improve financial sustainability.

The firm is offering financial modeling software, Synopsis Powered by Synario.

“We understand many higher education leaders are using outdated modeling tools or Excel spreadsheets to make institution-wide decisions,” says Tondeé Lutterman, BKD national industry partner, who called Synopsis a “revolutionary modeling solution.”

Synopsis is a financial and scenario modeling tool that can help academic leaders manage key drivers and configure new scenarios to quickly visualize outcomes, communicate results and make decisions.

“The Synopsis product empowers executive leaders to navigate the financial implications of assorted strategic initiatives in real time and strengthens data-informed decisions,” says David Armstrong, BKD director and higher education leader.

Synopsis is part of BKD’s financial sustainability services.

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Hancock Askew & Co. Announces the Formation of Clarity Capital Advisors

Savannah, Ga.-based Hancock Askew & Co. (FY18 net revenue of $15.7 million) has launched a wholly-owned subsidiary, Clarity Capital Advisors, which offers small and medium-size businesses advice on mergers and acquisitions, general corporate finance and other issues.

Hancock Askew MP Michael McCarthy says, “At Hancock Askew, we are keenly aware of the shift in the accounting industry to provide more than just traditional compliance services to clients. Through the addition of Clarity Capital Advisors and the experience of the team leading the new firm, we continue to be at the forefront of expanding our service offerings and increasing our footprint in the marketplace.” 

Clarity Capital Advisors assists clients with determining appropriate sources of debt and equity capital. Additionally, it provides financial advisory services for management buyouts, recaps and for a strategic alternative review analysis.

Clarity Capital Advisors is led by Steve Keaveney and John Stanier. Mary Roberts, managing director of Hancock Askew’s transaction and business valuation practice, will also provide leadership support.

Stanier says, “I am excited to help launch Clarity. Steve and I have been successful in building value for shareholders through a number of creative capital markets transactions beginning with our first venture together in 1994.” Clients range from an early-stage business with break-even operations to $5 million plus of EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization). Typical enterprise values ranging from $10 million to $150 million, Keaveney says.

Hancock Askew has offices in Georgia and Florida and a staff of over 150 professionals. The firm is an independent member of the BDO Alliance USA.

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IPA INSIDER: February 2020 News

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

  1. CLA Announces Acquisition of Weil & Company
  2. Robert Marzan Joins Cullari Carrico as a Partner
  3. Modeling The Right Behavior When Deadlines Are Tight And Stress Is High
  4. Moss Adams Admits 28 New Partners
  5. Partners Can Be Complacent And Ego-Driven, But Their Success = Firm Success
  6. Frazier & Deeter Acquires Consulting Firm Arch + Tower
  7. Cherry Bekaert Expands Digital Advisory Services with Icimo Acquisition
  8. UHY LLP Welcomes COO, New Partner in Capital Region
  9. Schneider Downs Announces Plan for New Co-MP
  10. REDW Merges in HR Consulting and Legal Practice

BDO Alliance Welcomes 5 New Firms

BDO Alliance USA, the alliance of independently owned accounting, consulting and service firms, welcomes five new CPA firms as members.

The new members are: Tulsa, Okla.-based CCK Strategies, San Francisco-based Bregante+Company (FY18 net revenue of $10.6 million), Martin DeCruze & Company of Stamford, Conn., Fasten Halberstam of New York, and Hall & Company CPAs & Consultants of Irvine, Calif.

The BDO Alliance USA now has 215 CPA member firms in over 500 locations nationwide.

CCK Strategies serves small and middle-market companies, entrepreneurs and wealthy families in the greater Tulsa, Okla., and Frisco, Texas, marketplaces. They specialize in serving manufacturing, real estate, oil and gas, and health care-related businesses.

Bregante+Company serves closely held businesses and high-net-worth individuals throughout northern California.

Martin DeCruze & Company serves private equity firms, closely held businesses and high-net-worth individuals primarily throughout Fairfield County, Conn.

Fasten Halberstam serves high-net-worth individuals and privately held businesses, with a specialization in real estate and health care, primarily throughout the New York metropolitan area.

Hall & Company CPAs & Consultants serves privately held businesses, SEC clients and high-net-worth individuals primarily throughout Southern California. They specialize in serving real estate/construction, law firms and manufacturers.

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Andrew Hicks Joins Frazier & Deeter as VP of Risk Assurance and National Practice Leader

Andrew Hicks

Atlanta-based Frazier & Deeter (FY18 net revenue of $96 million) announces that Andrew Hicks has joined the firm as national practice leader for HITRUST and vice president of risk assurance.

“Andrew’s extensive experience with security risk and controls, particularly within the HITRUST framework, makes him an excellent addition to our team,” says Sabrina Serafin, partner and national practice leader of process, risk and governance.

Hicks specializes in working with organizations to adopt, implement and manage information security programs, specifically related to HITRUST, HIPAA regulatory compliance, risk management and SOC examination procedures. His knowledge of the health care marketplace will also allow the firm to improve its existing assessment and advisory services to overcome information security compliance and regulation challenges, the firm says.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with hundreds of organizations looking to overcome regulatory and compliance challenges,” notes Hicks. “What interests me most about FD is taking my knowledge of the marketplace and investing in innovative solutions that create tremendous customer value, while simplifying the compliance journey.”

Prior to joining the firm, Hicks was vice president of health care services at Coalfire, where he built a national practice.

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