Grant Thornton Appoints Director for Advisory Services

Oliver Dennison

Oliver Dennison

Chicago-based Grant Thornton (FY17 net revenue of $1.75 billion) has announced that Oliver Dennison has joined the firm as a managing director in the financial services advisory practice.

Based in Grant Thornton’s New York office, he will be responsible for global banking clients and driving fintech-enabled business solutions, with a focus on risk and compliance.

Dennison has nearly 20 years of experience as a senior manager and technology consultant, working for financial organizations and multinational corporations in Europe and North America. Most recently, he was a director leading the enterprise risk technology function within Deutsche Bank Americas.

“Having spent his career in financial services, Oliver has witnessed rapid, technology-driven industry change,” says Nigel Smith, national financial services advisory leader. “His experience leading the re-engineering of business processes and catalyzing change through technology is a strong addition to our solutions-focused client approach, especially as fintech continues to transform financial services.”

Before Deutsche Bank, Dennison was director of CFO program services for Credit Suisse and spent nine years at RBS Global Banking & Markets.

Anchin Block & Anchin Announces New Partner, New Subsidiary

Russell Safirstein

New York-based Anchin Block & Anchin LLP (FY17 net revenue of $104 million) has welcomed Russell Safirstein to the firm as PIC of its new subsidiary – Anchin Digital Risk Solutions LLC (ADRS).

Safirstein’s expertise centers on combining audit, accounting, risk compliance and technology to help clients.  into client solutions. He delivers and develops technology driven risk and compliance advisory and analytics-based services.

“After introducing our Redpoint Cybersecurity services a little over a year ago, we recognized that companies also need guidance when it comes to the efficiency and compliance aspects of their technology systems,” says MP Frank Schettino. “Bringing Russell in will help us broaden our significant industry expertise, particularly by leveraging his experience with financial services, management consulting and health care companies.”

Marc Newman, Associate MP says the new subsidiary “signals our commitment to continuously add crucial advisory services that will strengthen and differentiate Anchin’s value proposition.”

ADRS will provide privately held, middle market companies with services previously reserved for larger companies, the firm says. The team will bring technology solutions to companies in an underserved market that need guidance to meet the demands of risk management and audit, while maintaining profitability and achieving regulatory compliance.

Prior to joining Anchin, Safirstein was a partner with Prager Metis Technology, leading their AI and machine learning initiatives in addition to their cybersecurity and risk advisory practices.

IPA Vendor Spotlight On . . . Steve Templeton

Name: Steve Templeton

Companies: Templeton Solutions LLC and Templeton & Company, LLP

Title: Founder and CEO

Accomplishments:

Steve Templeton

Steve Templeton

  • Created industry’s first unitized practice management system to enable firms to manage their business from a single data source.
  • Templeton Solutions named a Top 100 VAR (Value-Added Reseller) for the past two years.
  • Named a “Power Leader” by the South Florida Business Journal for the past six years.
  • Templeton & Company named a Top 300 Accounting Firm by INSIDE Public Accounting for the past four years.

How has the accounting industry changed with the rapid rise in M&A activity?

So much has changed in the industry since I started my career over 40 years ago. The opportunity for firms to expand their client base, lure better talent and grow profits has never been bigger. Whether you are looking to acquire, looking to be acquired or thinking about a succession plan, M&A is on every firm’s strategy roadmap, regardless of size.

You know what hasn’t changed? The technologies most firms are using to manage their practice. Many of the well-known legacy systems are outdated, stale and incompatible with each other. As more companies look to consolidate, the challenge of integrating disparate solutions becomes glaring, driving up costs and creating inefficiencies. CPA firms are longing for the agility and ease of a practice management system that is already unitized, and that doesn’t require all the complex, error-prone integrations. The rapid rise in M&A activity as well as the need to efficiently manage their practice is causing firms to rethink their growth strategies and educate themselves on the new generation of practice management technologies coming to market.

What’s the biggest opportunity for CPA firms that PracticePro 365 can help with?

Two of the biggest challenges facing accounting firms are lack of visibility across their business operations and lack of timely insights. The most common complaint we hear from managing partners and founders operating in this new business landscape is, “I feel like I’m operating in the dark.”

PracticePro 365 consolidates their data, giving them a holistic view of their business – a single source of truth they can leverage to identify changes in revenue and productivity and make smart business decisions, at any given moment. The result is the ability to manage a fully unified firm, ultimately serving their clients better and unleashing more profit.

What need were you trying to fill in the accounting industry with PracticePro 365?

First, PracticePro 365 was developed for our firm.  As we developed functionality on the Microsoft Dynamics platform, it became clear that a client-centric system was the best way to gain incredible insights and efficiencies while enabling a holistic view of client service and relationships. Those instincts were spot on. While other large vendors boast of “integration-ready” practice management systems, our system is unitized on a common platform, so no integration is required. Delivered from the cloud, it is subscription-based, so there is no need to pay for or manage servers or a separate hosting provider. This is unprecedented in the market today.

Thoughts on the future?

We will all continue to face business headwinds, which is why we built PracticePro 365 in the cloud from day one. Scalability, flexibility and uncommon insights are, and continue to be, a priority for us. Our clients need to be able to adapt quickly, to not only survive the constant changing landscape we do business in, but to thrive in it.

To learn more about PracticePro 365, visit www.practicepro365.com.

Tactical Cloud Joins Eide Bailly NetSuite Team

Cloud technology firm Tactical Cloud of Costa Mesa, Calif., will become part of Fargo, N.D.-based Eide Bailly (FY18 net revenue of $299.2 million) on Feb. 25, the firms announced.

The union adds additional enterprise resource planning (ERP) and cloud expertise to Eide Bailly’s NetSuite practice. NetSuite offers cloud-based business management software.

Tactical Cloud has doubled in size every year since its founding in 2015 and is the fastest-growing NetSuite partner in Southern California, the firm says. Eide Bailly, for its part, has been named NetSuite Americas Partner of the Year in 2017 and 2018. It is a Top 5 Global NetSuite partner.

“The future for cloud ERP is growing rapidly. Tactical Cloud’s strong reputation and deep roots in Southern California – in combination with Eide Bailly’s national reach, technical expertise and additional services makes this a great marriage for both firms,” explains Tactical Cloud co-founder Mike Kelly.

“Our firms share a commitment to excellent customer service and best-in-class ERP consulting. Expanding our NetSuite practice in California allows us to better support and serve our growing client base and prepare for the market’s future growth,” says Mark Wenig, head of NetSuite practice at Eide Bailly.

Grant Thornton Gives $3 Million to Indiana University for GT-IDEA

Mike McGuire

Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., has announced a $3 million gift from Chicago-based Grant Thornton (FY17 net revenue of $1.75 billion) to establish the Grant Thornton Institute for Data Exploration for Risk Assessment and Management, or GT-IDEA.

The institute will intersect with Bloomington’s Kelley School of Business, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering.

GT-IDEA students will work on real industry issues, participate in case studies and competitions, and interact with risk assessment and management practitioners from Grant Thornton. The idea is to prepare students to become more effective industry leaders while allowing Grant Thornton to recruit students who are well versed in risk assessment and management.

“GT-IDEA will give students the multidisciplinary acumen they’ll need to lead the dynamic companies of the future,” says Mike McGuire, CEO of Grant Thornton. “This program will also build on Grant Thornton’s reputation as an innovation leader with the exceptional students at Indiana University and beyond. “Initiatives will focus using data analytics and artificial intelligence for risk assessment and management.

IU alumnus Srikant Sastry, MPA ’88 and Grant Thornton’s national managing principal and leader of advisory services, says, “Businesses today are faced with a constantly evolving risk environment, and leaders need to be able to integrate analytics and innovation in all aspects of their operations to stay relevant and a step ahead. Moreover, they need employees who are capable of such integration. GT-IDEA will do just that: develop the employee of tomorrow, while also driving value for Grant Thornton’s clients by providing them with access to the innovative thinking coming out of the program.”

This gift counts toward The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign. The campaign aims to raise $3 billion, and will conclude in June 2020 to coincide with IU’s bicentennial celebration.

Smolin Lupin & Co. Admits Reit as Partner

Henna Reit

Fairfield, N.J.-based Smolin Lupin & Co. (FY18 net revenue of $19 million) announces the admission of Henna Reit to the partnership.

Reit, a CPA with more than 20 years’ experience, is based in Smolin’s Red Bank, N.J., office, where she specializes in financial reporting, business consulting, audits of commercial entities, employee benefit plans and tax services. She serves various industries including real estate, manufacturing, distribution, retail and service businesses.

“Henna has been an integral part of helping us expand our growing practice and has demonstrated exemplary service to each and every client,” says MP Ted Dudek.  “Henna’s drive and motivation proves that she will continue to be a vital partner to the success of our firm and the success of her clients’ businesses.”

Smolin Lupin is an independent member of the BDO Alliance USA.

Eight Principals Admitted to Partnership at Brown Smith Wallace

Dan K. Schoenleber

Creve Coeur, Mo.-based Brown Smith Wallace (FY17 net revenue of $46.3 million) announced the admission of eight principals to the partnership. All are active participants in the Moore Stephens North America Leadership Growth Academy, set to graduate in May 2019.

Dan K. Schoenleber, formerly a principal in the transaction advisory and litigation support services practice, assists clients through mergers and acquisitions by leading due diligence and quality of earnings engagements. He also assists clients in purchase price negotiations, post-closing working capital and opening balance sheet procedures. His expertise also includes business valuations, fraud and forensic accounting, and litigation support engagements for clients in various industries. He has extensive experience working with private equity firms and their portfolio companies, as well as transaction services for public companies.

Anne M. Ritter

Anne M. Ritter, formerly a principal in the tax services practice, has overall responsibility for the tax planning and consulting services rendered to her individual and business clients and also establishes new client relationships. Ritter has more than 25 years of experience as an accounting professional providing expertise to a wide variety of industry groups including automotive dealerships, construction companies, and manufacturing and distribution companies.

Amy Ribick, formerly a principal in the advisory services practice, specializes in serving clients in the financial services industry, including compliance, internal and operational audit engagements. She consults on internal and external client business processes and accounting procedures to facilitate process improvements and compliance with laws and regulations. She provides internal audit services, including compliance and control documentation and testing, for clients.

Todd J. Goldenhersh

Todd J. Goldenhersh, formerly a principal in the audit services practice, primarily serves clients in the insurance industry, serving insurers writing fidelity, personal and commercial lines; medical and life insurance; and professional liability coverage. He also services the firm’s captive insurance clientele, and performs peer review services for public accounting firms throughout the United States.

Scott D. Brandt, formerly a principal in the audit services practice, will continue to serve as the leader of the construction industry group. Brandt has a specialized focus in manufacturing and construction-related entities including multi-company consolidations that involve complex accounting and auditing issues. He has over 14 years of experience in public accounting. He recently participated in the Partnership Readiness Program at Brown Smith Wallace, which prepares selected principals to become the next generation of firm partners.

Kevin Boeving, formerly a principal in the tax services practice, will continue his work advising decision-makers on a variety of tax planning strategies and managing their corporate, partnership and individual income tax compliance. Boeving has extensive experience with corporate tax provisions, S corporation planning, IRS audit management, research and development (R&D) tax credits, partnership taxation and high-net-worth tax planning. He also has over 20 years of experience, working with clients in a variety of industries.

Jennifer M. Vacha, formerly a principal in the tax services practice, is responsible for the firm’s not-for-profit tax engagements and provides oversight for other individual and business tax engagements. Vacha is a prolific public speaker and has given presentations on a number of topics including tax-exempt entities, general tax preparation, social entrepreneurship and non-profit

Deborah M. Vandeven

issues.

Deborah M. Vandeven, formerly a principal in the tax services practice, will continue to serve as the leader of the high-net-worth families and individuals niche for the firm. As a partner, Vandeven has overall responsibility for the tax planning and consulting services rendered to her individual and business clients. Vandeven has more than 25 years of experience as an accounting professional providing expertise to a wide variety of industry groups, including construction, retail, health care and manufacturing.

Prager Metis Combines With Beck Villata & Co.

New York-based Prager Metis CPAs (FY17 net revenue of $82.5 million) announces it is combining with Beck Villata & Co., with offices in Montvale, N.J., and Miami Lakes, Fla.

“We welcome their addition,” says Raymond Zomerfeld, the MP of the Southeast region of Prager Metis. “We’re excited that this merger enables us to continue to provide excellent, personalized service to the diverse businesses and individuals throughout South Florida and New Jersey.”

Beck Villata & Co. provides tax, accounting, assurance, estate and trust planning, and litigation support and forensic accounting services to a wide variety of industries. Frank Beck and Vincent VIllata will be joining Prager Metis as partners. Prager Metis will retain their current offices in Miami Lakes and Montvale.

“Prager Metis has a level of expertise and a growing reputation that is unique for an accounting firm of its size. We feel it is a perfect fit for our firm,” says Beck.

The deal was facilitated by Domenick J. Esposito of ESPOSITO CEO2CEO.

Cohen & Company Adds Partner to Investment Industry Services

Jeff Haneline

Cleveland-based Cohen & Company (FY18 net revenue of $83.9 million) has announced that Jeff Haneline has been admitted as an audit partner.

Having spent several years in a fund administration role, Haneline has insight into the nuances and intra-workings of a large administrator. “Seeing the issues from both sides of the fence is an invaluable quality to bring to the client relationship,” the firm announced.

He primarily works with a variety of advisors and service providers of ETFs, open-end mutual funds, closed-end interval funds, MLP funds and hedge funds ranging from emerging managers to multi-billion-dollar entities. He is based in the Milwaukee office.

Seattle CPA Firm Watson McDonell Joins CLA

Lillian McDonell

Watson & McDonell of Seattle has joined CliftonLarsonAllen LLP (FY17 net revenue of $866 million).

“Building solid relationships is foundational to how we work,” says Lillian McDonell, MP of Watson McDonell. “Opportunities grow from the commitment we make to know our clients in order to help them get where they want to go. Joining CLA enables us to expand the ways we can help our clients now and into the future.”

For more than 30 years, Watson McDonell has served the Seattle area, providing audit and tax services to a broad array of small and medium-sized businesses, as well as individuals, with a focus on nonprofit organizations and affordable housing.

“We exist to create opportunities for our clients, our people and our communities,” says Paul Bailey, managing principal of CLA Seattle. “Welcoming Lillian and the experienced Watson McDonell team enables us to deepen that promise. In particular, it expands our nonprofit and low income housing industries — two key industries that we have been focused on and looking to expand throughout Puget Sound.”

The 15 former Watson McDonell team members will continue to serve clients locally and nationally from Seattle, expanding CLA’s Washington team to more than 340 professionals