Co-Founder of WithumSmith+Brown Passes at Age 84

(L-R) Withum Co-Founders Len Smith, the late Fred Withum & Ivan Brown

Fred Withum, 84, who co-founded Princeton, N.J.-based WithumSmith+Brown (FY19 net revenue of $223.3 million), has died, the firm announced.

Withum, considered a visionary within the profession, co-founded the firm in 1974 and retired in 1987. Withum was instrumental in shaping the firm’s three core pillars for commitment: clients, people and communities. Under his leadership, the firm held first-of-their-kind planning meetings and partner retreats in the 1970s to chart the firm’s future course.

“From our early years as a firm, Fred was instrumental in instilling in us the importance of client service, integrity, growth and community service,” says Len Smith, who co-founded the firm with Withum as well as Ivan Brown and Doug Sonier. “These principles have stayed with us for over 40 years and have become the foundation for the Withum Way. Fred was a big believer in planning, and often reminded us of a quote from Lewis Carroll, ‘If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.’”

Sonier adds, “Fred was a true entrepreneur who encouraged and supported each of us in expanding the firm’s footprint and services. The confidence he instilled and demonstrated – combined with measured risk-taking – were key components that contributed to the growth and success of the firm.”

Today, Withum is ranked No. 25 on the 2019 IPA 100 listing of the largest accounting firms in the country. Withum, with 15 offices, is an independent member of HLB, the global advisory and accounting network.

At a time when most firms did not acknowledge the importance of community involvement and work-life balance, Withum was a champion, the firm says.

“He encouraged us to join and actively participate in charitable and professional organizations. In addition, he advocated for providing pro-bono and reduced-fee services to not-for-profits, many with June 30 FYE, which was a win-win proposition,” Brown says. “A strong proponent of family involvement, Fred also encouraged us to carve out time to watch and participate – via coaching and similar activities – in our children’s lives.”

Withum also championed peer reviews. In 1977, Withum became one of the first non-national accounting firms to voluntarily participate in the AICPA peer review program that evaluates firm processes and procedures. Since then, Withum has successfully passed all 13 peer reviews conducted.

According to MP and CEO Bill Hagaman, this feat underscores one of Withum’s well-known quotes: “Our services are for sale. Our integrity is not.” Hagaman adds, “This truism still applies, as Withum team members continue to hold up the highest levels of values and ethics and expect the same from those with whom they work.”

Memorial contributions can be made in Withum’s honor to the Vermont Institute of Natural Science, P.O. Box 1281, Quechee, VT 05059.

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BDO Makes Inroads in Seattle Area with Peterson Sullivan Merger

Chicago-based BDO USA (FY19 net revenue of $1.64 billion) is acquiring Peterson Sullivan of Seattle, marking further expansion into the Pacific Northwest with 175 staff, including partners. The deal should be complete Nov. 1.

Wayne Berson, CEO of BDO USA, says the addition is part of the targeted growth strategy of the firm, which is ranked No. 7 on the 2019 IPA 100 list. “Peterson Sullivan and BDO share common values – believing strongly that an exceptional culture with exceptional people results in an exceptional client experience.”

Chris Russell

Peterson Sullivan (FY18 net revenue of $31.9 million), founded in 1953, serves clients in a variety of industries, including auto dealerships, construction, hospitality and consumer products, life sciences, manufacturing, nonprofit, professional services, real estate and technology.

“Peterson Sullivan has built our reputation over the last 65 years by providing exceptional client service and developing deep connections within the community,” says MP Chris Russell. “In joining BDO, our clients will continue to receive the personalized and responsive attention they have come to expect, now with enhanced access to more specialized services, broader industry expertise, and BDO’s extensive global network.”

Russell will continue his focus on the region’s business and civic communities as the market MP for BDO in Seattle. Michael Reeves and Bob Filip will continue in their respective roles as BDO’s assurance and tax managing partners for the combined Seattle practice.

“BDO has fueled its tremendous growth by combining with entrepreneurial and successful CPA firms that not only complement their service offerings and culture, but add value for their clients,” says Allan Koltin, CEO of Koltin Consulting Group, who advised both firms on the combination. “Peterson Sullivan garnered interest from many national and mega-regional firms. Ultimately, they felt BDO provided their partners and associates with a great playbook and platform to expand services to their clients.”

BDO plans to consolidate its offices into the current Peterson Sullivan location. In the interim, the firm will maintain two offices.

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KPMG UK to Cut Hundreds of Administrative Staff

Big 4 firm KPMG plans to cut costs in the U.K. by eliminating about a third of its 630 administrative assistants, the Financial Times reported.

“We are not taking these steps lightly, but we believe the proposed structure will enable us to deliver the best possible experience for our clients,” a KMPG spokesperson said. “We are now in the process of consulting with affected staff on the plans.” She added the restructuring was part of an 18-month plan to invest in the firm’s audit business and change its governance structure.

The newspaper says personal assistants are looking for work, and partners are beginning to file their own expenses. As part of the restructuring, KPMG will reportedly create 24 new support roles in Birmingham, England.

The Financial Times says KPMG has been battling to restore its reputation after its audit work for collapsed outsourcer Carillion has come under fire.

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Moore Stephens North America Rebrands

Moore Stephens North America has become Moore North America.

The change is part of a wider rebrand of the Moore Stephens global accountancy and consultancy network, of which Moore Stephens North America is a regional member. The rebrand includes a new logo, visual identity and brand positioning.

Moore North America CEO Tony Szczepaniak says, “Our North American members have always exemplified the values of Moore Stephens, and this updated identity helps us better communicate those strengths. We present our new brand position – “Helping you thrive in a changing world” – to our members and their clients to ensure we’re doing our best to help them succeed today and tomorrow. It’s more than a brand…it is our message to the world that we’re here and we care.”

Moore Global CEO Anton Colella says the new brand means the following for clients: “In our changing world, business is increasingly conducted internationally and digitally. Everyone must adapt.”

He adds, “So as we look to the future, our brand honors our Moore Stephens heritage, reflecting the strengths that clients have, and can always expect from us: straightforward advice, high quality, and the passion we bring every day to our belief that relationships with clients are about much more than simply a job.”

Moore is an international network of more than 260 independent firms in 112 countries and a professional community of more than 30,000 people.

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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; editor@plattgroupllc.com.

IPA Announces the IPA 100 Fastest-Growing Firms

IPA identifies the 10 fastest-growing IPA 100 firms based on reported organic growth in net revenue, without the influence of mergers. While growth with mergers represents the true growth, isolating organic growth provides insight into the strength of the growth engine of the firms.

This year’s IPA 100 Fastest-Growing Firms experienced an impressive average organic increase in net revenue of 17.3%.

 

The 2019 IPA 100 Fastest-Growing Organic Growth Firms

Whitley Penn LLP / Fort Worth, Texas / 24.4%
The Siegfried Group LLP / Wilmington, Del. / 23.2%
Schellman & Company LLC / Tampa, Fla. / 20.0%
Katz Sapper & Miler / Indianapolis / 16.3%
Gursey | Schneider LLP / Los Angeles / 16.2%
SVA Certified Public Accountants SC / Madison, Wis. / 15.8%
Friedman LLP / New York / 15.0%
Frazier & Deeter LLC / Atlanta / 14.8%
Andersen Tax / San Francisco / 13.8%
MGO LLP / Los Angeles / 13.0%

The 2019 IPA 100 All Growth Fastest-Growing Firms

IPA also identifies the 10 fastest-growing IPA 100 firms based on reported all growth in net revenue, including the influence of mergers.

Hogan Taylor LLP / Tulsa, Okla. / 31.0%
Baker Tilly / Chicago / 30.6%
Cohen & Company / Cleveland / 26.3%
Rea & Associates Inc. / New Philadelphia, Ohio / 23.4%
Rehmann LLC / Troy, Mich. / 23.3%
The Siegfried Group LLP / Wilmington, Del. / 23.2%
RKL LLP / Lancaster, Pa. / 21.5%
BerryDunn / Portland, Maine / 20.8%
Schellman & Company LLC / Tampa, Fla. / 20.2%
Moss Adams LLP / Seattle / 19.7%

Highlights of the 2019 IPA 100 Public Accounting Firms

  • Organic growth (excluding mergers) grew this year to 6.7%, up from 6.3% in 2018.
  • More than 110 acquisitions (both traditional CPA firms as well as other non-CPA firms) were reported, pushing the overall growth rate to 9.9%, also up slightly from the 2018 all-growth rate of 9.4%.
  • Organic growth in net income grew to 9.9% this year, an increase from 6.4% in 2018. Factoring in acquisitions, net income growth is up to 12.2%.
  • Average equity partner billing rates now top $450 per hour for the IPA 100.
  • Professional staff turnover (CPAs and other client-serving staff) averaged 16.2% for the IPA 100; with 1 in 5 IPA 100 firms averaging more than 20% professional staff turnover.
  • Eight female managing partners are now at the helm of the IPA 100 firms for the first time since IPA began tracking this data.
  • Average annual equity partner compensation at the IPA 100 is now $660,000.
  • One out of 11 equity partners / owners in a CPA firm are not licensed CPAs.

In-Depth Financial and Operational Benchmarking of the Accounting Profession

Financial and operational analysis of 550 public accounting firms will be published in late September in the 2019 INSIDE Public Accounting National Benchmarking Report.

Subscribe to the IPA newsletter to receive the upcoming benchmarking analyses and in-depth interviews with key leaders within the profession. IPA offers a complimentary news source, the IPA INSIDER E-News Update. Sign up online.

Purchase any of the 2019 IPA benchmarking products, including the IPA National Benchmarking Report, to gain insider strategies.

To interview or engage the partners at INSIDE Public Accounting, please contact Chelsea Summers at (317) 733-1920 or csummers@plattgroupllc.com.

Visit the 2019 IPA 100, 200, 300 and 400 rankings

Order your 2019 IPA Benchmarking Tools

 

 

INSIDE Public Accounting Releases Annual Ranking of the Top 400 Accounting Firms

The publishers of INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA), the award-winning newsletter for the public accounting profession, today released the annual ranking of the nation’s 400 largest public accounting firms.

Rankings of The IPA 100…Now in its 29th year, the IPA 100 lists the 100 largest public accounting firms in the U.S., by net revenue. The IPA 100 is made up of the Big 4, which collectively generated over $60 billion in U.S. revenue last year, and 96 national, regional and local firms. The annual rankings and accompanying analysis paint a comprehensive picture of the state of the profession.

Newcomers to The IPA 100…Three firms debuted on the IPA 100 in 2019: No. 91 Tulsa, Okla.-based HoganTaylor LLP; No. 98 Houston-based Briggs & Veselka Co.; and No. 99 Clifton, N.J.-based Sax LLP.

The 2019 IPA 400 Firms…IPA also ranks the next tier of accounting firms, Nos. 101-400.

The 2019 IPA 400 rankings can be accessed here.

Highlights of the 2019 IPA 100 Public Accounting Firms…The Big 4, Deloitte, PwC, EY and KPMG collectively make up nearly 75% of the total U.S. revenue of this year’s IPA 100. Due to their size, IPA excludes metrics of the Big 4 in its analysis. The remaining 96 firms represent $22.2 billion in total revenues and employ more than 100,000 staff. Excluding the Big 4, 45 firms are represented in the IPA $100 Million Club, all with annual revenues exceeding $100 million.

  • Organic growth (excluding mergers) grew this year to 6.7%, up from 6.3% in 2018.
  • More than 110 acquisitions (both traditional CPA firms as well as other non-CPA firms) were reported, pushing the overall growth rate to 9.9%, also up slightly from the 2018 all-growth rate of 9.4%.
  • Organic growth in net income grew to 9.9% this year, an increase from 6.4% in 2018. Factoring in acquisitions, net income growth is up to 12.2%.
  • Average equity partner billing rates now top $450 per hour for the IPA 100.
  • Professional staff turnover (CPAs and other client-serving staff) averaged 16.2% for the IPA 100; with 1 in 5 IPA 100 firms averaging more than 20% professional staff turnover.
  • Eight female managing partners are now at the helm of the IPA 100 firms for the first time since IPA began tracking this data.
  • Average annual equity partner compensation at the IPA 100 is now $660,000.
  • One out of 11 equity partners / owners in a CPA firm are not licensed CPAs.

“As firms continue to expand service lines and seek to hire the most qualified staff to serve clients in many non-traditional services, we’re seeing more non-CPA professionals in the ranks of the IPA 100,” says Mike Platt, principal with INSIDE Public Accounting. “In fact, we discovered that 28% of all client-serving professionals at IPA 100 firms indicated they have no intentions of pursuing a CPA license.”

In-Depth Financial and Operational Benchmarking of the Accounting Profession…Financial and operational analysis of 550 public accounting firms will be published in late September in the 2019 INSIDE Public Accounting National Benchmarking Report.

Subscribe to the IPA newsletter to receive the upcoming benchmarking analyses and in-depth interviews with key leaders within the profession. IPA offers a complimentary news source, the IPA INSIDER E-News Update. Sign up online.

Purchase any of the 2019 IPA benchmarking products, including the IPA National Benchmarking Report, to gain insider strategies.

To interview or engage the partners at INSIDE Public Accounting, please contact Chelsea Summers at (317) 733-1920 or csummers@plattgroupllc.com.

blumshapiro Merges In Cowan Bolduc Doherty

West Hartford, Conn.-based blumshapiro (FY18 net revenue of $83.4 million) has announced a merger with Cowan Bolduc Doherty (CBD) of North Andover, Mass.

The combination with CBD will expand the firm’s presence in Massachusetts to five locations, adding 20 professionals, including three partners.

“CBD’s strong and well-respected team of auditing, accounting and tax experts – and their reputation for providing exceptional client service – greatly complements blumshapiro and further supports our commitment to provide our clients the personal level of service that has contributed to our firm’s success,” says blumshapiro CEO Joseph A. Kask.

Stephen J. Doherty, partner at CBD, says, “Since our founding in 1988, CBD has fostered strong relationships with our clients in northeastern Massachusetts. For more than 30 years we have embraced growth and change, and this merger with blumshapiro is a natural next step in providing our clients with more resources while maintaining the personalized commitment they have come to expect from CBD.”

“This combination helps extend blumshapiro’s reach and leadership serving entrepreneurial clients in the Boston market,” says Gary Adamson, CEO of Adamson Advisory LLC, the advisor to both firms on this merger. “Cowan Bolduc Doherty has been a leader serving the Boston market for many years and was attracted to blumshapiro because of their outstanding talent pool and extensive range of services focused on the middle market.”

The merged firm will adopt the blumshapiro name. The North Andover office will join blum locations in Boston, Newton, Quincy and Worcester, Mass. The firm also has offices in West Hartford, Shelton and Marlborough, Conn., and Cranston, R.I.

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Wipfli Builds Hedge Fund Niche with Acquisition of Patke & Associates

Milwaukee-based Wipfli LLP (FY19 net revenue of $362.5 million) announces that the shareholders and associates of Patke & Associates of Lincolnshire, Ill., have joined the firm.

The 12 professionals from Patke & Associates will join more than 2,300 professionals at Wipfli, including approximately 250 in the Chicago area. The firm will do business as Wipfli.

“The addition of Patke & Associates provides Wipfli with an opportunity to add specialized resources and build a special industry niche focused on hedge funds,” says MP Kurt Gresens. “Given our combined knowledge and strength in the financial institutions and financial services industry and our shared dedication to our clients and helping them achieve their goals, this is an excellent addition for our firm.”

Paul Patke, managing shareholder of Patke & Associates, says, “For our clients, this will broaden and deepen the specialized services we can provide, allowing our team to continue to meet clients’ needs as they face new challenges in the years ahead. For our associates, the combination will provide advanced training opportunities and increased career opportunities as they become associates in a larger firm.”

Allan D. Koltin, CEO of Koltin Consulting Group who advised both firms on the transaction, says Wipfli is “very strategic in their selection of firms they invite to join them and very disciplined in their commitment to ‘going deep’ in the industries in which they specialize.” He adds, “Patke loved the opportunity to take their hedge fund practice to the next level and expand their service offerings to their clients and contacts in the financial services industry.”

Founded in 1990, Patke & Associates serves more than 100 global investment funds. Patke & Associates’ services include investment partnership and hedge fund audits, surprise examinations for RIAs and tax planning and preparation.

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Prager Metis Acquires Frank & Company

New York-based Prager Metis (FY18 net revenue of $98.2 million) announced it has acquired Frank & Company of McLean, Va.

The combination will expand Prager Metis’ presence into the Washington, D.C., area. Robert Frank, Marnette Myers and Matthew Frank will join Prager Metis and be admitted as partners. Scott Davis will join as principal. Frank & Company will remain in their office located at 1360 Beverly Road.

“We have been looking for a CPA firm in the D.C. Metro area that shares our values and standards of proactive service so that we can better serve our clients and expand our footprint into the region. We chose to combine with Frank & Company due to their reputation for excellent client service,” said Lori Roth, MP of the Northeast region for Prager Metis.

Frank & Company, founded over 40 years ago, is built on the core belief that their clients are their most important resource. The firm provides audit, tax and advisory services to a broad range of individuals, small and mid-size businesses, government contractors, not-for-profit organizations and real estate entities.

“Prager Metis has a level of expertise and a growing reputation that is unique for an accounting firm of its size,” says Robert Frank. “Their firm culture and desire to expand their presence into the metropolitan D.C. area fit so well with our background and expertise that we feel Prager Metis is not only a perfect fit for our firm but for our clients as well.”

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