Wipfli Enlists Cybersecurity Partner Program

Milwaukee-based Wipfli LLP (FY18 net revenue of $317.9 million), a top 20 national accounting and consulting firm, has joined the NormShield partner program to expand its current cybersecurity solutions.

NormShield provides on-demand and standards-based cyber risk scorecards. The enhanced portfolio will provide Wipfli with a powerful tool to improve and reduce the risk associated with its clients’ supply-chain partners, third-party vendor networks and sensitive data.

“Many business leaders understand that cybersecurity is a moving target, and we firmly believe it’s our job to prepare our clients to manage their risk, circumvent potential consequences and protect their bottom line,” says Robert Cedergren, PIC of Wipfli’s risk advisory services practice.

According to a recent study conducted by Ponemon Institute, external cyber risks are some of the most dangerous companies face: The study indicated that more than 56% of companies experienced a third-party breach in 2017 and, according to Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrime will cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015.

“The NormShield cyber risk scorecard provides an objective, external measure of an organization’s cyber risk posture,” says Mohamoud Jibrell, CEO of NormShield. “We’ve taken a ‘new school’ approach to supply-chain risk monitoring that’s easy to understand and includes online, dynamic risk scorecards with straightforward letter-grades based on defined risk categories. The risks are then prioritized with detailed information on the severity of the risk and through the portal. From there, the NormShield scorecard details how to mitigate and remediate each identified risk.”

Through its relationship with NormShield, Wipfli will leverage the company’s ability to gather data in a non-intrusive way, classify the data into security risk categories, apply advanced algorithms to analyze and convert data into risk intelligence, generate easy-to-understand scorecards and dashboards, and provide detailed remediation steps to secure the networks from outside attack.

IPA Spotlight On … Gary Wallace

Name: Gary Wallace

Gary Wallace

Title: MP-Elect

Firm: Glen Allen, Va.-based Keiter (FY17 net revenue of $27 million)


  • Elected MP to start in new role in January 2019.
  • Joined Keiter as partner in 2010 and currently leads tax practice and is member of executive committee.
  • Worked in public accounting for 30 years at KPMG and now Keiter. Has also served as CFO for a prominent family office.
  • Specializes in taxation, including transaction structuring and consulting with business owners.

You will take over as MP on January 1st. How are you preparing for the transition from Mike Gracik?

Our firm has taken a systematic approach to succession including my new role as managing partner. Our process began over a year ago and Mike has done a great job in preparing me with everything from “shadowing” to participating in key firm decisions. His approach has been very effective for me personally as well as with our team, clients and our community.

You haven’t ‘grown up’ professionally in accounting firms alone. Do you believe your private sector experience will aid you in guiding the future of Keiter? If so, why? What do you feel you need to learn about the profession?

My career in public accounting will be very valuable in leading our firm. I learned from many great leaders and role models as well as from working through my own situations. On-the-job experiences will significantly benefit me because I have gone through many of the decisions and life lessons that I may potentially face. However, my private sector experience as a CFO broadened my breadth of business understanding and was a great learning experience on how to operate a business. As a past CFO, I participated in business decisions, which will assist me with firm decisions at Keiter and will also give me a better understanding of our clients’ decision-making. The combination of public accounting and private industry experience provides a unique perspective for leading our firm.

What are your growth goals for Keiter?

Growth is important for our firm, primarily because it allows and provides rewarding opportunities for our current partners as well as our future leaders. I am enthusiastic about growing our practice areas and seeking new service opportunities to support our clients, as well as our people and community. Accounting firms are experiencing many changes, from technology to client needs. Embracing new opportunities comes with our entrepreneurial spirit and will guide us for our growth goals going forward.

You’ve said that one of your priorities as MP is to expand support to the Richmond, Va., community. What do you have in mind?

Keiter has a great reputation in our community. I hear the appreciation that our clients and community leaders have for us every day. I want us to be more focused on how our services and support makes a difference. Our community deserves our effort and our team feels the rewards from such support. There is no master plan to expanding our support. It’s simply to keep our clients and community top of mind as we conduct our business and volunteer our time.

Final thoughts?

Why do I look forward to this new opportunity? It’s simple. I am excited to be making a difference for our team, clients and community.

RSM Promotes 68 to Partner/Principal

Joe Adams

Chicago-based RSM (FY18 net revenue of $2.14 billion), the fifth largest accounting firm in the nation, has announced the promotion of 68 of its professionals to partner/principal roles.

“At RSM, we understand the importance of helping our people achieve both their professional and personal goals,” says Joe Adams, MP and CEO. “We are honored to welcome our new partners and principals. They have earned this next step in their careers through their unwavering focus on delivering the power of being understood to their clients, colleagues and the communities in which we operate, and I am eager to see their ongoing contributions as owners of RSM.”

The complete 2018 RSM class of partners and principals can be found here:


Honkamp Krueger Buys Short & Company CPA

Greg Burbach

Dubuque, Iowa-based Honkamp Krueger & Co. (FY17 net revenue of $71.9 million), an IPA 100 firm, has acquired Short & Company CPA of Waukee, Iowa, which is in the Des Moines area.

Greg Burbach, Honkamp Krueger’s president and CEO, says, “As Honkamp Krueger continues to grow, it was natural to look toward our state capital region for a good-fit CPA firm. We found that with the Short & Company partners and team, who have a similar approach to business with their work ethic, quality services and culture. Already having a Des Moines presence with our wealth management affiliate, HK Financial Service, and human capital division, Kabel Business Services, we are excited to add the CPA and business advisory service lines to the region.”

Ron Stallman, former partner at Short & Company, and now a Honkamp Krueger partner, adds, “We are excited for the new opportunities this merger/acquisition offers to serve our clients in a greater capacity, and the team is looking forward to the future as part of the HK family of companies.”

MRZ Merger with Baker Tilly To Give Firm Foothold in Houston

Alan D. Whitman

Chicago-based Baker Tilly Virchow Krause (FY18 net revenue of $578.4 million) and Houston-based MiddletonRaines+Zapata (FY17 net revenue of $10.9 million) have announced their intention to merge by the end of the year.

“MRZ is one of the fastest-growing accounting firms in Houston,” Baker Tilly chairman and CEO Alan D. Whitman says. “They are progressive and entrepreneurial and are an ideal partner for us in Houston.”

MRZ is known for its “high-energy, hands-on client experience,” says MP Wesley Middleton. “Joining forces with Baker Tilly gives us national resources and broader capabilities to better serve our clients and provide growth and development opportunities for our team members.”

MRZ’s industry strengths are compatible with Baker Tilly’s, particularly construction and real estate, manufacturing and health care, the firms say. MRZ also specializes in the oil and gas industry. Baker Tilly’s specialization in private equity and tax credits and incentives will be a competitive addition to MRZ’s services in the Houston market.

Allan D. Koltin, CEO of Koltin Consulting Group, advised both firms on the merger. “MRZ represents the type of firm that larger firms dream of aligning with – great leadership, dynamic growth, innovation, young talented professionals and a passion for client service. Wes Middleton and his partners were courted by almost every major CPA firm in the country to become their Houston office. In the end, they loved Baker Tilly’s strategy, culture and leadership and knew it provided the best growth opportunities for their people and clients.”

LEA Global Hires Ishida as First CEO

Erica Ishida

LEA Global has announced that Erica Ishida has been hired as the association’s first CEO.

She is working with LEA President Karen Kehl-Rose, who will retire at the end of this year and has held the position since LEA was created in 1999. Kehl-Rose will help with the transition through June 2019.

“With more than 15 years of experience in organization design, change management and leadership development, and a solid understanding of the dynamics of change leadership, Erica believes in the power of culture, talent and leadership in growing organizations by growing its people,” LEA announced. Ishida is a certified leadership development coach and has coached CEOs in the companies she has worked for, and on a consulting basis. She founded a strategic execution consulting firm that focused on developing leaders, with an emphasis on women. Ishida is leaving the firm for LEA.

“Erica’s skillset and experience will be on display as part of LEA’s training and coaching and best practices initiatives, says Michael Newton, LEA’s chairman. “She will lead and/or participate in member groups consisting of young professionals, young leaders, women leaders and newly minted managing partners.”

Newton notes that Kehl-Rose and LEA founder Gary Shamis built the association from a handful of like-minded firms to an organization with 226 member in 110 countries with a combined annual revenue of more than $3 billion. “Karen’s commitment to quality, tirelessness and her connection skills have set the tone for the organization. Erica’s role is to now move us forward in a different direction while building off the base that Karen forged in over 19 years as its president.”

LEA’s search committee was represented by members of its international board of directors, chaired by Newton, who is MP at FL Fuller Landau in Montreal, Quebec, and Jeffrey Weiner, chairman and CEO of New York-based Marcum. Consultant Allan Koltin, who assisted with the search, says, “Erica will make a great CEO for The Leading Edge Alliance. She was selected from a strong pool of candidates, but her deep understanding of the accounting profession and her excellent communication and visioning skills put her over the top.”

INSIDE Public Accounting Reveals The Nation’s Largest 400 Accounting Firms

INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA) is proud to present its first ranking of the nation’s largest 400 accounting firms – the only one of its kind.

The IPA 400 firms will be listed in the October issue of IPA and will pick up where August’s IPA 300 issue left off, ranking firms from No. 301 to No. 400. This definitive list was developed by gathering information from more than 550 firms that completed IPA’s Survey and Analysis of Firms. Many professional associations also aided in the search for firms to add to the list, which IPA plans to publish annually.

For the most recent fiscal year, IPA 400 firms range in size from $4.55 million to $9.9 million, and from 20 to 80 staff. These firms employee more than 4,000 total staff across the nation.

For more than two decades years, IPA has sustained a tradition of groundbreaking excellence by compiling the annual IPA 100, 200 and 300 accounting firms and the IPA Best of the Best. As the profession continues to grow and evolve, IPA will evolve with it.

Highlights of the IPA 400:

3.7% – Average organic revenue growth
2.0% – Average organic net income growth
11.8% – Average staff turnover
$76,065 – Average pay per professional staff
$391,096 – Average equity partner compensation

View the list of the INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA) 400 firms.

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