Cendrowski Corporate Advisors Launches Alliance With Former IRS Criminal Investigator

Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based Cendrowski Corporate Advisors announced that it is adding to its investigative, anti-fraud, money laundering, internal investigations and asset forfeiture capabilities with its new alliance with Ron Braver and Associates LLC of Chicago.

Braver is a former special agent and supervisory special agent of the criminal investigation division of the IRS. He and his firm bring decades of federal law enforcement and private sector consulting experience to Cendrowski Corporate Advisors.

The firm focuses on high-profile investigations involving criminal tax matters, failed banks and savings and loans, bankruptcies, and fraud across a range of issues including securities, mortgage, health care, foreign exchange as well as embezzlement.

“Confronting today’s sophisticated frauds and corporate malfeasance takes a level of expertise that isn’t easy to find,” says Harry Cendrowski, CCA managing director, “and through our alliance with Ron and his firm, we’ve done just that. He calls Braver a “force multiplier.”

Braver adds, “I’ve known the Cendrowski team by reputation for years, and have seen many of their expert reports in prior matters where we were mutually involved – and I’m looking forward to expanding the investigatory and financial tools they can deploy for their clients across a wide range of sectors.”

Braver’s IRS investigations led to approximately 75 guilty pleas/convictions and more than $41 million in forfeiture and fines. Formerly with Chicago-based Grant Thornton LLP (FY18 net revenue of $1.87 billion), he founded Ron Braver and Associates LLC in 2012.

Inaugural Leadership Growth Academy Program Recognizes 19 Graduates

Moore Stephens North America’s (MSNA) Dynamic Growth Academy, formerly the Leadership Growth Academy, has completed its first program, graduating 19 participants from nine North American member firms.

Nine of the graduates are from Creve Coeur, Mo.-based Brown Smith Wallace (FY17 net revenue of $46.3 million): Kevin Boeving, Scott Brandt, Todd Goldenhersh, Amy Ribick, Anne Ritter, Dan Schoenleber, Greg Smith, Jen Vacha and Debbie Vandeven.

Two graduates are from Demers Beaulne of Quebec, Montreal: Francys Brown and Isabelle Lemieux. Two are from Itasca, Ill.-based CDH (FY18 net revenue of $12.7 million): Phil Lampugnano and Yoko Yamamoto.

Additional graduates are: Chris Leikert, Beene Garter of Grand Rapids, Mich., (FY18 net revenue of $14.5 million); Daniel Gaudet, Woburn, Mass.-based DiCicco Gulman & Company (FY17 net revenue of $26.4 million); Chris Tull, Troy, Mich.-based Doeren Mayhew (FY17 net revenue of $72.6 million); Pete Jones, Frazer LLP (FY17 net revenue of $15.4 million); Stephen Rollins, G.T. Reilly & Company of Milton, Mass., and Eli Gembom, Segal LLP of Toronto, Ontario (FY17 net revenue of $15.8 million).

The program features leadership and business development training from The Center for Character-based Leadership and LVG Advisors. The program includes four two-day sessions, alternating leadership and business development sessions, as well as individual coaching, peer coaching and mentor support.

“The question on my mind was are we able to connect?” says participant Francys Brown. “The end result was that we really connected…and the reason was that we were all on the same journey to partnership. We share the same amount of challenges, the same goals, and it was clear when we were talking together that we were in the same boat.”

The program included participants from nine member firms. The sessions were held at several different member firms in Minneapolis, St. Louis and Chicago, providing members with the opportunity to visit other firms and make new connections.

“I haven’t really had a voice,” said participant Anne Ritter. “And that was figurative voice. I wasn’t outspoken with my peers, and that was something I learned in my leadership group. We spent a lot of quality time together, made a lot of great connections…and I highly recommend every bit of this program.”

The Center for Character-based Leadership provides coaching focused on the complexity of leading in the top two to three levels of organizations and the talents needed. LVG Advisors provides business development training, business development coaching and SAM-Pro services for professional service firms. These services are aimed at building firm revenue, strengthening practice professional confidence and maintaining client loyalty.

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RSM Opens Technology Experience Center

Chicago-based RSM (FY18 net revenue of $2.14 billion) announces the opening of its RSM Technology Experience Center (TEC).

RSM says it is the first of many “client experience centers” it plans to open to support its commitment to collaborative innovation for the middle market.

The RSM Technology Experience Center, based in Denver, provides opportunities for clients to work with leading RSM consultants to envision how technology can reshape their businesses. The center offers more than 30 customer immersion experiences. RSM advisors will help clients explore various business scenarios such as “efficiently addressing margin concerns, analyzing complex data, keeping data and information secure and identifying sales opportunities to demonstrate how available solutions can address potential challenges,” the firm says.

Because markets and business models vary, the RSM Technology Experience Center offers detailed depictions of the workplaces and technologies associated with various industries.

“The RSM Technology Experience Center empowers current and prospective clients to plan their digital transformation,” says Brian Becker, a national consulting leader with RSM. “Using the latest in technology, we’ve created a ‘touch it, feel it, see it’ experience for our clients to help them fully understand the power of technology supported by insights from RSM professionals. And the experience can be customized by industry – from consumer products to financial services, the RSM Technology Experience Center uses artificial intelligence and augmented reality to help clients visualize their new realities to prepare for an increasingly dynamic future.”

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Brady Ware Dealership Advisors Announces New Business Model, Merger

After more than 30 years as both a local auto dealership CFO and auto industry CPA in Columbus, Ohio, Sean McCarthy has joined Brady Ware Dealership Advisors as a director and merged his practice into the firm.

Dayton, Ohio-based Brady Ware & Company also announced that Brady Ware Dealership Advisors has launched a new business model that offers comprehensive consulting services to its 90-plus auto dealership clients throughout the Midwest and the Southeast.

Sean McCarthy

Sean McCarthy

“Sean is more than a CPA,” says Brady Ware Director Sam Agresti. “He is an industry expert in buy/sell transactions and will provide true CFO-level services to our clients.

McCarthy says, “I started working in the auto industry in 1989 and I’ve seen my clients through a number of industry changes, navigating through everything from a massive recession to swings in buying trends and the evolution of car buying in a digital world. The model that Brady Ware has created to evolve the services CPAs can offer to their clients is a game changer for financial consultants. I now have a tool kit of solutions for dealerships that strategically address inefficiencies impacting their bottom line, and the resources to fix them.”

Brady Ware Dealership Advisors now offers comprehensive consulting services designed to focus on being more tax efficient, safeguarding dealership assets and helping dealerships with succession. Dealerships can choose from 20 different services designed to improve processes and procedures in different departments. Some of the new services focus on fixed and variable operations enhancement, fraud and safeguarding assets, employee placement services, warranty reimbursement and digital marketing.

Digital marketing and advertising, for instance, is one of the largest monthly expenditures apart from labor but ROI is difficult to measure for many dealerships. “The way people buy cars is very different today than it was 10 years ago,” says Justin Ward, digital marketing consultant. “By the time a person hits the lot, they’ve done their research, picked out their car, and are likely just coming in to pick it up.” Dealerships don’t have a full understanding of what their dollars are buying and how that translates to ROI, he says. “That’s where we come in.”

McCarthy says, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure. This team allows us to measure every aspect of the dealership business and create solutions that help them fill a need, grow their operation and best position them for the future.”

Brady Ware has offices in Ohio, Indiana and Georgia.

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Canadian Firm To Merge In Firm With Strong Ag Practice

Calgary, Alberta-based MNP, Canada’s fifth-largest accounting firm, has announced that it will merge in Thomson & Hamilton of Parkhill, Ontario, on July 8.

Rick Hamilton and his team provide financial statement assurance and accounting services, corporate, personal and tax compliance services, basic bookkeeping and small business accounting advice. Hamilton’s clients include a large proportion of agriculture businesses, particularly in the dairy, poultry, swine and beef sectors.

MNP has one of the largest agriculture practices in the country, and firm leaders say they are proud to be a “uniquely Canadian” firm.

While Hamilton was looking to find new ways to help his clients succeed, MNP was looking to build its growing agriculture presence in southwestern Ontario.

“One of our own goals has been to add more resources, including gaining access to more specialized services and a broader range of industry expertise and experience in the agriculture space, so that we can better provide our clients with even greater value in the future,” Hamilton says.

Doug Greenhow, MP of MNP’s Southwestern Ontario business, says Hamilton and his team are a great fit as MNP. “We are known across Canada’s agricultural communities as being one of the most trusted accounting and business consulting firms, so we are excited to welcome Rick – who is a well-established local leader in this field – to our firm,” he says.

In addition to tax and accounting expertise, MNP delivers a range of advisory services to agriculture businesses, including consulting, corporate finance, succession planning, insolvency and restructuring, technology solutions and cyber security, and agriculture tax strategy consulting.

“MNP has always been very strategic about who we invite to join the family,” says Greenhow. “Both MNP’s and Rick Hamilton’s cultures and values are well aligned, and we share the same passion for and commitment to agriculture as one of Canada’s core industries.”

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Pathway Forensics Opens Downtown Houston Office

Pathway Forensics, the digital forensics firm of Houston-based Briggs & Veselka Co. (FY17 net revenue of $36.2 million), is opening an office in Houston.

Now located in The Woodlands, Texas, the additional office is designed to better serve the Houston and its surrounding suburbs.

To head up the firm’s new downtown office, Clint Koenig has joined Pathway Forensics as a senior consultant. Koenig brings more than 18 years’ experience in forensic technology, and was most recently with KPMG’s forensic technology practice, where he specialized in providing digital evidence recovery, management, and review services to Fortune 500 companies in support of their ongoing civil litigation, compliance and monitoring, internal investigations and fraud detection.

“Clint brings years of digital forensics experience to Pathway and adds to our already talented cybersecurity team,” says Noel Kersh, principal at Pathway Forensics.

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Withum Marks Opening of its Learning Lab at the University of Central Florida

Princeton, N.J.-based WithumSmith+Brown (FY18 net revenue of $207.6 million) has partnered with the University of Central Florida (UCF) to establish a new learning lab, which offers students a place to seek tutoring services as well as collaborate with fellow accounting majors.

The lab, which was designed by Withum’s Creative Director Jin Park, features state-of-the-art workstations and amenities. The décor also features inspirational messages that align with Withum’s corporate culture.

“The Withum Learning Lab is an extension of our ties to UCF and its College of Business, where the next generation of business advisors and accountants are being challenged to refine their skills and creativity,” says Russell Goldberg, PIC of Withum’s office in Orlando, Fla. “At Withum, we take our responsibility very seriously to contribute to and pave the path for the future of our profession, which will only soar to new heights that not-too-long-ago once seemed unfathomable.”

The Withum Learning Lab was established in memory of three of the firm’s late team members who were an inspiration to their peers: Sandi Breitenstein and Barb Sorenson, who passed in 2015, as well as Robin Word, who passed in 2016.

Gregory Trompeter, director of the Kenneth G. Dixon School of Accounting at UCF College of Business, says, “For those who are being tutored, they obviously receive one-on-one education from more senior-level students. Less obvious, is the expertise developed by the tutors who really solidify their knowledge of the subject by teaching it to others. In both instances, Withum is helping UCF develop future leaders for the community and the profession.”

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California Firm Added to Alliott Group

Rogers Anderson Malody & Scott (RAMS) of San Bernardino, Calif., is the latest addition to Alliott Group’s 65-country alliance of independent professional services firms.

Alliott Group, which includes both accounting and law firms, says the appointment of the firm strengthens its coverage in North America.

COO Giles Brake says, “RAMS has been providing high-quality, timely accounting and related services to its clients for over 70 years. Their reputation is such that an existing Alliott Group member, Dawn Brenner of Grant Bennett Associates in Sacramento, personally recommended the firm to our group. Through the support offered by our global platform and structured program of services, RAMS will be able to extend and enhance its reputation for service excellence and become a local firm of choice for the type of clients sought by the firm.”

The firm provides a range of services to clients across a number of sectors, including government organizations, closely held businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals. The team of 32 includes five partners, and services can be delivered in English as well as Mandarin, Korean and Spanish.

“We believe Alliott Group and its membership of top tier independent accounting and law firms provides a growth platform that can be utilized to retain existing clients and attract prospective clients,” says partner Leena Shanbhag.

HoganTaylor Celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the Merger that Formed the Firm

Tulsa, Okla-based HoganTaylor (FY17 net revenue of $36.1 million) recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of the merger that formed the firm.

HoganTaylor was formed out of a 2009 merger of two legacy firms–a pairing that would create a regional powerhouse that is today an IPA 200 firm.

“It’s hard to believe it has been 10 years since HoganTaylor was formed out of a shared vision and passion to elevate the clients we serve,” says Randy Nail, CEO of HoganTaylor. “In the years since the merger, we have accomplished so much together.”

Ten years later, HoganTaylor has established its reputation as a business advisory firm, increased its geographic footprint with an office in Little Rock, Ark., and more than doubled its size in terms of revenue and people.

To recognize these achievements and mark the occasion, Nail sat down with the firm’s lead advisory partner, Robert Wagner, to reflect on the last 10 years–how the firm has grown, why growth is important, and what’s next for HoganTaylor. To read the interview, visit www.hogantaylor.com/10-years

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Two Georgia Firms Unite to Become Heaven and Alvarez LLC

Heaven and Associates of Norcross, Ga., and Alvarez CPA and Associates of Berkeley Lake, Ga., have merged to become Heaven and Alvarez.

Ranae Heaven and Carlos Alvarez are the firm’s only two partners.

“The merger brings together two established accounting firms and creates a genuine alternative to the regional and mid-sized accounting firms in the metro-Atlanta marketplace,” Heaven said in a statement. “The culture of both firms is highly compatible, with similar client service delivery models that focus on a value-based personal service approach.

The firm will be located at 4720 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. in Norcross and have about 10 staff.

“I sought to merge with a similarly growing firm to expand the services offered to my clients, and also have the added benefit of tapping into Gwinnett County’s large Spanish-speaking population,” Alvarez said in a statement.