Lopez Levi Lowenstein Glinsky Joins AGN

AGN is pleased to welcome Coral Gables, Fla.-based Lopez Levi Lowenstein Glinsky (LLLG) as a member.

The firm operates a second office in Homestead, Fla., and concentrates in tax, estate planning, wealth preservation, real property, business valuation, tax controversy and commercial matters. The multi-lingual team works with clients throughout the world, but has particular concentrations in Central/South America and Asia.

The firm completed a merger in January and is growing rapidly. Its concierge-like services and dedication to education have helped LLLG to build an excellent reputation and market niche in international tax. In addition to their work in pre-immigration and high-net-worth tax planning and restructuring, they also specialize in construction and real estate in a variety of countries, AGN says.

“We truly anticipate contributing to the overall knowledge of AGN as an organization, as well as the mutual exchange we will have through growing relationships,” says founder and MP Ray Levi. “We feel that the impressive member profiles, training and exclusivity of AGN is a step above what we have experienced with past associations and are excited about the possibilities.”

“The world is not flat… and AGN is continually growing in international cooperation, business development and technical knowledge,” says Kathy Sautters, North American regional director. “Lopez Levi Lowenstein Glinsky is the perfect example of all three and will be a key player in bringing together our members from all regions.”

Packer Thomas Acquires Anness Gerlach & Williams

Canfield, Ohio-based Packer Thomas (FY15 net revenue of $8 million) has announced its merger with Anness Gerlach & Williams (AGW) of Youngstown, Ohio.

Packer Thomas, founded in 1923, has two offices, more than 75 employees and serves domestic and international clients throughout the U.S. AGW employs 17 people.

Brian Commons, principal at Packer Thomas, says, “AGW is an excellent firm with a seasoned team of professionals. Given our mutually strong focus on providing high-quality client service and value, and the manner in which our firms partner with clients, it made joining forces very natural. Our culture and reputation are our biggest assets, and we are particularly excited to welcome such a fine group of professionals into our organization.”

According to Thomas J. Anness, principal at AGW, “Packer Thomas is a well-respected firm and an ideal fit for our team and our clients.”

The combined firm will operate in Packer Thomas’ newly expanded Canfield office.

PwC Gets Hit With $6.5 Million Fine in UK

PwC’s firm in the United Kingdom was fined a record £5 million ($6.5 million) by the U.K.’s Financial Reporting Council for the way it checked the books of collapsed social housing maintenance company Connaugh, Reuters reported.

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) also fined Stephen Harrison, a retired PwC audit partner, 150,000 pounds ($193,000) for misconduct in relation to the 2009 audit of listed Connaught, which went into administration in the following year.

The watchdog said in a statement that following an FRC investigation and a 12-day hearing, an independent tribunal found audit misconduct in relation to mobilization costs, long-term contracts and intangible assets.

“PwC were also ordered to pay the (FRC) Executive Counsel’s costs and to make an interim payment on account of 1.5 million pounds,” the FRC said.

PwC said in a statement, “Since 2010 when the case began, we’ve worked hard to improve our procedures and processes. Audit quality is of paramount importance to PwC and the FRC’s annual audit quality assessments have shown a trend of improvement in our work over several years.”

Connaught, which maintained affordable housing for British residents, needed to appoint administrators in September 2010 after it failed to secure financing from lenders. In June, U.K. housing authorities suddenly announced they were delaying several housing upgrade projects in response to the government’s planned budget cuts.

The watchdog is seeking to raise its profile and crack down harder on misconduct after a series of accounting scandals prompted some lawmakers to question its effectiveness, Reuters reported.

Earlier this year it asked the government for more powers.

The FRC’s largest fine had been a 4-million-pound penalty imposed on another Big 4 accounting firm, Deloitte, last year in relation to an audit of Aero Inventory.

Stambaugh Ness Wins Award For Camaraderie and Team Work

York, Pa.-based Stambaugh Ness was recently awarded the 2017 BDO Alliance USA service award, which honors a member firm that has made significant contributions to the alliance.

During the award presentation, Martin McLaughlin, BDO Alliance USA’s managing director of operations, shared highlights from the winning nominations, referring to the firm as a “trusted partner” that gladly shares its expertise and assistance to other firms. The nominating firms have benefited significantly from the cooperative spirit exhibited by Stambaugh Ness, he said.

Steven Hake, Stambaugh Ness president and CEO, says, “As a member firm of the BDO Alliance USA for more than 12 years we have not only enhanced our client service offerings, but have also benefitted from working one on one with other member firms who share similar goals.”

Grant Thornton Adds to Cybersecurity Services

Chicago-based Grant Thornton has recently been accepted into the ServiceNow Services Partner Program – an arrangement that is expected to help businesses use a unique asset-based model to unify their cybersecurity tools into a single threat-management platform.

By participating in the program, Grant Thornton combines its experience advising companies on their governance, risk and compliance needs with implementations of ServiceNow’s cloud-based cybersecurity platform.

Grant Thornton believes the approach is distinctive because it provides a view into risk by analyzing a company’s current cybersecurity operations and third-party solutions, and then pulls them into ServiceNow’s structured-response engine.

“It’s about understanding assets, risks and controls – along with incident data from existing security tools,” says Vishal Chawla, national managing principal for Grant Thornton’s cyber risk advisory services practice. “By starting with the assets – not just the rules – companies can enjoy improved security at lower costs and in a resource-efficient way.”

Grant Thornton expects the approach to be a game changer for middle market companies, which, despite their concerns about cybersecurity, often lack the vital information they need to properly protect their operations.

Kruggel Lawton Partner Receives Indiana CPA Society Honor

Kevin Kruggel

Kevin Kruggel

South Bend, Ind.-based Kruggel Lawton (FY15 net revenue of $7.4 million) has announced that partner Kevin Kruggel has received the CPA Center of Excellence® Award by the Indiana CPA Society.

The award is given to an individual or firm embodying excellence through collaboration, development of critical business skills, knowledge-sharing and a competency-based approach to lifelong learning.

Kruggel is one of the Indiana CPA Society’s original Knowledge Management Task Force members, and has helped to lead creation of the CPA Center of Excellence®, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the state society. He engaged the center to work on staff development and succession at Kruggel Lawton. The majority of the firm’s staff also chose two competency-based online courses to work on so-called “soft skills.”

Kruggel serves on the CPA Center of Excellence® board of directors.

CohnReznick Launches European Advisory Subsidiary; Selects Marc Altena as Leader

Marc Altena

Marc Altena

New York-based CohnReznick (FY16 net revenue of $589 million) has tapped Netherlands-based Marc Altena to serve as Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) advisory services leader and leader of the firm’s newly formed European subsidiary, CohnReznick Netherlands B.V., based in The Hague.

Altena is an experienced consultant specializing in business and technology transformation solutions. Previously, he served as MP of a Netherlands-based consulting firm, working with clients throughout EMEA in the real estate, insurance and banking sectors. He brings focused expertise in business transformation strategy, process optimization, international project management, change management and global technology implementations. The practice serves real estate, private equity and life sciences businesses.

“Marc’s deep insight into the business processes, operations and enabling technologies of the industries we serve will offer tremendous value to our clients. His strategic vision, consulting skills and technical expertise make him the ideal leader for our European subsidiary,” says Frank Longobardi, CohnReznick CEO.

David Rubin, principal, risk and business advisory director, says, “Having leadership immersed in the distinct cultures and business environment of the region is a factor in implementing successful improvement initiatives. Clients benefit from Marc’s ability to localize key services from our real estate advisory, CFO advisory, and technology advisory practices to help drive growth, optimize profitability, manage risk and improve operations.”

Altena is joined by Gabriela Pocsa, a senior real estate management consultant, along with a growing team of consultants.

Cohen & Co. Opens Office in Detroit

Cleveland-based Cohen & Co. (FY16 net revenue of $49.8 million) has announced that firm is opening its eighth office in downtown Detroit. Two partners and 10 staff will be base in the office at 719 Griswold St.

The firm recently added offices in Pittsburgh, Pa., and New York, and last year acquired GHD CPAs in St. Clair Shores, Mich.

“Establishing our firm in the St. Clair Shores office has allowed us to expand our presence in the metro Detroit area,” says Rob MacKinlay, president of the firm’s private company services division. “We continue to invest in dynamic, energetic cities throughout the Midwest that embrace our core beliefs. This location also will allow us to contribute to and get more involved with the Detroit community in an even more meaningful way.”

CEO Randy Myeroff says, “Our transition with the GHD office has been very successful, in terms of merging cultures, clients, employees and growth strategies. We feel we are in a great position to commit ourselves to this region even more deeply.”

PrimeGlobal Welcomes New Member Firm in Japan

PrimeGlobal announces the addition of Aoyama Sogo Accounting Firm Co. to the association’s Asia Pacific region.

Tokyo-based Aoyama Sogo Accounting Firm is a leading provider of financial, accounting, taxation and consulting services to local and international companies operating in the Japanese market. The firm was established in 1999 by founding partners Kazuhiro Matsuzawa and Masaki Aguni, the firm’s current CEO and COO, respectively. Their staff of 150 provides one-stop, proactive financial, accounting and taxation services to support day-to-day business operations in Japan. The firm serves more than 500 client companies and organizations engaged in diverse industries around the world.

PrimeGlobal is comprised of over 300 highly successful independent public accounting firms in 85 countries.

Andersen Tax Wins Permanent Injunction Against India-Based International Business Associates

The High Court of Judicature in Bombay, India, has ruled against two international firms for illegally infringing on the trademark rights of Andersen Tax, which owns the brand name Andersen in India and other jurisdictions around the world, Andersen Tax announced

The court ruled in favor of Andersen Tax on April 28 and imposed a permanent injunction restricting International Business Associates (IBA) from using the terms Andersen, Arthur Andersen and confusingly similar trademarks to promote its professional services consultancy.

Furthermore, the court handed down a preliminary injunction against a French firm known as Arthur Andersen & Co. (formerly known as Quatre Juillet Maison Blanche), temporarily prohibiting it from using the trademarks Andersen and Arthur Andersen to promote consultancy services in India. IBA had aligned itself with the French firm as an affiliate member of its network in India.

In April, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California entered a consent-injunction prohibiting U.S-affiliate MoHala Enterprises, doing business as Sundial Consulting, from using the terms Andersen or Arthur Andersen in the United States.

“Andersen Tax will enforce its legal rights vigorously around the world to protect its ownership of the Andersen name,” Mark Vorstaz, Andersen Tax CEO, says in a statement.

Andersen Tax, which owns multiple trademark filings incorporating the name Andersen for tax and legal services in 95 countries, filed suit against International Business Associates in April 2017, the firm announced.