RoseRyan Partners with Tech Firm

RoseRyan of Newark, Calif., has entered into a new strategic partnership with AST Private Company Solutions that will allow the firm to utilize AST’s Astrella capitalization table and ownership data management platform.

Astrella is a new cloud-based software-as-a-service platform that brings together blockchain technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics. RoseRyan professionals will use Astrella to support private companies that require ownership tracking and exit modeling and integrate the data into their client company’s financial reporting.

“During every critical phase of the company, and even during economic turmoil as we are now are experiencing, companies depend on RoseRyan to provide the right level of financial expertise and support,” says RoseRyan CEO Dave Roberson. “Working with the leadership team of Astrella and their other partners, we find the same collaborative fit as we promote in our culture at RoseRyan.”

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Armanino Launches Data-Driven Return-to-Work Solution

San Ramon, Calif.-based IPA 100 firm Armanino LLP has launched a new suite of return-to-work tools designed to help businesses take a thoughtful, strategic and safe approach to reopening, with preparations related to technology, people policies and operations planning. The new COVID-19 Return-to-Work App provides real-time insight and visualization related to everything from employee wellness monitoring to workspace scheduling, as well as access to the firm’s COVID-19 Recovery Tracker.

The suite’s people policies provide access to HR consultants who help organizations update policies regarding remote working, health testing, workplace safety programs, travel, family and sick leave management, CARES Act employee retention credits and more. Operations guidance, meanwhile, prepares businesses for reopening by focusing on everything from lease renegotiation and insurance policy reviews to tax matters affected by a changed work environment, company privacy policies and workplace visitation rules.

“When the time comes to reopen, each business has a responsibility to create a work environment for returning employees that prioritizes safety and protects the company through risk mitigation planning,” says Jenn McCabe, a consulting partner at Armanino and a member of the firm’s Rapid Response Team. “Using our Return-to-Work App, businesses can securely and discreetly work with employees to monitor COVID-19 symptoms and generate floorplans that meet CDC social distancing guidelines. Additionally, they need to consider appropriate HR policies and operations guidance that appropriately responds to new challenges and potential liabilities created by the pandemic.”

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 Mitchell Wiggins Admits Carman Faison as Partner

Carman Faison

Richmond, Va.-based Mitchell Wiggins has announced the admission of Carman Faison to the partnership group.

“We welcome Carman to the expanded partner team at Mitchell Wiggins. She is a tremendous asset to our clients and we look forward to her contributions as partner at Mitchell Wiggins,” says MP Jeff Love.

Faison joined Mitchell Wiggins in 2005 after working in the commercial finance industry. She specializes in working with financial institutions, auto dealerships, nonprofits and closely held businesses.

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CST Group Launches Outsourced Accounting Company

CST Group of Reston, Va., an IPA 300 firm, has created a new outsourced accounting company, District Advisory, to help clients with day-to-day accounting, CFO oversight, financial modeling, forecasting and strategy.

“Many of CST Group’s long-established clients and other emerging businesses have been requesting the type of outsourced accounting services we now offer through District Advisory, and we are very pleased to join Zach to meet the demand,” says CST MP Joe Romagnoli, referring to Zach Giegel, the MP of District Advisory.

District Advisory offers dashboard financial tools and accounting system integration designed to improve decision-making with accurate and timely data.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, District Advisory has maintained online CARES Act resources and plans to offer integrated business solutions such as in-house marketing, recruiting and human resources management.

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IPA Pulse Survey: Growth Amid Turmoil

Accountants frequently speak of wanting to be trusted advisors for their clients, and the COVID-19 crisis provided a crucial test of that aspiration. So how did they do? More than 100 MPs weighed in on client feedback and other revelations in the wake of the pandemic in IPA’s latest pulse survey.

One of the topics the June survey covered was a potential upside arising from the pandemic – that is, amid lingering client attrition and/or cash flow issues, how many firms have seen an uptick in business from both existing and new clients to help offset some of these challenges?

Almost 66% of survey respondents reported having gotten new unique business from their existing clients during the crisis, much of which was related to PPP work, but some crisis management and cybersecurity consulting as well.

Meanwhile, 85% of respondents reported earning new business from new clients over this span (much of it again PPP-related), thanks in part to increased exposure from webinars and thought-leadership pieces they offered during the early weeks and months of the crisis.

Catch up on more insights from this IPA Pulse Survey:

Pandemic Priorities

Watchdog in U.K. Tells Big 4 to Do Better

The U.K.’s accounting watchdog is challenging the Big 4 to improve audits after releasing evaluations that showed more than 60% of audits at PwC and KPMG were dismissed as unsatisfactory, Bloomberg reported.

The Financial Reporting Council’s latest annual review is based on a sample of audits. FRC determined that 65% of PwC’s audits were unsatisfactory. KPMG’s percentage was 61%. Deloitte scored the highest, with 24% needing improvements, and EY’s evaluation showed 29%, according to Bloomberg.

“We are concerned that firms are still not consistently achieving the necessary level of audit quality,” David Rule, the FRC’s executive director of supervision, said in a statement. “The tone from the top at the firms needs to support a culture of challenge and to back auditors making tough decisions.”

The reports were released a week after FRC decided the Big 4 must split their audit units from their advisory arms due to conflict of interest concerns.

Richard Murphy, an accountant and economics professor at City University in London told Bloomberg, “It’s an outright failure of the audit profession and regulators. There has been a rapid decline in auditing standards which will increase costs for investors relying on the accounts for information and lead to more company failures at a time when society can least afford it.”

Auditors are under the microscope since the collapse of U.K.-based Carillion, Thomas Cook, Patisserie Valerie and German payments provider Wirecard.

The FRC said it was dissatisfied with the Big 4’s record of standing up to the management of their clients. “Firms’ senior management need to be clear that taking difficult decisions is an appropriate response to improving audit quality, even if it might sometimes mean delaying or modifying opinions, and ultimately losing some audit engagements,” the FRC said, The Financial Times reported.

The FRC has placed KPMG under special scrutiny because of its poor performance in previous evaluations, and it plans to evaluate a larger number of PwC audits after this year’s test results.

Additionally, the FRC studied some of the Big 4 audits of the listed Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 350. Deloitte came out on top with 90% of its FTSE audits rated good. EY scored 78%, PwC 67% and KPMG 58%.

IPA Pulse Survey: Pandemic Priorities

Accountants frequently speak of wanting to be trusted advisors for their clients, and the COVID-19 crisis provided a crucial test of that aspiration. So how did they do? More than 100 MPs weighed in on client feedback and other revelations in the wake of the pandemic in IPA’s latest pulse survey.

One of the topics the June survey covered was how, exactly, firms stepped up to help their clients navigate the economic downturn, and, given what they know now, what new or existing services they might focus on going forward.

It’s clear that the single most important service most firms could provide in the immediate wake of the crisis was consulting on various aspects of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications and forgiveness, with 73% of survey respondents tabbing PPP work as their most valuable service based on client feedback. In fact, the only other option with a double-digit response rate was providing general COVID-19 resources and information at 13%.

In retrospect, though, could better general business planning have made a difference for some organizations that wound up getting hit hard by the pandemic? Perhaps additional consulting around things like cybersecurity, cloud-based services (for more efficient remote work), disaster/crisis management and cash flow management would have been helpful for some clients. Many survey respondents obviously thought so, with 42% indicating they will be more aggressively marketing/promoting some of these existing services they believe would have helped clients during the past few months.

Meanwhile, it was a 50-50 split among respondents as to whether they were planning to market new services as a result of the pandemic, with those in the “yes” half of the field looking to focus on things like turnaround/restructuring services, data analytics and cash flow consulting/forecasting.

More IPA Pulse Surveys:

Compensation, Cuts and the Crisis

Hiring on Hold?

A ‘New Normal’ at the Office

An Interesting Interlude for Internships

Shrinking the Physical Office Footprint

Melanson Heath Rebrands as ‘Melanson’

Nashua, N.H.-based IPA 300 firm Melanson Heath has rebranded to be known simply as Melanson going forward. To coincide with the name change, the firm has also redesigned its company logo and launched a new website at melansoncpas.com.

“As part of our focus on expansion and business development, our leadership team and I believe it was appropriate to rebrand our firm to more specifically reflect who we are,” says MP Scott Toothaker. “We are also very happy about the launch of our new website, which features our own employees and better reflects the personality found at Melanson. We are not just an accounting firm; we are a partner for our clients.”

Bessolo Haworth Admits Sasha Baluka

Sasha Baluka

Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based Bessolo Haworth has admitted Sasha Baluka as a partner. In her new role, Baluka will continue to manage some of the firm’s largest clients and will now also work with the firm’s partners to manage and lead the organization.

“This was the perfect time to promote Sasha to partner,” says MP Larry Haworth. “In addition to her expertise in the manufacturing, retail and distribution segments, Sasha is a leader who works collaboratively with staff and others to ensure an exceptional level of client service.”

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MFA Admits Kristen Godsoe

Kristen Godsoe

Boston-based The MFA Companies has admitted Kristen Godsoe as a partner to lead the firm’s SEC audit practice.

In nearly four years with MFA, Godsoe has consulted with a wide range of publicly traded and privately held companies regarding U.S. GAAP and SEC financial reporting, strategic audit planning, performance improvement and internal controls. Prior to joining MFA, she spent more than 10 years with KPMG’s consumer and industrial manufacturing practice, specializing in the planning and completion of global SEC audits.

“Not only is Kristen technically skilled, but she personifies what we look for in a natural leader at MFA,” says MP Carl Famiglietti. “Her poise, pragmatism and determination enhance the culture within the firm and reflect her fundamental desire to provide unparalleled service and support to our growing customer base.”

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