Marks Paneth Announces Opening of Florida Office

New York-based Marks Paneth (FY15 net revenue of $110.9 million) is opening an office in Boca Raton, Fla.

The office will initially provide tax and estate planning services for high-net-worth individuals and family offices in the South Florida region. The firm intends to build on this platform to attract new clients across additional practice areas.

“The Florida market is a natural extension of the services and expertise offered by Marks Paneth throughout the Northeast,” says MP Harry Moehringer. “This move will enable us to provide a greater level of service continuity to our clients who spend part or all of the year in Palm Beach and Broward Counties, as well as open doors to new client relationships.”

In addition to the firm’s expansion into Florida, Marks Paneth has recently enhanced its East Coast presence with expanded offices in Purchase, N.Y., and Parsippany, N.J., and the acquisition of several firms in New York City and Pennsylvania.

Canada’s MNP Announces Two Mergers

Calgary, Alberta-based MNP, one of Canada’s largest accounting firms, has announced two mergers: Calliou Group, an Aboriginal-owned consulting firm in Calgary, and McDonald Thorne and Associates of Brockville, Ontario, an accounting and consulting firm.

Calliou Group joined MNP June 1. While Calgary-based Calliou Group was looking for an opportunity to offer more specialty services to its Aboriginal clients, MNP was looking to add more resources and capabilities to serve Aboriginal communities; a growing and key client group, the firm announced.

“Over the next 25 years, there will be many major development projects in Canada that will impact indigenous communities,” says Clayton Norris, vice president, Aboriginal services. With the addition of Calliou Group, we have a greater ability to develop and implement innovative strategies and solutions for the benefit of indigenous communities and all Canadians.”

Founded in 2008, Calliou Group has grown to become a strategic Aboriginal consultation specialist group for Aboriginal communities, government regulators and natural resource developers.

“What specifically drew us to MNP, was the fact that for more than two decades, MNP has partnered with over 200 Aboriginal communities across Canada and recognizes the needs of Aboriginal communities both in their unique planning and decision-making processes,” says Tracy Campbell, founder and owner, Calliou Group. “As the marketplace evolves, we believe becoming part of a national firm with an emphasis on local client-service delivery resources will serve our clients well and position us for continued success and growth.”

The Calliou Group team of five will move into the MNP Calgary office in early summer of 2017.

In addition, MNP announced that McDonald Thorne and Associates (MTA) will merge on July 1. While MTA was looking to deliver more specialty services to clients, MNP was looking to add resources and expand its presence in the Brockville area with a well-respected and client-focused firm that shares the same values.

“Long a manufacturing base for eastern Ontario, Brockville is successfully adapting to disruption and new economic realities by refocusing on other industries. This proactive approach and willingness to embrace change is what makes Brockville one of Canada’s fastest-growing economic hubs,” says Mike Dimitriou, MP for the Ottawa region.

MTA is an established firm of chartered professional accountants and consists of one partner, Hugh Thorne, and six team members, including Carl DeJong, who will also join MNP as a partner. MTA serves diverse industries, including clients in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors. Founded in 2002, the firm provides a wide range of accounting, tax and business advisory services in areas such as process improvement, valuations, succession services and more.

“As the marketplace evolves and business needs become more complex, we believe returning to the fold of a national firm with a local client service philosophy and greater breadth and depth of services and resources will serve our clients well,” says Thorne. “MNP serves a diverse group of clients – including businesses in the fields of agriculture, technology and media, professionals, real estate and construction, and more – and truly understands both the region and our clients’ needs.”

The MTA team will remain in their current location initially, before moving into MNP’s Brockville office once renovations have been completed.

Kucera Named AAM’s 2017 Marketer of the Year

Laura Kucera

Laura Kucera

Laura F. Kucera, chief marketing officer at New York-based Citrin Cooperman, has received the Association for Accounting Marketing’s (AAM) 2017 Marketer of the Year award, sponsored by INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA).

The winner was announced by IPA June 14 at AAM’s 2017 Summit in Las Vegas. The Marketer of the Year presentation was the highlight of the 23nd annual gala, which also honors winners of dozens of marketing achievement awards.

Kucera leads strategic marketing, communications and business development strategies for Citrin Cooperman, which is ranked among the top 25 largest firms in the country, according to IPA.

Citrin Cooperman CEO Joel Cooperman, who nominated Kucera for the award, praises her “marketing and business acumen, analytical mindset, motivational leadership skills and innate client-focused approach.” He says that her leadership has contributed to the firm’s significant growth of 17% in 2016, which included the joining of two firms and three new offices in New England, the development of four new consulting practice groups and the restructuring of the firm’s advisory services line.

Kucera led integration efforts for the newly joined firms, developed in-depth marketing and business development strategies for the New England market, formed a new international strategy group and launched a global go-to-market plan with Mark Fagan, MP of the firm’s Norwalk, Conn., office and board member of Moore Stephens N.A.

Kucera played an important role in pulling together a new technology and risk advisory consulting practice. She created a four-hour cross-selling class with Fagan and taught it to more than 100 staff. Finally, Kucera developed an in-house design team and launched a new visual identity for the firm.

“Citrin Cooperman’s brand awareness has grown tremendously under Laura,” says IPA Publisher Kelly Platt. “She’s a great communicator, mentor and morale-builder who has unified all professionals to do their part to grow the firm. She richly deserves this award.”

“I cannot think of a more deserving candidate for this recognition,” Fagan says. “Not only does Laura have a full-scale understanding of marketing principles, she has a deep understanding of the firm’s business goals and works relentlessly to implement strategies to achieve those goals.”

Alan Badey, MP of the Citrin Cooperman White Plains, N.Y., office, says Kucera “gets it.” Her knowledge of the profession, the marketplace and what differentiates the firm “has completely changed the look and feel of Citrin Cooperman both internally and externally,” he says. “She created our brand, ‘Focus on What Counts,’ which says everything about us and everything that our clients have come to expect from us.”

He adds, “Not only is she running our marketing and sales, she is involved with most significant initiatives in the firm – from mergers, to service line restructuring, to staff mentoring and infrastructure upgrades.”

This is the fourth year that IPA has sponsored the Marketer of the Year award. A panel of independent judges, who are themselves leaders in the profession, were selected by IPA to review and score each of the nominees.

Whitlock Company to Acquire RPA CPAs

Springfield, Mo.-based The Whitlock Company (TWC) has reached a deal to acquire RPA CPAs of Fairway, Kan.

The acquisition will expand TWC’s consulting services and build on their community bank expertise. The combined banking practice will serve more than 175 community banks throughout the U.S., the firms announced.

RPA President Matt Radetic will be director of merger and acquisition consulting services for community banks. TWC partner Tom Beisner will continue to be the community bank practice leader. RPA adds deep consulting expertise, including merger and acquisition services, compliance services and bank secrecy act services. RPA adds 20 employees, including four partners, to TWC.

“The single, stronger practice that will result from this acquisition will better position us to assist community banks across the country,” Beisner says. “RPA’s single focus of working with community banks will not only triple the size of our banking practice but also add a depth of services we weren’t able to offer in the past, like compliance, merger and acquisition assistance and regulatory filings.”

TWC has an office in Overland Park, Kan., managed by Chuck McCann, who was a founder of Mayer Hoffman McCann, and served for more than 10 years as the firm’s first MP. RPA and TWC will continue to operate in the Kansas marketplace and will eventually merge offices with about 22 employees.

Sneeringer Leads Group Dedicated to State and Local Taxation

York, Pa.-based Stambaugh Ness (SN) announces the formation of a State and Local Tax (SALT) Practice Area.

This practice area was added to the firm’s portfolio of services in response to the growing number of companies doing business in multiple states, as well as the increasingly complex multi-state tax laws and regulations.

Leading the SALT practice is tax manager Jason Sneeringer, who has a deep working knowledge of multi-state taxation matters. He is a frequent blogger and webinar presenter for SN.

“We recognized the need to offer a higher level of sophisticated, specialized tax services for our multi-state clients,” says Steven Hake, Stambaugh Ness president and CEO. “It’s a complicated area that creates issues for many companies. Jason’s depth of experience and passion for strategic tax planning greatly strengthens our team and our ability to elevate the overall client experience.”

Partners at KPMG Move to BDO in Caribbean

BDO Eastern Caribbean has announced an expansion, as the firm welcomes partners of the former KPMG Eastern Caribbean practice to BDO.

The changes and additions to BDO Eastern Caribbean are: in Antigua & Barbuda, the former KPMG office, led by Cleveland Seaforth, joins BDO. In St Lucia, the BDO presence is expanding with Brenda Duncan being joined by Frank Myers, formerly of KPMG.  In St. Vincent and the Grenadines there will be a change of BDO firm, now represented by Reuben John formerly of KPMG, who joins BDO’s Arrion Barnwell. BDO LLC in Anguilla remains with BDO’s Claudel Romney as lead member.

BDO Eastern Caribbean will now also cover the territories of Dominica and Grenada, next to Anguilla, St Kitts & Nevis and Montserrat where BDO was already providing services. The new, expanded firm will operate as BDO Eastern Caribbean, with six partners and over 130 staff.

This new agreement adds to a BDO region that has grown significantly in recent years with the addition of new firms in Aruba, Barbados and Puerto Rico. The move will continue to ensure that clients across the region can benefit from the expertise of the BDO network as a whole, and at the same time find the service capabilities to fulfill their complex needs at local level.

Keith Farlinger, BDO’s CEO of the Americas region, is delighted the see BDO Eastern Caribbean grow so significantly in a single expansion effort. “We are confident of a cultural fit between the newly joined firms, as well as their clients,” he says.

Andersen Tax Achieves Another Legal Victory in Trademark Dispute

Andersen Tax has achieved another legal victory in its effort to protect the trademark rights in its iconic brand name, Andersen, in jurisdictions around the world, the firm announced.

In a settlement agreement this week, the Brazilian firm, MP Cont Sociedade Simples Ltda., agreed never to use the terms “Andersen,” “Arthur Andersen,” or any mark incorporating the term “Andersen” (or any confusingly similar term) to promote its services anywhere in the world. The agreement resolves legal action that Andersen Tax filed before the Brazilian intellectual property authorities and other related disputes.

It is another legal blow to a French firm, Arthur Andersen & Co., formerly named Quatre Juillet Maison Blanche, which illegally used the trademark Arthur Andersen to recruit and promote the Brazilian firm as part of an international accountancy, tax and business consultancy network, Andersen Tax announced.

“In blatant disregard for the law, the French infringers began promoting the Andersen brand for offices throughout Brazil, apparently without conducting any due diligence investigation on Brazilian trademark rights,” says a statement by Oscar L. Alcantara, managing director and associate counsel at Andersen Tax. “Had they done so, they would have seen that Andersen Tax has had its filings in the intellectual property offices of Brazil for several years now.”

It is the third legal setback for the French entity. In early April, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California entered an injunction prohibiting the French network’s U.S. affiliate, MoHala Enterprises, doing business as Sundial Consulting, from using the terms “Andersen” or “Arthur Andersen” in the United States. Later that month, the High Court of Judicature in Bombay, India, imposed a permanent injunction against an Indian firm, International Business Associates (IBA), from using the terms “Andersen,” “Arthur Andersen,” and confusingly similar trademarks to promote its professional services consultancy.

The Indian court also handed down a preliminary injunction against the French entity, Arthur Andersen & Co., temporarily prohibiting it from promoting its consultancy services in India. IBA had aligned itself with the French firm as an affiliate member of its network in India.

“We have now successfully enforced our rights to the Andersen name and precluded the French firm from violating our legal rights on three different continents,” says Mark Vorsatz, CEO and Managing Director at Andersen Tax.

He continues in a statement, “I feel sorry for those individuals or groups who have been misled and may have paid fees to the French firm for the use of a name which we own.”

The French entity, Arthur Andersen & Co., misrepresented its global presence on its website, Andersen Tax says. In addition to listing a Houston, Texas, address that did not exist, the site lists four locations in the U.S. where Arthur Andersen & Co. has no office, no firm and no representation. It is similar in Brazil and India where the French website lists seven locations where they have no office, firm or representation. In Dubai, Andersen Tax was informed that the French network was not authorized to use the name of the local firm they listed on their website.

“I think that this group has been exposed for what they are. We will continue to aggressively pursue actions against this group and enforce our legal rights,” Vorsatz says. “For all of the partners and employees of Andersen Tax, and for all of those who had worked at Arthur Andersen, we have every commitment to prosecute our rights against this attempt to take advantage of the Andersen brand.”

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.