PKF International Announces New US Member EKS&H

Denver-based EKS&H (FY16 net revenue of $99.6 million) has become the newest PKF International firm in the U.S.

“Nearly 40 years ago EKS&H was founded on the highest level of commitment to collaborative client service. The result has been sustained growth and strong relationships,” says Bob Hottman, EKS&H CEO.

“Our collaboration will inform critical guidance we provide to clients doing business around the world,” says Dave Steiner, EKS&H chairman.

“This addition to our membership expansion in North America will continue to drive our global strategy. With a robust international client base and established relationships with PKF firms around the globe, EKS&H will flourish within our global markets,” says John Sim, CEO of PKF International.

Frazer Opens Office in Twin Falls, Idaho

Pete Jones

Pete Jones

Brea, Calif.-based Frazer LLP (FY16 net revenue of $17.6 million) announced the opening of its office in Twin Falls, Idaho. Pete Jones has joined the firm as a senior manager and will be responsible for daily operations.

“Opening an office in Twin Falls supports Frazer’s long-term dairy niche,” says Bob Matlick, partner. “Idaho is the fourth-largest producer of milk in the United States. Having a local presence enables us to better serve our current clients and provides us with new business opportunities in dairy and other industries.”

“Joining the Frazer team provides the Idaho market with a deep bench of dairy expertise,” says Jones. “Our Twin Falls office represents Frazer’s long-term commitment to Idaho and the dairy industry.”

TRP CPAs Expands Presence in Fayetteville with Chestnutt Acquisition

Fayetteville, N.C.-based TRP CPAs PLLC has acquired a portion of Faircloth Chestnutt & Company LLP. It was the wish of A. Johnson Chestnutt Jr. who passed away on April 18, for TRP to manage his customer base. He was MP of Faircloth Chestnutt & Company for more than 35 years.

“Johnson wasn’t just a well-respected CPA, we were all touched by his dedication to his clients, his family, his church and his community,” says Kelly Puryear, chief executive partner, TRP. “We were also honored that he entrusted TRP with continuing to provide his clients with the highest level of service that they have come to expect for more than three decades.”

The transition to TRP has already begun in earnest, and current customers should see no change in the level of service.

TRP is a full-service public accounting firm that has provided accounting, auditing, financial statement and income tax return preparation and planning, business valuation, litigation support, management advisory and other services in North Carolina since 1972.

IPA Spotlight On … Rob Nixon

Name: Rob Nixon
Title: Founder, PANALITIX

Rob Nixon

Rob Nixon

  • Educated in excess of 170,000 accountants over 23 years.
  • Coached 800 accountants to success. Average profit increase in year one is 93%.
  • Authored three best-selling books on the accounting profession.
  • Built four successful businesses that serve the accounting profession.

Your new book is called, The Perfect Firm, Your Playbook for Building A Perfect Accounting Business. Is “perfection” even achievable?

There is no perfect firm. I’ve met 170,000 accountants and not one of them is perfect. There is no one-size-fits-all for the perfect firm. It has to be your version of your perfect firm. I wrote the book as a blueprint or playbook on what a perfect firm would look like if the reader did everything in the book. The book is full of strategies that have worked for thousands of firms around the world.

What’s the one area MPs should focus on to get started on the path to the perfect firm?

There are five sequential steps to creating your version of your perfect firm. It starts with a belief system that it is the owner’s business and no one else’s and should be designed your way. This is business by design, not by default. Step 1: What business life do the partners want to live? Step 2: What numbers do you want to achieve? Step 3: What services do you want to deliver? Step 4: What culture do you want to have? Step 5: Who are the ideal clients to fit steps 1-4? Business by design follows steps 1 to 5 in order. Business by default follows steps 5 to 1 in order.

How can accountants best get ahead of digital disruption to the profession?

Accountants need to brace digital disruption – not fear it. It is inevitable that machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics and blockchain will fundamentally change the business model of accountants. It is an amazing opportunity to embrace the technology. The first step is to migrate all clients to cloud accounting. Then with real-time data they can offer predictive analytical services and proper numbers-based advice. Helping clients improve their systems dramatically reduces the time at the accountant’s office to do the client work.

You are an advocate for value pricing. Why?

The traditional model of time-based billing in arrears does not value the intellectual property (experience) of an accountant. Not only that, but it is highly unethical to bill in arrears. If you are adding value to the client’s condition then you should be rewarded based on your contribution, not on how much time it took to do the work. Accountants do not sell time – they sell what they know. What you know should be priced accordingly.  

Accountants like numbers, but you say some numbers are more important than others. Which numbers are firm leaders paying too much attention to?

There is a crazy culture of more billable time in the profession. I’ll give you more billable time says Johnny – I’ll just go slower and make mistakes – you’ve got your billable time. What a stupid focus. The focus on utilization hours promotes the wrong behavior. The other number accountants seem obsessed with is realization margin – we realized 88%, for example. Actually, no, you wrote off 12% and wasted $50,000 last month. When you price up front and drive time down by being more efficient you get positive realization and your average hourly rate increases dramatically. The magic number of an accounting firm is average hourly rate.

Final thoughts?

Accountants can change the world for the better if they are proactive and add value. Nearly every business in the world is connected to an accountant. Accountants can make a massive difference if they leverage off their trusted advisor status and help their clients with numbers-based advice.

Do you know someone else who would make a good Spotlight? Contact Christina Camara.

Bober Markey Fedorovich Admits German as Partner

Eric German

Eric German

Akron, Ohio-based Bober Markey Fedorovich (BMF) admitted Eric German to partner. German joined the firm in 2014 as a senior manager in advisory and assurance services.

German’s client experiences at BMF include negotiation and settlement of multi-million-dollar working capital disputes, navigating nine-figure goodwill and intangible impairment charges, implementing share-based equity compensation arrangements, and exiting and entering international jurisdictions. German has provided counsel to a variety of multi-national organizations as they have navigated some of the most complex areas of generally accepted accounting principles.

“Eric’s experience in both public accounting and private industry has allowed him to be well versed in a number of disciplines critical to our profession and the firm’s mission,” says Richard Fedorovich, MP and CEO for BMF. “We are confident that his extensive professional and technical background will complement the strategic growth initiatives and future vision and growth we are pursuing for our practice.”

Dannible & McKee Admits Forkin and Michalski as Partners

Shannon Forkin

Shannon Forkin

Syracuse, N.Y.-based Dannible & McKee LLP admitted Shannon Forkin to tax partner and William Michalski to audit partner.

Forkin started with the firm in 2004. She has experience in all areas of income taxation, including multi-state taxation and strategic planning, and specializes in working with health care, nonprofit and professional-service clients.

William Michalski

William Michalski

Michalski joined Dannible & McKee in 2004 and has experience in audit, assurance and advisory services. He is well versed in federal acquisition regulation overhead audits. Michalski concentrates in the industry specialties of health care, manufacturing and architecture and engineering.

AccountantsWorld Strikes Partnership with Business Growth Expert

Jay Abraham

Jay Abraham

AccountantsWorld announced its partnership with author and business growth consultant Jay Abraham. Abraham will develop a series of exclusive growth-oriented articles and videos for AccountantsWorld’s clients and prospective customers.

Despite the many tools and resources available to accountants, many firms still struggle to expand their practice and increase profits. The exclusive videos and content from this partnership will focus on Abraham’s proven business growth strategies for accountants to use in their own practices.

“Accountants work tirelessly for their clients, always looking for opportunities to help them grow and better operate their businesses,” says Abraham. “This partnership will offer accountants high-performance growth methodologies to help them expand their own practices.”

Abraham has captured the attention and respect of CEOs and entrepreneurs with his ability to increase revenues by uncovering hidden assets and undervalued possibilities. His clients range from business leaders, such as Tony Robbins and Daymond John of Shark Tank, to small business owners.

“AccountantsWorld’s core mission is to equip accountants with the software, tools, insights and support they need to build sustainable value for their practices and better serve their clients,” says Chandra Bhansali, co-founder and CEO of AccountantsWorld. “By partnering with one of the world’s preeminent business minds, we can now offer our customers a unique competitive advantage in achieving their growth goals.”

Hood & Strong Names Kitchin as Audit Director

San Francisco-based Hood & Strong LLP (FY17 net revenue of $16.7 million) announced that Jill Kitchin has been named audit director.

Kitchin joined Hood & Strong in 2003 and has served as audit and advisory manager. Over the course of nearly 10 years with Hood & Strong, Kitchin has managed and supervised financial statement audit reviews and other consulting projects for a variety of clients including foundations, universities, charitable organizations and professional service firms, while also performing employee benefit plan audits.

“Her deep technical knowledge and experience helping organizations strengthen their internal control policies and procedures are assets to our clients and our firm. Jill will be a valuable addition to our leadership team as we enter our second century of business,” says Robert Raffo, Hood & Strong MP.


WithumSmith+Brown Expands with Finance Transformation and CFO Solutions Services

Princeton, N.J.-based WithumSmith+Brown PC (FY17 net revenue of $175.4 million) has expanded its offerings to include finance transformation and CFO solutions as part of its advisory services practice.

Led by Deep Gujral, who recently joined the firm, the group focuses on providing sophisticated services to today’s startup and investor communities.

“Deep’s expertise and Withum’s newly expanded services for emerging-growth companies will truly complement the existing advisory offerings in this space,” says Jim Bourke, partner and managing director, advisory services.

The finance transformation and CFO solutions team serves clients in two major areas of concentration. Finance transformation services focuses on delivering outsourced finance support to early-stage and growth-stage companies, while CFO solutions supports chief financial officers and investors with initiating and/or implementing financial operations and improvement plans. In addition, Withum team members work closely with company stakeholders, ensuring all parties receive the necessary guidance and support when providing assistance, transformation and optimization of financial operations.

Establishment of the dedicated finance transformation and CFO solutions service also has enhanced collaboration between the firm’s interconnected practice areas. The group’s team guides venture-capital and private equity-backed companies with internal accounting needs, board meeting assistance, investor relations, forecasting, enterprise resource planning implementation, term sheet modeling/negotiations, capital structure, budgeting and organizational cash flow.

Sax Wealth Advisors Acquires Sterling Portfolio Management

Sax Wealth Advisors, a subsidiary of Clifton, N.J.-based Sax LLP (FY16 net revenue of $29.7 million) acquired Tuxedo, N.Y.-based Sterling Portfolio Management, effective July 20.

Sterling Portfolio Management has served the wealth management needs of businesses and individuals located primarily in the New York metropolitan area since 2002. Founder Gregory Duffy has grown the firm to nearly $40 million of managed assets utilizing investment funds, and targeting factors that have tended to offer higher than expected returns over time based on academic research.

“Sax Wealth Advisors was the natural next step for our firm,” says Duffy. “We espouse the same principles on empirically supported investment education, and intend to utilize our combined knowledge and expertise to best serve our clients.”

As part of the transition, Duffy will join the Sax team as a wealth advisor, and will continue to serve and nurture his long-standing client relationships.

“Sterling’s commitment to evidence-based investing and their high standards of professional integrity and client service is an ideal match to our mission and values,” says Kyle Stawicki, PIC of Sax Wealth Advisors. “Joining forces will only make our team’s service quality and capabilities that much stronger.”