Mazars Announces Alliance with 4 Regional U.S. Firms and MNP in Canada

Mazars, the Rouen, France-based accounting firm, is expanding its presence in the U.S. through an alliance with five of the top 20 firms in the U.S. and Canada.

Mazars announced that the Mazars North America Alliance would include the following firms: Springfield, Mo.-based BKD (FY19 net revenue of $662.9 million), Seattle-based Moss Adams (FY18 net revenue of $691 million), Southfield, Mich.-based Plante Moran (FY18 net revenue of $542.1 million), Charlotte, N.C.-based Dixon Hughes Goodman (FY19 net revenue of $462.5 million) and Calgary, Alberta-based MNP, with net revenue of roughly $760 million.

Mazar’s CEO, in an interview with Reuters July 11, said the move will almost double its size as a way to challenge the market dominance of the Big 4. “Our ambition is to become a European champion with an international scope,” Mazars’s CEO Herve Helias told Reuters. “When they call me the fifth big, I like it.”

Mazars would not take any stake in the firms, but will expand services to its existing international clients through professionals from some of largest firms in North America. Mazars, with about 24,000 professionals worldwide, will increase that number to about 40,000 under the alliance.

According to the Financial Times, the alliance formation may be related to a belief that the U.K. will begin to require two auditors for the 350 largest companies as part of a reform effort following prominent audit failures among the Big 4. The Times says the firm is familiar with the joint-auditor system, as top companies in France has worked under the requirement for many years.

Mazars has also been in the news for another reason: The U.S. House of Representatives oversight committee has issued a subpoena to its U.S. branch, New York-based Mazars USA (FY17 net revenue of $189 million), to obtain President Donald Trump’s tax records.

 

And on July 12, in a hearing in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Trump’s lawyer faced more than an hour of tough questions over his arguments that lawmakers don’t have the power to investigate the president. “President Donald Trump appeared to be facing an uphill battle to keep Congress from obtaining his financial records,” USA Today reported. The oversight committee’s attorneys have argued that it has broad and inherent power to investigate possible conflicts of interest.

Cynthia Hannafey Joins UHY’s Board of Directors

Cynthia Hannafey

Cynthia Hannafey

Chicago-based UHY Advisors Inc. (FY17 net revenue of $140.8 million) announces that Cynthia Hannafey, a current managing director with UHY Advisors, has joined the firm’s board of directors.

UHY’s nine-member board is charged with the stewardship of the firm, guiding its corporate strategy, reviewing and approving annual budgets, and appointing and monitoring the performance of the CEO.

“Cindy has over two decades of experience advising senior management teams and C-suite executives in regard to operational and financial process optimization,” says Richard David, COO of UHY Advisors. “Her experience leading teams at UHY that analyze and implement strategies, processes and technologies to address enterprise-wide challenges is a significant asset to our clients.”

Anthony Frabotta, chairman and board member of UHY Advisors, says, “Cindy’s technology background is an immediate boon to a versatile team representing various geographic regions and professional specialties that bring unique and insightful perspectives to our firm.”

Hannafey, based in Atlanta, provides portfolio, program and project management; software selection and digital transformation services; post-merger integration; and operational and financial process optimization services to client companies.

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Prager Metis Welcomes New Partner

Brian D. Sackstein

Brian D. Sackstein

New York-based Prager Metis CPAs (FY18 net revenue of $98.2 million) has admitted Brian D. Sackstein as its newest partner in the not-for-profit and health care practices. He will be based in two offices, New York and Woodbury, N.Y., on Long Island.

“Bringing Brian on board is essential for our plans to expand our resources and further strengthen our reputation and expertise as the ‘go-to’ expert for both not-for-profit and health care clients,” says Jerry Eitel, OMP in Long Island. “With his extensive background he is a perfect choice for us to expand in these two critical industries.”

Sackstein has a strong expertise in performing audits and providing accounting, advisory and tax services to clients. He also spends a great deal of time consulting with organizations regarding the amount of reimbursements they should receive, helping them grow and operate more efficiently. His responsibilities include the planning, coordination, and review of accounting and auditing projects; the preparation and review of financial statements; coordination of audits in accordance with Uniform Guidance; and the presentation of audited financial statements and reports to management and boards of directors.

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Deloitte, Partner Fined Over Serco Geografix Audit Failures

Deloitte and a senior partner in the U.K. have been fined and reprimanded for misconduct over the audit of Serco Geografix (SGL), an outsourcing firm, in a July 4 settlement, according to Reuters.

The settlement ended a six-year investigation into fraud and accounting errors. The Financial Reporting Council, the audit watchdog in the U.K., fined Deloitte 4.23 million pounds ($5.32 million) and audit engagement partner Helen George 97,000 pounds after they admitted misconduct for audits in 2011 and 2012.

A subsidiary of Serco (SGL) had been awarded government contracts for GPS satellite-tracking tags to enforce curfews on more than 100,000 offenders each year. A London judge said the company committed “deliberate fraud” between 2010 and 2013.

The judge approved a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) between SGL and the UK Serious Fraud Office. The company will pay a fine of 19.2 million pounds and costs of 3.7 million pounds.

“SGL engaged in quite deliberate fraud against the Ministry of Justice in relation to the provision of services vital to the criminal justice system,” the judge said.

SGL’s parent Serco Group, one of Britain’s largest government contractors, has said the fraud and false accounting offenses related to how the company reported the profitability of its electronic monitoring contract.

The penalty on Deloitte, one of the Big 4 accounting firms, comes amid a backdrop of serious discussion among British government officials about whether the profession needs a shakeup after the failures of retailer BHS and construction company Carillion.

Deloitte, in a statement, says it regretted that its audit work on Serco Geografix had been below the expected standards.

“We have a program of continuous improvement for our audit quality processes … We have also specifically agreed with the FRC certain actions focused on learning lessons from the shortcomings in this audit work,” Deloitte’s statement says.

Both Deloitte and Helen George qualified for fine reductions after cooperating with the investigation.

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Grassi & Co. Introduces Grant Compliance Services to Nonprofits

Elizabeth Gousse Ballotte

Due to a shift in the need for compliance for private foundations and other funders, New York-based Grassi & Co. (FY18 net revenue of $63.6 million) is adding a grant compliance services team to its nonprofit practice. Principal Elizabeth Gousse Ballotte will lead the team and is based in the New York office.

The team assists funders by ensuring their grantees are complying with the conditions of the grant agreement. The team reviews financial operations and grant reporting to assure that adequate controls and oversight are in place. These services assist funders, typically private foundations, by evaluating the impact of the donations to the nonprofits and their missions and help determine how and where the funds are specifically being used. These compliance reviews offer greater assurance to the funders that the grant programs are operating efficiently and successfully, the firm announced.

“Private foundations have increasingly come under fire for not adequately monitoring their grantees, often due to limited resources and personnel. Our grant compliance services help foundations address this gap, assess their own risk and protect their reputations,” says partner David M. Rottkamp, not-for-profit practice leader.

Generally, foundations that pursue a grant monitoring program work with the Grassi team to develop a compliance review plan and monitor the program annually, either using Grassi resources as an outsourced provider or hiring the firm to implement the program and train their staff to conduct the reviews and provide feedback to grant recipients.

“These organizations make a huge difference to the recipients of their grant-making. My work further enhances that difference and provides the assurance that grant funds are used appropriately,” says Ballotte, who has more than 15 years of operational and organizational consulting and management experience.

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Marcum Merges in The Abrix Group

Thomas Frank

New York-based Marcum (FY18 net revenue of $549.7 million) expanded further into the Midwest by merging in The Abrix Group of Northbrook, Ill.

Abrix, a business management and accounting firm focused exclusively on the health care industry, adds four partners and 22 associates to Macum’s Illinois offices.

Abrix specialized in helping medical and dental practices with their organizational, business and financial issues, as well as the business and personal needs of individual practitioners. The firm’s services included tax, accounting, business development, regulatory issues, Medicare fraud and abuse, practice mergers, practice valuations, profit formulas, and retirement planning and administration.

“Abrix’s unique expertise in the nuances of medical and dental practice management will be an additional asset to our health care clients regionally and nationally, as we continue to grow our presence in the Chicago area,” says Cary Buxbaum, Marcum’s regional MP in Illinois.

“It is a tremendous opportunity for our firm to be able to bring the national resources of Marcum to our clients, while bringing a specialized focus on the practice side of the health care industry into their service mix,” says Thomas Frank, Abrix MP.

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Perry & Associates CPAs Joins RSM US Alliance

Jodey L. Altier

Marietta, Ohio-based Perry & Associates CPAs has joined RSM US Alliance, an affiliation of independent accounting and consulting firms.

This affiliation gives Perry & Associates CPAs, A.C. access to a full range of national and international capabilities through Chicago-based RSM US LLP (FY19 net revenue of $2.4 billion). The U.S. alliance includes more than 75 independent member firms in 38 states, the Cayman Islands and Puerto Rico.

The move is designed to expand services to Perry & Associates’ clients and people. The firm will have access to new tools, expertise and practice management resources, including technical resources, marketing and business development, practice management, talent management and career development, dedicated client services and networking opportunities. This access includes a broad range of national and international resources.

Perry & Associates President Jodey L. Altier says, “Our firm mission is to understand client needs and to provide extensive services to those clients and enhanced development for public accountants without leaving our small-town communities. Having access to the resources of RSM, a large global firm, will help us meet our mission.”

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Kaufman Rossin Launches Kaufman Rossin Wealth

Jay Pelham

Miami-based Kaufman Rossin (FY19 net revenue of $77.8 million) has launched Kaufman Rossin Wealth, providing financial planning and investment management services.

The new group will be led by Jay Pelham, who joined the firm last year. Pelham has held numerous leadership roles at some of South Florida’s most established financial institutions, including president of TotalBank.

Over the past several years, Kaufman Rossin has grown and diversified its advisory and consulting business, bringing in experts on specific industries and services including banking, cyber-security and business performance to respond to client needs. Kaufman Rossin Wealth is no different.

“We have deep, long-standing relationships with our clients and a unique understanding of their personal and professional challenges. This new service line is another way of connecting the dots in their lives and figuring out the best way to help them reach their goals,” says Kaufman Rossin CEO Blain Heckaman. “With Jay’s leadership we know we can deliver intelligent financial planning by listening, having candid conversations and offering smart solutions.”

Kaufman Rossin Wealth will offer its services as a registered investment advisor. Affiliate Kaufman Rossin Insurance Services will help mitigate risks through insurance solutions.

“Having spent the last 30 years in financial services and learning more about Kaufman Rossin’s clients and business strategies this past year, I feel very strongly there’s an underserved financial bracket that will benefit tremendously by having a roadmap to follow,” Pelham says.

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CBIZ Acquires Ohio Payroll Service Company

Cleveland-based CBIZ (FY18 net revenue of $785 million) has acquired Paytime of Solon, Ohio, a payroll service provider with 37 employees and about $4 million in revenue.

CBIZ president and CEO Jerry Grisko says, “We are pleased to have Paytime join the CBIZ family and strengthen our human capital management offerings. Paytime’s strong Ohio presence aligns well with our current locations in Cleveland, Akron and Columbus, and their services will complement the other professional services we currently provide to our clients.”

Mary Ann Shamis of Paytime, says, “The fact that both companies use the same platforms will ensure a seamless transition for our employees and clients.”

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Marks Paneth Holds Ribbon Cutting For New Philadelphia Office

Pictured (l-r): Rebecca Rhynhart, Philadelphia City Controller; John E. Mitchell, Partner-in-Charge of Marks Paneth’s Pennsylvania offices; and Harry Moehringer, Managing Partner of Marks Paneth LLP.

New York-based Marks Paneth (FY18 net revenue of $136 million) celebrated the opening of the firm’s newest office location in Philadelphia with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house attended by clients, colleagues, city officials and other members of the Philadelphia business community.

Located in Philadelphia’s central business district, the new office is the firm’s ninth. It puts the firm in close proximity to the many law firms, businesses, individuals, business partners and associations it serves. The move is also expected to expand the firm’s presence in the mid-Atlantic area.

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