Grant Thornton Extends McGuire’s Term as CEO

Mike McGuire

The partners of Chicago-based Grant Thornton (FY17 net revenue of $1.75 billion) have voted unanimously to extend Mike McGuire’s term as CEO until July 31, 2021 – his mandatory retirement date.

“Mike has led our firm to great success over the past four years on many important fronts, from financial results to culture, and from innovation to quality,” says Dave Wedding, chairman of the partnership board. “This term extension means Mike can continue to lead Grant Thornton’s ‘Status Go’ approach to helping our clients overcome challenges and create value.”

Since becoming CEO in January 2015, McGuire and his leadership team have steered Grant Thornton to record-setting revenue, improved quality and invested in the firm’s culture and brand, the firm says. In addition, McGuire and his team are developing innovative capabilities aimed at transforming the professional services industry in the years to come.

“Businesses today face constant disruption and have to move at great speed,” says McGuire. “We’ve spent the past four years at Grant Thornton being intentional in executing our strategy and transforming our firm to ensure success in a complex and evolving business environment – and helping our clients do the same.”

Prior to assuming the CEO post, McGuire served on the firm’s senior leadership team as the national managing partner of operations

New Role, New Perspective: IPA Spotlight on … Mary Elliot

INSIDE Public Accounting has reached out to Warren Averett’s new CEO Mary Elliott, subject of an IPA Spotlight last year, to discuss the rise of advisory services, firm threats and challenges, and the future of the profession.

Name: Mary Elliott

Mary Elliott

Mary Elliott

Title: CEO

Firm: Birmingham, Ala.-based Warren Averett (FY17 net revenue of $133.3 million)

Accomplishments:

  • Became CEO in January 2018 as the first female CEO in Warren Averett’s history.
  • Worked her entire career at Warren Averett, serving clients in the firm’s health care consuling division for 33 years.
  • Appointed as Warren Averett’s Chief Operations Officer in 2012.
  • Developed operations board for the firm, and served as chair for six years.

Among the IPA 100, accounting and audit revenue is declining, and non-traditional services are on the rise. Which practice area is growing fastest at your firm and how do you plan to continue expanding this niche?

Warren Averett embraces a holistic view of client relationships, with the focus on WA360 – a client-centered approach to understanding and addressing client needs. With this focus, all areas of consulting are continuing to grow, especially in specific industries like health care and government contracting. We have sought to hire more specialists outside the accounting field in areas such as IT consulting, HR consulting, staffing services, M&A, and transaction advisory services. Simultaneously, we make it a priority to hire accountants to work in traditional roles, and then develop their strengths and passions to later transition into our niches and consulting roles.

What’s the biggest threat facing your firm today?

The accounting industry is facing a situation where you must be innovative and evolve with the market in order to grow and be successful. Our clients are becoming more complex and savvy, our competition is progressing, and technology is going to replace some of the compliance work that our firms are executing.

How do you intend to overcome threats the firm is facing?

Successful firms are the ones who will see these trends, and adjust their approach, technology and talent to meet these changes. Warren Averett focuses on innovation. Our communications and programs within the firm encourage and reward team members who show an entrepreneurial mindset when working with a client, improving a process or developing an out-of-the-box solution or service.

How do you envision CPA firm services evolving over the next 10 years?

As technology evolves with the introduction of blockchain, artificial intelligence and robotic process automation, the entire business ecosystem will change. Technology will provide us with nontraditional ways to serve our clients, and that is always the goal – to focus on the client and put them at the center of everything we do. With clients having more accessibility to their data, we believe that our focus will evolve into interpreting the data, solving problems and creating solutions to help clients succeed.

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

GBQ Offers Fraud Hotline for Clients’ Employees

Columbus, Ohio-based GBQ (FY17 net revenue of $31.4 million) is introducing a fraud hotline to help companies protect against fraud, waste and abuse.

The GBQ hotline service allows employees at clients’ companies to report their suspicions of wrongdoing anonymously. Nearly half of all frauds are detected through a tip, GBQ reports.

Tips will be handled by certified fraud professionals and CPAs, and GBQ will provide training on the importance of reporting concerns and suspicions.

“We believe that an organization’s resources are better used protecting against fraud, waste and abuse versus investigation after it is too late,” says Rebekah Smith, director of forensic and dispute advisory services. “GBQ’s fraud hotline offering provides an important line of defense by providing an easy way for employees to report concerns. In addition, simply having a hotline tells employees that your organization takes fraud seriously.”

Marks Paneth Launches New Brand Campaign

New York-based Marks Paneth (FY17 net revenue of $131.4 million) has announced the launch of its new brand positioning and introduced a new advertising campaign, Success is Personal.

The campaign focuses on the firm’s tradition of valuing client relationships and placing the highest priority on helping clients reach their goals. Firm leaders wanted to redefine the brand to better reflect its culture, values and client service. After months of research and interviews, three characteristics of the firm’s service emerged: a deep understanding of clients’ businesses, strong relationships and the caring nature of its professions, the firm says in a statement.

“We recognize that success varies among clients, based on their life and business stages,” says Chief Marketing Officer Diane Paoletta. “This recognition was the basis for our new advertising campaign, Success is Personal, which is written from the client perspective and focuses on their needs above promotion of the firm itself.”

This new brand positioning will also be reflected in the firm’s recruitment and employee retention initiatives, which are aimed at a diverse, multi-generational population. Personal success has already been the focus of many of the firm’s work-life balance initiatives. The advertising campaign is being rolled out on radio and commuter trains and in print and digital media.

HBK, Sole Proprietor Agree to Join

Canfield, Ohio-based HBK CPAs & Consultants (FY17 net revenue of $80 million) has signed an agreement under which the Michael W. Monahan CPA firm becomes part of HBK.

The merger marks an expanded presence in the Sarasota, Fla., region for HBK, an IPA 100 firm.

“We are pleased to welcome Mike into the HBK family and look forward to helping him widen his depth of client resources in that portion of our Gulf Coast service region,” says Christopher Allegretti, CEO and MP.

“Mike’s reputation for excellence in client services is widely known in our area and his commitment to personalized client care is what makes him a perfect fit here at HBK,” says Craig Steinhoff, PIC of the HBK Sarasota office, where Monahan will be working as a senior director.

“His dedicated work ethic and attention to detail when caring for client services is one of his strongest characteristics as a leader, a business advisor and a person. We are so pleased to have him on board,” Steinhoff says.

Michael W. Monahan, CPA, has been serving businesses and individuals in Sarasota for more than 40 years. His areas of specialization include: estate planning and taxation of high-net-worth individuals and accounting services for small and medium-sized businesses. He also has industry-specific experience in agriculture, distribution, real estate development and professional services.

Audit Expert Joins Marcum as Assurance Partner

Dan McIntosh

Dan McIntosh

New York-based Marcum (FY17 net revenue of $469.5 million) announces that Dan McIntosh has joined the firm as an assurance services partner in the firm’s San Francisco office.

McIntosh specializes in performing financial statement and internal control audits, including SOX Section 404 and business process analysis and improvement. He has more than 13 years of experience working with public and private clients to address a wide range of financial, operational and technology risk issues.

Prior to joining Marcum, McIntosh led global and domestic audit teams with a Big 4 accounting firm.

D&H Global Tax Joins Citrin Cooperman

New York-based Citrin Cooperman (FY17 net revenue of $244 million) announced the merger of D&H Global Tax, with offices in Philadelphia, London and Pitman, N.J.

D&H specializes in international tax issues, planning and preparation for clients that are U.S. expatriates and non-U.S. persons with filing obligations. MP Leon Dutkiewicz will lead Citrin Cooperman’s international taxation practice. Additionally, three directors and 15 staff from D&H will join in the firm’s Philadelphia office. The firm will also retain D&H’s New Jersey location.

“We’ve built a strong bench of international tax and consulting specialists to advise our clients in an increasingly global marketplace,” says CEO Joel Cooperman. “Leon is the perfect person to lead this practice and help our clients remain competitive and successful.”

“When exploring options to join a larger firm with value-added resources to help serve our clients, Citrin Cooperman was by far the top of the list,” says Dutkiewicz. “Big firm resources combined with personal, tailored client service is exactly what our high-net-worth international clientele expect and Citrin Cooperman delivers.”

Allan D. Koltin, CEO of Koltin Consulting Group, who advised both firms on the deal, says, “D&H Global Tax is recognized by its peers as one of the top international tax boutiques both in the U.S. and internationally. Leon Dutkiewicz is as exceptional a leader as you will find in the accounting profession. His passion for client service and growing talent made his firm one of the most sought-after transaction candidates I have ever seen.”

Sikich Acquires Human Resources Technology Consulting Business

Naperville, Ill.-based Sikich (FY17 net revenue of $177 million) acquired the business of Executive Alliance, a human resources consulting firm on Nov. 1.

“Technology is the centerpiece of the business solutions we leverage to help clients improve performance,” says Sikich CEO Chris Geier. “Executive Alliance combines technical expertise with human resources experience and will be a valuable addition to our talented human resources consulting team.”

Founded in 1992, Executive Alliance works with companies, including Fortune 500 firms, across a variety of industries. Executive Alliance consultants are human resources professionals who help companies build their human resources, benefits and payroll management processes and successfully evaluate and integrate technology solutions.

“Sikich offers a full suite of human resources solutions to clients,” says Kevin Mallett, founder of Executive Alliance. “Joining the Sikich team will allow us to leverage these resources and expand the services we offer clients. We’re excited to join this innovative, growing firm.”

Sikich’s human resources consulting practice covers all disciplines of human resources, supporting businesses across industries with recruiting and onboarding, compensation and compliance, benefits, employee relations, and development.

Crowe LLP Welcomes Sixred Team

Chicago-based Crowe (FY18 net revenue of $888.6 million) has signed an agreement to welcome personnel from Sixred, an award-winning software consultancy specializing in cloud-based enterprise solutions from Oracle NetSuite, Adaptive Insights, Avalara and Dell Boomi.

The transaction is expected to be complete on Dec. 1.

The Sixred team brings specialized knowledge and experience in the Oracle NetSuite platform, which supports more than 40,000 organizations around the world. The Sixred team is an eight-time Oracle NetSuite 5-Star Award winner with a global client base representing technology, software, media, manufacturing, finance, insurance, health care and retail industries, among others.

As part of the transaction, one principal and two managing directors will join Crowe. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“Sixred and the NetSuite platform extend our capabilities to provide transformative, cloud-based solutions to targeted industry vertical markets,” says Josh Cole, managing principal, Crowe performance consulting.

“Crowe and Sixred’s shared core values make this a tremendous opportunity for our clients, employees, and partners to benefit in a positive and meaningful way,” says Adnan Patel, managing partner for the Sixred team.

Philadelphia Flyers Name HBK Their ‘Official Accounting Firm’

Christopher M. Allegretti

Canfield, Ohio-based HBK CPAs & Consultants, formerly known as Hill Barth & King (FY17 net revenue of $80 million), has entered a sponsorship agreement with the Philadelphia Flyers National Hockey League franchise through which HBK was named the Flyers’ “Official Accounting Firm.” The partnership is effective immediately.

“We are excited to announce our new partnership with this great team,” says HBK CEO and MP Christopher M. Allegretti. “The association with such a prestigious sports organization with such an illustrious history represents a great opportunity for any organization.”

Flyers fans will hear HBK radio ads during Flyers’ game broadcasts, and see HBK “virtual signage” in nine television broadcasts during the hockey season. HBK will be the presenting sponsor for a premium item giveaway at an upcoming Flyers’ home game. HBK also will use the Flyers marks and logo and the designation “Official Accounting Firm of the Philadelphia Flyers” in its marketing.

The Flyers partnership is HBK’s second major league sports sponsorship. They have served as the Official Accounting Firm of the Pittsburgh Penguins since October 2016.