Armanino Expands to Orange County with Bolar Hirsch & Jennings Deal

San Ramon, Calif.-based Armanino LLP (FY17 net revenue of $242.7 million) has acquired Bolar Hirsch & Jennings LLP of Irvine, Calif., (FY18 net revenue of $18.8 million) effective June 1.  This transaction expands Armanino into Orange County and builds on the firm’s existing presence in Southern California.

“Bolar Hirsch & Jennings is a highly specialized tax firm with an amazing group of people and will put us in the hub of Orange County, where they have created a successful and trusted brand for nearly 30 years,” says Matt Armanino, CEO of Armanino LLP. “Armanino has been strategically investing in the Southern California market to ensure we can better serve the market with an expanded geographic footprint that covers all the major hubs in the region. With this addition, we will now have a total of five offices throughout Southern California.”

Bolar Hirsch & Jennings’ robust tax practice includes specialization in high-net-worth individuals, real estate and corporate tax solutions. This expertise is complemented by Armanino’s existing ability to serve individuals with a full family-office offering and businesses with expanded tax expertise and audit, consulting and technology solutions. The transaction brings value to individual tax clients looking for greater depth of expertise and a full suite of household finance solutions, and to Orange County-based companies that can take advantage of a wider set of available solutions to assist businesses at any stage of their lifecycle, from startup to wind-down.

“Our focus on driving the best results for clients is why Bolar Hirsch & Jennings is a top accounting firm in Orange County, and joining with Armanino will allow us to bring even more solutions to clients that will make their lives easier and optimize their business operations,” says David Hirsch, co-MP at Bolar Hirsch & Jennings. “This transaction not only expands our capabilities, but gives clients access to a large network of experts, including a real estate team well versed in real estate investment trusts (REITs), private equity funds and audit capabilities for all real estate businesses.”

“Bolar Hirsch & Jennings is a top-flight firm in Orange County with a stellar reputation for its client service and acuity in niche tax matters,” says Allan Koltin, CEO of Koltin Consulting Group, who advised both firms. “With this agreement, Armanino is extremely well positioned throughout Southern California.”

The former Bolar Hirsch & Jennings team will continue to operate from its Irvine office at 18101 Von Karman Ave., 14th floor.

Armanino’s strong growth is anchored in its pursuit of expanded service lines, technology solutions and specialized expertise. The firm has been listed on INSIDE Public Accounting’s Best of the Best Firms list for 17 out of the last 18 years and is regularly featured in best places to work lists.

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RKL Introduces De Stefano as New CFO

Michael De Stefano

Lancaster, Pa.-based RKL LLP (FY17 net revenue of $67.9 million) has announced that Michael De Stefano has joined the firm as CFO, succeeding Kevin Lightner, who retired from the firm April 30 after 18 years as CFO.

As CFO, De Stefano will lead and manage financial operations in close collaboration with RKL leadership.

De Stefano’s new role marks his return to the firm where he began his career. In 1995, he began as a staff accountant and rose to the position of audit manager. De Stefano became the controller of a large transportation and logistics company in Middletown, Pa., in 2009, and most recently served as the company’s CFO and vice president of finance.

“We thank Kevin Lightner for his dedication and service to RKL, and wish him the best in the future,” says RKL CEO Edward W. Monborne. “We’re proud to welcome Mike De Stefano back to RKL and we look forward to his contributions toward RKL’s continued growth and success.”

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BDO Acquires TAXPE

Chicago-based BDO USA LLP (FY18 net revenue of $1.46 billion) has acquired TAXPE LLC, a firm focused on improving income tax reporting processes for large corporate tax departments.

Scott Hice, CEO of TAXPE, joined BDO as a partner and national leader of BDO’s tax transformation services practice. The acquisition was effective April 1.

“Updating processes and advancing the use of technologies within a company’s tax function is becoming increasingly complex. Both changing tax laws and changing technologies have a direct day-to-day impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of the company workforce,” Hice says. “Our team now has the administrative backing of a global accounting firm; gaining access to BDO’s resources to better reinforce, broaden and execute our core competencies for our clients through BDO’s comprehensive, end-to-end tax services.”

The legacy TAXPE team has worked with more than 300 companies on tax performance engineering projects, all of which involved tax provision and compliance software improvements.

With the acquisition comes TAXPE’s expertise surrounding the offerings of the major third-party software vendors – Corptax, Longview, Oracle and Thomson Reuters ONESOURCE – along with TAXPE TAXPOWER workpapers, which can be integrated with general ledger systems and third-party tax software systems.

“As long as changes in policy, regulation and technology continue, tax transformation strategies will be necessary for companies looking to stay ahead,” said. “By adding Scott and his experienced team, BDO will be able to leverage TAXPE’s 20-plus years of process design and tax technology experience to deepen our analysis of operational efficiencies and development of tailored technology solutions, including automation and analytics,” says Barbara Torzewski, BDO’s tax transformation services managing director. “No two businesses will have the same tax transformation journey, and with TAXPE’s capabilities, companies can have even more specialized solutions that move the needle for their organizations.”

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EY Names New Chicago OMP

Jud Snyder

Jud Snyder

Big 4 firm EY has named Jud Snyder managing partner of its Chicago office, replacing Kim Simios on July 1.

This transition is part of a planned rotation succession, the firm announced.

As OMP in Chicago, Snyder will support a team of approximately 3,500 professionals across the assurance, tax, transaction and advisory service lines. Snyder will be “responsible for developing and engaging EY’s people, creating high-performing teams, driving market leadership and amplifying the EY brand through strong engagement in the Chicago market,” according to a statement from the firm.

Snyder most recently served as deputy assurance MP in the central region. He was responsible for performing quality audits, driving growth, managing resources and developing 1,800 staff across the regional assurance practice that spans 17 offices and 15 states. Prior to that role, he served as the COO for EY in South America, based in São Paulo, Brazil. While there, he worked with the organizing committee of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

RSM Opens Technology Experience Center

Chicago-based RSM (FY18 net revenue of $2.14 billion) announces the opening of its RSM Technology Experience Center (TEC).

RSM says it is the first of many “client experience centers” it plans to open to support its commitment to collaborative innovation for the middle market.

The RSM Technology Experience Center, based in Denver, provides opportunities for clients to work with leading RSM consultants to envision how technology can reshape their businesses. The center offers more than 30 customer immersion experiences. RSM advisors will help clients explore various business scenarios such as “efficiently addressing margin concerns, analyzing complex data, keeping data and information secure and identifying sales opportunities to demonstrate how available solutions can address potential challenges,” the firm says.

Because markets and business models vary, the RSM Technology Experience Center offers detailed depictions of the workplaces and technologies associated with various industries.

“The RSM Technology Experience Center empowers current and prospective clients to plan their digital transformation,” says Brian Becker, a national consulting leader with RSM. “Using the latest in technology, we’ve created a ‘touch it, feel it, see it’ experience for our clients to help them fully understand the power of technology supported by insights from RSM professionals. And the experience can be customized by industry – from consumer products to financial services, the RSM Technology Experience Center uses artificial intelligence and augmented reality to help clients visualize their new realities to prepare for an increasingly dynamic future.”

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BKD Announces 23 New Partners, Managing Directors

Springfield, Mo.-based BKD (FY18 net revenue of $594.6 million) has announced that 12 professionals have been admitted to the partnership effective June 1. In addition, 11 were promoted to managing director.

CEO Ted Dickman says, “While their respective transitions will bring new challenges, these seasoned professionals are well-prepared to take on the responsibility. We take great pride in shining a spotlight on outstanding individuals and their achievements.”


  • Scott Bormet, Transaction Services
  • Tim Eischeid, Chicago
  • Amy Frizzell, Wealth Advisors
  • John Griffin, Dallas
  • Jenifer Hitschmann, Wichita, Kan.
  • Justin Kensinger, Springfield
  • Matt Klauser, Transaction Services
  • Kieth McGovern, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Jennifer Sanders, Louisville, Ky.
  • Nate Scott, Omaha, Neb.
  • JoAnna Simek, Chicago
  • Chris Woosley, Louisville, Ky.

Managing Director

  • Brian Bell, HCPAS
  • Jeff Bodkin, Indianapolis
  • Heather Broyles, Wealth Advisors
  • Christie Clements, Enterprise Risk Solutions
  • Nicole Fishback, Indianapolis
  • Glenn Grigsby, Louisville, Ky.
  • Jason Jobgen, Cost Segregation Services
  • Troy Lindsey, St. Louis
  • Mike Summers, Indianapolis
  • Allen Wong, Houston
  • Tomi Yoshitomi, Indianapolis

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RKL Wealth Management’s Stephanie Etter Promoted to Chief Compliance Officer

Stephanie J. Etter

Stephanie J. Etter

RKL Wealth Management LLC, a subsidiary of Lancaster, Pa.-based RKL LLP (FY17 net revenue of $67.9 million), announced that Stephanie J. Etter has been promoted to chief compliance officer.

In her new role, Etter is responsible for developing and monitoring the firm’s compliance program, ensuring that all activities of the firm meet regulatory requirements and acting as a liaison with legal and regulatory bodies on compliance-related issues.

“We congratulate Stephanie on her promotion to this significant leadership role for our firm. Her years of experience in operations working in conjunction with our compliance professionals combined with her dedication to client service excellence make her a natural choice for this new role,” says president Laurie Peer.

Etter most recently served as the firm’s operations manager and served as a liaison between the operations team and top management while establishing and implementing processes and procedures. Prior to joining the firm, she spent 16 years in the wealth management industry.

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Friedman Headquarters Moving in May

New York-based Friedman LLP (FY17 net revenue of $101.5 million) is relocating its New York office from 1700 Broadway to One Liberty Plaza at 165 Broadway on May 6.

“We are proud soon-to-be residents of Lower Manhattan – home to innovative tech startups and longstanding firms in a vibrant neighborhood where people come to work, live and visit,” the firm announced.

Friedman has five offices in New Jersey, and is also located in Long Island, N.Y., Philadelphia, Beijing and Shanghai and has been serving offering accounting, tax and consulting services since 1924.

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Citrin Cooperman Expands Health Care Practice

Josh Berlin

Josh Berlin

New York-based Citrin Cooperman (FY17 net revenue of $244 million) announces that it has expanded its health care practice with the hiring of Josh Berlin and Heather Spillman, who have joined as principals. Berlin will lead the practice with Aaron Cohen, John Bryan and Michael Criscione.

Both Berlin and Spillman served as MP and associate partner, respectively, in the Watson Health division of IBM.

Cohen says, “Their breadth and depth of management consulting experience within the health care industry really allows us to grow the services we provide to our clients substantially.”

Citrin Cooperman’s Healthcare Practice provides services to over 350 health care organizations nationwide, focused on providers of all types, payors across the industry, and employers driving health care change. The group advises organizations on various programs, critical transactions and finance initiatives, and business execution.

“Health care is a uniquely complex industry, with rapid advancements in technology, continued changes in policy, and new, non-traditional partnerships emerging constantly,” Berlin says. “We joined Citrin Cooperman to bring the breadth and depth of our cross-industry expertise to complement a team of health care advisors embracing the agility and strategic thinking required to remain competitive as the industry quickly evolves.”

Berlin brings more than 20 years of experience advising health care organizations – including providers, payors, employers, governments, non-profits and advocacy – as a strategist, expert and advisor, depending on the client need and situation. In his career, Berlin has served as a leader at BearingPoint, KPMG, Dixon Hughes Goodman and IBM, also bringing a background in law to his role.

Heather Spillman

Heather Spillman

Spillman says, “The wave of consolidation and change in the health care space has materially altered the industry landscape. Health care organizations small and large will need to be strategic in their relationships and proactive in keeping up with innovation, and I’m looking forward to working with these organizations, leveraging the tremendous insight and resources the team here has to offer.”

Spillman advises various clients in the health care industry, including payors, providers, and employer clients across strategy, clinical and technical teams. She has experience providing health care clients with various services including strategic planning, network optimization, population health strategy, care management strategy, analytics strategy, and M&A strategy. Spillman also brings experience from BearingPoint, Deloitte, KPMG, Dixon Hughes Goodman and IBM.

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BDO’s Merger, Growth into Biopharmaceuticals Explained

In light of BDO’s recent acquisition of BioProcess Technology Consultants (BPTC), INSIDE Public Accounting asked leaders from both firms to discuss further expansion within the life sciences industry, growth strategies and how the merger will help clients.

BPTC is a chemistry, manufacturing and controls consulting service. Chicago-based BDO (FY18 net revenue of $1.46 billion) sees the merger as expanding its existing services in developing new biopharmaceutical products while minimizing risk.

IPA spoke with Eric Jia-Sobota, national leader of BDO’s Industry Specialty Services and Life Sciences practices, and Howard Levine, Ph.D., managing director and national leader of the Bioprocess Technology Group within BDO’s Life Sciences practice.

IPA: It’s starting to become more common for accounting and advisory firms to acquire consulting firms, but often they’re related to technology, such as cybersecurity. Acquiring a consultancy related to the biopharmaceutical industry is unusual. Why the interest?

Jia-Sobota: Our clients frequently look to leverage the industry experience and client-specific insights our collective team has, including in the life sciences realm. The life sciences industry is an important vertical for BDO – especially as technology’s infiltration of the space continues to create both new opportunities and mirroring risks.

For instance, while breakthroughs in CAR-T and other cell gene therapies have huge potential, biopharmaceutical manufacturers can’t neglect investment in their manufacturing processes as demand for biopharmaceuticals continues to rise. While it may be tempting to invest in new facilities to alleviate production capacity shortages, in the long term, companies must invest in new technologies and methods for bioprocessing.

Biopharmaceutical manufacturers need to develop cost-effective methods for scaling their operations, or else lose a competitive edge to those whose investments in technology and new processes make their therapies more affordable. The addition of BPTC enhances our ability to help biopharmaceutical manufacturers meet these evolving demands and de-risk product development while at the same time capitalizing on new, tech-enabled opportunities to further improve patient outcomes.

IPA: What was so attractive about BioProcess Technology Consultants that made BDO pull the trigger on an acquisition?

Jia-Sobota: BDO and BPTC’s technical and operational services to life sciences entities are complementary, with a focus on helping organizations navigate risk, make informed investment decisions and seize new opportunities. The addition of BPTC supports the continued growth and diversification of life sciences capabilities at BDO.

IPA: How will this acquisition help BDO clients? Can you give me an example?

Levine: The addition of BPTC enhances BDO’s ability to advise clients on technical, strategic and regulatory aspects of biopharmaceutical development at all stages in the product lifecycle. For instance, there is growing concern within the biopharma sector that current processes and facilities may not have capacity to meet rising global demand for high-volume biologics. Through the addition of BPTC, BDO can further assist companies in implementing process intensification practices that can help bridge the gap between supply and demand, while also improving process efficiency and even product quality.

IPA: BPTC founder Howard L. Levine is quoted as saying his firm helped companies address “unmet medical needs and increase patient access to novel medicines.” How so?

Levine: While emerging technologies and innovations – like CAR-T therapies and others – show promise for treating formerly intractable diseases or injuries, rising costs limit their accessibility for patients. The professionals from BPTC who have joined BDO will complement our ability to help clients ensure the long-term success of therapies by helping them improve their cost-effectiveness while maintaining or improving efficacy. This may include developing and implementing process intensification strategies – such as continuous bioprocessing.

IPA: How does this acquisition fit into BDO’s growth strategy?

Jia-Sobota: The addition of BPTC aligns with recent investments BDO has made in innovation across the firm – including added resources in technology solutions, digital transformation, risk advisory and data privacy. These additions position us well for continued growth in the coming years and align with our commitment to offering our clients a comprehensive suite of services across both industry agnostic – and specific – business imperatives.

IPA: What can clients expect in the future in terms of additional acquisitions like this one?

Jia-Sobota: As part of our commitment to client service, we are continuing to make investments in innovation that can bolster the support we provide clients across industries.