Rudewicz Admitted as Partner and Counsel at blumshapiro

Frank Rudewicz

Frank Rudewicz has been admitted to the partnership at West Hartford, Conn.-based blumshapiro (FY17 net revenue of $79.5 million).

Rudewicz joins the firm as a member of the leadership team and will lead the firm’s litigation and valuation practice from the Boston office.

Rudewicz has more than 30 years of experience in conducting domestic and international investigations for fraud, forensic accounting, asset tracking and other litigation related matters. He has appeared on NBC Dateline and Forensic Files for his investigative work and has been appointed a compliance and ethics monitor for a number of organizations within the construction, government and environmental industries.

In addition, Rudewicz is experienced in expert witness testimony and has testified in matters involving forensic accounting, trade secrets, independent investigations and security. He lectures and writes frequently on these topics.

Prior to his appointment at blumshapiro, Rudewicz served as principal, counsel and PIC of forensic services at Marcum LLP.

“A nationally recognized expert in litigation and witness testimony, as well as an educator, lecturer and author, Frank brings an extraordinary breadth of experience and value to blumshapiro. Frank’s earlier experience serving his country and community now reflects his commitment to providing clients with the highest degree of ethical and legal standards,” says CEO Joseph A. Kask.

Weaver Admits DiBrienza to Partnership

Matthew DiBrienza

Houston-based Weaver (FY18 net revenue of $127.1 million) is expanding its financial services industry practice with the addition of Matthew DiBrienza as an audit partner in the New York office.

DiBrienza, who was previously an audit partner for KPMG and a principal of Rothstein Kass, offers more than 20 years of experience serving the alternative investment industry. He offers the full range of services to his clients, which have included hedge funds, private equity funds, fund-of-funds and commodity pools.

In addition to financial audits, DiBrienza provides tax planning and organizational structure advice; he also reviews investment partnership agreements for structure, accounting and tax-related compliance

“With our midtown Manhattan office and our financial services practice both growing rapidly, Matthew’s experience and industry understanding are very valuable to Weaver and our clients,” says CEO and MP John Mackel. “He brings a rare combination of both audit and tax knowledge, which will help him advise alternative investment firms about a wide range of issues from partnership structures to the tax implications of new financial reporting requirements.”

Dean Dorton Expands Its Kentucky Presence

David Bundy

Lexington, Ky.-based Dean Dorton Allen Ford (FY17 net revenue of $30.8 million) announces that it is growing in Kentucky with the addition of Tom Buetow and David Dick, formerly of BLD, a long-standing CPA and advisory firm in Louisville, Ky.

Buetow and Dick, along with other former BLD employees, joined Dean Dorton Jan. 1.

Over the last several months, Dean Dorton has announced several areas of expansion, including the December addition of Massey Consulting in Raleigh, NC, which specializes in accounting software products and services; the creation of Dean Dorton Wealth Management, Dean Dorton technology group’s full-service cybersecurity practice, and last year, Dean Dorton Healthcare Solutions, which offers medical billing and credentialing for physicians and physician practices.

This new merger aims to increase Dean Dorton’s client base in Louisville and southern Indiana.

“The addition of Tom, David and their team helps us to better serve our growing practice. We are enthusiastic about continuing the high level of service and expertise these new team members have provided to its notable client base,” says David Bundy, president and CEO of Dean Dorton.

“Our clients’ needs always come first,” notes David Dick. “With the combination of developing client needs and continuous growth, it was critical for us to find a way to continue providing high-quality service efficiently and effectively while providing clients with additional value through a broader range of specialty capabilities, advice and solutions. In addition, we want to offer more opportunities for our employees and referral partners who are the backbone of our business.”

Cherry Bekaert Expands Presence in Austin Market

Richmond, Va.-based Cherry Bekaert (FY18 net revenue of $194.7 million) has acquired Flieller Kruger & Skelton (FKS) of Austin, Texas.

The deal expands Cherry Bekaert’s presence in the metropolitan Austin market. The firm entered the Austin market in early 2018 with the acquisition of Powell Ebert & Smolik, which served Austin and central Texas.

The additional acquisition of FKS adds six partners and more than 40 associates to Cherry Bekaert’s combined Austin practice. Now, the Austin area will be served by eight partners and more than 65 associates.

The firm says it has expertise in the core industry sectors of technology, life and health sciences, advanced manufacturing, distribution, real estate and private equity, all of which are key economic drivers in the Austin community.

Michelle L. Thompson

“Austin is a key growth market for us given the area’s robust economy and innovative business climate,” says CEO and MP Michelle L. Thompson. “FKS has a well-established reputation for quality work and holds similar shared values to Cherry Bekaert in relation to how they treat clients and associates. These and other factors make FKS an ideal expansion partner for us in Austin.”

FKS was founded in 1994 and serves high-net-worth individuals and businesses.

“Joining forces with Cherry Bekaert provides long-term succession and growth opportunities for both our clients and our associates,” notes James Flieller, co-founder of FKS and new partner at Cherry Bekaert. “Future generations of Austin families and businesses will now have access to the resources of one of the 25 largest CPA and consulting firms in the U.S., with the same local relationships and high service quality they’ve enjoyed in the past.”

Cherry Bekaert has admitted Flieller, Wesley Kruger, Greg Skelton, Chad Wiley, Paula Wendling and Jackie Connor as partners.

The professional staff of FKS will continue to operate at their 221 West Sixth St. location in downtown Austin for the near future. Cherry Bekaert plans to relocate other partners and staff to Austin with the goal to house the firm’s expanded local resources in one prominent office location.

Dimmick Named Chair of Briggs & Veselka’s Houston Audit Department

Adam Dimmick

Houston-based Briggs & Veselka Co. (FY17 net revenue of $36.2 million) announced that Adam J. Dimmick, audit shareholder in the Houston office, has been named chair of the firm’s audit department.

Meresa Morgan, who had served as department chair since 2010, will continue to lead the firm’s employee benefit plan practice, in addition to serving her longtime clients.

Dimmick started with the firm 13 years ago as a staff associate after moving from Southern California, and was promoted to shareholder in 2015. “From the time I started with the firm, I’ve always felt supported, encouraged and challenged. Assuming the responsibility of department chair is a great honor. Throughout the years, the culture at Briggs & Veselka has remained unmatched, and the opportunities for our future leaders is tremendous,” he says.

In addition to leading the construction and industrial services niche, Dimmick has led the department’s recruiting, retention and mentoring committees for several years.

“We are excited and fortunate to have Adam in a leadership position to help guide the firm over the next several years and continue to scale up and expand our core services and consulting practice,” says managing shareholder Sheila Enriquez.

Seattle Firm Welcomes First Non-Compliance Partners

Nicholas Norton

Peterson Sullivan of Seattle (FY17 net revenue of $31.9 million) has admitted two new partners: Nicholas Norton and Chris Walker.

The firm says the promotions highlight a growing trend of non-CPA partners joining what was previously considered a traditional group of compliance partners.

“This is a positive step for the firm,” says MP Chris Russell. “Achieving the level of partner is a huge achievement in one’s career and signifies that they are dedicated to the future of the company. As leaders both internally and in the community, Chris and Nick each bring their own unique talents to the partner group and I am positive they will succeed in continuing to grow Peterson Sullivan in an exciting new direction.”

Chris Walker

Prior to joining Peterson Sullivan in April 2018, Norton worked as a partner at South Portland, Maine-based Macpage, which has recently been acquired by Wipfli. Norton oversees growth of the firm’s advisory practice, which includes IT risk services, managed accounting services, and strategic business consulting services.

“The future success of accounting firms lies in our ability to provide value beyond compliance,” Norton says. “Through a purposeful focus on building a culture of business advisors and developing a service delivery model that supports this culture, I am committed to fulfilling the firm’s mission, and I am dedicated to continuing the legacy that the partners of PS have built over the past 65 years.”

In her three years since joining the firm as the chief marketing officer, Walker has implemented a strategic, integrated marketing and business development program, which has significantly increased growth and visibility.

“The significance of a non-CPA, non-service leader partner is a powerful statement about the firm’s commitment to growth and transformation; and I am humbled by the trust and confidence placed in me,” Walker said.

Blue & Company Combining With Practice Management Inc.

Brad Shaw

Carmel, Ind.-based Blue & Co. (FY16 net revenue of $77.5 million) has joined with the consulting firm Professional Practice Management Inc. of Worthington, Ohio.

The combined firm will operate as Blue & Co. and employees of Professional Practice Management (PPM) will work from Blue’s Westerville, Ohio, location. The business consulting and accounting firm has worked primarily with physicians, dentists and other health care professionals since 1934.

PPM’s owners, Neil Madsen and David Sproule, will become partners, known as directors, bringing the total number of directors to 50. James Yerina, PPM owner, will be working in a CFO capacity with MaternOhio Clinical Associates. The combined staff of Blue & Co. and PPM will total more than 400 professionals in 10 offices across three states.

“As a firm deeply ingrained in the health care industry, we are looking forward to combined expertise that both firms bring to better serve our clients. We believe the expertise and reputation of both firms complement one another and offer a friendly, client-first culture,” says Brad Shaw, managing director of Blue & Co.

Madsen says, “As we approached the next step in shaping the firm’s future, we realized the time was right to partner with another firm to expand our reach in the market and to offer additional services to our growing client base.”

Sproule adds, “The speed of change in today’s business environment presents some challenges for firms of all sizes but more importantly, it creates opportunities to foster growth while remaining agile and attuned to shifts in technology and leading practices.”

Grant Thornton Names OMP in Boston

Kim O’Connor

Chicago-based Grant Thornton (FY17 net revenue of $1.75 billion) has named Kim O’Connor as the OMP in Boston.

“New England is a dynamic market that is well positioned for continued growth across all of our service lines,” says David Platt, Northeast regional MP at Grant Thornton. “Kim’s passion for growing our practice across New England and sincere interest in our people make her the perfect leader for our Boston office.”

O’Connor joined Grant Thornton in 2004. As an assurance partner, she specializes in working with public and private international companies in the life sciences and consumer industrial products industries.

In addition to her client work, O’Connor has served on numerous national committees and business resource groups to help define and support the firm’s collaborative culture and related employee programs. She has also led dozens of leadership workshops for clients, prospective clients and employees.

Prior to joining Grant Thornton, O’Connor spent 16 years at a large professional services firm, serving as both an audit and consulting partner.

BKR Survey: Five Types of Flexibility Young Professionals Desire

AJ Johnson

By: AJ Johnson, executive director, Americas Region, BKR International

More accounting firms are promoting flexibility as a benefit when creating job descriptions and recruitment materials. However, the concept of flexibility can mean different things to different candidates, as BKR International discovered when surveying its current Leadership Institute participants at a recent training event in Las Vegas.

Flexibility is not just one thing – such as a flexible schedule. We found that it has a broader definition to young professionals, who view it as an important part of the firm culture.

According to the survey, here are five ways that accounting firms can promote flexibility and communicate it to candidates and their current professionals:

  1. Flexibility in scheduling

Young professionals have led the trend in flexible workdays that allow them to schedule appointments or run errands or handle a family issue without missing deadlines. This kind of outcome-based management provides autonomy for the employee and leverages technology in ways that the strict 9-to-5 mandate never could.

It’s a two-way street, of course, and professionals need to demonstrate respect for firm goals and client needs within a more agile schedule. That means sometimes working late and on weekends or attending unexpected meetings to handle workloads.

  1. Flexibility in approach

We’re not talking about the strict protocols and procedures in some areas of public accounting. It’s more about what young professionals contribute to efficiency, tools and ideas. Employees who believe that their ideas are taken into account, and even adopted, have a greater sense of ownership and purpose in the firm.

Even if your firm has tried something in the past, don’t be quick to dismiss the input from new or younger employees. They may surprise you with their logic and ability to fill in knowledge gaps you didn’t even know you had.

  1. Flexibility in dress

This isn’t a new area of flexibility, but firms may need to stretch a bit from “blue jeans Saturdays” to “dress for your day” options. Employees appreciate choosing dress that matches their responsibilities from day to day. For example, if they are visiting a construction site, it makes sense to dress for the client environment.

In addition, on days when employees are working behind a desk all day with zero client contact, comfort is a nice perk. It’s easier to transition to the gym or pick up young children for appointments after work. Keep the dress code, but define how people can flex it.

  1. Flexibility in self-expression

The most enlightening definition of flexibility I heard was flexibility in self-expression. It means that their opinions matter to firm leaders. It also means that they aren’t marginalized for their interests or personal values, which will help to maintain talent.

Whether a person is devoted to a faith tradition or has a beloved pet instead of a child, the firm environment should feel welcoming and equal in its opportunities. There is a difference between written employment policies and how the culture truly demonstrates openness to differences. Keeping in mind that personal values don’t interfere with the mission and integrity of the firm, differences can also be great for business.

  1. Flexibility in career trajectory

As firms hunt for talent and work to keep great people, they are exploring ways to remain flexible to change. Remote work arrangements, job sharing and part-time work are evolving from options to a permanent career choice in some cases. Examples include retaining a professional who moves to another state or providing the option for a formerly full-time employee to transition to part time (and back to full time later).

It’s important to discuss flexible career paths case by case. Clarify how the change in position ties to promotions or career growth at the firm, and make sure the rest of the team understands the role change too. What I’ve noticed in my interactions with members is that flexibility has a different meaning to each employee. As a result, firms are challenged with meeting a diverse set of employee needs while establishing and maintaining systems that make sound business sense.

Overall, young professionals view flexibility as a cultural must. Second only to enjoying the people and clients they work with, it’s a primary reason that they love and stay with their firms.

AJ Johnson is executive director of the Americas Region of BKR International, which represents more than 160 independent accounting and business advisory firms in over 500 offices and 80 countries. The BKR Leadership Institute has graduated more than 300 leaders of member firms.

EisnerAmper Names Klein as Leader of Forensics Litigation and Valuation in N.J.

Hubert Klein

New York-based EisnerAmper (FY18 net revenue of $360.7 million) has named partner Hubert Klein as leader of the firm’s New Jersey forensics, litigation and valuation services group.

Klein specializes in complex damages, business valuations, due diligence analysis, fraud, forensic investigations, matrimonial proceedings, lost profit calculations, shareholder disputes, insurance claims analysis, succession planning, and estate and gift planning.

With more than 30 years of experience, Klein has served as an agreed-upon neutral expert and as an expert witness appointed by judges. He has also been appointed by various courts to serve as a receiver, provisional director, special fiscal agent and the court’s independent forensic auditor in various civil litigation matters.

“We look forward to an exciting future with Hubert leading the New Jersey practice,” says Allen Wilen, partner and national director of EisnerAmper’s financial advisory services group. “The leadership, expertise and vision he brings will be enormously impactful to the firm.”