AICPA, NASBA Join ‘Advanced Professions’ to Launch New Coalition to Protect Licensing

The AICPA and NASBA have helped found the Alliance for Responsible Professional Licensing (ARPL), a new coalition focused on educating policymakers and the public about the importance of rigorous professional licensing standards.

The coalition was formed to “ensure the voices and concerns of the advanced professions are heard by lawmakers amid the growing debate around licensing,” the coalition announced.

“Weakening professional licensing standards on a state-by-state basis will destroy the confidence in qualifications and completely disrupt existing mobility models for advanced professions like ours,” warns Barry Melancon, president and CEO of AICPA. “Employers will be less inclined to accept out-of-state licenses if some states have rigorous requirements and others have weak requirements. The result: it will become more difficult for CPAs to move and maintain their careers across states.”

Bills have been introduced in dozens of states around the country that would reduce state licensing requirements, not only for CPAs, but also for surveyors, architects and engineers. Some of the proposals could have eliminated the hard-fought ability for CPAs to serve clients and employers outside of their home state without getting an additional license.

NASBA CEO Ken Bishop adds, “When a CPA performs an audit of a business or government, the public must have confidence in its accuracy, thoroughness and integrity. The most effective way to maintain this confidence is to continue to have CPAs show rigorous education, examination and experience for their licensing requirements.”

ARPL members also include the American Institute of Architects, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying and the National Society of Professional Engineers. Find more information on ARPL’s new website.

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HLB Appoints PYA as its Newest Member in U.S.

Mike Shamblin

HLB, the global network of independent advisory and accounting firms, welcomes Knoxville, Tenn.-based PYA (FY18 net revenue of $49.3 million) as its newest member firm in the United States.

With a team of 300 in five offices, PYA provides a multitude of services, including tax, health care consulting, audit and assurance.

“Membership in HLB enhances our ability to serve clients because it allows us to tap into additional audit, accounting and tax resources that span the globe,” says Mike Shamblin, managing principal of audit and assurance services. “This collaboration allows us to share expertise and best practices with other HLB-network firms and leverage experience throughout the network, as needed, to better assist our clients.”

“We are honored that HLB identified PYA as a firm that would align with its goals for growth in the U.S.,” says Shamblin. “Our client-centric focus based on long-term client relationships fits well with HLB’s goals. We are excited about the opportunities this membership affords our clients and how we can assist other member firms with their client needs.”

As an independent member of the HLB Network, PYA’s private ownership structure will remain unchanged. PYA is ranked No. 90 on the 2019 IPA 100 list of largest accounting firms in the nation.


INSIDE Public Accounting Releases Annual Ranking of the Top 400 Accounting Firms

The publishers of INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA), the award-winning newsletter for the public accounting profession, today released the annual ranking of the nation’s 400 largest public accounting firms.

Rankings of The IPA 100…Now in its 29th year, the IPA 100 lists the 100 largest public accounting firms in the U.S., by net revenue. The IPA 100 is made up of the Big 4, which collectively generated over $60 billion in U.S. revenue last year, and 96 national, regional and local firms. The annual rankings and accompanying analysis paint a comprehensive picture of the state of the profession.

Newcomers to The IPA 100…Three firms debuted on the IPA 100 in 2019: No. 91 Tulsa, Okla.-based HoganTaylor LLP; No. 98 Houston-based Briggs & Veselka Co.; and No. 99 Clifton, N.J.-based Sax LLP.

The 2019 IPA 400 Firms…IPA also ranks the next tier of accounting firms, Nos. 101-400.

The 2019 IPA 400 rankings can be accessed here.

Highlights of the 2019 IPA 100 Public Accounting Firms…The Big 4, Deloitte, PwC, EY and KPMG collectively make up nearly 75% of the total U.S. revenue of this year’s IPA 100. Due to their size, IPA excludes metrics of the Big 4 in its analysis. The remaining 96 firms represent $22.2 billion in total revenues and employ more than 100,000 staff. Excluding the Big 4, 45 firms are represented in the IPA $100 Million Club, all with annual revenues exceeding $100 million.

  • Organic growth (excluding mergers) grew this year to 6.7%, up from 6.3% in 2018.
  • More than 110 acquisitions (both traditional CPA firms as well as other non-CPA firms) were reported, pushing the overall growth rate to 9.9%, also up slightly from the 2018 all-growth rate of 9.4%.
  • Organic growth in net income grew to 9.9% this year, an increase from 6.4% in 2018. Factoring in acquisitions, net income growth is up to 12.2%.
  • Average equity partner billing rates now top $450 per hour for the IPA 100.
  • Professional staff turnover (CPAs and other client-serving staff) averaged 16.2% for the IPA 100; with 1 in 5 IPA 100 firms averaging more than 20% professional staff turnover.
  • Eight female managing partners are now at the helm of the IPA 100 firms for the first time since IPA began tracking this data.
  • Average annual equity partner compensation at the IPA 100 is now $660,000.
  • One out of 11 equity partners / owners in a CPA firm are not licensed CPAs.

“As firms continue to expand service lines and seek to hire the most qualified staff to serve clients in many non-traditional services, we’re seeing more non-CPA professionals in the ranks of the IPA 100,” says Mike Platt, principal with INSIDE Public Accounting. “In fact, we discovered that 28% of all client-serving professionals at IPA 100 firms indicated they have no intentions of pursuing a CPA license.”

In-Depth Financial and Operational Benchmarking of the Accounting Profession…Financial and operational analysis of 550 public accounting firms will be published in late September in the 2019 INSIDE Public Accounting National Benchmarking Report.

Subscribe to the IPA newsletter to receive the upcoming benchmarking analyses and in-depth interviews with key leaders within the profession. IPA offers a complimentary news source, the IPA INSIDER E-News Update. Sign up online.

Purchase any of the 2019 IPA benchmarking products, including the IPA National Benchmarking Report, to gain insider strategies.

To interview or engage the partners at INSIDE Public Accounting, please contact Chelsea Summers at (317) 733-1920 or

Marcum LLP Acquires OGH CPAs & Advisors

Jeffrey Weiner

New York-based Marcum LLP (FY18 net revenue of $549.7 million) announced that it has acquired OGH Certified Public Accountants & Advisors of Coral Gables, Fla., adding two partners, 17 associates and a second office in the Miami area.

OGH was a full-service CPA firm offering assurance, tax and accounting, consulting and property management services to clients in 10 industry sectors. The firm focused primarily on real estate developers, construction companies and real estate investors; export and wholesale distributors; and domestic and international tax services.

OMP Hiram D. Ocariz says joining Marcum means the team will be able to access national resources for its clients, “while having the opportunity to deepen the bench of talent in Marcum’s South Florida region.”

Jeffrey Weiner, Marcum CEO and chairman, says, “OGH’s strong position in a gateway city to the global economy, industry specialization, and culture based on integrity, excellence, strong client relationships and measurable results make OGH a perfect fit for Marcum.”

Michael Balter, MP for Marcum’s Southeast region, says, “OGH’s focused expertise is an additional asset in several of Marcum’s core industry groups, while also bringing experience in several new industries to our South Florida region.”

In addition to the two Miami offices, Marcum also has Florida offices in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

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Massachusetts-Based Firm RBF Joins Withum

Rucci Bardaro & Falzone (RBF) of Woburn, Mass., has joined Princeton, N.J.-based WithumSmith+Brown (FY19 net revenue of $223.3 million), bringing five partners and about 30 team members to the firm. The RBF team will remain in Woburn.

MP Bill Rucci says, “Since its inception in 1985, RBF has been committed to providing clients with insightful, custom solutions while encouraging our own people toward superior achievement on behalf of our clients, our profession and themselves. Withum exemplifies the same ‘Withum Way’ philosophy of client-centric, personalized attention and a commitment to excellence which is tremendously important to us.”

Withum MP and CEO Bill Hagaman says the firm has been seeking the right fit in the area. “Finding the right strategic partner located in the Greater Boston business community is an important part of our vision for growth in the Northeast,” he says. “The RBF offices will further enhance our current Boston team, located in the Seaport district, in terms of expertise, geographic location and culture. Their expertise in servicing privately held businesses, not-for-profit organizations and high-net-worth individuals perfectly complements Withum’s current practice areas.”

Rucci says clients will benefit from a wider range of services. “We can now offer enhanced technology and advisory services such as digital workplace solutions and cyber and information security services, as well as robust tax and international services.”

Allan D. Koltin, CEO of Koltin Consulting Group who advised both firms, says, “The ‘Withum Way’ has proven to be a very attractive platform for entrepreneurial firms looking for greater depth and resources. RBF is a well-respected firm in the Greater Boston market that had numerous [larger] firms approach them about combining forces.” Withum plans to expand further into Florida and ultimately open an office in California, he says.

Combined, Withum and RBF serve industries that include construction, technology, financial and investment, health care, law and professional, labor organization, hospitality, life sciences, employee benefits, not-for-profit, manufacturing, consumer products and real estate.

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LBMC Acquires National Data Analytics Firm in Response to Client Requests

Brentwood, Tenn.-based LBMC (FY19 net revenue of $114.9 million) has acquired Think Data Insights, a national data analytics company.

Senior marketing manager Lisa Flynn Namm says clients were asking for help determining what their data means and how to use it. Firm leaders visited with private equity companies in California, Chicago and New York, for example, “and a key takeaway was their need for expertise in collecting and understanding the data they have as well as analyzing it and finding the true data insights that make it so valuable.”

Think Data Insights, a Nashville company, says it offers modern data platforms to help clients harness the power of their data to gain deeper insights into their organizations. Think Data Insights serves industries including health care, manufacturing, retail, media and finance, among others.

“As we continue to grow, we continue to invest in new service lines that deepen and enhance our offerings, while keeping LBMC at the forefront of technological advancements,” says CEO Jeff Drummonds. “This acquisition underscores our commitment to providing our clients with transformational solutions, so that the thousands of businesses we work with across the country have access to best-in-class resources and experts that advance their success.”

As firms around the country seek to diversify their services, many are turning to M&A to fill in the gaps or add offerings, Drummonds says. While LBMC has grown organically over the past 35 years, it is now “aggressively opportunistic” about acquisitions.

Ken Raetz, CEO, Think Data Insights, will join LBMC as a shareholder and will work to grow the data analytics service line. “This allows us to expand our footprint and leverage LBMC’s deep expertise, while increasing the company’s resources, and ultimately, helping clients master their most critical business issues,” he says.

Think Data Insights is also a certified Microsoft Gold partner, the highest level of Microsoft’s widely recognized partnership program.

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IPA INSIDER: July 2019 News

Listed below are the Top 10 most-read stories on the INSIDE Public Accounting blog for the month of July.

  1. INSIDE Public Accounting Names The 2019 Excellence in Firm Culture Winners
  2. UHY Advisors Announces Creation of UHY Advisors Alliance, First Member
  3. Mazars Announces Alliance with 4 Regional U.S. Firms and MNP in Canada
  4. Cynthia Hannafey Joins UHY’s Board of Directors
  5. LBMC Marketer Helps Brings Digital Marketing Program to Tennessee
  6. Marcum Merges in The Abrix Group
  7. Carr Riggs & Ingram Merges In Laurel, Miss. Firm
  8. Eide Bailly Plans Big Expansion into California With Merger
  9. Grant Thornton Announces Leadership Transition
  10. Somerset CPAs Acquires Indianapolis Firm

BDO Acquires Loughlin Management Partners & Company

Chicago-based BDO USA (FY19 net revenue of $1.6 billion) announced the acquisition of Loughlin Management Partners & Company (LM+Co), a boutique business advisory firm focused on corporate restructuring and turnaround services. This group will operate as BDO Consulting Group, an affiliated company of BDO USA, effective Aug. 1.

The firm also offers interim management and operational services for private equity investors.

With the addition of LM+Co, BDO expands its suite of business advisory services to support clients throughout their corporate lifecycle. BDO’s corporate and deal advisory services include helping clients with mergers and acquisition transactions, business restructuring and turnarounds, operational consulting and business improvement, valuation advisory and investment banking.

The LM+Co team, which works across most industry sectors, has served in both advisory and interim management roles in more than 200 restructuring situations. The team has also completed more than 600 engagements, helping clients improve operating and financial performance and shareholder value. Also joining BDO are the senior professionals of LM+Co Capital, a boutique investment banking and financial advisory firm that is affiliated with LM+Co.

LM+Co principal and managing director, James J. Loughlin Jr., joins BDO as managing director. Most of the LM+Co team will relocate to BDO’s New York office, with others in Arizona, Florida, Southern California, Texas and Pennsylvania.

“We value the quality of service and extensive knowledge of middle market private equity and restructuring that Jim and his dedicated team of professionals deliver to the marketplace,” says Jay Duke, national MP of advisory services at BDO USA. “Our two firms’ commitment to excellence align well and will help to ensure a successful, bright future together.”

Loughlin says, “Bringing our firms together will strengthen our combined offering as a value-added service provider across the entire corporate lifecycle and mergers and acquisition continuum. With the national and international resources of BDO behind us, our ability to provide clients with effective, tailored solutions to complex situations is significantly enhanced.”

More news from BDO USA

BerganKDV Announces Board Roles

St. Cloud, Minn.-based BerganKDV has elected its 2019-2020 board members. The board of directors’ role is to help define the long-term vision for the firm and to oversee firm leadership to direct and execute on this vision.

Board members serve for three-year terms and are selected by the firm’s shareholders. This year, two seats were up for reelection. Becky Morgan (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) was elected to serve another three-year term and was elected as chair. Loren Viere (St. Cloud, Minn.) finished a one-year transition term and his seat will be filled by incoming member Gene Garrelts (Omaha, Neb.) for a three-year term.

Other shareholders on the board are: Russ Sand (St. Cloud), Dave Richter (Waterloo, Iowa), Matt Mayer (Bloomington, Minn.), secretary, Earl Edeburn (St. Cloud), vice chair, and Dan Roling (Waterloo), treasurer.

Mueller Prost Gains Three New Partners

Caty Beilsmith

St. Louis-based Mueller Prost announces that three professionals have been admitted to the partnership: Caty Beilsmith, senior manager, business services, and Stacy Campbell and Joel Hundelt, both senior managers in tax services.

Beilsmith has over 10 years of experience in public accounting and specializes in working with companies in the construction, health care and manufacturing industries. She works with corporations and closely held businesses and has a focuses on audit, HUD compliance and employee benefit plan audits. She also works closely with college campuses across Missouri and Illinois to attract and recruit top talent to the firm.

Stacy Campbell

Joel Hundelt

For 20 years, Campbell has been working with individuals, partnerships, corporations and closely held businesses on tax planning and compliance, accounting and consulting. Her specialty is the real estate and construction industry. She also serves on the tax committee helping to develop policies and procedures for the department and coordinating continuing professional education. She also helps attract new talent to the firm as a member of the recruiting committee.

Hundelt has spent 10 years at the firm, working with individuals, partnerships and corporations, assisting them with tax planning and compliance, accounting, consulting and mergers and acquisitions. He specializes in the manufacturing and distribution industry, and has focused knowledge in state and local taxation.

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