Wipfli Welcomes Laakso as Executive Human Resources Officer and Partner

Bill Laakso

Bill Laakso

Milwaukee-based Wipfli (FY17 net revenue of $274.8 million) has hired Bill Laakso as the firm’s new executive human resources officer and partner.

In this role, Laakso will be responsible for developing the strategies related to associate recruitment, development and engagement, and will oversee human resources operations for the firm. He will also work with Wipfli’s strong talent and culture team to continue to evolve the firm’s employment brand and culture.

“Bill’s deep expertise in the human resources area and strong track record of driving individual, team and corporate performance will enable the firm to build upon our strong culture and continue to attract and retain the best and brightest professionals in the industry,” says Rick Dreher, MP.

Laakso has 28 years of experience including leading operations for large organizations and managing internal and external communications, community relations, organizational consulting, change management and culture development for several large organizations.

Rehmann Announces New Leadership Florida

Gene Goldin

Gene Goldin

Troy, Mich.-based Rehmann (FY16 net revenue of $115 million) announced two leaders in its Stuart, Fla., office. Gene Goldin will serve as regional managing principal, and Scott Nall will serve as accounting, consulting and tax (ACT) regional director.

Goldin joined Rehmann in 2015 with the combination with Roegiers Goldin Chappel Nall & Associates, where he was MP. At Rehmann, he provides income tax planning and preparation services to individuals, corporations and partnerships and has extensive knowledge in health care practice management, planning, mergers and acquisitions, sales, compensation arrangements and financial statement analysis.

“It’s an honor to take on this leadership role and explore new challenges,” says Goldin. “We have a great team onboard and I’m excited to work with them in developing strategies that help us remain the firm of choice.”

Scott Nall

Scott Nall

Nall will be shifting his role from principal within Rehmann’s ACT department to ACT regional director. He has experience in a broad range of industries including real estate, professional services, wholesale distribution, construction and travel.

“Today’s appointments are a testament of Rehmann’s strength as these seasoned leaders assume new roles,” says CEO, Randy Rupp. “Gene and Scott’s knowledge and experience have only added to the value of the company and will continue to accelerate and move our vision forward.”

Mellor Named CEO-Elect of Crowe Horwath International

David Mellor

David Mellor

Crowe Horwath International has elected David Mellor as chief executive officer. Mellor, who will succeed Kevin McGrath, will lead Crowe Horwath effective April 1, 2018.

Mellor was elected CEO through a rigorous, disciplined and year-long succession process led by the network’s board of directors.

Until recently, Mellor was Crowe Clark Whitehill’s chief executive, the UK member firm of Crowe Horwath International. He has served on the Crowe Horwath International board of directors for four years. Mellor has more than 25 years of professional experience advising international businesses and their shareholders on tax matters. He will continue to provide input, support and counsel to Crowe Clark Whitehill until the end of March 2018.

“Crowe Horwath is a network that distinguishes itself in the market by bringing smart decisions that deliver lasting value to clients, talent and the communities where we live and work,” says Mellor, who is based in London.

Mellor adds, “I am committed to building on the strong foundation Kevin has created. Under Kevin’s leadership, Crowe Horwath has gained position to become the eighth largest global professional services organization and achieved five years of sustained revenue growth. He has also expanded our member footprint so that our firms can successfully serve clients wherever they choose to do business and moved the network toward becoming a more integrated global brand.”

Moore Stephens International Appoints Colella as Global CEO

Anton Colella

Anton Colella

Anton Colella has been appointed global CEO of Moore Stephens International. He is currently global chief executive of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS).

“His experience offers a unique insight into the challenges facing our business and he brings change management skills which will greatly benefit our network and its member firms. Anton’s appointment provides the inspiration, direction and challenge necessary to achieve the objectives of Moore Stephens International and cement our position as a major global business,” says Richard Moore, chairman.

Colella comments, “The accountancy and advisory world is at a crossroads, where the challenges of technology, ethics and geopolitical upheaval will present opportunities for those who are bold enough and ambitious enough to seize them.

“Over the past decade, Anton has been the architect of a transformed ICAS and we want to thank him for his immense contribution,” says ICAS president, Sir Brian Souter.

Planning to Become a Better CPA

In an article by Bill Tsotsos, he discusses professional development specific to the profession. He believes that there is a natural human desire to improve professionally. Whether the reason is to earn more money, a firm promotion, peer recognition or the satisfaction that we are operating at a high level for our clients, most of us want to improve our skills to be the best we can be. Since professional goals may be in conflict with personal goals (spending more time at home with the family), the answer is not simply to work more hours. The question is: How do I become better at what I do; how do I become a better CPA?

Tsotsos maintains that becoming a better CPA involves designing an annual plan for professional growth.

The primary elements of his professional growth plan include:

  • Industry expertise. A CPA can add much more value to a client if they become an expert in that client industry. To become an expert, talk to industry leaders, read what they read, join industry associations and attend local chapter meetings.
  • Service niche or tax specialty area. You don’t want to be a tax generalist; select an area of tax law and “make your mark.” Similarly, identify a service niche you would like to pursue – forensic accounting, business succession, merger and acquisition, and develop expertise.
  • CPE/soft skill development. Soft skills are typically identified as leadership, management, communication, and business development. Plan to take courses in these areas even if there are no continuing education credits available.
  • Build your referral pipeline. With the advent of social media, it is no longer necessary to ask for a referral with the question “Who do you know?” Once you are connected to a client on LinkedIn, you can now ask for introductions to specific people by name.
  • Organizations to join or attend. Consider professional associations of referral partners like estate planning attorneys or bankers. Joining a nonprofit association gives you exposure and access to community leaders.
  • Mentoring. Ask a partner of the firm to mentor you and schedule regular meetings. Ask to be included with client lunches, meetings with prospects and referral or potential referral partners.
  • Plan to have a coffee, breakfast, or lunch each business day (200 times/year) with a client, prospect or referral partner. This will produce a solid referral pipeline and enable you to know your client on a deeper level.
  • Hire a trainer/coach. Executives hire coaches and take management courses on how to be better leaders. A coach can give you a different perspective, advice and help you get the most out of your efforts.

If you are serious about becoming a better CPA, design an annual plan for professional growth and enlist an accountability partner. Do not limit expenditures to what might be reimbursable by your employer – invest in yourself and in your career. Take personal responsibility for your career development. It will pay huge dividends.

Andersen Global Names DePaoli as Regional MP for U.S., Canada and Israel

Dan DePaoli

Dan DePaoli

Andersen Global named Dan DePaoli the regional MP for the U.S., Canada and Israel. DePaoli serves on the board of directors in the U.S. and has been the U.S. managing director of San Francisco-based Andersen Tax (FY16 net revenue of $220.2 million) for nearly two years.

DePaoli, along with two other regional leaders, will focus on specific regional strategies and is part of the larger structure that will support the growth of Andersen Global and its member and collaborating firms. The regional leaders for Latin America and Europe will be announced in the coming weeks.

DePaoli’s background includes providing tax consulting and compliance services to high-net-worth individuals and families, while also providing tax and financial services to family offices. He began his career at Arthur Andersen more than 25 years ago.

“Dan’s collaborative nature combined with his experience on the U.S. board and as a line partner makes him an excellent fit for this role. He is a steward for our firm and fully embodies the culture and values of our organization,” says Mark Vorsatz CEO.

Tailoring Your Partner Compensation Plan

A partner compensation plan is one of your most effective management tools and yet many firms don’t maximize its usefulness. According to Esposito CEO2CEO advisory firm, your partner group can be visualized on a bell curve, falling into four quartiles. Understanding where they fall can help improve your compensation design to make it vital to your bottom line.

In the first quartile, you have the high performers who produce outstanding contributions to the firm on a consistent basis, your go-getters. Their contributions might be in maintaining excellent client relationships, consistent new business development or mentoring younger staff and firm administration. These are the partners who receive large year-end bonuses and generally are the firm’s highest earners.

In the second quartile, you have the solid performers. They are reliable team players who do their best and are sincere in furthering the success of the firm. More than likely these partners are a combination of seasoned equity partners and up and coming non-equity partners. They are worth every penny that they get in compensation.

In the third quartile, you have the journeymen. These partners give you a solid performance and do what they can to further the firm but may possess qualities of an employee rather than an owner of the business. They usually aren’t the lead partners on client relationships because they are not as effective, only occasionally bringing new business.

In the fourth quartile, you have partners who are poor performers for a host of different reasons. Perhaps they no longer possess the necessary drive, or never had it to begin with.

Esposito CEO2CEO believes that firms need more than 50% of its partners in the first and second quartile to realize your firm’s full potential and should make changes as necessary, especially if it has more than half of your partners in the third and fourth quartiles.

To continue this momentum, using your partner compensation plan to reward desired behaviors can move the firm’s bottom line. Esposito CEO2CEO suggests:

  • Rewarding partners who covet clients for their own rather than for the firm does nothing to encourage a cohesive atmosphere. Similarly, rewarding an “eat what you kill” environment won’t build a firm that can remain independent in the long run.
  • Tolerating poor client billing and collecting habits not only tells the compliant partners that you aren’t serious about the firm’s stated policies, but you may risk losing other high performers who don’t respect leadership with inconsistent management.
  • Staff evaluations should be timely to cut down on unnecessary turnover. This should also include the ability to have upward partner evaluations to moderate potential staff abuses.
  • Make sure you are paying your top performers their market value, rather than sprinkling the bonus pool to fourth quartile partners.

Of course, there is no perfect partner compensation plan, but if your plan doesn’t address these success factors, you probably aren’t rewarding the necessary behaviors that will enable you to compete in the future.

PKF O’Connor Davies Expands Harrison Leadership Team

George Whitehead

George Whitehead

New York-based PKF O’Connor Davies (FY16 net revenue of $146.6 million) has promoted George Whitehead and Ann Buscaglia to leadership roles in their Harrison, N.Y., office.

Whitehead was named PIC of the Harrison office, while Buscaglia was named PIC of tax in that same office. The newly created roles are designed to create greater levels of collaboration and oversight as the firm continues to grow its Harrison presence and expand the firm more broadly moving forward.

“We continue to grow as a firm, and promoting partners of this caliber is the logical next step as we look to foster new levels of collaboration, mentorship and leadership amid this ongoing expansion,” says Kevin Keane, MP.

Ann Buscaglia

Ann Buscaglia

In his new role, Whitehead will oversee the day-to-day management of the Harrison office, focusing on growth and the surrounding efficiencies, including scheduling, staffing, budgeting and forecasting. Whitehead brings more than 20 years of leadership and administration expertise to the role. He is also a member of the firm’s quality control team and accounting and auditing committees.

Buscaglia, who has more than 20 years of tax experience, will oversee the day-to-day management of the office’s tax group, including staffing, training, scheduling and systems to be used within this group.

Andersen Tax Welcomes Rode as Managing Director to Chicago Office

San Francisco-based Andersen Tax (FY16 net revenue of $220.2 million) welcomes Brad Rode as a managing director in the Chicago office as part of the commercial practice group. Rode specializes in international U.S. federal tax, which includes assisting businesses and investors with addressing tax implications of various cross-border enterprises such as expansion overseas, mergers, acquisitions, financing and restructurings. He works with both U.S. outbound and foreign inbound clients in a variety of industries, including technology, manufacturing, real estate and private equity.

Rode has more than 19 years of experience assisting clients with tax considerations around a broad array of matters, including multinational business expansion and financing, transaction and business structuring, supply chain analysis, deployment of intangible and intellectual property, management of foreign currency exposure, foreign investments in U.S. real estate as well as tax compliance and reporting across a wide range of categories.

“Brad’s expertise over a broad range of U.S. federal tax areas with an international framework provides us with an excellent resource and a key addition to our Chicago team,” says Kevin Burns, office managing director in Chicago.

“International tax is an area of strategic focus for our firm both in Chicago and nationally, and Brad’s experience helps round out our offering in this critical area,” says Mark Vorsatz, CEO.

BDO Names Aziz as Global Head of Tax

Robert Aziz

Robert Aziz

BDO Global named Robert Aziz as its new global head of tax, effective June 1. John Wonfor was previously the global head of tax. Wonfor has been the external face of BDO’s international tax practice since January 2010 and has played an important part in helping to grow the network’s tax capabilities. Wonfor is returning to BDO Canada to become national tax office leader.

Aziz has 30 years of experience in advising both U.K. and non-U.K. multinational companies on all aspects of their corporate tax affairs. He joined BDO U.K. as a tax partner in 2002 and his primary area of expertise is international tax, with specific emphasis on cross-border financing, intellectual property planning and mergers and acquisitions structuring and support. He has been involved at an international level for a number of years, having founded BDO U.K.’s corporate international team in 2006, and representing BDO U.K. on the network’s international tax advisory committee from 2010 to 2016. He currently leads BDO’s corporate international tax center of excellence and is also the U.K./U.S. tax liaison partner for BDO U.K.

“Our global tax practice is an important element in our strategic approach and I have no doubt that Robert will contribute to achieving our objectives for this service line. I would also like to express my sincere thanks to John Wonfor for all his contributions to the BDO network and to wish him success in his new role,” says Martin van Roekel, global CEO of BDO.