PKF O’Connor Davies Establishes German Desk

Ralf Ruedenburg

New York-based PKF O’Connor Davies (FY17 net revenue of $160 million) announced that it has hired Ralf Ruedenburg to serve as principal and practice leader of the new German Desk specializing in audit, tax and advisory services, merger and acquisition advice and tax structuring for U.S., German, Austrian and Swiss clients.

“Ralf is exactly the right person to lead this exciting expansion,” says MP Kevin J. Keane. “As our international footprint continues to grow, his leadership and experience will be essential in further establishing a robust offering for U.S. clients conducting business in Germany and German, Austrian and Swiss clients conducting business in the U.S.”

This growth is part of PKF O’Connor Davies’ initiative to solidify world-class services for international markets and answer the call from clients to extend the firm’s practice areas. The German desk will provide clients with international insights, technical expertise and a deep cultural understanding of German business needs and priorities. The firm also has a China Desk, serving Asian clients.

“I’m proud to join the incredible international team at PKF O’Connor Davies to expand our presence in the market where I began my career,” says Ruedenburg. “German-owned companies have a unique set of accounting needs, and I look forward to building a practice with exceptional professional services to drive better results for current and new clients.”

MSPC Announces Executive Team Changes

Patrick Trombetta

Cranford, N.J.-based MSPC Certified Public Accountants and Advisors (FY17 net revenue of $10.6 million) has announced that Jon Gagliardi, with more than 30 years of experience with the firm, has been named MP.

Gagliardi, who has a wide range of technical expertise, focuses on accountability and independent thinking. “We see a trend toward more consultative services. Clients need much more than tax returns and financial statements these days. They need professional advice on everything from growth to business wind-down.

We are focused on expanding our offerings to meet clients’ needs no matter where they are in the business life cycle,” notes Gagliardi. As part of the firm’s revised executive structure, Patrick Trombetta assumed the newly created COO role.

Richard Montalbano

Trombetta, who heads the firm’s employee benefit plans practice, takes on the management of firm operations. By sharing responsibilities, Gagliardi and Trombetta can both continue to serve their existing client base while handling various components of the Firm’s infrastructure.

MSPC also welcomes Richard Montalbano to the executive committee. Montalbano is PIC of MSPC’s New York office and has significant experience in complex tax situations and working with international clients.

James Flannery ended his 10-year term as MP Oct. 31. He will continue to serve on the executive committee in an advisory role for a year ensuring a smooth transition. He will now resume more active client relations assisting with consultative services such as mergers and acquisitions and succession planning.

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.

DMA Appoints Hutmacher as President and CEO

Dan Hutmacher

Dan Hutmacher

DuCharme McMillen & Associates (DMA), which has four offices in Canada and 17 in the United States, has announced that its board of directors has appointed Dan Hutmacher as president and CEO.

Earlier this year, DMA’s board commissioned a national executive search for a successor to Dave Meinika, the firm’s longtime president and CEO, who stepped down in April due to health reasons. Though no longer an employee of the company, Meinika continues to serve as a member of DMA’s board of directors.

Hutmacher, who had been serving as interim president and CEO since Meinika’s departure, emerged from the search as the clear choice to lead DMA into the future.

Hutmacher joined DMA in 1989 and served in a variety of operational and managerial roles with increasing responsibilities. He most recently served as the company’s COO.

“I’ve been a proud DMA employee-owner for many years, and now I’m honored to lead the company,” Hutmacher says. “Over his many years of service, Dave poured his heart and soul into DMA and, in the process, created a unique and special culture that centers on our employee-owners and on providing great client service experiences. We want to preserve that culture while we continue to evolve as a business in order to meet our clients’ needs.”

Eisner Amper Admits Rod Smith as Partner 

Rod Smith

New York-based EisnerAmper (FY18 net revenue of $360.7 million) announces that Rod Smith has joined the firm as a partner in the assurance and technology control services practice within the audit group. He will specialize in A&A, IT audits, public companies, SOC reports, reporting standards and internal controls. Smith will be based in the Philadelphia office.

Smith has more than 25 years of experience in professional services, overseeing the execution and quality assurance of the IT control assurance portion for the firm’s financial statement audits, control attestation examinations and technology control assurance consulting services. His broad range of technology risk and control assurance experience extends to sectors such as banking, investment management, broker-dealers, property/casualty insurance, mortgage finance, technology services, and health care providers and insurers.

“With his experience and skills sets, Rod is a wonderful addition to our team” says Jim Mack, PIC of the firm’s assurance and technology control services Group. “His IT and risk management background offer, without a doubt, significant value to our clients.”

Frabotta Receives Distinguished Service Award

Anthony P. Frabotta

Anthony P. Frabotta

Chicago-based UHY (FY17 net revenue of $140.8 million) announced that its chair and CEO, Anthony P. Frabotta, has been recognized with The Distinguished Service Award from the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants.

The Distinguished Service Award is presented to those who have made significant contributions to the accounting profession. Honorees have shown exceptional leadership and service, making a lasting impact in their industry and their communities.

“As a true advocate for the profession, Tony has mentored hundreds of young CPAs, both at the firm and on the campus of Wayne State,” says Guy Gordon, WJR radio host and the emcee for the night. “Beyond the profession, Tony is a strong supporter of Detroit and its surrounding communities through involvement in several area charities”

Frabotta helped establish UHY Cares, a nonprofit organization run exclusively by employees. Over the entirety of his 44-year career, he has been an outstanding leader in the MICPA family.

Dee, Finklang and Hoffmann to be Named Anders Partners

Jeanne Dee

St. Louis-based Anders CPAs + Advisors (FY17 net revenue of $31.8 million) has announced that Jeanne M. Dee, Dave M. Finklang and Scott A. Hoffmann have been accepted into the partnership, effective Jan. 1.

About Jeanne Dee – Dee joined Anders in 2016 as a principal in the audit and advisory services group. She brought her years of experience with serving not-for-profit organizations to Anders, re-energizing the niche and connecting the firm to more not-for-profit organizations in the community.

Dee specializes in audits of financial statements for not-for-profit organizations, government entities, employee benefit plans and closely held businesses. She leads the Anders not-for-profit team, and is a frequent author and speaker on accounting principles and new or changing audit standards.

About Dave Finklang – Finklang joined Anders in 2013 as a supervisor in tax services, and quickly established a growing startup and entrepreneurial services practice at Anders. His business development skills, leadership ability and professional and civic involvement have helped him rapidly progress through the ranks to become a partner of the firm.

 Finklang has wide-ranging, specialized experience in tax planning and compliance, startup services and consulting, and accounting services. Finklang works with entrepreneurs and emerging companies by helping them raise capital, structure their businesses, implement accounting systems and minimize their tax burdens. Finklang was named the youngest 2016 40 Under 40 by the St. Louis Business Journal.

Scott Hoffmann

About Scott Hoffmann – Hoffmann leads the outsourced accounting services group at Anders and manages a team of nine. He was instrumental in starting the technology-backed approach to outsourced accounting and CFO services at the firm, and the group has grown to over $1 million in revenue in a few short years.

 Hoffmann joined Anders in 2011. His previous experience as a CFO and COO to both closely held and publicly traded organizations, has allowed him to be an effective financial leader for small and mid-sized clients. Through the use of the latest cloud-based technologies, Hoffmann provides financial information to his clients in real time, allowing for quick analysis of results and timely decision-making.

IPA Spotlight On … Chris Geier, Sikich

Name: Christopher Geier

Christopher Geier

Christopher Geier

Title: CEO and MP

Firm: Naperville, Ill.-based Sikich (FY17 net revenue of $152.1 million)

Accomplishments:

  • Became CEO and MP on Jan. 1, 2017.
  • Former PIC of the firm’s advisory services and investment banking practice and a member of the executive board
  • More than 20 years of experience in mergers and acquisitions and capital raising transactions across multiple industries

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?

With a wide mix of practice areas, Sikich is uniquely positioned to help businesses improve productivity and performance. And as technology changes the way accounting services are delivered, we are well-prepared to adapt. We have a robust technology practice that offers innovative digital strategies and technology solutions. We’re a leader in cloud and emerging technologies, and our solutions include everything from cybersecurity to artificial intelligence to blockchain. We are leveraging this expertise to place technology at the center of all the services we offer clients.

What’s the biggest threat facing your firm today and how do you intend to overcome it?

The competition for talent is increasing. We know we must continue to attract talented, innovative professionals to remain a competitive firm that offers impactful business solutions to clients. As a driver of innovation in the professional services industry, we are well positioned to attract ambitious and creative employees who question the status quo and seek to transform business processes. We continue to embrace an entrepreneurial company culture that rewards risk-taking and creative solutions. As a result, talented professionals who are looking to chart a unique, unencumbered career path will thrive at Sikich.

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

Disruption is coming to the industry. Propelled by technological innovation, firms will need to change how they deliver services. Some will, and some won’t. As a result, I expect there will be significant consolidation in the industry over the next several years. The firms that adopt technology-enabled solutions will enhance client service and position themselves for long-term success.

Final thoughts?

My motto for our firm is, “Embrace change and learn to adapt. It’s inevitable in business that you will need to do both well.” That’s a good motto for the rest of the industry, as well.

The Evolving Employee DNA

By: Tom Barry, Managing Partner, Green Hasson Janks

Tom Barry

DNA is the genetic code of organisms. The dictionary defines it as “the fundamental and distinctive characteristics or qualities of someone or something.”

What does this have to do with accounting? Is this article about science? Not exactly. It is about the science – and art – of identifying and understanding an accounting firm’s evolving “DNA,” or culture, as the foundation for a successful organization and thriving employees. We are exploring how the future of the industry is requiring us to examine how we hire, develop and nurture our talent.

The Future of Accounting

An accounting firm’s DNA had typically been based on a historical legacy, carried over from an era where the profession looked far different than today – and certainly not reflecting where the profession is headed. Accountants were essentially historians, who were paid to look back at books and records and identify issues and errors. Fast forward, the role of accountant has evolved to that of a trusted advisor, one who can accurately provide clients with insights to illuminate good decisions. But with the advancements of technology, big data and the pace of technology commerce, accountants need to be trusted futurists. As my predecessor, Leon Janks, stated well:

“It’s now our job as advisors to sort through this data, analyze and determine the best practices to help our clients reach their potential and grow their business. Businesses exist in a very dynamic environment and management needs to be agile in order to make changes and anticipate the future.”

There are three main factors related to the evolution of accounting firms: technology, generational differences and diversity of thought.

Accounting Firms and Technology DNA

The accounting profession is 7,000 years old. The AICPA was founded in 1887. We can rest assured that change and evolution of the profession has occurred more times that we can imagine. So how is today different? In a word: technology. Technology is considered to be an evolutionary process in that it evolves exponentially, known as Moore’s Law. Each generation of technology speeds up the subsequent generations’ advancements, which causes accelerating change. It does not just feel like the rate technology changes is accelerating, it actually is. Therefore the DNA of tomorrow requires accountants to be well versed in their “toolbox”: the computer, and the impact of technology.

The Generational Impact on DNA

Now that a majority of a firm’s employees are in different generations from its leaders, old rules do not apply. Your business, your clients and your talent continue to evolve, so staying ahead means keeping vigilant on evolving trends, client needs and talent needs. One trend to watch is generational differences. Younger workers want a reason to come to work. They want to feel that they matter, that their work matters and that they are contributing to something bigger than themselves.

In 2017, millennials (born 1981-1996) made up 38% of the nation’s workforce, more than any other generation.[1] Going forward, millennials will dominate the accounting industry, comprising 75% of employees by 2025.[2] Generation Z (born 1996-present) will continue the evolution. We hear some older generations complain about the needs of younger workers, but their needs are now the business’s needs, and leadership has an opportunity to create an environment in which employees understand their generational differences and work together effectively.

The DNA of the Diversity of Thought

Our industry’s client experience is evolving from compliance to an advisory mindset. This is a change that involves aligning ourselves with the client’s needs and helping them reach the right solutions. Making this change takes a new skill set, and recruiting the right talent becomes even more important.

Creating teams that bring diversity of thought increases the opportunity to deepen the client experience and cross-pollinate internal learning across different backgrounds and levels of business acumen.

We are in a war for talent, and the need for people with a consultative mentality makes it even more difficult. We can look at this as an opportunity rather than a challenge, however. Defining your firm’s DNA includes defining what type of employee you need and want.

Having a diverse team is key for creating a consultative approach and developing the ability to ask the right questions. When employees asks questions that come from understanding the client’s culture, strengths, challenges, best practices and industry sector, they are more effective as consultants and advisors and provide a more meaningful client experience.

At Green Hasson Janks, we seek people who are genuinely curious and ask insightful questions. Our candidates are collaborative and like working as part of a team. They are problem-solvers. Candidates who match our DNA are not always easy to find through traditional means, and a broader perspective makes sense.

One reason for the smaller candidate pool is that the unemployment rate for accountants and auditors was 2.0% in the second quarter of 2018, much lower than the 4.0% national unemployment rate, according to the latest quarterly report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).[3]

To find alternative talent pools that match a firm’s DNA, some are looking to individuals with disabilities, older workers, veterans, freelancers, apprenticeship programs, former employees or customers. Bringing in new types of employees adds diversity of thought and also can add new cultural or regional perspectives that can speed innovation.

Making talent acquisition changes based on your firm’s DNA also adds more roads to tomorrow’s success. For example, it has the potential for adding creativity and innovation to your business and the client experience. It has been proven that more diverse teams increase innovation and business outcomes. Innovative approaches and solutions may emerge through idea generation, teaming and collaboration. A wider range of people and thought may also lead to new product and service offerings that differentiate your firm and the client experience.

Where We Go From Here

To attract, develop and retain employees that are the right fit, a firm must be able to articulate its culture. Most can define somewhat random keywords (e.g., friendly, businesslike, conservative, liberal, technical, and specialized, etc.) but may not have an overarching definition that touches all aspects of the business. Agreeing on a definition is core to redefining a firm’s DNA. A culture is unique to every firm, and one size does not fit all.

We went through a yearlong process at Green Hasson Janks to define our culture in a way that reflected our values and could take us well into the future. We embraced the principles of Simon Sinek, who asks organizations to define “What is our Why?” The Why is our DNA. Each firm is different, with values that roll into their own unique Why. When those values are applied to behavior, the result is culture. Each individual also has their own Why, which is a filter through which they make choices, at work and at home, that lead to fulfillment.

With this in mind, we have been able to create a much more specific profile of the person that fits our DNA, our Why, our culture. A strong definition of the person we want in our organization streamlines the hiring process and aids in retaining and developing our talent as their careers unfold. That reduces HR cost and supports the employee’s happiness in working at our firm.

Employee DNA will continue to change, and accounting firm culture will continue to adapt and change to meet new worker and client needs. Firms that frequently define and redefine their DNA have an advantage.

Tom Barry is a CPA and Managing Partner at Green Hasson Janks, a Los Angeles accounting and consulting firm that specializes in nonprofit, food and beverage, health and wellness, and entertainment and media companies. Barry’s role is a combination of entrepreneur, partner, consultant, mentor and business advisor. He provides audit and accounting, tax and general business consulting services to clients in a variety of industries including waste management and recycling, manufacturing, distribution and the restaurant industry. He can be reached at tbarry@greenhassonjanks.com.

 

[1] https://www.accountingweb.com/practice/growth/millennials-now-make-up-largest-workforce-generation-in-us

[2] https://karbonhq.com/accountant-resources/articles/8-traits-of-millennials-that-will-benefit-your-accounting-firm

[3] https://www.roberthalf.com/blog/job-market/a-look-at-the-quarterly-accountant-unemployment-rate

Keiter Names Wallace as Managing Partner of Firm

Gary Wallace

Gary Wallace

Glen Allen, Va.-based Keiter (FY17 net revenue of $27 million) has named Gary Wallace as the firm’s new MP, effective Jan. 1, 2019. Wallace has more than 30 years of accounting experience both in the private and public sectors and most recently served as the tax department leader for Keiter. He is succeeding L. Michael Gracik Jr., who has served as MP of Keiter since 2014.

“This is a tremendous honor to be chosen by my fellow partners for this position,” says Wallace. “For the past 40 years, Keiter has helped thousands of businesses achieve their financial objectives. I look forward to furthering that tradition and leading our firm for continued success.”

In his new role, Wallace will oversee Keiter’s strategic direction, providing leadership on firm matters. He will also continue serving as a partner in the firm’s tax practice. He will be actively involved in the firm’s marketing and business development opportunities and remain engaged in community development and support.

Prior to joining Keiter in 2010, Wallace was the CFO for The Riverstone Group and CCA Industries. He acquired significant public accounting experience, as tax partner with the Richmond, Va., office of KPMG. In his more than 20 years at KPMG, Wallace was tax advisor to publicly and privately held business clients and individuals, principally in the retailing, distribution, real estate and financial services sectors.

In addition to Wallace’s position, Keiter announces that Gracik Jr. will become a director with the firm. In this new role, he will provide clients with tax advisory and succession planning consulting.

Wallace continued, “Mike Gracik has been a great MP for our firm. He was instrumental in growing firm revenues by 50%, expanding our team, growing our client base, and building our reputation as ‘Opportunity Advisors’ to the Central Virginia business community. I am thrilled that he has chosen to serve as a Director within our firm and know that we all will continue to benefit from his expertise.”

Among Wallace’s priorities as MP will be a continuation and expansion of the firm’s support and commitment to the local Richmond, Virginia community. Keiter has consistently been recognized both locally and nationally for its charitable contributions to not-for-profit organizations and volunteerism.

“I am so proud of our team at Keiter,” says Wallace. “They are among the best accounting and financial advisors in the business. More importantly, they are a compassionate team that is dedicated to finding new opportunities to serve our local community.  This year alone, they have provided more than 300 volunteer hours to local organizations.”