Mark Baer to Take Reins as Crowe CEO Next Year

Mark Baer

Mark Baer

Chicago-based Crowe (FY19 net revenue of $951.9 million) has announced that firm veteran Mark Baer will be appointed CEO effective April 1, 2021, when current CEO Jim Powers completes his second and firm-mandated final term. The firm’s CEO succession plan includes a one-year transition period for Powers and Baer to work together.

Baer has been the MP of Crowe’s audit and assurance services area for the past five years. He has also served the firm as a member of Crowe’s firmwide management committee, CEO advisory council and partner screening committee. Baer worked with a Big 4 firm for 10 years before joining Crowe in 2001 and being admitted as a partner in 2003.

“Mark was chosen to lead our firm for many reasons but primarily due to his visionary mindset with a focus on our digital transformation, his track record of successful leadership of our audit and assurance practice and his commitment to audit quality,” says Dawnella Johnson, Crowe board chair. “He’s a strong communicator and inspirational leader, with a concentration on building talent and teams.”

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Cotton & Company Names New MP, Structural Changes

Steve Koons

Steve Koons has been elected MP at Cotton & Company of Alexandria, Va. (FY18 net revenue of $30 million), succeeding Matthew Johnson, who had held the post since 2006.

Koons joined the firm in 2010 after working for the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the Office of Inspector General at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and was elected partner in 2014.

The firm also announced that it has restructured its legacy Financial and Information Assurance (IA) practices into new assurance and advisory practices in a realignment that is expected to be largely completed by April. With the aim of enhancing its collaborative, multi-disciplinary service offerings, the assurance practice will focus on federal financial statement audits and related performance audits, while the advisory practice will focus on consulting engagements.

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KPMG Selects Paul Knopp as Next CEO

Paul Knopp

KPMG has announced that Paul Knopp will serve as the Big 4 firm’s next chair and CEO for a five-year term starting July 1, while Laura Newinski has been elected deputy chair.

Knopp, a 36-year veteran of the firm, leads several of the firm’s most complex global audit engagements. Newinski, vice chair of operations, has held several leadership roles in the tax practice of the New York-based firm, which reports FY18 net revenues of more than $9.46 billion. The KPMG partnership ratified the election of Knopp and Newinski on March 2.

Laura Newinski

Knopp and Newinski will succeed Lynne Doughtie and P. Scott Ozanus, who have served since 2015 as U.S. chair and CEO and deputy chair, respectively. Both will retire later this year. Doughtie previously announced that she would not seek a second term.

“I have had the pleasure of working closely with Paul for many years, and I can attest to his values-based leadership,” Doughtie says in a statement. “He is a thoughtful, confident and decisive leader who inspires people at all levels. Laura is a proven leader who has a long and successful track record driving operational excellence, transformative change and growth for the firm.”

Knopp says it is a pivotal time in the firm’s history. “We have a tremendous opportunity to bring value to our various stakeholders through our one-firm approach during these transformative times.”

Knopp has served leading global companies in the manufacturing, life sciences, transportation, professional services and technology industries. He has served on KPMG’s board of directors, including serving as lead director.

Newinski joined KPMG in 1988. She is responsible for technology and financial matters for the firm and oversees its operations. She also serves as COO for KPMG’s Americas region. Prior to her current role, Newinski served as the national MP of KPMG’s U.S. tax practice and also held other regional leadership roles for the practice.

“The best part about working at KPMG is our remarkable people,” Newinski says. “Our people serve our clients with excellence, support one another and their communities, and find solutions that have impact.”

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Josh Beck Named New MP of MarksNelson

Josh Beck

Josh Beck has been named MP of MarksNelson (FY18 net revenue of $26.3 million) of Kansas City, Mo.

Beck, a partner in the advisory practice, succeeds Mark Radetic as part of a multi-year succession plan, the firm announced. Beck is also a member of the executive committee and leads the real estate niche.

“MarksNelson employs some of the best and brightest professionals in our industry united by a sincere care for our clients, our team and our community. It is my mission to uphold the legacy we have established over the last 50 years while always evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of our clients,” Beck says.

Beck previously founded an advisory firm that merged with MarksNelson. The firm has added new services including accounting automation, business intelligence, data science services, enterprise resource planning, client relationship management solutions and software customization.

DMCL Announces New MP, COO, 3 Partners

Vancouver, British Columbia-based DMCL (FY18 net revenue of $31.5 million) announces that Fraser Ross has become the new MP.

Ross has been a partner in the private enterprise group since 1999. He provides accounting, assurance, taxation and business advisory services to owner-managed businesses, not-for-profit organizations and individuals. He also specializes in audit, review and compilation services for privately held enterprises, personal and corporate tax planning and compliance, and transaction advisory services on business acquisitions, dispositions and other corporate re-organizations.

Additionally, Aaron Thompson has become the new COO. Thompson oversees all administration aspects of the firm, including finance, human resources and IT. He started at the firm in 2011 as assistant controller.

The firm also admitted three partners.

Steven Reichert has joined the partnership in the audit and assurance group. He provides accounting and assurance services to both public and private companies and not-for-profit organizations. He joined DMCL in April 2019 after spending his career with a Big 4 firm where he was a senior manager.

Michael Auras has joined the partnership in the private enterprise group. He provides accounting, assurance, taxation and advisory services. This involves services to private companies, individuals and not-for-profit organizations. Specialties include corporate and personal tax planning and compliance, business succession, and the preservation and transfer of wealth.

Keith Changfoot has joined the partnership in the private enterprise group. He provides accounting, assurance, taxation and business advisory services to private companies, individuals and not-for-profit organizations. He serves a variety of sectors including professional services, real estate and property management, construction, manufacturing and retail.

Ericksen Krentel Elects New MP

Ericksen Krentel of New Orleans has a new MP: Ronald Dawson Jr., formerly the PIC of the accounting and audit services section.

As MP, he is responsible for creating and managing operational strategies that help the firm better serve its clients and the marketplace in addition to leading all strategic and administrative activities.

As PIC, he oversaw day-to-day operations of more than 20 accountants. Dawson also serves as segment leader of the firm’s construction and real estate niches.

He is active in community organizations and was recognized among New Orleans CityBusiness’ 2017 Money Makers honorees, which recognizes local professionals for financial achievements in their respective industries and their community impact.

The biggest satisfaction of his work, Dawson told CityBusiness, is getting that “a-ha” moment with a client. “It’s when the lightbulb goes off. When you have given them the knowledge, based on your skills, analytical or otherwise, that gives them what they need to make a decision. That’s a thrill for me.”

Dawson is Ericksen Krentel’s fifth MP. The firm also celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2020.

Schneider Downs Announces Plan for New Co-MP

Pittsburgh-based Schneider Downs (FY19 net revenue of $87.5 million) has announced that Christopher McElroy will join co-MP/CEO Steven Thompson in the top role on July 1.

Timothy Hammer, who shared the role with Thompson for five years, will retire on that date after 34 years at Schneider Downs.

Through Schneider Downs’ co-CEO structure, McElroy and Thompson will be responsible for co-leading the firm as it relates to client services, corporate culture, firm growth and community involvement. The firm has operated under a dual management structure for nearly half of its 63 years.

Thompson states, “Chris’ insights, enthusiasm and incredible leadership skills will be invaluable assets as we lead our firm into the future. Schneider Downs thrives under a collaborative culture, not just at the managing partner level, but also through our very strong board and talented shareholder group. Our five-year plan includes aggressive plans and initiatives, and we have the leadership team in place to make it happen.”

McElroy joined the firm in 2017 as a tax shareholder, technical advisor, mentor and member of the firm’s management team. He holds leadership roles with several firm committees, and has a diverse background serving large U.S.-based multi-national companies, closely held companies, partnerships and S corporations.

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Partners Can Be Complacent And Ego-Driven, But Their Success = Firm Success

Without the support of the partner group, MPs can’t move their firms forward. The realities of gaining consensus among hard-driving professionals with different working styles, skills and drivers can be more challenging than even the most insightful firm leader could anticipate. One MP says, “It’s like herding cats, and it’s very difficult to get all partners on the same page because not everybody has the same value proposition and not everyone is motivated by the same metrics.”

No MP owns a how-to guidebook on juggling the multiple – and sometimes competing – priorities demanding their attention every day. INSIDE Public Accounting, therefore, asked more than 70 MPs to offer anonymous insights on the frustrations, challenges, joys and rewards of the top job. In a 12-question survey, they offered unfiltered, candid insights. Here are responses to just a few of the questions.

What are two of your biggest frustrations with the partner group? Two themes – egos and complacency – immediately emerged from MP responses to this question. Some MPs say partners think their way is the only way. They fail to see the benefit of trying a different approach, close themselves off from other points of view, second-guess decisions (after failing to participate in the discussion), and stay in their comfort zone of client service without committing to professional development, marketing, timely billing and collections.

One MP said two or three partners are so negative “they’re like a cancer.” Some partners think they’re “too busy or too important to follow the rules,” says another.

However, with the success of the partners goes the success of the firm, and MPs are quick to acknowledge the massive amounts of work they handle, the numerous clients they serve admirably and the demands they address without fail.

Frustrations With Partners IncludeLack of Participation “They don’t speak up. When we need them to vote it’s like pulling teeth to get them to respond on time.”

Lack of Accountability “Partners like to measure others but don’t like to be measured.” Another MP says, “Too many of our partners are cruisers. Some of these, though, think they are dynamos and they aren’t.”

Self-Centered Thinking One MP is frustrated by “getting them to work together as a team, and not be so concerned about themselves.” Another says, “Partners think they are suited for all jobs because they are successful in one or two areas.” Another disappointment? “Partners who occasionally want to be MP, but only when they don’t like something specific but don’t want any part of the running of the firm on a daily basis.”

Hanging on When it’s Time to Retire “They seem to want to continue to come to the office, take up a large office, and distract staff and have no desire to step away. This can hold back some of the younger partners and potential partners.”

Failure to Use Time Wisely – A top-notch partner, one MP says, should “discuss issues with other partners when they arise and not behind their back, seek to interact more with fellow partners, be joyful in what you do and how you carry yourself, and help others at all times when asked.” Another MP comments that partners often complain about being overloaded with work. “As a result, they can’t hit their goals, or do this or that. What I find is that they’re not looking inside and prioritizing, pushing down or making good choices.”

“What’s the most valuable piece of advice you would share with an MP?…Don’t try to be popular, say many MPs who responded to this question. “You have to make what you feel is the best decision for the firm and don’t take unhappy partners or staff personally,” one MP says. “They will get over it.”

MPs, in various ways, advised new executives to make the tough decisions, but be respectful. Communicate clearly and often, and put the long-term best interest of the firm above selfish or short-term gains. Always.

More advice from the trenches…

  • Don’t Rush – “Be patient. Making changes is like moving a battleship so take it slow and do it right.” Another MP says, “Think more. Do less.”
  • Be Direct – “Establish up front that you’re not going to put up with negativity, complaining, etc., or they’ll be brought up before the executive committee.”
  • Think ‘Big Picture’ – “Communicate, communicate, communicate. There has to be someone in charge that creates the vision and rallies the employees behind it.”
  • Get Support – “Find four or five other managing partners or consultants that they admire and respect and build close relationships with them. That gives them a sounding board outside his or her own partner group. Other MPs are also great sources of new ideas that can be implemented.”
  • Learn the Role Before Taking It – “Just because you’re a good accountant doesn’t mean you know how to run a business.”
  • Watch the WIP – “If you don’t bill, you don’t collect money. If you don’t collect money, you can’t pay the bills.”
  • Manage Your Time – “Block off chunks of time to work on administrative duties and client duties. Constantly switching back and forth is difficult and draining.”
  • Stay Focused – “Work hard, never lose the trust of the partners who are willing to trust, and don’t let the naysayers distract you.”
  • Be Open – “Understand you need to learn as much as you can about how to work with different types of people.” Another MP agrees. “Get to know all your partners, and determine what really motivates them, and what is it that they care most about at the firm. Do not play favorites, and don’t allow little partner groups to form and break down the vision of the firm. Rather, bring their concerns to the table, and resolve them.”

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K. James Hunt New CEO of Arnett Carbis Toothman

K. James Hunt & Steven Robey

K. James Hunt has been named CEO of Charleston, W.Va.-based Arnett Carbis Toothman (FY18 net revenue of $37.4 million).

Hunt succeeds Steven Robey who served as CEO for the last 10 years. “Hunt and Robey have worked together, hand-in-hand, over the last several years to make ACT what it is today,” the firm announced.

The transition is part of the firm’s succession plan, which has been in the works the last three years.

“Transitioning out of the CEO role is bittersweet,” says Robey, who will continue working full time serving clients. “I love what I do, and loved what I did as chief executive officer, but I recognize when it’s time to pass the torch to the next generation of leaders. With the dedication and leadership that James has exhibited in all of the years I’ve known him, under his direction, ACT has a bright and exciting future ahead.”

Hunt, who has been in public accounting for nearly 30 years, specializing in health care, will oversee day-to-day operations, and guide firm strategy, growth, innovation and culture. He will lead the executive committee and serve as the firm’s health care services coordinator.

“Steve led ACT for 10 years with consistent passion, dedication and thoughtfulness. The positive impact he had on ACT is undeniable,” Hunt says.

ACT has nearly 300 team members, 32 partners and eight offices in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Restivo Monacelli Appoints Kevin Hundley as MP

Kevin Hundley

Kevin Hundley

Providence, R.I.-based Restivo Monacelli (FY18 net revenue of $7.2 million) has announced that Kevin Hundley has been appointed MP, succeeding Edmund Restivo Jr., who remains with the firm as a founding partner and will continue to service clients.

Hundley joined Restivo Monacelli in 2003 as a manager in the audit and accounting department, and was admitted as a partner in 2008. In that role, he oversaw the firm’s largest practice group and managed a growing team of professionals.

As MP, he will be responsible for the firm’s strategic direction and providing leadership on overall firm matters. Among his priorities are advancing exceptional client advisory service and building a strong culture so that the entire firm is engaged in Restivo Monacelli’s progress.

“Kevin will be an excellent steward as we evolve into a second-generation firm,” Restivo says. “His skills, leadership style and focus on promoting a client-focused and entrepreneurial environment will make him an exceptional managing partner who champions our vision for future growth.”

Hundley has more than 20 years of experience in public accounting. Prior to joining Restivo Monacelli, he began his career and was a manager in the Columbus, Ohio, office of Crowe.