Blucora to Acquire 1st Global

Two tax-focused independent broker-dealers (IBD) are coming together. Blucora, the parent company of the IBD HD Vest and the software maker TaxAct, have entered into an agreement to buy 1st Global for about $180 million in stock. Both are based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

With 1st Global’s 850 advisors and $18 billion in client assets, the combined entity should have close to 4,500 advisors and $60 billion in total assets, Blucora says. 1st Global, the No. 2 tax-focused independent broker-dealer based on total revenue, specializes in servicing large, multi-partner accounting firms, while HD Vest, the No. 1 tax-focused independent broker-dealer, focuses primarily on converting individual tax preparers into wealth advisors.

Tony Batman, chairman and CEO of 1st Global, says, “Given Blucora’s strong business model and demonstrated execution, and the similarities between the businesses, we believe Blucora is the ideal acquirer for us. We know that Blucora shares our vision and that together we are better and stronger with the shared talent and expertise of the two businesses. This will provide our advisors and their clients with even greater service, support and solutions for years to come.”

The deal comes more than three years after Blucora announced plans to buy HD Vest, which had 4,500 financial advisors with $36 billion in assets at the time.

“Blucora dominates the tax preparer/advisor market space, [and] they further increase their dominance with the purchase of 1st Global,” says IBD recruiter Jon Henschen. “1st Global was originally a spin-off from HD Vest, with Tony Batman founding the firm with the same focus of tax preparers as HD Vest but focusing on having higher average-production-per-advisor requirements than HD Vest.”

Recently, 1st Global released the results of its advisor satisfaction survey, which found that more than 97% are pleased with service and support and would recommend affiliating with 1st Global to another financial advisor or CPA.

Two Georgia Firms Unite to Become Heaven and Alvarez LLC

Heaven and Associates of Norcross, Ga., and Alvarez CPA and Associates of Berkeley Lake, Ga., have merged to become Heaven and Alvarez.

Ranae Heaven and Carlos Alvarez are the firm’s only two partners.

“The merger brings together two established accounting firms and creates a genuine alternative to the regional and mid-sized accounting firms in the metro-Atlanta marketplace,” Heaven said in a statement. “The culture of both firms is highly compatible, with similar client service delivery models that focus on a value-based personal service approach.

The firm will be located at 4720 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. in Norcross and have about 10 staff.

“I sought to merge with a similarly growing firm to expand the services offered to my clients, and also have the added benefit of tapping into Gwinnett County’s large Spanish-speaking population,” Alvarez said in a statement.

YHB Merges in Accounting Firm in Falls Church

Winchester, Va.-based Yount Hyde & Barbour (FY17 net revenue of $24.5 million) has merged in Murray Jonson White & Associates (MJW) of Falls Church, Va.

“With the partners and staff well-respected in the region and sharing a common client-centric approach, we know this will be a win-win for everyone,” says Scott Moulden, MP of Yount Hyde & Barbor (YHB). “In addition to expanding our geographic footprint closer to D.C., this helps position our staff to more easily serve the many clients we already work with in and around the area.”

MJW is a full-service CPA firm that has served the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area since its founding in 1959. The firm provides a comprehensive range of accounting and tax services to private sector companies, not-for-profit organizations, individuals and fiduciaries.

“Finding a partner that shared the same dedication to quality, client relations, community commitment and staff care was what helped make this an easy decision. We look forward to being able to offer our existing clients even more resources and industry experts as our two firms become one,” says Randolph Shapiro, managing principal of MJW.

The merger will make the Falls Church office YHB’s seventh location in Virginia. With the addition of MJW, YHB also expands its expertise in individual and business tax as MJW professionals provide a range of services to clients with complex and unique tax situations.

The MJW professional staff of 20 will be joining YHB and will continue to serve clients out of their current office in Falls Church.

Whalen & Company Acquires Martinelli & Company

Whalen & Company of Worthington, Ohio, has acquired Martinelli & Company of Bexley, Ohio.

The acquisition brings staff member Tania Willis to the growing team at Whalen & Company, and Dawn Griebel will be added to Whalen & Company’s affiliate company, Simplitax.

“Martinelli & Company has worked hard to deliver exceptional client service, which aligns with one of our key core values,” says Richard D. Crabtree, MP at Whalen & Company, CPAs.

Martinelli & Company has served clients in the Columbus area for more than 35 years. The acquisition brings numerous business and individual clients to Whalen & Company’s portfolio as well as individual clients to Simplitax.

Tactical Cloud Joins Eide Bailly NetSuite Team

Cloud technology firm Tactical Cloud of Costa Mesa, Calif., will become part of Fargo, N.D.-based Eide Bailly (FY18 net revenue of $299.2 million) on Feb. 25, the firms announced.

The union adds additional enterprise resource planning (ERP) and cloud expertise to Eide Bailly’s NetSuite practice. NetSuite offers cloud-based business management software.

Tactical Cloud has doubled in size every year since its founding in 2015 and is the fastest-growing NetSuite partner in Southern California, the firm says. Eide Bailly, for its part, has been named NetSuite Americas Partner of the Year in 2017 and 2018. It is a Top 5 Global NetSuite partner.

“The future for cloud ERP is growing rapidly. Tactical Cloud’s strong reputation and deep roots in Southern California – in combination with Eide Bailly’s national reach, technical expertise and additional services makes this a great marriage for both firms,” explains Tactical Cloud co-founder Mike Kelly.

“Our firms share a commitment to excellent customer service and best-in-class ERP consulting. Expanding our NetSuite practice in California allows us to better support and serve our growing client base and prepare for the market’s future growth,” says Mark Wenig, head of NetSuite practice at Eide Bailly.

PKF O’Connor Davies Joins With Rhode Island Firm

Kevin J. Keane

New York-based PKF O’Connor Davies (FY17 net revenue of $160 million) announces that Batchelor Frechette McCrory Michael & Co. (BFMM) of Providence, R.I., has joined the firm.

The deal is designed to expand the firm’s geographic reach and strengthen its expertise in key areas. The BFMM team brings deep experience in specialized industries, including private clubs, commercial construction and real estate, employee benefit plans and manufacturing and not-for-profit organizations.

“BFMM brings a team of recognized expertise in key areas that complement our professionals and our service offerings very well,” says MP Kevin J. Keane. “We’ve had the opportunity to work alongside BFMM in a variety of engagements over the years and we’ve seen the quality of their people first-hand.”

Four partners and more than 20 staff will join the firm. For more than 30 years, BFMM has provided accounting, auditing, tax and consulting services to mid- and large-sized organizations offering customized professional solutions.

“PKF O’Connor Davies has a strong reputation for its industry-leading practices and unmatched focus on client service,” says BFMM MP Ned McCrory.

PKF O’Connor Davies will now have 11 offices in five states.

Two Illinois Firms Combine

Two Illinois Firms, Dowell Group LLP of Palatine and DeMarco Kinnaman Lewis & Co. of Lincolnshire announced they are combining and will operate as Dowell Group LLP, the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill., reported.

The combined 33-member firm provides tax, accounting, audit and consulting services to businesses, individuals, trusts, estates, retirement plans and nonprofits. Operations will eventually be consolidated at the Palatine offices of Dowell Group.

The owners of DeMarco Kinnaman Lewis & Co. will join the executive ranks at Dowell Group, with MP Mike DeMarco as principal, while Don Kinnaman, Ron Lewis and Brian Keslin will join as partners. All staff members will also join Dowell Group, the newspaper reported.

Greg Dowell, MP of Dowell Group, says of DeMarco Kinnaman Lewis & Co.: “They have an exceptional reputation for providing quality services to their clients, and they have outstanding professionals on their staff. This combination allows us to accomplish those goals, to the ultimate betterment of our clients.”

According to the Daily Herald, DeMarco says the firms share “a strong set of shared values with the professionals. Our approach to doing business is the same, with a focus on quality, timeliness and value.”

KROST Announces Merger with Gaynor & Umanoff

Pasadena, Calif.-based KROST CPAs and Consultants (FY17 net revenue of $33 million) has merged in Gaynor & Umanoff of Los Angeles.

Two principals, Chris Gaynor and Richard Umanoff, and two directors will join the leadership team, as well as nine associates, growing the practice to a total of 170 team members. KROST has four offices in California: Pasadena, Woodland Hills, Valencia and now West Los Angeles.

“Chris, Richard and the team bring industry depth and technical expertise that will benefit our tax department immensely. With the office based in West Los Angeles, we will be able to better service our new and existing clients; moreover, our staff will have another location to shorten commute times, allowing us to recruit and retain the best and the brightest,” says Greg Kniss, MP of KROST. “Through the merger we will be able to partner with our new team to offer many of the value-added services we provide our current clients, such as M&A and capital markets, wealth management, research and development tax credits, cost segregation, green building tax incentives and more.”

Gaynor says, “There are many CPAs in this world. In order to distinguish yourself, you must provide superior service, care and diligence. When we decided it was time to make a big change for the betterment of our practice and clients, we knew we had to merge with KROST. Upon meeting Greg Kniss, we felt that we found a like-minded, larger firm to entrust our clients with and move us into the future.”

Umanoff says, “We are pleased to join KROST and leverage their many resources. This will allow us to expand our accounting and tax services, while still maintaining our focus on what matters to us most: our clients.”

Prager Metis Combines With Beck Villata & Co.

New York-based Prager Metis CPAs (FY17 net revenue of $82.5 million) announces it is combining with Beck Villata & Co., with offices in Montvale, N.J., and Miami Lakes, Fla.

“We welcome their addition,” says Raymond Zomerfeld, the MP of the Southeast region of Prager Metis. “We’re excited that this merger enables us to continue to provide excellent, personalized service to the diverse businesses and individuals throughout South Florida and New Jersey.”

Beck Villata & Co. provides tax, accounting, assurance, estate and trust planning, and litigation support and forensic accounting services to a wide variety of industries. Frank Beck and Vincent VIllata will be joining Prager Metis as partners. Prager Metis will retain their current offices in Miami Lakes and Montvale.

“Prager Metis has a level of expertise and a growing reputation that is unique for an accounting firm of its size. We feel it is a perfect fit for our firm,” says Beck.

The deal was facilitated by Domenick J. Esposito of ESPOSITO CEO2CEO.

Software Company inDinero Buys mAccounting

Portland, Ore.-based inDinero, an accounting and tax software company, has acquired mAccounting of Indianapolis, an outsourced accounting and tax firm.

Keddrick Stuart, COO of inDinero says, “Founders need both real-time data and a financial partner to help them make smart decisions, secure investment and scale. Combining inDinero’s technology with mAccounting’s full-stack finance expertise is the key to leading the change in this industry.”

The firm, in announcing the acquisition, says that AI and automation “continue to squeeze accounting professionals out of basic bookkeeping work. Consumers now expect information and communication in real time. That pressure means business owners, especially of growth companies, need more value from their financial team – and fast.”

Tom Gabbert, one of two managing directors of mAccounting, says in a statement, “By joining forces, mAccounting and inDinero can shift accounting from a necessary evil to a strategic advantage. We’ve always felt like the accounting firm that wanted to be a tech company. By partnering with inDinero, now we really are both.”

Jessica Mah, co-Founder and CEO of inDinero, says, “With the inDinero platform, we can supercharge mAccounting, so that more founders can get access to the financial support they really need.”

The firm also acquired San Jose, Calif.-based tempCFO in 2018.