KPMG Moves into Small Business Tax and Accounting Services with Spark

Zach Olson

New York-based KPMG LLP (FY17 net revenue of $9 billion) has launched KPMG Spark, a tax accounting solution for small and mid-sized businesses.

The Big 4 firm says KPMG Spark “blends innovative technology, intelligent automation and ‘human in the loop’ personalized service” to help clients from the pre-revenue stage to upward of $50 million annually to comply with last year’s domestic tax reform legislation.

Spark uses the technology platform KPMG acquired last summer when it purchased a business then known as Bookly, which at the time solely provided cash-basis accounting assistance to small companies.

“Robotic process automation, intelligent automation and other emerging technologies are just beginning to disrupt the accounting and tax services industries,” says Jeffrey C. LeSage, Americas vice chairman of tax at KPMG. “KPMG Spark reflects KPMG’s commitment to bringing innovative solutions to an expanding range of clients so we can help them drive growth, gain efficiencies and create greater value.”

KPMG Spark provides online bookkeeping, tax preparation and related services, supported by staff.

“The KPMG Spark solutions are designed to give business owners the tools they need to gain back the time they are spending on finance management, so they can pursue their passions and grow their businesses,” says Zach Olson, who joined KPMG as a managing director as part of the Bookly acquisition.

Keiter Announces Combination of Two Groups to Form Keiter Advisors

Carroll Hurst

Keiter (FY17 net revenue of $26.9 million) of Glen Allen, Va., announces the combination of Keiter Stephens Advisors, a food service distribution specialist, with Keiter Transaction Advisors, an investment banking firm launched in 2017. The combined group will be called Keiter Advisors, an affiliate of Keiter.

The combined group will focus on mergers and acquisitions for lower middle-market companies with revenues between $20 million and $200 million. Keiter Advisors brings together senior professionals who have closed over 100 lower middle-market M&A transactions nationwide and across a variety of industries, including food service distribution, specialty chemicals, health care, wireless communications and traditional media.

Additionally, Carroll Hurst, a founding partner of Keiter and head of the firm’s M&A team, will become a director of both Keiter and Keiter Advisors on Jan. 1. In this dual role, Hurst will continue to provide tax consulting, strategic planning and business consulting services to clients of Keiter, while also providing financial advisory and investment banking services to clients of Keiter Advisors.

“For the first time in our firm’s history, we will be housing all of our M&A expertise under one roof,” Hurst says. “This will ensure new opportunities and greater access to talent for our all clients.”

Keiter Advisors will offer middle-market companies a host of services including: advising clients through the sale of a company, acquisition targeting, capital raises, shareholder valuation options and strategic planning.

Other team members include Jim McGrath, Mathew Austin, Bill Beattie and Scott Zickefoose.

GBQ Offers Fraud Hotline for Clients’ Employees

Columbus, Ohio-based GBQ (FY17 net revenue of $31.4 million) is introducing a fraud hotline to help companies protect against fraud, waste and abuse.

The GBQ hotline service allows employees at clients’ companies to report their suspicions of wrongdoing anonymously. Nearly half of all frauds are detected through a tip, GBQ reports.

Tips will be handled by certified fraud professionals and CPAs, and GBQ will provide training on the importance of reporting concerns and suspicions.

“We believe that an organization’s resources are better used protecting against fraud, waste and abuse versus investigation after it is too late,” says Rebekah Smith, director of forensic and dispute advisory services. “GBQ’s fraud hotline offering provides an important line of defense by providing an easy way for employees to report concerns. In addition, simply having a hotline tells employees that your organization takes fraud seriously.”

GBQ Expands Services with Keep Financials

Columbus, Ohio-based GBQ (FY17 net revenue of $31.4 million) has launched Keep Financials, a comprehensive outsourced accounting and bookkeeping practice.

The aim of Keep Financials is to remove the burden of back-office tasks from business owners while offering “financial intelligence” to help move the business forward, the firm says. Entrepreneurs and business owners have told GBQ that there’s a gap in the market for basic accounting and bookkeeping services.

Managing Director Darci Congrove says, “By creating a virtual bookkeeping service, we’ve rounded out our GBQ offerings to serve every financial need a business owner might face, from basic accounting and financial statement preparation to tax planning and advice, special project assistance, business valuations and transaction assistance.”

Marks Paneth Launches New Cybersecurity Services

New York-based Marks Paneth (FY17 net revenue of $131.4 million) has launched a number of new cybersecurity and risk mitigation services to address clients’ data security issues. Services include incident response, cyber risk assessments, business recovery plans and compliance with payment card industry (PCI) and HIPAA regulations.

“We are passionate about helping our clients succeed and finding ways to keep their businesses moving forward,” says MP Harry Moehringer. “Providing cybersecurity support alongside our other advisory services makes it easier and more accessible for our clients to determine the best way to protect their sensitive data and reduce risks to their business continuity.”

Marks Paneth’s cybersecurity offerings are provided through a strategic alliance with Sylint Group, an internationally recognized cybersecurity and digital data forensics firm and one of only 15 firms in the U.S. accredited by the National Security Agency (NSA). The new suite of services also includes digital forensic, expert witness and private investigation services that aid in uncovering fraud and preparing for potential and pending litigation.

Bonadio Group Plans Expansion into Texas Market

Jeff Wexler

Pittsford, N.Y.-based The Bonadio Group (FY18 net revenue of $97.9 million) announced it is entering the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, market.

Bonadio is opening an office in Irving, Texas. The office will be led by Jeff Wexler, a Bonadio partner. He says the firm will be adding several new hires in the coming months to serve the firm’s Dallas-area clients.

“We have many clients with a presence in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, so this office will not only better serve these existing clients but also allow us to build on this foundation and introduce our firm to a new client base,” Tom Bonadio, CEO of Bonadio Group, said in statement. “Our growth has historically been the result of a mix of high demand, solid strategy, and acquisition. Jeff’s leadership ensures this office will be a fit for our culture from day one.”

The firm’s focus in the Dallas-Fort Worth area will be private-equity firms and their portfolio companies, construction contractors, real-estate developers and manufacturers.

The Bonadio Group now has more than 750 employees.

Kerkering Barberio Offers International Tax Consulting in Tampa Office

Chris Corneroli

Sarasota, Fla.-based Kerkering, Barberio & Co. (FY17 net revenue of $16.7 million) has recently expanded its Tampa, Fla., office to include international tax consulting and advising. Christopher Corneroli will provide individual and business tax compliance and consulting to clients with international reporting requirements who are seeking to navigate the U.S. tax system.

The Kerkering Barberio international tax team offers consulting and advising to both U.S. citizens and residents who have financial assets and holdings in foreign countries, as well as non-U.S. residents who invest in the U.S. With the recent implementation of new laws under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, many potential pitfalls exist for U.S. citizens, residents and non-residents.

“A lot has changed with our country’s new tax laws, and it’s important to understand the tax implications faced by when making personal and business decisions,” says Corneroli.

Applied Artificial Intelligence Leader Joins Grant Thornton

JT Kostman Ph.D.

JT Kostman, Ph.D., an internationally recognized leader in cognitive computing, applied artificial intelligence and data strategy, has joined Chicago-based Grant Thornton (FY17 net revenue of $1.75 billion) as managing director of applied artificial intelligence.

In this new role, Kostman will lead the development and delivery of artificial intelligence, machine learning, IoT, blockchain, and advanced analytic solutions and services for the firm and Grant Thornton clients. He will be based in the firm’s Iselin, N.J., office.

Kostman is a data scientist, mathematician and psychologist renowned for his expertise in applied artificial intelligence and cognitive computing. He has served as chief data officer and a member of the executive committee for Time Inc., chief data scientist for Samsung, and chief data scientist and big data psychologist for Aptus Insights. In addition to his corporate experience, Kostman has served U.S. intelligence, security and defense agencies, including the CIA, FBI and Department of Homeland Security, as well as President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

“Grant Thornton and I are like-minded in our views on the potential for artificial intelligence, machine learning, IoT, and robotics to improve operations and create new opportunities,” Kostman said in a statement. “We share a commitment to helping enterprises move past the hype and focus on how they can use these technologies to improve their businesses. It’s all about bottom-line outcomes.”

Dean Dorton Launches Wealth Management Practice

Lexington, Ky.-based Dean Dorton Allen Ford (FY17 net revenue of $30.8 million) has launched Dean Dorton Wealth Management.

Dean Dorton has provided public accounting services regionally, nationally and internationally for decades and now desires to serve their clients in an even more holistic manner by incorporating integrated wealth management services.

“Each of our clients’ personal and professional aspirations may be unique to them, but when it comes to their financial objectives, our clients share the same desire: to build and manage wealth throughout their lifetimes in order to achieve the goals they’ve set for themselves and their families,” says David Bundy, Dean Dorton President and CEO. “We are proud to bring wealth management expertise and resources to our current and future clients in order to bring clarity to their financial situations and to help them define their goals, make smart investment choices, plan for the future and, ultimately, pursue their most fulfilling life.”

As an independent, registered investment advisor based in Kentucky, Dean Dorton Wealth Management will offer a broad range of services including retirement planning, investment consulting, portfolio management and a host of other holistic financial planning services. In addition, the firm will deliver a tax-efficient approach to all of their services through collaboration with parent company Dean Dorton.

Dean Dorton Wealth Management will be led by David Parks, who has a long history with Dean Dorton. As a CPA, who is also accredited in business valuation, he has more than 30 years of experience in providing tax, business valuation and other financial consulting services to individuals and businesses in the region. Bundy, who manages Dean Dorton, will also serve as a senior advisor in the wealth management practice. Together, they will be responsible for serving clients and managing all aspects of operations, including support staff.

Dean Dorton Technology Launches Full-Service Cybersecurity Services

Gui Cozzi

Dean Dorton Technology, of Lexington, Ky.-based Dean Dorton Allen Ford (FY17 net revenue of $30.8 million), a provider of managed IT, software, hardware and cloud solutions, announces the launch of its cybersecurity practice.

Leading the practice is Gui Cozzi, who joins Dean Dorton Technology with more than 20 years of experience in cybersecurity. He has successfully implemented pragmatic and risk-based security programs to meet compliance with organizations’ security requirements. Gui leads a team responsible for delivering enterprise cybersecurity services and personally specializes in information security program development, implementation and assessment.

Prior to joining Dean Dorton, Cozzi served in various information security leadership roles, including implementing the security risk management program for one of the nation’s largest health systems, leading teams of cybersecurity consultants, and serving as chief information security officers for organizations in various industries.

As enterprise cybersecurity awareness continues to evolve, so do the layers of protection any business or nonprofit organization needs. From user awareness training to vendor management, Dean Dorton Technology’s new cybersecurity team helps clients regularly diagnose, manage and mitigate their cybersecurity risks, the firm says.

Jason Miller

Dean Dorton Technology’s team provides holistic solutions that can be scaled from small nonprofit organizations to large public companies.

“As cyberattacks become an everyday occurrence, it is essential organizations adapt their cyber-governance programs and take proactive steps to ensure they are compliant and protected across the board,” says Jason Miller, director of business consulting services. “Many security controls and systems are behind the scenes and until they are comprised organizations may not know if they are providing the level of protection they expect and at that point too much damage has already occurred.”