Frazier & Deeter Expands Transaction Advisory Services

Atlanta-based Frazier & Deeter (FY18 net revenue of $96.0 million) announced the expansion of the firm’s transaction advisory services group with the addition of Brian Dermott as principal, Chase Gund as manager and Joseph Barron as senior associate.

They will operate from Charlotte, N.C. The transaction advisory services group focuses on serving private equity groups, corporate strategic buyers, mezzanine lenders and other investors.

“The demand for Frazier & Deeter’s transaction advisory services has never been stronger, driving the need to expand the team,” notes MP Seth McDaniel. “We’re seeing increased demand for both buy-side and sell-side transaction support.”

Dermott was most recently CFO of FM Expressions, a private equity-owned manufacturer. Before FM Expressions, Dermott was a transaction advisory professional, performing financial due diligence engagements on behalf of private equity and strategic buyers to identify and mitigate deal risk.

Gund joined the firm from DayBlink, a management consulting firm, where he advised clients regarding a variety of finance-related activities. He was previously a member of Frazier & Deeter’s audit practice for five years and served in the U.S. Navy for five years.

Barron joined the firm from Emerson Electric, where he was a financial analyst. Prior to Emerson, he was with Grant Thornton, where he served in audit and transaction services.

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Baker Tilly Launches New Practice to Help Clients with Digital Disruption

Chicago-based Baker Tilly (FY19 net revenue of $754.8 million) has launched Baker Tilly Digital, which brings together the firm’s analytic and advanced technology services.

Baker Digital is designed to help clients stay ahead of digital disruption. Baker Tilly CEO Alan Whitman says, “Keeping pace with new technology and making decisions today to shape tomorrow is never easy. We lean into and guide our clients through the complexities of digital disruption and the possibilities it brings.”

Baker Tilly Digital encompasses analytics, cloud strategies, connected devices, emerging technologies, intelligent automation, digital enterprise and Digital | Labs – an incubator for development of next-generation tools and services. The team includes data scientists, intelligent

Baker Tilly helped an aerospace and defense equipment manufacturer use advanced analytics, the firm says. “Before, I was watching 52 planes manually, which took me all day,” the fleet analytics manager of the company said. “After implementing the solution, I’m able to actively monitor the health of more than 400 planes using only 50% of my day. That extra time frees me up to tackle other critical issues that need my attention.”

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BKD Offers New Service to Energy Industry

Deanna Duell

Springfield, Mo.-based BKD LLP (FY19 net revenue of $662.9 million) has hired its first energy industry contract compliance leader, Deanna Duell.

Duell will integrate Council of Petroleum Accountants Societies (COPAS) accounting guidance and model form interpretations. This new service, the firm says, will help clients clarify oil and gas accounting requirements for agreements in the form of contract audits and litigation support. These include action plans to provide for contract audits facilitating recoveries for nonoperators and limiting exposure for operators in complying with accounting in contractual agreements unique to the oil and gas industry.

Duell will join the firm as a director and be based in BKD’s Denver office. Before joining BKD, she spent several years working for large CPA firms and also operated her own accounting firm, Duell & Associates. She is experienced in serving the oil and gas industry in various capacities for operated and nonoperating wells throughout the United States.

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HoganTaylor Moves Its Oklahoma City Office

Oklahoma City OMP Richard Wright and the firm’s other Oklahoma City partners host a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Tulsa, Okla.-based HoganTaylor (FY18 net revenue of $47.3 million) has relocated its Oklahoma City office to a new, expanded space at 1225 N. Broadway Ave., Suite 200, in the city’s new Innovation District.

“In the accounting industry, we spend a lot of time thinking about the future and what changes may come as a result of new technology,” says Oklahoma City OMP Richard Wright. “At HoganTaylor, new technology is driving our transformation from a public accounting firm to a full-service business advisory firm. Our new space is a reflection of that transformation.”

The firm says the move not only accommodates additional growth but allows for greater participation in the city’s efforts to form innovative partnerships in the new district.

The new office is designed to allow for increased interoffice collaboration and idea sharing.

“The No. 1 thing that’s going to change for our profession is that our clients are going to demand that we help them get better and not just do their compliance work,” says Randy Nail, CEO of HoganTaylor. “Our new space fosters the kind of collaboration and innovation we’ll need to help our clients get better, but it’s just one of many ways we’re innovating our future at HoganTaylor.”

HoganTaylor is also investing in new service lines through a merger with RainRock IT Services. A new subsidiary, HoganTaylor Technology, began doing business Nov. 1, offering a suite of information technology services, including managed information technology services, outsourced CIO and technology solutions, cybersecurity services, and IT strategy and assessments.

“In the future, if a client needs anything related to a business issue, whether it’s an IT need, a marketing need, an HR need or really anything, we want HoganTaylor to be the first place they turn,” Nail says. “Our move in Oklahoma City and this beautiful new space both support that goal.”

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BKD Launches AI-Powered Lease Solution

Springfield, Mo.-based BKD (FY19 net revenue of $662.9 million) is introducing a new tool, powered by artificial intelligence (AI), to help organizations implement GASB 87 and FASB Accounting Standards Codification 842 on lease accounting.

BKD LeaseVision provides an AI tool to extract key lease terms from various lease types, a road map to help provide an in-depth process framework and an Excel-based tool to help perform calculations and develop lease amortization schedules.

“BKD is excited to offer this tool to help our clients succeed,” says director Amy Shreck, one of BKD LeaseVision’s developers. “We look forward to using the LeaseVision tool to consult with organizations to help implement these complex lease standards.”

FASB recently approved the delay of its lease accounting standard effective date. However, “despite this delay, we are encouraging our clients and prospects to be proactive and start the process now,” says director Jessica Richter, one of BKD LeaseVision’s developers.

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Armanino Creates Game-Changing Technology To Deliver Real-Time Attestation Service

San Ramon, Calif.-based Armanino (FY18 net revenue of $267.2 million) has created the world’s first application of real-time attest.

Using blockchain technology, Armanino created TrustExplorer 2.0, which reduces attestation reporting from 30 days to 30 seconds and is the first step to developing real-time audit.

“For years, thought leaders have predicted the future arrival of real-time auditing capabilities, and now Armanino has accomplished the world’s first business application of this theorized innovation,” says CEO Matt Armanino. “This breakthrough is a catalyst that will lead to the widespread development and adoption of real-time auditing, and offers a transformational improvement over the current audit practices.”

Armanino tells IPA that TrustExplorer is an example of what the profession should be doing to take advantage of disruptive technologies. “This is an incredible opportunity to change ourselves,” he says. “Embrace it with a sense of fearlessness.”

The TrustExplorer 2.0 tool will allow users to download a report, backed by the firm’s opinion and in compliance with attest examination standards. The innovation solves some of the biggest issues with reporting as it exists now: reports are historical and stale by the time they are issued, they are not widely available and methods of collecting data are time-consuming.

The first license to Armanino’s TrustExplorer platform was granted to TrustToken, the world’s fourth largest stablecoin issuer. TrustExplorer supports public blockchain nodes to obtain audit evidence for the TrueUSD stablecoin.

“TrustExplorer 2.0 serves as our roadmap for how to take immutable tamper-resistant systems like blockchains, and harness them to provide attestation opinions both in real-time and with accuracy that cannot be contaminated by human error,” says Andries Verschelden, partner and blockchain practice leader at Armanino. “This is a clear-cut example of how blockchain technology is already changing business processes to optimize accuracy, security and speed.”

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AICPA Offers Guidance on Working With New Clients in Cannabis Industry

The cannabis industry offers CPAs a bevvy of prospective new clients. But the nature of the industry also opens to door to several potential challenges and pitfalls, the AICPA says.

Several states have legalized marijuana use for recreational or medical reasons, creating a burgeoning industry of growers, distributors and retailers. Revenue from medical and recreation cannabis is estimated to reach $12 billion this year. The accounting profession, similar to the legal profession, can offer its expertise to clients in the cannabis industry, such as auditing and taxation services, as well as expert guidance for avoiding fraud or theft.

With these opportunities come serious downsides, as marijuana remains illegal at the federal level. As a result, few banks are willing to deal with players in the industry, leaving it largely a cash operation. CPAs providing business advisory or other accounting services to clients in the cannabis industry need to navigate the nuances of federal and state law and to avoid being charged criminally, potentially resulting in fines, jail time or the loss of their license.

The American Institute of CPAs details the risks and opportunities for CPAs working in the cannabis industry in the latest Eye on Fraud report. It offers a review of many of the State Boards of Accountancy positions on working in the cannabis industry and highlights some of the issues and challenges facing both the cannabis industry and CPAs supporting it.

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Brown Smith Wallace Adds Marketing Services

Tom Etling

St. Louis-based Brown Smith Wallace (FY18 net revenue of $50 million) is adding marketing to its advisory services offerings, the firm announced.

The firm has 30 practice areas, and offers cybersecurity, data analysis, software selection and business performance consulting. The advisory services group employs more than 60 professionals.

The new marketing advisory practice will be led by Tom Etling, who previously served as the CEO of Dovetail, a St. Louis-based brand communications agency. He has also served as chief executive officer at St. Patrick Center, which offers housing and other services for the homeless, and he also held senior leadership positions in marketing for the Gateway Arch.

“Our core accounting and tax work and deep relationships with our clients’ C-Suite personnel put us in a unique position to spot trends and opportunities,” says MP Tony Caleca. “Launching the advisory practice was a bold move for the size firm we were in 2002, but it positions us well today as we help our clients grow and transform their businesses in the ever-changing world we live in.”

When the advisory services group began, Brown Smith Wallace had annual revenues of $11 million and employed 100 people. The practice is a strong performer for the firm, with approximately $11 million in annual billings – doubling in size over the last five years.  The firm now employs 300.

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AAFCPAs Expands Cannabis Practice

Kevin Michaelan

Westborough, Mass.-based AAFCPAs (FY18 net revenue of $33.5 million) has expanded its cannabis practice with the addition of Kevin Michaelan, who will lead the growing niche from the firm’s Boston office.

The firm advises businesses and investors throughout the business lifecycle, including start-ups, entities expanding into multi-state operations, and those planning to exit the business. Michaelan is known for his deep knowledge of trends impacting the industry, such as aggressive growth, rapidly changing regulations, cross-border restrictions, and mergers and acquisitions.

“He is deeply immersed in the cannabis space and well-known for his prolific tax and business strategies,” says co-MP Dave McManus.

“Cannabis companies are challenged by capital and taxes,” Michaelan says. “We have proven strategies to address both and I’m eager to turn these strategies into competitive advantages for AAFCPAs’ clients.”

BPM Adds Security Tech Company

San Francisco-based BPM LLP (FY18 net revenue of $99.5 million) has added Adhere Inc. of Fairfield, Calif., a security technology company, to its advisory practice.

Adhere guides businesses of all sizes through their IT security operations and compliance requirements. Adhere monitors IT security controls through its Security Operations Center and consults with clients to develop their security processes and controls.

Sarah Lynn

“Our experts have hands-on expertise shepherding organizations in making the best possible decisions, whether they are in the preparation or the remediation stage,” says Sarah Lynn, CEO of Adhere. Lynn is joining the firm as partner. About 10 employees will join BPM.

Nick Steiner, who leads BPM’s advisory practice group, says data security and compliance is a top priority for clients. “With increasing sensitivities around keeping data safe and the growing demands of meeting compliance standards, businesses must remain vigilant against potential threats and the latest protocols. Our new team brings a wealth of industry knowledge and shares our dedication to tailoring security solutions for organizations everywhere.”

BPM’s combination with Adhere comes after several strategic expansions. It recently combined with Kramer & Olsen Accountancy Corporation of Santa Ana, Calif., Croce & Company of Stockton, Calif., CPA Consulting of Bellevue, Wash., and the HR consulting practice of Options4Growth in San Francisco.

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