Outsourced CFO Community Gains Momentum

The Maryland Association of CPAs and its center for learning and innovation, the Business Learning Institute, has helped plant the seeds for a community of professionals who call themselves outsourced CFOs.

That community now includes the MACPA’s new Outsourced CFO Task Force, a group of MACPA members who are interested in promoting outsourced CFO services and sharing resources.

The task force officially went public recently by hosting the MACPA’s Outsourced CFO Community Forum, a gathering of MACPA executives as well as outsourced CFOs and those who use their services. The event was a platform for sharing issues that impact the outsourced CFO community, lessons learned from those who have made the journey, and insights from leaders of firms that offer outsourced CFO services.

“I see this community as the third branch the personalized business application of the private company CFO with the ability to oversee and advise multiple companies at once,” says Barrett Young, former member of the MACPA’s board of directors. “The group of firms seeking to add this service within their existing companies surpasses the group of sole practitioners and dedicated outsourced companies. This is not a niche idea any longer. Larger firms are paying attention. The time to move on this is now.”

“It might be the first time I’ve seen a niche service that spans the entire range of our profession,” says MACPA executive director Tom Hood.

“Outsourcing jobs to independent contractors can go in waves with businesses, but with the help of the MACPA I hope we can continue to educate the small to mid-size business community that the skills of a CFO are something every business needs – if only on a part-time basis,” says Kelly Jennings, founder and CEO of Quincy CFO and a former member of the MACPA Board of Directors. “For the sake of businesses at every stage out there, I hope outsourced CFOs become commonplace.”

View Tom Hood’s presentation from the event here, and the forum report here.

Keiter Launches Transaction Advisory Group

Keiter (FY16 net revenue of $25.5 million) of Glen Allen, Va., announced that it has formed a new transaction advisory group serving lower middle market companies in the greater Richmond region. Recent talent additions James McGrath and Matthew Austin will lend their expertise to this group.

James McGrath

James McGrath

McGrath will serve as managing director of Keiter transaction advisory services. He joins Keiter with more than 17 years of corporate finance experience advising middle market companies and private equity groups, including broad experience in mergers and acquisitions, private equity and debt placements, and bank financings. His merger and acquisition transactions span business and technology services, health care, energy, and specialty manufacturing.

Austin joins Keiter Stephens Advisors as a director with significant mergers and acquisitions, transaction and analytics experience. Carroll Hurst and Scott Zickefoose will also be actively involved in service delivery for this group.

“Since our founding in 1978, we have amassed a wealth of experience in the mergers and acquisition space. This new practice builds off that experience and enhances it through the recruitment of some of the best and brightest transaction professionals,” says Michael Gracik, MP of Keiter.

Citrin Cooperman Expands Consulting Practice as Ronan Joins Firm

New York-based Citrin Cooperman (FY16 net revenue of $233 million) has expanded its advisory services with the launch of a new service line, strategy and business transformation (SBT).

As part of the expansion, Steve Ronan was admitted as a principal and practice leader of this initiative. The strategy and business transformation service line was formed to help clients develop and implement strategies, tailored to their industry and economics, which will improve process and profitability, create scalable businesses, and address business challenges.

Through the services of the SBT group, Citrin Cooperman clients will receive assistance with assessing critical aspects of their business, develop alternate strategies and vision, and develop, implement and monitor operational road maps to help achieve business and financial objectives. The SBT team will provide clients with expertise in strategic planning, process improvement, talent management and technology utilization.

Steve Ronan

Steve Ronan

Ronan has worked with many companies helping them develop and execute strategies to improve profitability, create scalable businesses and strengthen customer relationships. His client experience extends from traditional management consulting disciplines to the latest trends in management and technology. His industry experience includes manufacturing, technology, media and entertainment, franchising, life sciences, real estate and financial services.

Combining our background and skills with Citrin Cooperman’s strong portfolio of services will create a truly unique offering in the marketplace that will create substantial value for our clients,” says Ronan.

PKF O’Connor Davies Launches Recruitment Service

New York-based PKF O’Connor Davies (FY15 net revenue of $123 million) has launched TalentConnect, a new outsourced recruiting offering that allows clients to utilize the firm’s deep team of HR experts and network of accounting and finance professionals to identify and recruit top talent for their organizations.

The service will be offered at a fraction of what it would cost to engage headhunters or employment agencies, the firm announced.

“Talent is the key to winning, and we believe this offering can help level the playing field for some of our clients that don’t have the HR depth to compete in the recruiting game,” says MP Kevin J. Keane. “We have a deep team of HR experts and an unmatched network of accounting and finance professionals that have helped us grow, and now we can do the same for clients.”

TalentConnect brings together businesses with key industry players – from CFOs to bookkeepers – including those who may not be actively searching but receptive to a move. Additional TalentConnect services include formulating job descriptions, advising on salaries and benefits, creating and posting job listings in online and print media, collecting and reviewing responses, cover letters and resumes, and collaborating on candidate assessments.

Sneeringer Leads Group Dedicated to State and Local Taxation

York, Pa.-based Stambaugh Ness (SN) announces the formation of a State and Local Tax (SALT) Practice Area.

This practice area was added to the firm’s portfolio of services in response to the growing number of companies doing business in multiple states, as well as the increasingly complex multi-state tax laws and regulations.

Leading the SALT practice is tax manager Jason Sneeringer, who has a deep working knowledge of multi-state taxation matters. He is a frequent blogger and webinar presenter for SN.

“We recognized the need to offer a higher level of sophisticated, specialized tax services for our multi-state clients,” says Steven Hake, Stambaugh Ness president and CEO. “It’s a complicated area that creates issues for many companies. Jason’s depth of experience and passion for strategic tax planning greatly strengthens our team and our ability to elevate the overall client experience.”

Grant Thornton Adds to Cybersecurity Services

Chicago-based Grant Thornton has recently been accepted into the ServiceNow Services Partner Program – an arrangement that is expected to help businesses use a unique asset-based model to unify their cybersecurity tools into a single threat-management platform.

By participating in the program, Grant Thornton combines its experience advising companies on their governance, risk and compliance needs with implementations of ServiceNow’s cloud-based cybersecurity platform.

Grant Thornton believes the approach is distinctive because it provides a view into risk by analyzing a company’s current cybersecurity operations and third-party solutions, and then pulls them into ServiceNow’s structured-response engine.

“It’s about understanding assets, risks and controls – along with incident data from existing security tools,” says Vishal Chawla, national managing principal for Grant Thornton’s cyber risk advisory services practice. “By starting with the assets – not just the rules – companies can enjoy improved security at lower costs and in a resource-efficient way.”

Grant Thornton expects the approach to be a game changer for middle market companies, which, despite their concerns about cybersecurity, often lack the vital information they need to properly protect their operations.

CohnReznick Launches European Advisory Subsidiary; Selects Marc Altena as Leader

Marc Altena

Marc Altena

New York-based CohnReznick (FY16 net revenue of $589 million) has tapped Netherlands-based Marc Altena to serve as Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) advisory services leader and leader of the firm’s newly formed European subsidiary, CohnReznick Netherlands B.V., based in The Hague.

Altena is an experienced consultant specializing in business and technology transformation solutions. Previously, he served as MP of a Netherlands-based consulting firm, working with clients throughout EMEA in the real estate, insurance and banking sectors. He brings focused expertise in business transformation strategy, process optimization, international project management, change management and global technology implementations. The practice serves real estate, private equity and life sciences businesses.

“Marc’s deep insight into the business processes, operations and enabling technologies of the industries we serve will offer tremendous value to our clients. His strategic vision, consulting skills and technical expertise make him the ideal leader for our European subsidiary,” says Frank Longobardi, CohnReznick CEO.

David Rubin, principal, risk and business advisory director, says, “Having leadership immersed in the distinct cultures and business environment of the region is a factor in implementing successful improvement initiatives. Clients benefit from Marc’s ability to localize key services from our real estate advisory, CFO advisory, and technology advisory practices to help drive growth, optimize profitability, manage risk and improve operations.”

Altena is joined by Gabriela Pocsa, a senior real estate management consultant, along with a growing team of consultants.

Cherry Bekaert Launches Technology Solutions Group

Toby Stansell

Toby Stansell

Richmond, Va.-based Cherry Bekaert (FY16 net revenue of $164.2 million) has launched a Technology Solutions Group, which will be led by managing director Toby Stansell and director Jim Holman, who both recently joined the firm.

Stansell most recently served as president and COO of a boutique technology consulting firm. In his new role, he will advise clients on applying and leveraging technology to improve their operational and financial performance. Stansell’s business technology expertise, combined with his executive management experience, will help clients capitalize upon transformative opportunities to increase the productivity of people and processes.

Jim Holman

Jim Holman

Operating out of the firm’s Atlanta and Greenville, S.C., practices, he will also work with clients in Cherry Bekaert’s THInc practice serving the health, technology and industrial sectors. For 35 years, Stansell has worked with industrial clients in the areas of order management, supply-chain planning and execution, enterprise resource planning implementations, and lean materials management.

Holman has more than 25 years of experience advising clients with business flow, manufacturing and distribution processes, and analytical reporting. He has played a key role in IT/systems divesture projects and IT post-merger integration projects, including system migrations and optimization strategies. Based in Atlanta, Holman also will serve as a consultant to the firm’s THInc specialty practice. His expertise includes manufacturing financial modules, distribution modules, business intelligence, shop floor data collection, and mobile solutions.

Smith & Howard Launches Financial Search & Placement Practice

Blayne Shelton

Blayne Shelton

Smith & Howard of Atlanta (FY15 net revenue of $24.9 million) recently announced the launch of a new service offering: Financial Search & Placement, along with the addition of Blayne Shelton as director of the group.

“After fielding requests for staffing help from clients and financial professionals alike for several years, we decided it was time to put a formalized program in place,” says MP John Lucht. “Blayne brings not only a great blended background of accounting and recruiting, but also similar values and an approach that meshes well with our culture.”

Shelton has held a variety of roles in public accounting (including the Big 4) as well as industry. His clients in both arenas included small businesses as well as large public organizations and covered such areas as revenue recognition, real estate finance, derivative accounting and a range of consulting projects. He joined the executive recruiting side of the business when he returned to a consulting firm he had previously worked for. He combines his recruiting career with his accounting industry experience to connect with and place qualified financial professionals with businesses.

The Financial Search & Placement (FS&P) group creates ideal matches between professionals and businesses to staff CFO, controller, senior accountant, internal auditor, financial and business systems analyst, staff accountant and bookkeeper positions. If there is a financial role in a business, the FS&P group at Smith & Howard can find a fit.

While the FS&P group will focus on businesses in Georgia and the Southeast, the service can extend to locations in other areas of the U.S.

BPM Adds Corporate Dispute Resolution Service Line to Advisory Practice

San Francisco-based BPM (FY15 net revenue of $82 million) has added a new service line: corporate dispute resolution.

BPM, also known as Burr Pilger Mayer, recognized its clients’ need for support surrounding dispute resolution. With deep expertise in forensic accounting, litigation support and mediated settlements, the team is able to positively influence disputes, contributing to fair settlements and positive outcomes for clients, the firm says.

“We understand that accomplishing business goals and objectives may require additional services which intersect with BPM’s traditional service areas,” says Edward Webb, leader of the firm’s corporate finance group.

“Our team of experts develop and provide individualized support – our primary goal is to help clients achieve their objectives while making sure they are more confident and comfortable in the process,” he adds.

Corporate dispute resolution falls outside the traditional parameters of accounting or consulting. Corporate disputes have the potential to damage businesses and can be very confusing and disruptive to business owners; BPM offers clients peace of mind while resolutions are in process.

“Above all else, we want to ensure our clients focus on what they do best: running their business,” adds Nick Steiner, chair of the firm’s advisory practice.

Under corporate dispute resolution, BPM provides assistance with forensic accounting and litigation support, ensuring high standards for detection, assessment and analysis. In addition, members of the team have specific mediation training and experience to help mitigate the complexities of bankruptcy and commercial litigation.