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.

Armanino Starts Charitable Foundation; Offers Seven Grants

San Ramon, Calif.-based Armanino (FY15 net revenue of $164 million) has announced the formation of its charitable giving arm, the Armanino Foundation, which matches each staff contribution two-to-one.

Worthy charitable organizations in education, health and social services, animal welfare and the arts are nominated by firm employees and selected by a committee. In its first round of funding, Armanino awarded $20,000 in grants to seven organizations in its communities – Advancement Project, Bet Tzedek, Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area, Girls Inc., Holiday Heroes, New Hoizons and Vogel Alcove.

“Armanino and its team members have always placed high value on community involvement and corporate citizenship. The Armanino Foundation joins our annual Great Give event and additional community service events as a way Armanino staff can make a positive impact in our communities,” says MP Andy Armanino.

The foundation is directed by a board and committee of 17 members from across the firm. Its chair, Mary Tressel, director of consulting marketing, oversees grant administration and bylaws.

The Armanino Foundation plans to make regular donations through grant funding to community groups and charities that make a positive impact.

Prager Metis Announces New Affiliate – Prager Metis Technology

New York-based Prager Metis CPAs (FY15 net revenue of $43 million) has created a new technology company specializing in cybersecurity, risk intelligence and regulatory compliance called Prager Metis Technology.

Peter Fiorillo

Peter Fiorillo

The company will be led by Peter Fiorillo, president and CEO. Fiorillo joins Prager Metis from Madison-Davis Professional Services (MDPS), where he served as president and CEO. Ira Schechtman of Accounting Firm Search Associates acted as a facilitator in the transaction.

Prager Metis Technology was formed in response to the significant regulatory requirements being implemented at both a federal and state level. The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 encourages businesses and the federal government to share cyber threat information in the interest of national security.

Also, last year the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) raised the bar for cybersecurity programs, as the first state to release cybersecurity regulations that will go into effect on March 1. The regulations will affect all entities with a DFS “license, registration, charter, certificate, permit, accreditation or similar authorization under the banking law, the insurance law or the financial services law.” Among other things, the regulation requires each entity’s board of directors to file an annual certification of compliance with the superintendent of DFS.

With the ever-increasing requirements placed on cybersecurity resiliency and as regulators tighten their grip, financial institutions, as well as all companies on a global basis, need to have a cost-effective, efficient and integrated cybersecurity, risk management and regulatory compliance program that can respond in hours and days, not weeks and months, the firm says. As such, Prager Metis Technology and Fiorillo will be providing these programs, technology solutions and subject matter expertise to help companies.

Dixon Hughes Goodman Expands Services in Nashville, Adds HDR Consulting

Charlotte, N.C.-based Dixon Hughes Goodman (FY16 net revenue of $394 million) announces that it is expanding services in Nashville, Tenn., by adding to the areas of health care consulting, risk advisory and audit and tax.

The principal and employees of HDR Consulting (HDR), headquartered in Nashville, officially joined the firm’s national health care practice on Jan. 2. Founded and led by Beth Mullins, HDR has been providing strategic planning, managed care negotiations, physician integration, analytics and data consulting services to clients nationwide since 2006. HDR has worked to develop and implement strategies that drive increased revenue and other value for its many health care clients.

The new resources will complement the risk advisory team, led by Mark Schmadtke, and the health care consulting team, led by Kevin Locke, Nashville Office MP.

The Nashville office has grown significantly since it began in 2011, serving nearly all of the for-profit, not-for-profit and academic medical centers in the region. The firm also plans to expand beyond the health care industry into core audit and tax within banking, manufacturing, distribution, technology and other industries.

“Expanding our service offerings and building on the momentum of our health care and advisory teams is a logical next step in DHG’s growth strategy,” says Locke. “Nashville has been on our radar as a strategic location where we will continue to invest, grow and serve.”

In addition, partner John Brock, who joined the firm’s Atlanta office in August 2016, will relocate to Nashville, to work on the health care transaction advisory services team, and partner Paul Hopkins relocated from Memphis, Tenn., to establish a local audit and tax practice. He is joined in Nashville by a team of assurance and tax professionals who have relocated from other offices or recently joined the firm in Nashville.

The firm’s Nashville expansion is part of a larger growth strategy throughout the Southeast and in its national service lines. The firm is also looking to add resources and capabilities in Atlanta, Tampa, Fla., and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.

Bonadio Group Creates New Health Care Subsidiary

Pittsford, N.Y.-based The Bonadio Group (FY16 net revenue of $89.3 million) has created a subsidiary for consulting work in the health care industry.

Beacon Solutions Group comprises two consulting firms that help health care organizations with their business operations. The deal brings together Bonadio Receivable Solutions (BRS), a longtime subsidiary of the Bonadio Group, and IM Solutions, an independent consulting firm in Buffalo, N.Y.

The owner of IM Solutions, Patrick Flaherty, is Beacon Solutions Group director, while Andrea Hagen, director of BRS, is a principal in the new company, along with Karen Donovan and Maureen Weir from IM Solutions. The new company employs 17 people at its Buffalo and Rochester locations.

“As good as these two companies were on their own, together as Beacon Solutions Group they will be able to deliver more services that directly improve their clients’ business operations,” says Mario Urso, MP of the Bonadio Buffalo office and supervising partner for Beacon Solutions Group.

Citrin Cooperman Launches Government Contracting Practice

Shawn Howard

Shawn Howard

IPA 100 firm New York-based Citrin Cooperman (FY15 net revenue of $207 million) announced that it is launching a government contracting practice, which will be led by Shawn Howard and Sirena Johnson in Bethesda, Md.

They bring extensive experience providing audit, accounting and tax compliance and consulting services to clients in the government contracting space and will advise a diverse array of businesses across the country, including technology, communications, defense, security, intelligence, and professional services companies.

“The addition of both Shawn Howard and Sirena Johnson to the firm further demonstrates our commitment to continue the growth of Citrin Cooperman with enhanced services that bring direct value to our clients,” said CEO Joel Cooperman. “Their deep experience and technical knowledge will provide us with the right foundation to enter the government contracting space seamlessly and significantly.”

Sirena Johnson

Sirena Johnson

 

Prior to joining Citrin Cooperman, Howard and Johnson served as principals in an accounting firm based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Howard was responsible for the review of federal and multi-state tax returns, as well as tax planning strategies for a variety of domestic and international clients, including government contractors, professional service firms, technology companies, and private equity firms.

“I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running with the launch of Citrin Cooperman’s new government contracting practice,” says Howard. “Increasing regulatory requirements and compliance concerns have set a new normal in standards making the government contracting space a prime market.  Our dedicated team is well positioned to help our clients navigate through this dynamic environment.”

Johnson specializes in providing auditing, consulting and accounting services to government contractors, technology companies, and employee benefit plans.  Johnson also provides services related to mergers and acquisitions and strategic planning, in addition to consulting with government contractors in dealing with the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA).

“Citrin Cooperman is known to be a dynamic firm with an unbelievably deep level of resources and an excellent reputation for client service,” adds Johnson. “Being able to participate in the growth by launching the new practice is a privilege and I am looking forward to getting started.”