RKL Launches Human Resources Consulting Practice

Lancaster, Pa.-based RKL LLP (FY16 net revenue of $61.5 million) launched a human resources (HR) consulting practice as part of its business consulting services group.

The practice comprises a team of experienced HR professionals focused on providing solutions for finding, compensating, training, motivating and retaining talent. The group specializes in advisory services that are aligned with solving real business challenges such as complying with complex regulatory issues, filling key leadership roles amidst generational shifts or developing compensation packages that help drive results.

“RKL is uniquely positioned to play a central role in our client’s overall business strategy – be it financial, operational or strategic. This practice grew out of clients tapping into the strong HR leadership we have here at RKL and has taken off from there,” says Edward Monborne, CEO.

The HR consulting practice is led by Danielle Hoffer who was recruited by RKL in 2013 to manage the internal HR function and position it as an employer of choice. A tenured HR consultant with more than a decade of experience, Hoffer served in dual roles for the firm’s internal needs as well as external client service. As the practice has grown, Hoffer has added two professionals dedicated exclusively to the team and transitioned fully to client service in January 2018.

“In addition to leveraging our core team’s expertise in human resources, we’re uniquely positioned to tap into the multi-disciplined perspective of the broader RKL team. This results in meaningful solutions to people issues, which touch all areas of an organization’s operations,” says Hoffer.

The HR consulting practice currently serves clients in a wide variety of industries including manufacturing, professional services, government, health care, nonprofit and others. The firm’s relationship-based service approach and flexible working arrangements allow for solutions that are highly customized to meet the client’s unique objectives.

Prager Metis Launched New Affiliate

New York-based Prager Metis CPAs (FY16 net revenue of $60.8 million) created a new staffing company specializing in recruitment services: PM Human Capital Solutions.

PM Human Capital Solutions will assist clients in addressing the gap that exists and to create a more conducive talent acquisition strategy. PM Human Capital Solutions will provide a full spectrum of finance and accounting recruitment services encompassing direct hire, temporary solutions, contract services and retained search.

The company will be led by Mike Zaremski as president and CEO. Zaremski has more than 20 years of human resources, operations and leadership experience within the public accounting and staffing industries.

“I am very excited about the unique market positioning and rapid growth of Prager Metis,” says Zaremski. “Essentially we are positioned as a recruitment firm that understands the technical aspects of client fulfillment coupled with a relationship-centered approach.”

Zaremski has been a leader and innovator in the area of human resources, staffing and public accounting. He started his career with PwC then pursued a career in the recruitment industry. Zaremski was most recently the president of a NYC boutique staffing firm.

“We are extremely excited to launch this new company in an effort to continue to provide the necessary and required services and advice to our clients around the world. We also welcome Mike as CEO of PM Human Capital Solutions, who brings decades of experience in staffing and recruiting industry,” says Glenn Friedman, co-MP.

Bennett Thrasher Adds New Tax Controversy Service Line

James Pickett

James Pickett

Bennett Thrasher (FY17 net revenue of $47.3 million) of Atlanta welcomed James Pickett, a 29-year veteran of the IRS, as director of its new tax controversy practice. The hire marks the addition of the firm’s third new service line in the past nine months.

Pickett spent his final six years at the IRS as team manager of the large business and international (LBI) division. In this role, he supervised a team of revenue agents throughout several states conducting large corporate audits.

“As someone who was on the front lines leading audits of some of the largest corporations in the southeast, James will be an enormous asset to our clients,” says Jeff Eischeid, MP. “As a firm, we want to offer the most sophisticated expertise and as extensive a range of services as we can. We see adding a tax controversy practice group led by someone with James’s background as essential in the current marketplace.”

The tax controversy practice will seek to help clients resolve matters prior to the litigation stage. Pickett will be responsible for helping clients manage tax disputes involving both field and correspondence audits, post-audit issue resolution, including representation in IRS appeals, penalty and collection notices, claims and other tax compliance-related matters. Pickett will also work in conjunction with Bennett Thrasher partner Tim Kelly, who provides litigation and forensic support for certain civil and other sensitive tax matters.

“I am grateful to Bennett Thrasher for this opportunity and am excited to reenter the private sector and apply my experience in a new manner,” says Pickett. “I understand the mentality of how the IRS approaches companies that it is targeting for noncompliance and that will aid me in assisting the firm’s clients who need these specialty services.”

Deloitte Follows Competitors Into Legal Market in UK

Deloitte is expanding its legal services offering in the UK, following similar moves by PwC, KPMG and EY to edge in on the territory of traditional law firms, The Financial Times of London reported.

“There is room [in the market] for a lot of players and our competitors in the Big 4 are already operating in this space,” said Matt Ellis, managing partner for tax and legal at Deloitte, according to the newspaper.

The Big 4’s legal divisions are already larger than most law firms, but the profession’s leading law firms earn much more. The Financial Times noted that Latham & Watkins in the U.S., for example, had revenues of $2.8 billion in 2016, while PwC earned $500 million from legal services in the same year, and Deloitte earned $250 million.

As part of its plan, Deloitte is applying for an alternative business structure license, introduced as part of the 2007 Legal Services Act, which allowed non-lawyers to own and run legal services.

Deloitte is expected to focus on using technology to speed up routine legal work. “We’re planning to use our technology and advisory skills to transform legal services and help address many of the challenges lawyers . . . are facing in today’s increasingly complex legal environment,” Ellis said. Although he added that Deloitte was not seeking to replicate a traditional law firm, he acknowledged that its legal offering “may threaten some players.”

Several observers said that the Big 4 may be interested in a mid-tier law firm if it ran into financial trouble. Lee Ranson, co-chief executive of law firm Eversheds Sutherland, predicted that at least one of the Big 4 would make such a takeover move in the next three years. “In a significant number of areas and geographies, they are already our competitors,” he added.

Grassi & Co. Launches New Affiliate, Grassi Healthcare Advisors

New York-based Grassi & Co. (FY17 net revenue of $59.6 million) launched Grassi Healthcare Advisors LLC (GHA), which will be led by CEO Joseph Tomaino, previously the principal of health care transformation consulting of Grassi & Co. for the last three years.

Joseph Tomaino

Joseph Tomaino

Tomaino has more than 30 years of health care management experience working in the not-for-profit, for-profit and government-sponsored segments. He has worked with provider organizations and payers across the U.S. as an architect of value based care – improving clinical effectiveness and resource efficiency. Tomaino uses data to analyze populations being served as well as an organization’s effectiveness, and then applies innovative structure and program designs to improve performance, helping clients transform to successfully operate in managed care and accountable care reimbursement environments.

In the current accountable-care health care environment, medical providers and health care organizations are transitioning from a transactional fee-for-service business model, to a value-based payment model.

“With the rapid pace of change businesses experience today, the creation of Grassi Healthcare Advisors LLC is a necessity in helping our clients successfully integrate into this value-based payment model,” says Louis Grassi, MP and CEO. “I have every confidence that Joseph and his team of experts are at the forefront of the issues facing the health care industry and will help position our clients for continued success and growth.”

The GHA team will also include Stephanie Fiedler as the director of revenue advisory; Geri Gregor, a partner in business advisory; Joseph Micara, director of business development; and Alicia Shickle, senior manager.

Crowe Horwath Launches New Tax Technology

Chicago-based Crowe Horwath (FY17 net revenue of $809.5 million) has launched its tax service delivery platform, Crowe Tax Connect.

“Centralized data paints the big picture and allows us to focus on high-risk areas and other critical factors. At Crowe, we understand data analysis provides our clients with deeper insight into their businesses and the intelligence they need for more informed decision-making,” says Geralyn Hurd, partner in tax technology.

Crowe Tax Connect helps clients:

  • Centralize and use data more effectively
  • Enhance the quality and effectiveness of Crowe processes
  • Gain meaningful, valuable insights
  • Engage the most qualified resources based on needed expertise.

“Forward-thinking firms, like Crowe, that can combine innovative technology with deep specialization are well-positioned to provide a unique client experience,” says Gary Fox, MP of tax services. “Crowe Tax Connect looks to the future and sets the stage for advanced technologies, such as machine learning and advanced data analytics.”

Friedman Launches New Cybersecurity Service, CyZen

New York-based Friedman LLP (FY16 net revenue of $94 million) has launched a new service, CyZen. This will consist of a five-person team of cybersecurity advisors that provides clients cybersecurity support against the growing risk of cyber threats.

The CyZen team will safeguard individuals and companies in both the public and private sectors spanning a broad range of industries. CyZen offers clients cutting-edge cybersecurity through a customizable suite of services, including assessment, testing, remediation and monitoring.

Jacob Lehmann, managing director of CyZen, has more than 10 years of experience spearheading proactive, innovative and custom-tailored solutions that help safeguard clients from cybersecurity risks. His engagements span small and medium businesses and high net-worth individuals to big enterprise-level engagements and start-ups across broad spectrum of industries including, technology, banking, finance and real estate.

William Mendez, director of Friedman CyZen, has more than 10 years of experience strategizing and executing innovative cybersecurity solutions for entities ranging from small and medium-sized businesses to large corporations in the finance, real estate, nonprofit, education and energy sectors.

Sean Johnstone is a senior specialist who focuses on penetration tests and vulnerability assessments in the cybersecurity space. He has led cybersecurity awareness training for northeast clients.

William Keppler is a senior specialist with more than five years of experience in the cybersecurity space. He has conducted ethical hacking, software security, web application security, programming and vulnerability research.

Eric Freeman is a senior specialist focusing on building tailored solutions to help defend endpoints and networks from advanced threats.

Dermody Burke & Brown Launch New Agribusiness Services Group

Syracuse, N.Y.-based Dermody Burke & Brown launched an agribusiness service group. Though they have serviced clients in the industry for a number of years, this officially marks the beginning of a formalized group.

The firm serves dairy farms, feed mills, swine and hog farms, beef farms, apple orchards, distilleries, wineries, vineyards and breweries. Dermody Burke & Brown currently provides a wide range of business accounting, auditing and taxation services to 50 to 100 clients in the agribusiness industry. Principal David Corey, Jr. leads the agribusiness service group and is supported by a department of experienced staff.

P&N Launches Cybersecurity Solution for Businesses

Baton Rouge, La.-based Postlethwaite & Netterville (FY17 net revenue of $58.3 million) announced the release of CYBERVEIL security solution, a full suite of cybersecurity and forensic services. CYBERVEIL helps clients identify, protect, monitor and respond to cyber threats.

CYBERVEIL provides clients with a full-scope, fully customizable approach to 24/7 cyber monitoring and protection. It is ideal for organizations that have suffered a data breach, companies lacking IT staff with specific cybersecurity expertise, or those concerned their IT security programs are not as sophisticated as the ever-evolving cyber threats.

“Cybersecurity is one of the greatest risks to our clients, and with more than fifteen years of focusing on information security and data protection, this solution evolved based on our clients’ needs and regulatory environments. We believe it’s a clearer path for clients needing specific expertise in cybersecurity and risk management,” says Michael Richmond, director of technology services.v

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.