Armanino Acquires The Brenner Group

mergerSan Ramon, Calif.-based Armanino (FY14 net revenue of $129.5 million) announced that, effective Sept. 1, Cupertino, Calif.-based The Brenner Group will become an Armanino company.

The Brenner Group has a strong specialty in interim financial management, such as interim CFO and controller services, and valuation and financial advisory services, with a primary expertise in venture-backed technology companies.

“The Brenner Group’s experience in providing companies with hands-on financial leadership is a perfect match to Armanino’s full spectrum of accounting, consulting and technology solutions,” says MP Andy Armanino. “By coming together, we’re able to provide more innovative solutions for our clients, which is something we all take pride in and value.”

With this agreement, The Brenner Group’s valuation team will integrate with Armanino’s valuation and equity solutions practice to provide a full end-to-end equity compensation portfolio of services that can assist with all types of valuation engagements, as well as equity compensation administration, outsourcing, accounting and software solutions, the firm announced. Additionally, The Brenner Group will strengthen its interim management practice by integrating Armanino’s executive search team, and will together provide permanent and temporary placement services for a variety of leadership roles. This creates a full professional staffing solution for businesses at any stage of their growth.

“Armanino gives us the ability to expand and provide more solutions to our clients including outsourced bookkeeping, tax, international expertise and technology implementations around ERP, CRM, budget and forecasting, business reporting and analytics, and other ‘best of breed’ cloud solutions for the finance organization,” said Rich Brenner, CEO of The Brenner Group. “Together we are able to assist a variety of companies from venture capital-backed start ups to established businesses.”

CBIZ Sells Its Financial Services Practice to Cherry Bekaert

CBIZ_2014Cleveland-based CBIZ (FY14 net revenue of $600 million) has sold its financial services practice in Bethesda, Md., to Richmond, Va.-based Cherry Bekaert (FY15 net revenue of $143.8 million), effective Aug. 1.

“Our Bethesda financial services practice was relatively small for a large nationally recognized professional business service provider and not of sufficient size and scope to fully capitalize on the market opportunities that exist in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. metropolitan market,” says Steven L. Gerard, CBIZ chairman and CEO. “This transaction allowed us to place our existing staff and clients with a firm where their needs will be better met.”

The staff and directors say they are now part of Cherry Bekaert’s Washington-area practice, based in Tysons Corner, though they will remain in the same offices, the Washington Business Journal reported.

“This isn’t the first time the parties have crossed paths. The acquisition comes about 10 months after CBIZ closed its Miami location, citing insufficient scale and resources at that office. At least two partners and 23 CBIZ associates there joined Cherry Bekaert in the process,” the newspaper said.

 

MFA Establishes Canadian Subsidiary

Moody Famiglietti & Andronico LLP (MFA) of Tewksbury, Mass., announced the expansion of its operations with the establishment of a wholly owned Canadian subsidiary, MFA Canada.

The firm is opening an office in the Greater Montreal area and has appointed Gregg Hamilton-Piercy as its managing director. Hamilton-Piercy will continue to oversee the firm’s U.S. valuation operations as he builds a Canadian team to provide local services and support to the Canadian market.

Since 2011, Hamilton-Piercy has served as managing director of the valuation practice at MFA’s affiliate company, MFA Cornerstone Consulting, LLC. He has a diversified background in corporate finance that includes managing valuation and related engagements intended for a variety of purposes including gift and estate tax matters, mergers and acquisitions, equity buy/sell agreements and financial reporting.

“The inherent strength of our solutions is increasingly finding appeal in some of the world’s largest markets and the Canadian market, in particular, represents a huge opportunity for us,” says Carl Famiglietti, MFA MP. “Investing in a locally-based office provides an even greater opportunity for MFA to partner with Canadian-based businesses, entrepreneurs, executives, shareholders and individuals and develop long-term, mutually rewarding relationships in the region.”

Hamilton-Piercy says, “I am excited to lead the firm’s expansion efforts into Canada. MFA is a highly innovative organization and I am confident that our winning formula as a proactive and trusted business advisor will resonate with Canadian companies and ultimately, change the accounting, finance and business consulting landscape there.”

Second-Tier Firms Picking Up Audit Clients from Big 4, Data Says

Big 4 firms lost 64 public company audit engagements last year while national firms in the second tier added 58 new clients, according to Audit Analytics, which tracks auditor changes, fees, restatements and other issues.

In fact, one of the best years for adding SEC audit clients went to Chicago-based BDO (FY13 gross revenue of $683 million), a 49-office firm ranked at No. 7 by IPA. The firm won 54 new clients compared to 14 losses, for a net increase of 40 engagements in 2014. Its net increase in audit fees was $36.2 million last year.

New York-based KMPG (FY12 gross revenues of $5.8 billion) was the only Big 4 to win more than it lost in 2014, with an additional 15 that came from other Big 4 firms. New York-based Marcum (FY12 net revenue of $275.5 million) also added 15 and Chicago-based Grant Thornton (FY12 net revenue of $1.25 billion) added 12.

On the other end of the spectrum, New York-based EY (FY12 net revenue of $8.2 billion) lost 43 and New York-based PwC (FY12 net revenue of $10.2 billion) lost 28.

“But client wins and losses don’t quite tell the whole picture,” Audit Analytics reported. “Deloitte, for example, may have lost a net of eight clients, but their net increase in audit fees was $27.6 million. In other words, the clients that they won brought in significantly more fees than those they lost (assuming the fees remain relatively constant).” New York-based Deloitte reported gross revenues of about $13 billion for FY12.

Chicago-based Crowe Horwath (FY13 net revenue of $599 million) ended the year with same number of public company engagements. The firm added fewer than a dozen but lost the same number between Big 4 and other national or regional firms, Compliance Week reported. Chicago-based McGladrey (FY13 net revenue of $1.37 billion) gained 14 clients, eight of them from Big 4 firms, but lost 18.

CPA Firm HLB Tautges Redpath Has New Leader, Location and Logo

HLB Tautges Redpath Ltd. (FY12 net revenue of $14.7 million) of White Bear Lake, Minn., announced today the firm has officially changed its name to Redpath and Company. The newly branded firm will open a second office in downtown St. Paul on Sept., 1, where approximately 45 of Redpath and Company’s 125 employees will relocate.

Mark Gibbs

Mark Gibbs

The firm also said that Mark Gibbs, partner and client manager, will transition into the role of MP, which is currently being performed by Jim Redpath, who will become full-time partner and client manager.

“With Mark’s exceptional business acumen and keen ability to devise innovative solutions, it is clear that he will thrive as our managing partner,” says Redpath. “The relationships he has cultivated during his 27-year tenure at Redpath and Company have shaped our firm’s culture and strengthened our reputation as a caring and committed organization.”

Redpath and Gibbs will have offices in both the new St. Paul headquarters and the current White Bear Lake location. Following the MP transition, which will occur Oct., 1, Redpath plans to devote his efforts to client management, tax expertise and new business development. Gibbs will manage the firm’s overall operations while continuing to focus on client management and business development.

“The upcoming transition will allow Jim to spend more time doing what he does best: getting out in the community, connecting with people and sharing his tax expertise,” says Gibbs. “He is an integral part of our business development team and I am excited to continue working with him as we move the company forward.”

Doeren Mayhew Capital Advisors to Serve Growing M&A Client Base

Troy, Mich.-based Doeren Mayhew (FY12 net revenue of $44.3 million) has spun off its investment banking practice into a new investment bank, Doeren Mayhew Capital Advisors, to accommodate its growing mergers and acquisitions client base.

The launch follows a record year in M&A for Doeren Mayhew, partially fueled by the Houston energy economy and the addition of investment banking staff in its Troy office.Doeren Mayhew Capital Advisors Logo

“While our investment bankers have traditionally served Doeren Mayhew’s CPA clients as they look to exit the business or acquire to grow, we’re seeing significant demand beyond this as the marketplace becomes aware of what we are able to accomplish for our clients,” says Tim Moore, managing director for Doeren Mayhew Capital Advisors and managing shareholder for Doeren Mayhew’s Houston office. “We look forward to serving even more businesses locally and nationally while continuing to provide our existing clients with the support they’ve come to rely upon.”

Mark Crawford, Doeren Mayhew chairman and CEO, says the investment bank is “an obvious progression” in the firm’s growth plan. “This simply formalizes a practice that we have been very successful at in the past and allows us to bring substantial additional talent to any transaction.”

CPA2Biz Changes Name to CPA.com

CPA2Biz, a subsidiary of the AICPA, announced it has changed its company name to CPA.com to more closely align with its mission of “empowering CPAs and businesses for the digital age.”

“CPA.com has been serving as a strong umbrella brand for us for the past 18 months,” says Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com. “It’s a high-quality asset, so elevating it to our company name was always a consideration and more a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’. The new name is strong, simple and clear and reflects a digital service offering that is growing to meet the needs of CPAs. The time is right to make this switch.”

While the new name is effective immediately, the company’s various properties will be rebranded gradually over the course of the year as CPA.com uses the name change to take a fresh look at its brand identity. The existing URL for the AICPA Store site, cpa2biz.com, will remain active for the foreseeable future to eliminate any inconvenience for customers.

“For more than a decade, CPA2Biz has stayed true to its mission and become a valuable resource for AICPA and its members through services to firms,” said Barry Melancon, AICPA’s president and CEO. “What better way to serve the market through those firms than to leverage CPA.com. It is a win for the profession as we constantly strive to enhance the CPA brand and for CPA.com as a company as it focuses on providing unique services to the AICPA membership.”

Firms in the News: May 7

Altruic Advisors Announces Transition To Serve Nonprofits

Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Altruic Advisors has changed its business model to exclusively serve the needs of nonprofit organizations, making it one of only a select number of CPA firms in the nation to do so.
Altruic is also offering a new menu of cloud-based solutions formulated to help nonprofits with routine accounting and administrative functions. The services aim to streamline nonprofits’ accounting and administrative tasks, minimize the potential risks associated with fraud and improve the timeliness and accuracy of financial statements, while decreasing costs.

“Because Altruic is among the rare handful of CPA firms that work exclusively with nonprofits, we elected to provide services like the CFO Solutions package on a nationwide basis,” says Ryan Hagan, nonprofit specialist. “The fact that our services are 100% cloud-based is key to our unique positioning to help nonprofits. We firmly believe that this move will allow us to help more NPOs fulfill their charitable missions.”

 

Alavara Annouces Strategic Alliance With Peisner Johnson & Company

Avalara Inc. of Bainbridge Island, Wash., a provider of cloud-based software that delivers a broad array of compliance solutions related to sales tax and other transactional taxes, announced a strategic alliance with Dallas-based Peisner Johnson & Company LLP, a firm focused entirely on serving clients’ SALT needs.

Peisner Johnson and Avalara will work together to show CPAs and their clients how they can more effectively manage their sales tax reporting and compliance burden. In addition, Peisner Johnson will also be working closely with other firms nationwide to assist clients by offering deep sales tax knowledge, experience and support, including compliance services.

“We have traditionally resisted forming partnerships like this one, but because Avalara is 100% focused on sales tax solutions, we knew this one was going to benefit our firm, our clients and other practice firms that engage us to help their clients,” says Jerry Peisner, partner at Peisner Johnson & Company.

Ray Bigley, vice president of business development for Avalara’s accountants program, says, “In many instances, we spend a great deal of time educating CPAs on sales tax issues. Because Peisner Johnson already has many years of experience in this area, we are also looking forward to their broad network of affiliations in our effort to reach further into the CPA community.”

 

Hewins Financial Teams with DZH Phillips

Hewins Financial Advisors LLC, a national CPA-based financial advisory firm, announced collaboration with San Francisco-based DZH Phillips (FY12 net revenue of $11.9 million) to launch DZH Phillips Wealth Management.

The collaboration is designed to offer an integrated financial approach for clients.

“We believe strongly that our consistency in our investment philosophy and our efficiencies in our business models have propelled us as a firm. The strengths we’ve developed in the high-net-worth market have enabled us to extend our strategies, resources and capabilities to the emerging investor and business-to-business space,” says Hewins’ Chief Strategy Officer Gretchen Halpin.

 

4/17/14 Update: Crowe Horwath LLP Introduces Crowe Conflict Minerals Tracker

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act instructs the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue regulations requiring companies to disclose whether they obtained various rare minerals from war-torn regions in central Africa.  On Monday, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that the SEC’s “conflict mineral” disclosure rules were unconstitutional.  Specifically, in National Association of Manufacturers v. Securities and Exchange Commission, the court found that requiring companies to declare whether their products are “DRC conflict free,” the regulations unconstitutionally compelled commercial speech, thus violating the First Amendment.

Original: 2/10/14

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) new conflict minerals rule requires thousands of companies to perform due diligence to determine whether their products contain tin, tantalum, tungsten or gold, determine the country of origin for those minerals, and report their findings to customers and the SEC.

To assist with this complex process, Chicago-based Crowe Horwath LLP (FY13 net revenue of $599 million), an IPA Top 25 firm, has introduced the Crowe Conflict Minerals Tracker. The solution is designed to provide an efficient but thorough method for administering the required supplier query, data collection and reporting processes.

The intent of this new conflict mineral rule is to cut off funding to armed rebels responsible for human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and adjoining countries where these minerals are mined and sold. To help with this effort, SEC-registered companies now must conduct reasonable country of origin inquiries and other analyses and report on those findings.

Dixon Hughes Goodman Opens New Tenn. Office

Charlotte, N.C.- based Dixon Hughes Goodman (FY13 net revenue of $304.2 million) announced the opening of its new DHG Healthcare office in Brentwood, Tenn.

Brad Benton, MP of DHG Healthcare, says clients include not-for-profit community health systems, for-profit companies, academic medical centers, post-acute providers and physician practices.

The firm’s national health care practice makes up 20 percent of the firm’s revenue. Fifteen people will work out of the new office, but it’s big enough for up to 30 people to support the firm’s growing presence in the Nashville area’s health care community.

Professionals offer their expertise in health care strategy, reimbursement and payment models, capital planning and finance, revenue performance and transformation, data analytics and risk advisory services.

Kevin Locke, Nashville OMP says, “Our team is helping clients address crucial industry business issues in today’s environment, while also preparing for value- and quality-based care delivery in the future.”