KROST Announces Merger with BPE&H

Pasadena, Calif.-based KROST (FY18 net revenue of $33.8 million) has merged in BPE&H of Woodland Hills, Calif.

Seven principals will join the leadership team at KROST, including Scott Eisner, Martin Belak-Berger, Bob Price, Phil D’Amico, Scott Gilmore and founding BPE&H principals Jerry Block and Jane Plant. The merger adds 30 employees, expanding KROST to 200 team members and increasing its presence in the thriving Woodland Hills area.

The former BPE&H staff will remain at their existing office until next summer when staff from the two offices – KROST also operates an office in Woodland Hills – will move into a new space together.

“Joining with KROST makes sense from a resource standpoint. We now have in-house recruiting and other corporate support systems to alleviate workload on our leadership so we can spend more time with our clients. The firm’s industry task forces are also a great complement to our manufacturing and real estate expertise,” says Belak-Berger.

KROST MP Greg Kniss says, “Merging with BPE&H made sense for us on several levels. Their mission and vision, as well as dedication to superior customer service, resonates with our core values and the principles that we stand by here at KROST. Our tax, accounting and advisory teams will benefit from the added resources; all of which will allow us to continue to support our clients.”

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McKonly & Asbury Admits Marta Horst as a Partner

Camp Hill, Pa.-based McKonly & Asbury (FY18 net revenue of $9.6 million) has announced that Marta Horst has been admitted as a principal.

Horst joined the firm in 2007 and leads the firm’s tax practice from the Lancaster, Pa., office. She serves clients in a range of industries including manufacturing, retail and financial services. She has extensive experience with corporations, trusts and partnerships, including federal and state income tax compliance and planning. She is also involved with domestic and international financial statement tax accounting.

Additionally, the firm announced one promotion to senior manager, one to manager, three to supervisor and three to senior accountant.

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Three New Member Firms Join Accounting Association CPAmerica

The following three firms have joined CPAmerica: Freemont, Calif.-based Greenstein Rogoff Olsen & Co. (FY18 net revenue of $8.6 million), Wayne, Pa.-based Stephano Slack and Fond du Lac, Wis.-based Huberty & Associates.

Greenstein Rogoff Olsen & Co. (GROCO) provides consulting services and accounting services to high-net-worth individuals and closely held businesses. Stephano Slack is a regional CPA firm specializing in middle-market companies, and Huberty & Associates is a professional service firm that operates both locally in southeastern Wisconsin, and virtually using collaborative, online technology.

Alan Deichler, president of CPAmerica, says of the new firms, “They belong to a group that is determined to improve through sharing and where members support each other’s success through discussing best practices, sharing experiences and building professional relationships.”

Fourteen new firms joined the accounting association during 2019.

CPAmerica, an association of independent CPA firms, is a member of Crowe Global, which has members in more than 750 offices in more than 130 countries.

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Carr Riggs & Ingram Expands Operations in Alabama With Merger

Enterprise, Ala.-based Carr Riggs & Ingram (FY18 net revenue of $306 million) has merged in Crabtree Rowe & Berger of Huntsville, Ala.

“Expanding our footprint into northern Alabama is a vital part of our strategic plan,” says William Carr, chairman and MP of CRI. “The Crabtree Rowe & Berger offices in Huntsville, along with our other Alabama locations, help leverage the strength of our combined teams and resources to enhance our client service delivery and technical expertise.”

Crabtree Rowe & Berger was named to Inc. 5000’s list of America’s fastest-growing companies in 2019 and offers traditional services along with a consulting and financial modeling practice called Simple Numbers® for a variety of industries, including manufacturing and distribution.

Allan Koltin, CEO of Koltin Consulting Group, who advised both firms on the combination, says, “This merger is tremendous for CRI given the incredible growth that the Huntsville market is experiencing. Though Crabtree Rowe & Berger is based in Huntsville, they have gained a national reputation for their extraordinary consulting and advisory practice. These two firms will experience impressive success from their combined offerings.”

With the addition of the Crabtree Rowe & Berger, CRI operates in 30 markets across 10 states.

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PKF O’Connor Davies Admits Three to Partner

Bryan Decker

Bryan Decker

New York-based PKF O’Connor Davies (FY18 net revenue of $170 million) has announced that Bryan Decker, Jim Szumlaski and Diana Teixeira have been admitted to the partnership group.

Decker, an audit and assurance partner in the Stamford, Conn., location, provides auditing, review, tax and consulting services for commercial industries including real estate, professional services, computer software, retail, manufacturing and venture capital. He also has extensive experience working with health and welfare organizations, museums, churches and synagogues, government enterprise funds and condominiums in the not-for-profit space.

Jim Szumlaski

Jim Szumlaski

Szumlaski, a partner in the business solutions group in the Newburgh, N.Y., office, works with small and large private companies in a range of industries including retail, manufacturing, distribution, professional services and not-for-profit entities. He serves clients by providing audit, tax and consulting services.

Diana Teixeira

Diana Teixeira

Teixeira, a tax partner in the Shelton, Conn., office, provides a broad spectrum of tax services to many kinds of companies as well as high-net-worth individuals. She specializes in tax saving strategies for individuals and business owners.

Additionally, the firm promoted three professionals to principals.

PKF O’Connor Davies has 12 office locations in five states.

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Moore North America Launches U.S. National Tax Office

The accounting firm association, Moore North America (Moore NA), has collaborated with member firms to launch a U.S. national tax office.

The office will provide members and their clients with access to deeper tax knowledge across multiple tax specialty areas. It is comprised of tax partners and senior-level staff that will work collaboratively with Moore member firms and shared clients.

“In today’s environment, where our clients are facing change faster than ever before, we want to collaborate with Moore member firms to provide responsive, in-depth expertise that differentiates us,” says Moore Global CEO Anton Colella.

San Ramon-based Armanino LLP (FY18 net revenue of $267.2 million) was the driving force behind this initiative, Moore NA announced. St. Louis-based Brown Smith Wallace (FY18 net revenue of $50 million) and Maple Grove, Minn.-based Global Tax Network US (FY18 net revenue of $15.4 million) have provided tax professionals in property tax and expat tax services, respectively, to assist members. The office expects to grow in resources and incorporate more members as the program continues.

“Since Moore members already collaborate on a regular basis, the office is meant to supplement those efforts,” says Moore NA CEO Tony Szczepaniak. “We hope the addition of these resources can help our members continue to grow and thrive alongside their clients.”

In addition to collaboration, the office seeks to increase communication and education among members. Through tax alerts, events and webinars, the office provides members with the increased confidence that no matter what issues or questions clients are facing, they have the answers and resources readily available.

The regular communications will provide expanded insights into emerging legislation, including strategic tax opportunities across state, national and international jurisdictions and the impact of new tax pronouncements.

Moore NA is one of eight regional members of Moore Global Network Limited.

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IPA Launches 2020 Survey Focused on Employee Transformation and Development


“Transforming while performing” is the mantra of many firms today, ensuring current performance while re-tooling and re-engineering the firm for the future. “Transformation” refers to many areas of business, including employees, technology, business model, business processes, partner activities, governance, pricing models, new performance metrics and even definitions of success. This month, we begin capturing information on employee transformation.

Throughout the year, INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA) will be collecting and reporting on information on the theme of Firm Transformations. This month’s focus is on employee transformation and development. Please consider taking the survey, which should take no more than 5 minutes to complete.

All survey participants will receive a complimentary copy of the results when published. The survey is open from Jan. 23 through Feb. 21.




Partners Can Be Complacent And Ego-Driven, But Their Success = Firm Success

Without the support of the partner group, MPs can’t move their firms forward. The realities of gaining consensus among hard-driving professionals with different working styles, skills and drivers can be more challenging than even the most insightful firm leader could anticipate. One MP says, “It’s like herding cats, and it’s very difficult to get all partners on the same page because not everybody has the same value proposition and not everyone is motivated by the same metrics.”

No MP owns a how-to guidebook on juggling the multiple – and sometimes competing – priorities demanding their attention every day. INSIDE Public Accounting, therefore, asked more than 70 MPs to offer anonymous insights on the frustrations, challenges, joys and rewards of the top job. In a 12-question survey, they offered unfiltered, candid insights. Here are responses to just a few of the questions.

What are two of your biggest frustrations with the partner group? Two themes – egos and complacency – immediately emerged from MP responses to this question. Some MPs say partners think their way is the only way. They fail to see the benefit of trying a different approach, close themselves off from other points of view, second-guess decisions (after failing to participate in the discussion), and stay in their comfort zone of client service without committing to professional development, marketing, timely billing and collections.

One MP said two or three partners are so negative “they’re like a cancer.” Some partners think they’re “too busy or too important to follow the rules,” says another.

However, with the success of the partners goes the success of the firm, and MPs are quick to acknowledge the massive amounts of work they handle, the numerous clients they serve admirably and the demands they address without fail.

Frustrations With Partners IncludeLack of Participation “They don’t speak up. When we need them to vote it’s like pulling teeth to get them to respond on time.”

Lack of Accountability “Partners like to measure others but don’t like to be measured.” Another MP says, “Too many of our partners are cruisers. Some of these, though, think they are dynamos and they aren’t.”

Self-Centered Thinking One MP is frustrated by “getting them to work together as a team, and not be so concerned about themselves.” Another says, “Partners think they are suited for all jobs because they are successful in one or two areas.” Another disappointment? “Partners who occasionally want to be MP, but only when they don’t like something specific but don’t want any part of the running of the firm on a daily basis.”

Hanging on When it’s Time to Retire “They seem to want to continue to come to the office, take up a large office, and distract staff and have no desire to step away. This can hold back some of the younger partners and potential partners.”

Failure to Use Time Wisely – A top-notch partner, one MP says, should “discuss issues with other partners when they arise and not behind their back, seek to interact more with fellow partners, be joyful in what you do and how you carry yourself, and help others at all times when asked.” Another MP comments that partners often complain about being overloaded with work. “As a result, they can’t hit their goals, or do this or that. What I find is that they’re not looking inside and prioritizing, pushing down or making good choices.”

“What’s the most valuable piece of advice you would share with an MP?…Don’t try to be popular, say many MPs who responded to this question. “You have to make what you feel is the best decision for the firm and don’t take unhappy partners or staff personally,” one MP says. “They will get over it.”

MPs, in various ways, advised new executives to make the tough decisions, but be respectful. Communicate clearly and often, and put the long-term best interest of the firm above selfish or short-term gains. Always.

More advice from the trenches…

  • Don’t Rush – “Be patient. Making changes is like moving a battleship so take it slow and do it right.” Another MP says, “Think more. Do less.”
  • Be Direct – “Establish up front that you’re not going to put up with negativity, complaining, etc., or they’ll be brought up before the executive committee.”
  • Think ‘Big Picture’ – “Communicate, communicate, communicate. There has to be someone in charge that creates the vision and rallies the employees behind it.”
  • Get Support – “Find four or five other managing partners or consultants that they admire and respect and build close relationships with them. That gives them a sounding board outside his or her own partner group. Other MPs are also great sources of new ideas that can be implemented.”
  • Learn the Role Before Taking It – “Just because you’re a good accountant doesn’t mean you know how to run a business.”
  • Watch the WIP – “If you don’t bill, you don’t collect money. If you don’t collect money, you can’t pay the bills.”
  • Manage Your Time – “Block off chunks of time to work on administrative duties and client duties. Constantly switching back and forth is difficult and draining.”
  • Stay Focused – “Work hard, never lose the trust of the partners who are willing to trust, and don’t let the naysayers distract you.”
  • Be Open – “Understand you need to learn as much as you can about how to work with different types of people.” Another MP agrees. “Get to know all your partners, and determine what really motivates them, and what is it that they care most about at the firm. Do not play favorites, and don’t allow little partner groups to form and break down the vision of the firm. Rather, bring their concerns to the table, and resolve them.”

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BeachFleischman Names Kim Paskal as COO of Tax, Peter Beahan to Executive VP

Peter Beahan

Tucson, Ariz.-based BeachFleischman (FY18 net revenue of $27.8 million) has elected Peter Beahan as executive vice president of the firm.

Additionally, Kim Paskal has been named as the COO of tax, succeeding Beahan.

Kim Paskal

The board appointed Paskal as part of the firm’s succession and strategic plans. She joined BeachFleischman in 1996 and has also served as the industry segment leader for the firm’s financial and professional services practice since 2010 and the cost segregation practice since 2019. Paskal’s specialties include tax-planning, consulting and compliance for entrepreneurial businesses as well as high-net-worth individuals. She will transition her industry segment leadership role to focus on her new responsibilities as the tax department leader.

Beahan will continue to serve firm clients, with an emphasis on the health care practice. He will also mentor staff and remain a member of the firm’s management committee.

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Geffen Mesher Admits Two Partners

Greg Malcolm

Geffen Mesher (FY18 net revenue of $24.3 million) of Portland, Ore., has admitted two new shareholders to its leadership team.

“Throughout their tenures at Geffen Mesher, Greg Malcolm and Troy Banker have established themselves as respected leaders, fierce client advocates and perennial innovators,” says CEO Michael Rompa in a prepared statement.

Malcom and Banker have both held roles as senior managers within the firm. Malcolm, who was recruited to the firm after graduating from Oregon State University in 2008, was drawn to Geffen Mesher’s culture of camaraderie and mentorship.

Troy Banker

“I remember being impressed and inspired by shareholders like John Lorenz, who always understood a client’s needs by reading between the lines in their questions and could also see the big picture beyond the work at hand. I was humbled as they took the time to teach and mentor me. Now I’m excited to help the next generation of accountants by honing their skills, demonstrating the value of our work, and acting as a champion for their growth,” says Malcolm, who primarily serves clients in the real estate and professional services industries.

Banker joined Geffen Mesher in 2013 after starting his career at a smaller CPA firm. With a Lean Six Sigma certification, Banker is an expert on implementing efficiencies in the workplace, reducing or eliminating redundancies, and developing a framework of company culture. He also serves the firm’s real estate and professional services clients.

“What I love about Geffen Mesher is our long-standing commitment to serving our greater Portland community. We don’t focus on large conglomerates or Fortune 500 companies; we primarily serve local, family-owned businesses and mid-market private companies here in our backyard. What most energizes me about becoming a shareholder is the greater impact I can have on my local community,” notes Banker.

The firm says the promotions mark a shift to more consultative relationships with clients. “With technological advances guiding the future of the accounting industry, this big-picture thinking will be pivotal for the firm’s positioning as a prominent business ally in Portland.”