IPA Vendor Spotlight On … Allan Fisher, Premier Financial Search

Name: Allan Fisher

Allan Fisher

Allan Fisher

Company: Premier Financial Search

Title: President and Founder


  • 20 years of recruiting specifically for public accounting firms
  • Works with 25 of the IPA 100 firms, 42 of the IPA 200 firms and 64 of the IPA 300 firms.
  • Placed 1200+ candidates within CPA firms
  • Actively involved in CPAFMA
  • Acted as ‘matchmaker’ on multiple firm mergers

Many accounting firms have their own recruiters on staff, but what extra value can an outside recruiting service bring to the table?

Internal firm recruiters are a key part of the HR and talent acquisition process, and that is why we partner with them to fill their staffing needs. They do an outstanding job of promoting the benefits of their firm, and we do an outstanding job of identifying candidates they might not reach. Our team has created a strong national network. This enables us to target specific candidates by job, geography and industry specialization. We have built our success on relationships, and see this again and again in referrals. We see the big picture, and come at recruiting from a different vantage point. When combined with what CPA firms have in place for staffing, the value we add is tremendous.

What’s the biggest opportunity for CPA firms that Premier Financial Search can help them with?

Two of the biggest challenges facing CPA firms are staffing and succession planning. These are two of our largest areas of focus. As we work solely with public accounting firms, our entire inventory consists of candidates coming from local, regional and national firms. Our candidate interview process is in-depth and allows us to determine a candidate’s ultimate career goal. We can then make ideal matches based on the needs of the hiring firms.

How has the staffing industry changed with the rise of social media, specifically LinkedIn, in your years as an executive recruiter?

Much has changed in the industry since I started recruiting in 1998. LinkedIn has leveled the playing field when it comes to identifying talent. Recruiters and HR professionals alike can easily determine a talent pool at a particular level within a geographic area. Candidates tell me that they receive five to 10 emails via LinkedIn from recruiters and firms per week. This has created a Tinder-like atmosphere in which candidates feel they can be selective, swiping past opportunities until they find their perfect match. Recruiting is, and has always been, about relationships. For us, Monster, Indeed and LinkedIn open the doors to relationships. A positive for us is that LinkedIn allows us to reach more candidates on a national level. Interestingly, 30% of the candidates we place are relocating from one geographic area to another.

What makes Premier Financial Search different than other staffing companies?

We recruit and place nationally. We have placed candidates from almost every state into Top 100, 200 and 300 firms. We know what differentiates one firm from another. When a candidate considers making a move, their knowledge of firms is often focused on the very recognizable national firms. We assist by educating candidates on many things: the differences among national, regional and local firms; which firms offer industry specialty services; how one firm’s succession plan may be vastly different than another’s; how one firm’s culture compares to others. We know the market. With 20 years of expertise focused on one area, we know the trends, firms to watch, M&A rumors and important details not included on firm websites.

Final thoughts?

Our passion is placement within public accounting. In an overheated market for talent, we provide top candidates, allowing our clients to grow and properly plan for partner succession.

Do you know someone else who would make a good Spotlight? Contact Christina Camara.

Citrin Cooperman Appoints New Co-Leader of Franchise Practice

Michael Iannuzzi

Michael Iannuzzi

New York-based Citrin Cooperman (FY15 net revenue of $207 million) announces that Michael Iannuzzi, audit partner, has been appointed co-leader of the franchise practice.

As active members of the International Franchise Association, Citrin Cooperman’s franchise practice works with franchisors, multi-unit franchisees and private equity firms in many key niche areas, including restaurants, QSRs, fitness centers, entertainment services, educational service and junk removal companies.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Michael for over 10 years and he has proven himself as an ambassador and resource to the franchise community – domestically, internationally and operationally,” says Aaron Chaitovsky, the partner who leads the practice.

Iannuzzi has been advising franchisors and multi-unit franchisees for over a decade on various matters, including franchise performance representations, franchisee unit matrix, franchise disclosure document presentations, advertising fund structure, corporate structuring and restructuring, revenue recognition and asset protection. One of Iannuzzi’s primary responsibilities has been managing the domestic audit of one of the largest QSR franchisors in the world.

Iannuzzi says, “I am looking forward to creating new ideas, relationships and strategies to continue growing and enhancing the firm’s franchise practice for the next generation.”

Marks Paneth Admits Misuraca as Partner

Yasmine Misuraca

Yasmine Misuraca

New York-based Marks Paneth (FY15 net revenue of $110.9 million) has announced that Yasmine Misuraca has been admitted as a partner in the firm’s advisory services group.

Misuraca brings more than 20 years of public and private accounting experience, as well as a proven track record providing forensic accounting, consulting and expert witness services, the firm says.

“Yasmine’s expertise in fraud investigations and forensic examinations, paired with her outstanding business acumen, have been tremendous assets to our clients and team,” says Steven Henning, PIC, advisory services.

Misuraca has an in-depth knowledge of both U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS) and has consulted extensively on the application of these standards for business transactions and events as well as securities litigation. She has worked with the SEC on a number of high-profile cases, the firm announces.

Prior to joining Marks Paneth, she held successive roles at a Big 4 firm and with numerous Fortune 500 companies.

New Leadership Roles for Two at Rehmann

John Pridnia

John Pridnia

Saginaw, Mich.-based Rehmann (FY15 net revenue of $116 million) announces that two leaders are taking on new roles June 1 – John Pridnia becomes Rehmann’s new firmwide director of tax and Chris Morse moves from director of tax to regional managing principal of Rehmann’s Greater Michigan region, which covers Saginaw, Grand Rapids, Traverse City and other important Rehmann locations.

Pridnia previously served as a regional tax director. Morse, after succeeding in a variety of firm and community leadership roles, “will carry his passion and infectious enthusiasm to further enhance client service capabilities throughout the firm,” Rehmann announces.

Chris Morse

Chris Morse

“John and Chris have proven to be great leaders and strong contributors at Rehmann,” says Rehmann CEO Randy Rupp.

Wayne Pahssen will transition from his position as regional managing principal as Morse steps in to focus on individual tax and wealth management clients. “Chris, John and I all know that Wayne leaves big shoes to fill in this leadership role,” says COO Stacie Kwaiser. “His work ethic and determination have put the firm in a strong position to leap forward in growth and client service over our next 75 years.”

Senior Tax Manager at Geffen Mesher Passes Away

Kelly Coburn

Kelly Coburn

Geffen Mesher of Portland, Ore. (FY15 net revenue of $20.5 million), is saddened to announce the passing of longtime senior tax manager Kelly Coburn, who died unexpectedly May 3.

Coburn got his start with Geffen Mesher (then Laventhol & Horwath) in 1978, and this would have marked his 39th year with the firm.

His primary focus was in the real estate industry, partnering with his clients on tax and business planning, partnership taxation, real estate transactions and employee benefit plans.

Kelly was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the early 2000s. He began reducing his time in the office in 2006, and worked entirely from home beginning in 2011 when he could no longer physically come into the office. “MS robbed Kelly of his ability to move, but his mind remained sharp as a tack and he continued to respond to technical questions quickly, as if he was still right down the hall,” says Michael Rompa, MP at Geffen Mesher.

Partner Billy Morgan says, “He was a kind and steadfast man who was an example to each and every one of us through the way he lived his life, and I have missed having him in our office in recent years.”

Bodin Named Global CEO-Elect of Grant Thornton

Peter Bodin

Peter Bodin

Peter Bodin will lead Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL), the global entity of the professional services network with 47,000 people at member firms in over 130 countries. Bodin, the former CEO of Grant Thornton Sweden, will assume the role on Jan. 1, 2018, for a five-year term, succeeding Ed Nusbaum, who will retire at the end of this year after eight years as CEO of GTIL.

“I have always believed sustainable business success is built on having the right people, leadership and culture,” Bodin says. “My role will be to create an environment that allows Grant Thornton people and firms to collaborate, not just with each other but with clients and other stakeholders, to grow into the world’s best professional services organization.”

Nusbaum adds, “I am delighted that the board has chosen a strong, innovative leader in Peter who will inspire the people of Grant Thornton, our clients and our communities throughout the world.  I have worked closely with him over the years and I am confident that after a smooth transition he will continue the journey to execute our Growing Together 2020 strategy and continue to build an exciting future for this great organization.”

Bodin was the CEO of Grant Thornton Sweden for 16 years. He received unanimous support from the board, including CEOs of Grant Thornton member firms from 14 countries and two independent directors.

Lopez Levi Lowenstein Glinsky Joins AGN

AGN is pleased to welcome Coral Gables, Fla.-based Lopez Levi Lowenstein Glinsky (LLLG) as a member.

The firm operates a second office in Homestead, Fla., and concentrates in tax, estate planning, wealth preservation, real property, business valuation, tax controversy and commercial matters. The multi-lingual team works with clients throughout the world, but has particular concentrations in Central/South America and Asia.

The firm completed a merger in January and is growing rapidly. Its concierge-like services and dedication to education have helped LLLG to build an excellent reputation and market niche in international tax. In addition to their work in pre-immigration and high-net-worth tax planning and restructuring, they also specialize in construction and real estate in a variety of countries, AGN says.

“We truly anticipate contributing to the overall knowledge of AGN as an organization, as well as the mutual exchange we will have through growing relationships,” says founder and MP Ray Levi. “We feel that the impressive member profiles, training and exclusivity of AGN is a step above what we have experienced with past associations and are excited about the possibilities.”

“The world is not flat… and AGN is continually growing in international cooperation, business development and technical knowledge,” says Kathy Sautters, North American regional director. “Lopez Levi Lowenstein Glinsky is the perfect example of all three and will be a key player in bringing together our members from all regions.”

Packer Thomas Acquires Anness Gerlach & Williams

Canfield, Ohio-based Packer Thomas (FY15 net revenue of $8 million) has announced its merger with Anness Gerlach & Williams (AGW) of Youngstown, Ohio.

Packer Thomas, founded in 1923, has two offices, more than 75 employees and serves domestic and international clients throughout the U.S. AGW employs 17 people.

Brian Commons, principal at Packer Thomas, says, “AGW is an excellent firm with a seasoned team of professionals. Given our mutually strong focus on providing high-quality client service and value, and the manner in which our firms partner with clients, it made joining forces very natural. Our culture and reputation are our biggest assets, and we are particularly excited to welcome such a fine group of professionals into our organization.”

According to Thomas J. Anness, principal at AGW, “Packer Thomas is a well-respected firm and an ideal fit for our team and our clients.”

The combined firm will operate in Packer Thomas’ newly expanded Canfield office.

AAFCPAs Joins PrimeGlobal

Westborough, Mass.-based AAFCPAs (FY15 net revenue of $24.6 million) announces it has joined PrimeGlobal, the fourth largest accounting firm association in the world.

PrimeGlobal is comprised of more than 300 independent CPA firms in 85 countries, with more than 850 offices worldwide.

As an independent member of PrimeGlobal, AAFCPAs’ clients will benefit from national and global reach with the same seamless coordination offered by a Big 4 or national firm, AAFCPAs says.

“Joining PrimeGlobal allows us to apply our exceptional expertise and value to a wider range of clients in a wider range of situations,” says Carla McCall, co-MP. “We are poised for tremendous growth and excited about the opportunities ahead.”

“We carefully evaluated associations that would be the ideal fit for us and our forward-thinking culture of excellence,” says David McManus, co-MP. “We are confident our alliance with PrimeGlobal will be a winner and create additional value for our diverse current and prospective clients.”

PwC Gets Hit With $6.5 Million Fine in UK

PwC’s firm in the United Kingdom was fined a record £5 million ($6.5 million) by the U.K.’s Financial Reporting Council for the way it checked the books of collapsed social housing maintenance company Connaugh, Reuters reported.

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) also fined Stephen Harrison, a retired PwC audit partner, 150,000 pounds ($193,000) for misconduct in relation to the 2009 audit of listed Connaught, which went into administration in the following year.

The watchdog said in a statement that following an FRC investigation and a 12-day hearing, an independent tribunal found audit misconduct in relation to mobilization costs, long-term contracts and intangible assets.

“PwC were also ordered to pay the (FRC) Executive Counsel’s costs and to make an interim payment on account of 1.5 million pounds,” the FRC said.

PwC said in a statement, “Since 2010 when the case began, we’ve worked hard to improve our procedures and processes. Audit quality is of paramount importance to PwC and the FRC’s annual audit quality assessments have shown a trend of improvement in our work over several years.”

Connaught, which maintained affordable housing for British residents, needed to appoint administrators in September 2010 after it failed to secure financing from lenders. In June, U.K. housing authorities suddenly announced they were delaying several housing upgrade projects in response to the government’s planned budget cuts.

The watchdog is seeking to raise its profile and crack down harder on misconduct after a series of accounting scandals prompted some lawmakers to question its effectiveness, Reuters reported.

Earlier this year it asked the government for more powers.

The FRC’s largest fine had been a 4-million-pound penalty imposed on another Big 4 accounting firm, Deloitte, last year in relation to an audit of Aero Inventory.