Berry Appleman & Leiden and Deloitte UK to Form Alliance to Deliver World’s First Global Immigration Service

Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) LLP one of the world’s largest immigration law firms, announced a first-of-its-kind strategic alliance with Deloitte UK. The alliance represents an industry-first offering, combining the best of Deloitte’s scale, expertise and breadth outside of the U.S. with BAL’s legal expertise and high-quality immigration services in the U.S.

In an increasingly complex environment, today’s multinational businesses are struggling to gain the right level of market insights, make the most of big data and integrate their mobility services to advance their immigration programs. It can be particularly tough to find service providers with large enough footprints to effectively address global challenges and to stay ahead of ever-increasing requirements for secure, innovative technologies. This alliance addresses those needs, bringing BAL’s technology and innovation leadership together with the global acumen and scale of Deloitte Global. It gives multinational organizations the global perspectives and footprint and continuous innovation they need to stay ahead in today’s rapidly-changing immigration market.

“Immigration is now a C-Suite priority and the landscape is more complex than ever before. Today’s global businesses need innovative thinking, global scale and deep expertise,” says Jeremy Fudge, BAL MP. “We’re offering clients the very best of two leading organizations, delivering a level of expertise, scale, control and accountability they can’t get anywhere else.”

BAL’s global clients can continue to expect the high-level of technology innovation reflected in products like BAL’s Cobalt® digital immigration services platform, top-notch information security and unmatched immigration expertise they’ve come to know. When served through this alliance, BAL clients will now experience the added benefit of:

  • A centralized view to stay ahead: Addressing the need for increased business integration, multinational companies can now get a combined, broader view of their global immigration programs – from tax to mobility to immigration services and beyond. This alliance gives companies what they need to ensure global alignment across their business.
  • Quality and scale: The alliance gives global businesses access to the worldwide scale of Deloitte Global combined with BAL’s deep immigration expertise – all with a globally consistent quality and database.
  • Technology and security leadership: This alliance leverages the deep technology capabilities of two leading innovators to set a new benchmark for top-notch security solutions, and open the door to new possibilities in artificial intelligence, data analytics and other promising digital technologies.

“With the increased need for cross-border business travel, global organizations are recognizing the value of a firm that can bring a global footprint to help support the challenges of delivery and corporate compliance,” says Kalvinder Dhillon, Deloitte Global Immigration Lead. “Our ability to provide a fully global, end-to-end service will help employers move talent where it’s needed and enhance their compliance.”

Under this alliance, BAL will remain an independent entity in the U.S. Deloitte Global will acquire BAL’s non-U.S. operations and assets in the U.K., Singapore, Australia, Dubai, China, South Africa, Mozambique and Brazil.

KPMG and Google Enter an Alliance to Help Organizations Transform Digital Experiences

New York-based KPMG (FY16 gross revenue of $8.6 billion) announced an alliance with Google to help organizations transform their business and operating models with secure cloud computing, machine learning (ML), enterprise mobility and advanced analytics technologies.

As part of the collaboration, KPMG is creating a portfolio of industry solutions built on Google Cloud Platform (GCP). KPMG member firms around the globe are currently engaging with clients on solutions for financial services, insurance, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail, among other industries. These solutions, including customer service solutions, contract management, cyber security, regulatory compliance and business and process performance, will benefit from GCP’s trusted security, advanced data analytics and ML.

Two KPMG solutions available now are KPMG Intelligent Interactions for creating a differentiated customer experience, and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Assessment and Compliance solutions for managing customer data and privacy.

“Organizations are seeing advanced technologies and natural language experiences as a key to transforming their businesses,” says Miriam Hernandez-Kakol, KPMG’s Global Leader for Customer & Operations and Executive Sponsor for the Google Alliance. “KPMG is creating data-driven solutions that harness Google Cloud technology, including machine learning, to help our member firm clients advance business strategies and deliver unrivaled digital experiences.”

“Our alliance with KPMG helps customers across industries benefit from the advantages of Google Cloud, including our advanced security, data analytics and machine learning capabilities, to solve real business challenges,” says Tariq Shaukat, President, Partners and Industry Platforms, Google Cloud. “We’re working alongside KPMG to develop new solutions that help enable customers to actively participate in the ideation and creation of their own solutions.”

Behymer Named Director at Brady Ware

Melessa Behymer

Melessa Behymer

Dayton, Ohio-based Brady Ware & Company (FY16 net revenue of $17.4 million) announced that Melessa Behymer has been promoted to director within the firm.

Behymer works on a variety of accounting, auditing and consulting engagements. She works closely with nonprofit organizations, health care providers, franchisees, startup companies and a variety of other types of businesses. She has an extensive background in governmental auditing and oversees several audits of nonprofit organizations that are recipients of federal funding. In addition to auditing, Behymer specializes in nonprofit taxes and is an active member of Brady Ware’s learning culture committee.

“It is my great pleasure to announce that Missy Behymer has transitioned into the role as Director,” says Brian Carr, co-CEO and director of Brady Ware. “She joined our team as a Staff Accountant, and, through hard work and perseverance, now embraces a leadership role in our firm’s health care niche. Her passion and industry knowledge in both the health care and nonprofit sectors make her essential in providing excellent client service and increasing market presence in these important segments.”

“I look forward to my new role as Director for Brady Ware. The firm has empowered me from day one as a Staff Accountant and continues to support me as I advance into this role. I will be providing growth focus for the firm in the Healthcare niche and I am eager to expand the practice,” says Behymer.

Behymer joined the firm in 2005. Prior to embarking on her career in accounting, she spent 12 years in consumer finance.

RSM Names Banse National Franchise Leader

Chris Banse

Chris Banse

Chicago-based RSM US LLP (FY18 net revenue of $2.1 billion) announced that Chris Banse has been named as the firm’s national franchise leader.

In his new role, Banse will provide insights to the marketplace about issues and trends affecting franchisors and franchisees. He will also enable retail and restaurant client service teams to provide franchise-specific insights. Banse, an audit partner in Dallas, has more than 15 years of experience serving retail and restaurant companies.

“The franchise industry is set up for another year of growth,” says John Nicolopoulos, national retail and restaurant sector leader with RSM US LLP. “Chris’ background and expertise will serve as a tremendous asset as we continue to serve middle market franchise clients and deliver ‘the power of being understood’ to help them navigate this exciting time in the marketplace.”

“I am excited for this opportunity to lead the franchise team for the firm,” says Banse. “I look forward to working closely with our retail and restaurant industry teams as we continue to successfully serve a growing number of middle market franchises.”

AICPA and CPA Practice Advisor Announce 2018 Most Powerful Women in Accounting Awards

The AICPA and CPA Practice Advisor recognized 25 leaders in the accounting profession with the 2018 Most Powerful Women in Accounting Award.

Award recipients come from a wide cross-section of the profession, and perform a broad range of roles, from executives with Big 4 firms and Fortune 500 companies to small firm owners and consultants. The awards, now in their seventh year, were created by CPA Practice Advisor and – starting this year – are jointly administered by the AICPA.

“This year’s group of award winners exemplifies the aspects of leadership, skill, and mentorship that make them stand-outs in their roles,” says Gail Perry, editor-in-chief of CPA Practice Advisor. “Our profession is better because of their active participation in making this a better place for everyone.”

The AICPA became involved with the awards as part of the institute’s efforts to promote and support the success of women for the broader purpose of sustaining the profession.

“We couldn’t be prouder of this group of award winners and their contributions to the profession,” says Jacquelyn Tracy, chair of the AICPA Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee (WIEC). “Collectively, they show there are many paths women can take to make an impact and wield influence.”

The WIEC sponsors research, the Women to Watch awards, mentorships, networking opportunitie, and oversees the annual AICPA Women’s Global Leadership Summit.

A group of 13 judges selected the award recipients, using the following criteria for candidates:

  • Demonstrates she is a driving force in creating a culture of innovation or excellence within her organization or helped, as a vendor, to develop technologies that empower firms to be more productive and profitable
  • Has reached a level of management and ownership within her company, with demonstrable impact on its success
  • Actively mentors those following in her footsteps

The 2018 winners are:

  • Karen Abramson, CEO, Wolters Kluwer Tax and Accounting
  • Danielle Supkis Cheek, director of entrepreneurial advisory services, PKF Texas
  • Susan Coffey, executive VP of public practice, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants
  • Lynne Doughtie, U.S. chairman and CEO, KPMG
  • Abby Dupree, MP, Carroll & Company CPAs
  • Jennifer Elder, owner, The Sustainable CFO
  • Sarah Elliott, principal and co-founder, Intend2Lead LLC
  • Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, global strategy leader for the financial services industry, Oracle America, and immediate past chairman of the AICPA
  • Cathy Engelbert, CEO of Deloitte U.S.
  • Julie Gustavsson, partner and COO, Keiter
  • DeAnn Hill, owner, DeAnn Auman Hill CPA
  • Jenni Huotari, partner and director of business outsourcing and strategy, Eide Bailly
  • Kacee Johnson, strategic advisor, CPA.com, and founder, Blue Ocean Principles
  • Elizabeth Pittelkow Kittner, controller, Litera Microsystems
  • Tamera Loerzel, partner, ConvergenceCoaching LLC
  • Samantha Mansfield, director of professional development and community, CPA.com
  • Gail Perry, editor-in-chief, CPA Practice Advisor
  • Amy Pitter, president and CEO, Massachusetts Society of CPAs
  • Natasha Schamberger, president and CEO, Kansas Society of CPAs
  • Lindsay Stevenson, vice president of finance and tax, 1st Financial Bank USA
  • Amy Vetter, president and CEO, QuickStart Training Inc.
  • Jennifer Warawa, executive VP of partners, accountants and alliances, Sage
  • Katherine Watts, PIC, Horne LLP
  • Sandra Wiley, president, Boomer Consulting Inc.
  • Jennifer Wilson, co-founder and partner, ConvergenceCoaching LLC

Grant Thornton Names Baril National Managing Principal of Innovation

Kevin Baril

Kevin Baril

Chicago-based Grant Thornton LLP (FY17 net revenue of $1.8 billion) has named Kevin Baril as the firm’s national managing principal of innovation.

In this newly created role, Baril will ensure that innovation is central to Grant Thornton’s services model. This will include launching new internal and client platforms and leading innovation investment and commercialization, as well as co-innovation with Grant Thornton’s clients.

“Our clients’ needs are changing fast: Technology and automation are upending the status quo, and they’re creating new ways for Grant Thornton to generate value for our clients,” says Mike McGuire, CEO of Grant Thornton. “Kevin will help our clients take what we call a ‘Status Go’ approach — to play the same course as everyone else but with a unique game.”

“All companies struggle with transformation,” says Baril. “That’s why Grant Thornton approaches innovation differently – putting the business strategy before the technology, and innovating alongside our clients, not off in some distant center. The result is the best solution, instead of something miniaturized from the largest corporations.”

Baril has more than 27 years of consulting experience focused on strategy, technology transformation and systems implementation. He has consulted clients across industries on a broad range of business technology issues. These include cloud solutions, service offering strategy and formulation, application management, go-to market execution, and sales and business development management.

Previously, Baril was a principal on Grant Thornton’s Business Consulting & Technology team in Advisory Services. Prior to joining Grant Thornton, he served as vice president of Global Business Services at IBM.

Falendysz Joins UHY Advisors as Director of Corporate Finance

Jeremy Falendysz

Jeremy Falendysz

Chicago-based UHY Advisors (FY16 net revenue of $126.8 million) welcomes Jeremy Falendysz as director in Detroit. Falendysz is an experienced investment banker with more than 15 years in the industry representing a total deal value of over $60 billion. He worked on Wall Street for 10 years, including as vice president in Morgan Stanley’s investment banking division, in addition to positions with UBS and Deutsche Bank. Prior to joining UHY, he spent five years with a Birmingham-based boutique investment banking firm serving middle-market clients.

“Adding Jeremy is a critical resource for our practice on a national level,” says Steve McCarty, managing director at UHY Advisors. “His years of experience in investment banking, particularly in the energy space will allow us to expand our portfolio and will present new opportunities for our team.”

Falendysz has advised middle-market and large cap private and public clients on sell-side and buy-side M&A transactions, as well as corporate separations, equity/equity related capital raises and debt capital raises. Falendysz has completed transactions in multiple industries, including automotive/transportation, consumer products, distribution, energy, health care and industrial products. While working across various industries, he developed a particular expertise within the energy sector, including assignments in sub-sectors spanning pipelines and terminals, exploration and production, refining, renewables and oilfield services.

AICPA Announces New Personal Financial Planning Certificates Program

The AICPA announced the launch of the Personal Financial Planning (PFP) Certificates Program. This new curriculum offers CPAs an opportunity to expand their knowledge in personal financial planning and a new pathway to the Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) credential. The program is comprised of four certificates covering the core technical areas of PFP: retirement, estate, risk management/insurance, investment planning and a fifth certificate covering the practical application of the planning process. Tax considerations are integrated throughout all certificates.

The introduction of the PFP Certificates Program is timely because an estimated 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 each day over the next decade. As a result, employment of personal financial planners is projected to grow 15% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Trillions of dollars will be transferred from one generation to the next in the coming decades. As this wealth changes hands, Americans will need help with the complexity of their financial plans to make sure they keep more in their pocket. The PFP Certificate program helps CPAs expand on their strengths to meet this rising demand.

“The PFP Certificate program offers CPAs a new way to develop their financial planning skill set while also working towards the Personal Financial Specialist credential,” says Jeannette Koger, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants Vice President of Advisory Services and Credentialing. “CPAs now have increased flexibility to learn what they need to know in specific areas of financial planning on their own schedule.”

The PFP Certificates cover the AICPA PFP Body of Knowledge, with each of the four technical certificates demonstrating competence in relevant disciplines. Convenient online education or knowledge from prior education and experience prepares the CPA for passing each certificate exam, which results in the certificate being awarded. The final applications certificate is awarded after completing specific education and real-life planning situations focusing on the planning process and integration of the entire financial plan.

To learn more about the Personal Financial Planning Certificates Program, click here.

Grassi & Co. Welcomes Sawhney as Principal

Sareena Malik Sawhney

Sareena Malik Sawhney

New York-based Grassi & Co. (FY17 net revenue of $59.6 million) welcomed Sareena Malik Sawhney as a principal in Grassi’s fraud, forensic and litigation support group based in their Manhattan offices. Sawhney will focus on providing services in the areas of complex fraud investigations, forensic accounting examinations, and services related to commercial litigation and damage analyses.

Prior to joining Grassi & Co., Sawhney worked at Marks Paneth and a Big 4 consulting firm with a focus on fraud and forensic investigations, breach of contract damage issues and various bankruptcy fraud matters. Examples of cases she has worked on include assisting attorneys representing a Fortune 500 company in a case involving allegations of fraud, misrepresentation of financial statements and criminal activity of certain individual employees. She has also assisted attorneys in reviewing certain alleged fraudulent transactions in which she had to report her findings to the Audit Committee. Sawhney has also been involved in a number of arbitration proceedings involving shareholder disputes and breach of contract matters.

“Sareena’s areas of expertise make her a true asset to Grassi & Co.,” says MP and CEO Louis Grassi. “We have an extremely strong New York City presence and I am more confident than ever that by expanding our talent pool with great additions like Sareena, we will be better able to serve our clients and be more impactful in this space.”

Caleca, MP of Brown Smith Wallace, Named MSNA Board Vice Chair

Tony Caleca

Tony Caleca

Tony Caleca, MP of St. Louis-based Brown Smith Wallace (FY16 net revenue of $43.2 million) has been named vice chair of the Moore Stephens North America executive board. MSNA is one of eight regional members of Moore Stephens International Limited (MSIL).

As vice chair, Caleca will serve on the MSIL international policy board alongside leaders of other top performing CPA and business advisory firms throughout the world. This will provide Brown Smith Wallace clients expanded depth of the Moore Stephens worldwide organization, while still maintaining the highest level of local accounting firm attention on a regular basis. Caleca is the first Brown Smith Wallace MP to serve on the MSNA executive board.

Brown Smith Wallace has been an independent member firm of MSNA since its inception. This affiliation allows Brown Smith Wallace to extend its reach to serve middle-market companies across the U.S. and the world.