BDO USA’s Garrett to Lead International Cybersecurity

Gregory Garrett

Gregory Garrett

Chicago-based BDO USA (FY17 net revenue of $1.4 billion) named Gregory Garrett as head of international cybersecurity in the firm’s technology and business transformation services practice.

With more than 30 years of compliance and operations experience in information technology and cybersecurity, Garrett advises organizations on governance, risk and compliance frameworks, as well as cyber threat assessment tools and cyber incident response plans. Through an integrated suite of cyber products and services, he helps clients identify their biggest cyber pain points with a focus on organization education and employee training, and conducting truly independent assessments of risk portfolios and governance.

“As organizations become more dependent on data-sharing capabilities, they face growing cyber and data privacy risks, particularly when it comes to cross-border interactions,” says Stephanie Giammarco, partner and national leader of BDO’s technology and business transformation services practice. “Often, whether intentional or not, the biggest threats to an organization originate from current or former employees. Gregg’s wide-ranging experience in cyber threat assessment and employee education will help our clients identify often overlooked cyber risks, respond to incidents in real time and keep ahead of emerging risks.”

“The biggest cybersecurity challenge facing organizations today is the education and training of company employees,” says Garrett. “A successful cyber risk management program needs to integrate top-down organization education with robust information governance, threat detection and monitoring, and an incident response plan that is ready not if, but when, an attack strikes. BDO understands this and integrates cybersecurity products, services and educational tools holistically, from both a proactive and reactive point of view.”

Berkowitz Pollack Brant Promotes Two to Director

Hector Aguililla

Hector Aguililla

Miami-based Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants (FY16 net revenue of $51.2 million) has promoted two firm members to director.

Hector Aguililla is a director in the audit and attest practice and Anthony Gutierrez is a director in the tax services practice.

Aguililla focuses his practice on auditing, accounting services, litigation support and business consulting for real estate, construction, manufacturing and distribution clients. Gutierrez has 20 years of experience providing tax planning and compliance services to high-net-worth individuals, families, closely held corporations and family limited partnerships. He is one of the firm’s experts in tax withholding, foreign trusts and FATCA.

Anthony Gutierrez

Anthony Gutierrez

“We are proud to recognize Hector’s and Tony’s outstanding consulting skills and ability to find creative solutions to complicated engagements. Their ability to lead teams and manage complex client matters are valuable assets to our firm. We are especially pleased that both of them grew up in the firm and we have been able to watch them build outstanding careers,” says Joseph Saka, CEO.

Martini Iosue & Akpovi Names Passmore as New MP

Christopher Passmore

Christopher Passmore

After serving in the position of MP for 25 years and helping grow the firm to 50 people, Don Iosue and the management team at Martini Iosue & Akpovi (FY16 net revenue of $9.2 million) of Encino, Calif., have named Christopher Passmore as the new MP and audit and consulting partner.

“Don has done an outstanding job during his tenure. He set the standard for excellence and integrity and created a firm culture of dedication and service to staff and clients. We owe a debt of gratitude to Don for a job well done,” says Passmore.

“Chris has been with the firm for a decade, and in that time he’s developed the unique skill set that is required for this position. It is a combination of strategic thinking and management skills, and you can’t be a successful leader without each one,” says Steve Martini, one of the founding partners. “Chris brings to the role the new generation’s ability to incorporate cutting-edge technology coupled with strategic thinking. This will ensure the firm maintains its commitment to client service and support its future expansion including satellite offices throughout Southern California.”

Keiter Launches Transaction Advisory Group

Keiter (FY16 net revenue of $25.5 million) of Glen Allen, Va., announced that it has formed a new transaction advisory group serving lower middle market companies in the greater Richmond region. Recent talent additions James McGrath and Matthew Austin will lend their expertise to this group.

James McGrath

James McGrath

McGrath will serve as managing director of Keiter transaction advisory services. He joins Keiter with more than 17 years of corporate finance experience advising middle market companies and private equity groups, including broad experience in mergers and acquisitions, private equity and debt placements, and bank financings. His merger and acquisition transactions span business and technology services, health care, energy, and specialty manufacturing.

Austin joins Keiter Stephens Advisors as a director with significant mergers and acquisitions, transaction and analytics experience. Carroll Hurst and Scott Zickefoose will also be actively involved in service delivery for this group.

“Since our founding in 1978, we have amassed a wealth of experience in the mergers and acquisition space. This new practice builds off that experience and enhances it through the recruitment of some of the best and brightest transaction professionals,” says Michael Gracik, MP of Keiter.

EY Launches Tax Technology and Transformation

New York-based EY (FY16 gross revenue of $11.2 billion) announces the creation of tax technology and transformation, a group of tax technology and performance improvement professionals in member firms across the globe that helps organizations to redefine their tax functions and drive transformation.

Tax technology and transformation services will be provided to companies in response to the impact of existing and emerging technology; the growing data burden that many businesses face and understanding how to make data an asset; and driving efficiencies to create a cost-effective tax function. The underlying objective of the new services is to help businesses navigate the digital age of tax transparency alongside new trends in tax compliance and tax audit methods as well as helping to solve the most pressing challenges that businesses face. Tax technology and transformation services will be provided with the support of EYTax.Tech™, a customized suite of client-serving technology services.

Tax technology and transformation will be led by Shawn Smith, the newly appointed EY global tax technology and transformation leader. He has experience in a wide range of tax function services designed to improve the operating performance of corporate tax functions for financial services.

“The pace of change in tax legislation, and the accelerated use of technology by governments as they automate their compliance and filing processes, is disrupting the traditional tax function. The creation of tax technology and transformation recognizes the significant impact that emerging technologies such as AI, blockchain, robotic process automation and advanced robotics will have on global business, as well as on our own tax practice. Increasingly, businesses are looking to professional services organizations to help them overcome technology-driven business challenges,” says Smith.

“In this rapidly changing world, tax services increasingly require significant technology and transformation elements to achieve their objectives. Our investment in tax technology and transformation professionals will see rapid growth in careers for science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates, who combine technology and tax domain knowledge to experiment and incubate new ideas, then leverage those ideas for the benefit of our clients and our organization,” says Jay Nibbe, EY Global Vice Chair – Tax.

Weaver Expands Services to New York City

Ron Honka

Ron Honka

Fort Worth, Texas-based Weaver (FY17 net revenue of $115.2 million) announced the expansion of its services on the East Coast. Ron Honka joins Weaver as an assurance partner in the firm’s financial services industry practice. The firm also announces its new office in New York City at 350 Park Ave.

Honka will work with the financial services team to grow Weaver’s investment company business, focusing primarily on hedge funds in Manhattan and the greater New York City area.

“Our presence in California and Texas, combined with our expansion into New York, gives Weaver a significant advantage in growing our national alternative investment fund practice and bringing our expertise to more funds across the U.S.,” says MP and CEO John Mackel.

“Being in the major financial markets on the West and East Coasts, as well as in Texas, makes Weaver more accessible to the alternative investment funds across the country, and we feel that Weaver brings a fantastic value proposition to the investment fund arena,” says Kevin Sanford, PIC, financial services. “Being in these strategic markets enables relationship development opportunities with major participants in the financial services industry and enhances our brand recognition with institutional investors, current and prospective investment fund clients, referral sources and other market players.”

Honka has more than 25 years of experience in audit, consulting and due diligence at Big 4 and other national accounting firms, specializing in the asset management and alternative investments industry. He has knowledge and experience dealing with a diverse group of financial instruments for a variety of entities, including on- and off-shore investment partnerships, commodity pool operators, funds of funds, master-feeders, private equity firms, venture capital firms and broker dealers.

White Paper: Discover the 5 Stages of Cyber Security Maturity

British Telecommunications and New York-based KPMG (FY16 gross revenue of $8.6 billion) have developed a white paper that describes cybercrime as a journey. Once you know where you and your company are on that journey, you can take the appropriate steps to get to where you need to be, the firms contend. The white paper provides practical steps to manage cyber risks.

Each chapter is dedicated to one stage in the journey and lays out step-by-step recommendations, along with questions to ask to get to the next stage.

The cyber journey stages:

  1. Denial: Thinking it won’t happen to us
  2. Worry: Obtaining as much security as possible
  3. False confidence: We are ready
  4. Hard lessons: Learning there’s no absolute security
  5. True leadership: We must work together

By focusing on innovation, you can maintain a sustainable risk position against the evolving threat landscape, the white paper says.

Miesel Joins Mazars USA as National Transfer Pricing Practice Leader and Chief Economist

New York-based Mazars USA (FY16 net revenue of $187 million) announced that Victor Miesel has joined the firm as a partner and national transfer pricing practice leader and chief economist. Miesel has more than 25 years of transfer pricing and consulting experience in Big 4 and large, regional accounting firms.

Miesel has led global economic consulting practices in New York, Boston and Europe. He has performed and defended transfer pricing studies for some of the largest multinational companies in a wide variety of industries, including financial services, life sciences, technology, automotive, energy, consumer goods and private equity investments.

“His expertise on transfer pricing matters and a history of providing high-quality service to top-level clients will help us continue to build on our first-rate capabilities in this area,” says Chairman and CEO Victor Wahba.

“The firm’s recent name change, to a single global brand of Mazars, signals its ongoing commitment to an international outlook and I believe my experience will add significant value for our clients moving forward,” says Miesel.

MIT Technology Review’s 50 Smartest Companies

As part of its July/August 2017 issue, MIT Technology Review published its list of the “50 Smartest Companies.” The list, put together by the magazine’s editors, highlights companies that have displayed an efficient combination of technological leadership and business acumen over the past year. The businesses on the list are not necessarily the biggest or most quantitatively profitable, though companies such as Google and Facebook do make an appearance, but features those whose business models allow for technological innovation.

The list serves as the Review’s best guess as to which companies will be dominant in the future. This doesn’t guarantee that they will become supremely successful, but it does mean that they have the potential to create and dominate new markets in an increasingly competitive business environment, according to MIT Technology Review.

Zacks Investment Research Upgrades CBIZ to “Strong-Buy”

Cleveland-based CBIZ (FY16 net revenue of $661 million) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating. The firm currently has a $17 target price on the business services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price objective points to a potential upside of 14.48% from the stock’s current price.

CBIZ last announced its quarterly earnings results on Aug. 3, reporting $0.20 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.18 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $211 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $207.42 million. CBIZ had a net margin of 5.54% and a return on equity of 9.59%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 7.1% compared to the same quarter last year.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company.

  • First Manhattan Co. boosted its position in shares of CBIZ by 4.2% in the first quarter, now owning 2,884,455 shares of stock worth $32.3 million.
  • P2 Capital Partners LLC upped its position in shares of CBIZ by 67.6% in the first quarter. They now own 2,361,073 shares of stock worth $32 million.
  • Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in CBIZ by 6.9% in the first quarter. They now own 2,194,818 shares stock valued at $29.74 million.
  • State Street Corp boosted its stake in CBIZ by 12.0% in the fourth quarter. Now owning 896,848 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $12.3 million.
  • Norges Bank bought a new stake in CBIZ during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $10 million.
  • 84.97% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.