Bay area accounting and consulting firm Armanino McKenna LLP has acquired the health care audit and review practice of San Francisco-based Clare, Chapman, Storey & Bowen LLP, giving the firm a physical presence in San Francisco and strengthening its health care practice and presence in Northern California.

Clare, Chapman, Storey & Bowen partner Dan Bowen, plus additional staff, will join Armanino McKenna, effective May 1.

"We are very excited about the chance to be closer to our San Francisco clients, because it will enable us to serve them even more effectively," said Armanino McKenna managing partner Andy Armanino, who noted that the firm had been considering setting up shop in San Francisco.

The deal continues the growth of Armanino McKenna's health care practice, which serves practice groups, physicians' associations, university facilities, and dental and optical practices, as well as individual physicians, independent hospitals, extended-care facilities, independent practice associations and other related clients. Last May, Armanino McKenna joined forces with health care accounting firm Karling & Associates in a deal that migrated most of the Karling's clients and a number of professionals to Armanino McKenna.

CCSB managing partner Joe Clare said that the decision was driven by the increased demand by the firm's health care clients for more and more auditing and review services due to new compliance duties placed upon them by national and state accounting and corporate governance reform legislation.

"We needed more resources for our clients and, after careful consideration, we concluded that associating with a larger firm with a reputation for quality was the best way to accomplish that," Clare said.

CCSB provides tax, audit and accounting services and specializes in serving real estate developers, law firms, high-net-worth individuals and qualified pension, profit sharing and 401(k) plans. The firm plans to sharpen its focus on its larger clients and to concentrate on its core competencies in tax planning and compliance. Joe Clare and Jeff Storey will continue the firm's practice under the name Clare & Storey.

The transaction is also a strategic move in terms of recruiting, according to Bill Brause, audit partner-in-charge of health care for Armanino McKenna. "Accounting schools are not producing students in sufficient numbers, nor is there enough senior talent in the marketplace to meet rising demand, so one way to gain that talent is to join forces with other firms that have proven professionals on board," said Brause.

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