BDO USA LLP expanded its Wisconsin practice by adding Smith & Gesteland, LLP, a firm based in Wisconsin.

The deal adds 85 staff members, including 15 partners, from Smith & Gesteland, a firm that dates back to 1948. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. S&G has approximately $16 million in annual revenues. The deal will bring the total number of people in Wisconsin at the combined firm to 185, adding S&G’s office in Madison to BDO’s existing offices in Madison and Milwaukee. BDO ranked No. 7 on Accounting Today’s 2018 list of the Top 100 Firms, with annual revenue of approximately $1.410 billion.

S&G provides a variety of accounting, tax, human resource management and information technology services to middle-market business clients. The firm also has an “80/20” consulting practice that helps business clients improve their profitability. It caters to clients in the construction, technology, manufacturing, nonprofit and real estate sectors. The combination of the two firms is expected to be completed on July 1, 2018, subject to customary closing conditions.

“I look forward to welcoming all of the partners and professionals of Smith & Gesteland to BDO USA,” said BDO USA CEO Wayne Berson in a statement. “Our firm has demonstrated steady growth in the Madison market and this combination will greatly enhance our presence in both Madison and the greater Wisconsin market. S&G’s entrepreneurial culture is a natural fit with BDO. They bring significant resources to our existing industry strengths in real estate, nonprofit, manufacturing, construction and especially technology, where we will be the dominant firm in the market.”

When the merger is completed, S&G managing partner Bill Pellino will become the tax managing partner for BDO’s Wisconsin practice and Dan Kramer will continue his current role as BDO’s assurance managing partner for Wisconsin. BDO plans to keep its Milwaukee office and its current Madison location along with the new Madison practice. The two Madison offices, which are only blocks apart, will eventually be combined into a single location.

“In combining with BDO, we will form the leading firm serving middle-market businesses in the Madison market, while providing both our clients and our people with additional opportunities for growth,” said Pellino in a statement. “Our clients will still receive the same close personal attention they have come to expect from our team, but now they will have access to a wider array of services, broader industry experience, and the full coverage of BDO's extensive global network.”

Koltin Consulting Group CEO Allan D. Koltin advised both firms on the deal. “In all my years of consulting in the Wisconsin market, I cannot recall a firm more sought after by both national and regional suitors than S&G,” he stated. “In the end, S&G felt BDO’s culture – very similar to their own – was the right fit. They also valued the depth of resources BDO can provide their clients and the growth opportunities it provides their associates. BDO really valued S&G’s strong leadership and depth of talent.”


BDO's building in Akron, Ohio
BDO's building in Akron, Ohio Courtesy of BDO USA

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Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn, editor-in-chief of AccountingToday.com, has been covering business and technology for a variety of publications since 1985.