BDO USA’s recent addition of the staff and partners of Top 100 Firm SS&G, which bolstered its presence in the Midwest, came with a healthy serving of SS&G’s restaurant practice.

“This deal is huge for us,” Wayne Berson, CEO of BDO USA, said during an interview with Accounting Today. “SS&G is nationally known for their restaurant practice and we now get a bulk in the restaurant practice on a national basis.” (See BDO Expands in the Midwest With SS&G

Berson explained that BDO was looking for opportunities with a number of firms and what they found in SS&G was its industry niche in the restaurant space. “We know that no other national firm has pursued the restaurant industry,” said Berson. “For us, this was an opportunity to get into a marketplace that no one else has staked a claim for, certainly not at the national level. The restaurant industry itself is very specialized on the accounting and tax side. It’s not something that a generalist can handle.”

BDO already had a few restaurant clients under its belt but not as big as SS&G’s restaurant practice. “You really need to be specialized in the industry to do well and that’s why we wanted to make sure we had the appropriate talent on board to help us grow,” Berson noted.

It’s no secret that BDO has been on an acquisition spree since Berson stepped into the role of CEO nearly two years ago. In December 2013, the firm branched out into the Pittsburgh market with the acquisition of Top 100 Firm Alpern Rosenthal. (See BDO Snaps up Alpern Rosenthal) And in May 2014, BDO added the Fort Worth, Texas-based regional accounting firm Hartman Leito & Bolt. By June 2014, BDO picked up several more firms located in Alaska, Minnesota and the Northeast, all of which pushed the firm into the $800 million range.

“When you look at what’s happened in the last two years we’ve had a great momentum," Berson explained. "We’ve had an aggressive expansion plan.”

So what attracts firms to BDO? “We are among a small handful of firms that can provide the national coverage that many of these firms desire. I also think that our BDO International Network offers the most superior global reach of any non-Big Four Firm,” said Berson, who is also chairman of the Global Board of BDO International Limited.

Another driver as to why firms are attracted to BDO is the active IPO market. “The IPO market is taking off and a number of these firms want to be able to provide more public company services,” explained Berson.

Berson hopes to announce another deal before 2014 comes to a close, which could possibly push BDO USA closer to that $1 billion threshold. “With the [SS&G deal], we should be on an annualized basis in the mid-$900 million range. Hopefully the next deal will take us over that $1 billion mark,” shared Berson.


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