Chicago (July 13, 2004) -- Taking a leap towards a strategy of fusing into one national operating model, accounting firm consolidator Centerprise Advisors has re-christened itself UHY Advisors Inc. and has targeted middle-market companies as a lucrative client pool for its services offerings.

“We wanted a broader and stronger platform to go to market with,” UHY president and chief executive James B. McGuire told WebCPA. “We have five highly regarded firms, each with very reputable leaders in their local markets. They all spent a considerable amount of time with me trying to strategize about the future and get a clearer vision about where we’re headed.”

The brand change becomes effective today.

The former Centerprise, ranked No. 16 on Accounting Today's 2004 Top 100 Firms list with annual revenue of $151.5 million, was formed in 2000 following the merger of Houston-based Mann Frankfort Stein & Lipp and four large regional firms: Follmer Rudzewicz; Scillia Dowling & Natarelli; Grace & Co.; and Urbach Kahn & Werlin. The consolidation was aided by a $250 million infusion of capital from private investors. Centerprise was one of several “roll-up” firms, a roster that included American Express Tax & Business Services, Century Business Services and H&R Block.

The UHY brand is predicated on 17-year-old Urbach Hacker Young International Ltd., a global organization of accounting and consulting firms with some 148 offices in 50 countries, founded by New York-based Urbach Kahn & Werlin and London-based Hacker Young.

“It’s been an elaborate process, but each of the leaders has been very supportive of what we’re trying to do. I owe a lot of credit to them,” said McGuire. McGuire, who came aboard Centerprise in August 2003 after a long career at Big Four firm KPMG and later, at its consulting arm, spoke of “redefining the business model,” and said that the company would either add or redirect people into “growth areas.”

As part of its brand-development effort, UHY has formed a series of industry-specific teams targeting key sectors such as construction, dealerships, education and not-for-profits, entertainment and sports, retail and distribution, and real estate, among others.

“We had done a market study of the larger competitors,” McGuire said. “We felt one of our prime attributes was a high level of professional service to clients. Some of the bigger firms were not serving the middle market as visibly as we were. So we created a brand and a tagline, ‘The Next Level of Service.’”

McGuire said that while UHY would focus on the middle market -- a demographic comprised of roughly 300,000 companies -- it ideally would parlay its new rebranding strategy to market its specialty services to larger corporations.

-- Bill Carlino

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