Cherry Bekaert acquires Flieller, Kruger & Skelton

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Cherry Bekaert, a Top 100 Firm based in Richmond, Virginia, is expanding in Austin, Texas, by acquiring Flieller, Kruger & Skelton.

Cherry Bekaert originally entered the Austin market early last year by acquiring Powell, Ebert & Smolik, one of the biggest local CPA firms in the Central Texas area. The acquisition of FKS announced Monday adds six partners and more than 40 associates to Cherry Bekaert’s Austin offices. The firm currently has approximately 30 professionals in Austin, and the acquisition of FKS will add 35 professionals, for a total of 65 professionals. The firm’s combined practice in Austin will now include eight partners and 40 CPAs offering assurance, tax and advisory services.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Firmwide, Cherry Bekaert has annual revenue of more than $200 million. The annual revenue for the Austin practice alone is around $15 million. Cherry Bekaert ranked 26th on Accounting Today’s 2018 list of the Top 100 Firms.

Cherry Bekaert specializes in servicing technology, advanced manufacturing, distribution, real estate, private equity, life and health sciences businesses, which all have a presence in the Austin area. Cherry Bekaert plans to offer Austin businesses various services such as cybersecurity, transaction advisory, valuation, tax, litigation support, risk advisory and benefits consulting.

“Austin is a key growth market for us given the area’s robust economy and innovative business climate,” said Cherry Bekaert managing partner Michelle L. Thompson in a statement. “FKS has a well-established reputation for quality work and holds similar shared values to Cherry Bekaert in relation to how they treat clients and associates. These and other factors make FKS an ideal expansion partner for us in Austin.”

FKS was founded in 1994 and grew to be one of the premier local accounting firms, known for its strong ties to the Austin community and white glove client service for a prestigious client base of Austin families, high-net-worth individuals and businesses.

“Joining forces with Cherry Bekaert provides long-term succession and growth opportunities for both our clients and our associates,” said FKS co-founder James Flieller, who is becoming a partner at Cherry Bekaert. “Future generations of Austin families and businesses will now have access to the resources of one of the 25 largest CPA and consulting firms in the U.S., with the same local relationships and high service quality they’ve enjoyed in the past.”

In addition to Flieller, Cherry Bekaert is also adding Wesley Kruger, Greg Skelton, Chad Wiley, Paula Wendling and Jackie Connor as partners. The FKS staff will continue to operate at their current offices in downtown Austin for the near future, but Cherry Bekaert plans to relocate some of its other partners and staffers to Austin with the goal of combining all of the firm’s local staff in a single office location.

Danny Powell and Jim Smolik, former founding partners of PES and current partners at Cherry Bekaert, along with Flieller, jointly commented, “We are excited about this investment in our local market as it clearly demonstrates a dedication to the Austin community. Our partner group has 200+ years of experience living, working and serving in Austin. We are pleased to be growing and thriving with this great city.”

In addition to the acquisition of Powell, Ebert & Smolik last February, in August, Cherry Bekaert acquired CTS Capitol Advisors, a firm based in Bethesda, Maryland. In January, it acquired Windward Tax in Alpharetta, Georgia.

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