Clifton Gunderson has moved its headquarters from Peoria, Ill., to Milwaukee, making it the largest accounting firm to be based in Wisconsin, as new CEO Krista McMasters takes the reins.

"Our decision to move firm headquarters to Milwaukee brings together firm resources and provides additional opportunities to build on our firm’s tremendous strengths and continue to create opportunities for growth," said Ted Hart, managing partner for Clifton Gunderson’s Wisconsin offices. "Milwaukee has a very robust and diverse business community and we are honored to join the hundreds of other companies already headquartered in this great city."

The firm ranked 13th on Accounting Today’s 2009 list of the Top 100 Firms, with $247 million in revenue.

Clifton Gunderson has been in the Milwaukee area since 1984. During its 25-year history, the office has grown to nearly 130 professionals. The firm continues to provide a wide range of assurance, accounting, tax, financial planning and technology services to more than 2,500 clients. The firm has locations throughout Wisconsin, including Madison, Marshfield, Oshkosh, Sheboygan, Sparta, Stevens Point and Tomah. Including Wisconsin, the firm serves clients in 45 offices across the country with a staff of more than 2,000 professionals.

The decision also parallels the succession of the firm’s new CEO, McMasters, whose new role became effective Monday. McMasters became the fourth CEO in Clifton Gunderson’s nearly 50-year history. She is also the first and only female to serve as CEO among the nation’s top 25 CPA firms in the history of the profession. She has a 30-year history with the firm, having joined as an associate accountant in 1978. She was admitted as a partner in 1985, became director of assurance services in 1989, and most recently served as chief practice officer.

"Milwaukee is a vibrant city, rich in culture and history, and locating our firm headquarters here reinforces our commitment to Wisconsin and to our local clients," said McMasters. "This decision will allow us to better support and meet the needs of our Milwaukee-area clients while continuing to provide the high level of quality and service they have come to expect from us."

The decision will not have any immediate or long-term impact on the operations of the Peoria practice office, she added.

The next largest firm in Wisconsin is Virchow Krause, which changed its name Monday to Baker Tilly Virchow Krause to reflect its membership in the Baker Tilly International Network (see Virchow Krause Changes Name to Baker Tilly). The firm is based in Madison.

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