Crowe Chizek said it plans to combine practices with Carter, Belcourt & Atkinson, expanding the Oak Brook, Ill.-based accounting firm's footprint in Florida.

Carter, Belcourt & Atkinson has offices in Lakeland and Tampa, Fla., and is one of central Florida's largest local CPA firms. The two firms have signed a nonbinding letter of intent to combine their practices, but they are still in discussions over the details.

"It is our intent to combine," said Crowe spokesperson Angela Andrae. "Our CEO [Chuck Allen] is looking at a North American expansion for Crowe. That's something he's going to focus on for his term."

Carter Belcourt has close to 80 employees, according to Jayne Bates, director of marketing at the firm. She noted that the firm specializes in a number of industries, including construction, real estate, credit unions, governments and not-for-profits. She thinks the deal will close within the next few months, but noted that the details are still under discussion and in the preliminary stages.

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