As part of aggressive expansion plans, Fiducial, a provider of business outsourcing services to small businesses and entrepreneurs, has gained a foothold in the Midwest with the acquisition of Indianapolis-based Frontier CPA Group LLP.

The acquisition adds roughly 80 employees and 10 offices to Fiducial's network in Chicago, Cincinnati, and Louisville, Ky., and in the Indiana cities of Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Brookville, Columbus, Muncie, Greenfield and Greenwood. The deal gives Fiducial a total of 37 company-owned offices and adds more than 5,600 small business and individuals to its client base.

Terms of the agreement, effective Oct. 1, 2004, were not disclosed. Frontier will operate under the Fiducial brand. Frontier founder Troy Patton will serve as director of financial services for Fiducial, based in the Indianapolis office.

Established in Europe, privately held Fiducial entered the U.S. market by acquiring Triple Check in 1999 and Century Small Business Solutions in 2000. The company, with U.S. headquarters in New York, ranked 19th on the 2004 Accounting Today Top 100 Firms list, with $94.6 million in revenue and 598 offices. Its offerings include accounting, tax, payroll and financial services.

The firm now has its sights set on becoming the No. 1 outsourcing company for small businesses, according to executive vice president Yves Morard-Lacroix. Fiducial's expansion plans call for establishing 100 to 150 offices across the U.S., according to Morard-Lacroix, who noted that the company plans to acquire other offices in the Louisville and Indianapolis markets.

"We're not finished in the Midwest," added Bill Morice, Fiducial's director of field operations. "We will be announcing additional acquisitions which will be integrated with the Frontier offices."

"I really saw our business model and Fiducial's model as being more similar than our competition," Patton said. "I think we have a better mousetrap. The integration of services is extremely important."

"It was our ambition to grow throughout the U.S.," said Patton. "Fiducial will give us the ability to accomplish those goals."

In a separate transaction, Fiducial signed a stock purchase agreement for Frontier Lending Corp., Frontier Financial Consultants and Diamond Title and Escrow Inc., adding mortgage and title services to its product lines. Details of the purchase, also effective Oct. 1, 2004, were not released.

Last November, Fiducial acquired the Arvada, Colo., and Houston-based bookkeeping and tax preparation services of consolidator Century Business Services Inc. In February of this year, Fiducial inked deals to acquire the bookkeeping and tax preparation operations of three individual practices in California, Maryland and Virginia.

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