Chicago - Baker Tilly Virchow Krause has merged in Beers + Cutler to create what it expects to be the 13th largest accounting firm in the U.S., with over $250 million in revenue.

The merger, which was scheduled to take effect Dec. 1, will create a combined firm with over 1,400 team members. It will also allow Baker Tilly Virchow Krause to expand to the Washington, D.C., area and provide a base for expanding further across the East Coast.

Chicago-based Virchow, Krause & Co. LLP changed its name on June 1 to Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP, and became the exclusive U.S.-branded firm in the Baker Tilly International network. Beers + Cutler was also a member of the international accounting firm network.

"Originally our intention would have been to sequence New York ahead of Washington," said Baker Tilly Virchow Krause chief executive officer Tim Christen, "but we contacted [Beers + Cutler managing partner] Ed Offterdinger as part of the long-term plan, and when the opportunity arose, we pursued that vigorously."

Offterdinger will serve as regional managing partner of the firm's East Coast practice and also as vice chairman of the firm's management committee. According to reports, the firm cut its workforce in the past year; it now has 264 employees and partners, while for 2008, it reported a total of 332 employees.

Christen noted that Beers + Cutler fit his ideal criteria for a merger candidate, including a commitment to deep specialization, large offices, superior growth possibilities and profitability, and a longstanding relationship.

Christen still hopes to find a New York firm to merge with in the next six months, but he has decided to look outside the Baker Tilly network. "We have a very close relationship with the Baker Tilly firms in New York, but it does not appear to be the right time for a merger with them, so we are looking beyond the Baker Tilly network," he said, adding, "It's our intention to build the firm to $400 million by 2012."

Baker Tilly Virchow Krause ranked 17th on Accounting Today's 2009 list of the Top 100 Firms with $216 million in net revenue for 2008. In the merger announcement, the firm reported net revenue for 2009 of $206 million. Beers + Cutler ranked 42nd in the Top 100, with revenue for 2008 of $60.32 million. It was founded in 1976, and will continue to operate from its Vienna, Va., location. The Baker Tilly network comprises 145 independent firms in 110 countries, with over 25,000 professionals.

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