CPA FIRM OFFERS EMPLOYEE STOCK OWNERSHIP PLANSan Francisco - Accounting firm Burr Pilger & Mayer has introduced an employee stock ownership plan that it is offering to all of its 325 employees.

Under the qualified retirement plan, employees will receive shares of common stock in BPM, offering them a vested interest in the firm's success. The ESOP not only provides a new benefit for employees, but also ensures that a solid succession plan is in place for those moving up the ladder to partner, as well as those partners approaching retirement.

"To my knowledge, BPM is the first CPA firm of our size to offer an ESOP," said managing partner Stephen D. Mayer in a statement. "Our partners are 100 percent behind sharing ownership."

Now celebrating its 22nd anniversary, the firm will be opening its fifth office on Oct. 1 in Novato, Calif., completing its strategy of "ringing the bay." In 2009, the firm will be eyeing Sacramento to further its expansion throughout Northern California.

The firm ranked No. 53 in Accounting Today's 2008 list of the Top 100 Firms, with $48.5 million in revenue.

VIRCHOW KRAUSE WANTS BAKER TILLY NAMING RIGHTS

Madison, Wis. - Virchow, Krause & Co. is pursuing a name change that would allow it to become the exclusive firm in the U.S. with the Baker Tilly brand.

The 77-year-old firm is the largest U.S. member of the Baker Tilly International Network of accounting firms, but wants to change its name to Baker Tilly LLP. It is in discussions with the international group about becoming the flagship firm in the U.S. and is also pursuing approval from state regulators in the four Midwestern states where it operates, as well as from their state boards of accountancy.

However, Virchow Krause said that it is not merging with the U.K. member firm of Baker Tilly, or any of the network's independent member firms, nor is it being acquired. The firm will maintain its independent member status and will not assume any management responsibilities within the network.

Craig Nelson, a regional managing partner with Virchow Krause and chairman of the firm's name change implementation task force, said the move would have no effect on the other U.S. member firms of Baker Tilly International. He said that the firm hopes to gain regulatory approval around the end of the year.

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