Marcum merges in Konowitz Kahn

Details: Top 100 Firm Marcum LLP has expanded its New England practice by merging in Connecticut accounting, tax and consulting firm Konowitz, Kahn & Co. As part of the deal, all seven partners and 30 employees at North Haven-based Konowitz Kahn will be working out of Marcum's New Haven office. The merger took effect on February 1.

"We knew them from the marketplace and they've always been a friendly competitor of ours in New England, and they were one of the firms we had targeted to potentially do something with," said Marcum managing partner Jeffrey Weiner.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The two firms' partners decided to combine forces after growing familiar with each other's firms over the years.

Weiner indicated that Marcum may do more mergers later this year. "We're always looking at opportunities," he said.



CRI merges in BowenPhillips

Details: Southern Top 100 Firm Carr, Riggs & Ingram LLC has expanded its footprint in Southern Georgia by merging in local firm BowenPhillips LLP.

The merger adds two offices, in Tifton and Valdosta, Ga., bridging the Enterprise, Ala.-based firm's service area between Atlanta and Tallahassee, Fla.

"We have a practice in southern Alabama in Geneva, and in Florida in Tallahassee, and it was a perfect location to provide expanded services to our clients, as well as a physical presence in Southern Georgia," said CRI brand manager Bri Harding.

The merger took effect on January 1. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Approximately 50 people from BowenPhillips are joining CRI as a result of the merger, including five partners. One of them is Tom Davis, a prominent technology consultant in the Valdosta office. Partners at the two firms came to know each other through their involvement in the CPAmerica association of accounting firms. (CRI is not a member of CPAmerica, a spokesperson for the association noted, but another firm that merged into it was in the past.)

With the latest merger, CRI now has 30 office locations.



Walter & Shuffain merges with Cooper & Co.

Details: A pair of Massachusetts accounting firms, Walter & Shuffain PC and Cooper & Co. PC, merged effective January 1. The combined firm, which operates under Walter & Shuffain's name, includes a total of seven shareholders and 50 employees. The shareholders and staff of Burlington-based Cooper & Co., which was established by Sanford Cooper in 1962, will join the Boston and Norwood offices of Walter & Shuffain.

The combination is expected to add expertise in several new industries to W&S. Walter & Shuffain offers traditional assurance and tax services, along with specialized services for clients in the real estate, health care, manufacturing, professional services, technology, and wholesale distribution industries.

"Cooper & Co. has expertise in the industries that complement our clients," said W&S managing shareholder Craig Shuffain in a statement. "They also bring expertise from other areas of industry, such as retail, recreation and fitness, and Internet-based businesses, that will bring an added level of skill and resources to our current and new clients."

Gray, Gray & Gray merges in O'Toole & Co.

Details: Gray, Gray & Gray LLP of Westwood, Mass., has merged in O'Toole & Co. of Boston, effective January 1.

Both firms serve closely held businesses and provide accounting, audit, tax strategy, estate planning, and business advisory services. The combined firm will operate under Gray, Gray & Gray's name and will maintain offices in both Boston and Westwood. Financial terms were not disclosed.

As part of the deal, O'Toole & Co. partners Timothy O'Toole and Karen Timmermans will become partners in the combined firm, raising the number of partners at Gray to 16. All of the staff members are expected to be retained, with a total staff count of 90 people.

Gray, Gray & Gray was founded in Boston in 1945, and relocated to Westwood in 1999. O'Toole & Co. was founded in Boston in 1979 by Timothy O'Toole.

"We can better meet the needs of our clients as they grow and expand," said O'Toole. "We are large enough to deliver any accounting, tax or wealth management service a client may need, while still remaining small enough to provide one-on-one attention."



Hill, Barth & King acquires Carson & Co.

Details: Top 100 Firm Hill, Barth & King has acquired Carson & Co. LLC CPAs, of Sewickley, Pa., expanding the firm's presence in Pennsylvania and its construction industry clientele.

The acquisition was announced in early February, and took effect immediately. Financial terms were not disclosed.

As part of the deal, John Mavero, a partner at Carson, will be joining HBK as a principal. Some of the staff from his firm will remain in their current offices in Sewickley, while others will join HBK's office in Wexford, near Pittsburgh.

HBK managing principal and CEO Chris Allegretti noted that Carson & Co. has years of experience in the construction industry, along with extensive audit and tax knowledge. He added that Carson & Co. clients would also be able to take advantage of his firm's investment advisory arm, HBKS Wealth Advisors.

With the addition of Carson & Co., HBK and HBKS Wealth Advisors employ over 300 professional and support staff. Besides Pennsylvania, the firm also has offices in Ohio and Florida, and is based in Boardman, Ohio.



PMB Helin Donovan merges in Vink Teague & Associates

Details: PMB Helin Donovan has merged in Vink Teague & Associates, expanding the Austin-based firm's presence in Dallas. Terms were not disclosed.

"Dallas has been on our radar screen for quite some time," said PMB Helin Donovan managing partner Tom Wilkinson in a statement. "We put our feet on the ground by opening an office in 2009, but our strategy has always been to cement our footprint by finding ideal companies and aligning forces. As a bunch of CPAs, we go about this as methodically as one would expect." The combination effectively triples the number of professionals that PMB Helin Donovan has in Dallas, from seven to over 20, plus support staff. The goal is to have up to 50 employees in the next three to four years, through organic growth and mergers.

Dallas operations will continue to be led by Jeff Jamieson, partner-in-charge of the Dallas office. VTA managing partner Mary Hennington will join PMB Helin Donovan's firm-wide executive committee. She, along with fellow partners James Hodges and Kathy Still, are now partners with PMB.

VTA was founded in 1986 and focuses on family-held and privately held mid-market businesses. "Even before we were approached by PMB, we were realizing that in order for us to be a viable player in our industry in the future, we would need to align with another firm in some capacity," Hennington said. "There's definitely a consolidation trend going on right now within the CPA industry. The mom-and-pop shops - often launched in the 1970s and 1980s - aren't able to compete because of the way business itself has changed. ... Clients need more depth than the one person they've turned to for 20 years."

PMB Helin Donovan has crafted a financial package for small CPA firms like VTA, with partners nearing retirement age. The package enables partners who have spent their careers building a firm to have a succession plan that ensures continued service to their clients, while solidifying their financial futures. Jamieson said he is in merger talks with other Dallas firms as well.



HintonBurdick merges in Gardner Tax and Accounting

Details: HintonBurdick CPAs & Advisors is merging in a sole proprietor's practice, Gardner Tax and Accounting, in St. George, Utah. The combination, which took effect on January 1, adds accountant Mason Gardner to the firm. It comes on the heels of a merger with another sole practitioner firm in St. George known as Lang & Co., which became effective on December 1 and added five people.

"Basically they approached us and wanted to join forces with us and be able to tap into some of the resources we provide," said HintonBurdick managing partner Morris Peacock. "It's a challenge to be a sole practitioner."

HintonBurdick did a larger merger last January, Peacock noted, with a firm called Frost Stephens & Co., adding two partners and 10 staffers to the firm in Flagstaff, Ariz. Peacock declined to provide financial details of the various transactions, but said his firm now has approximately $8.5 million in annual revenue.

There is a possibility of doing more acquisitions later this year, and Peacock said he was talking to some other practitioners. But he added that he has turned down a couple of merger offers in the last few years where the combination did not make economic sense or the other firm's culture did not align with his. The merger with Frost Stephens in Flagstaff made sense, for example, he noted, because his firm was already doing a lot of governmental and not-for-profit auditing work in Arizona.

Besides the St. George and Flagstaff offices, HintonBurdick also has offices in Cedar City, Hurricane and Richfield, Utah; and Mesquite, Nev.



Burdette Smith combines with Bish and Haffey

Details: Fairfax-based Burdette Smith Group PC has merged with Tysons Corner, Va.-based Bish and Haffey PC to form Burdette Smith & Bish LLC.

The merger became effective on January 1 of this year, according to spokesperson Linda Sears. Burdette Smith had approximately 30 staff members prior to the merger, and has gained about 12 more since the merger. Burdette Smith also has gained two new partners, in addition to the four it had previously. All six are now known as principals, however, as the combined firm has changed its structure to a limited liability corporation. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

The merger is expected to help the combined firm attract larger clients. "They felt a larger firm would have more opportunities for larger jobs," said Sears.

The former members of Bish and Haffey have relocated from Tysons Corner to Burdette Smith's offices in Fairfax.

The principals at the combined firm had known each other from their involvement in the northern chapter of the Virginia Society of CPAs. "Most of the CPAs around here just know each other," said Sears.

The six principals currently at Burdette Smith & Bish include Thomas Burdette, Jeffrey Smith, Joseph English, Thomas Crutchfield, Charles Bish and John Haffey.

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