Two upstate New York CPA firms are merging, with the Rochester-based firm of Bernardi & Russo joining forces with Buffalo-based Freed, Maxick & Battaglia.

The merged firms will be known as Freed, Maxick & Battaglia CPAs. The merger will put Freed Maxick ahead of schedule on its goal of having 30 employees based in Rochester by the end of 2008. With the merger, the firm will have a total of 230 professional and administrative staff in Rochester, Batavia and Buffalo.

"They have a small practice in Rochester," said Mike Russo, a partner with Bernardi & Russo. "We'll be merging with them and greatly enhancing the presence they have in the Rochester market."

He noted that all of the personnel from his firm would be part of the combined firm. "There will be cultures from both firms that will be embedded in the Rochester office," he said.

The two firms had a prior working relationship.  Freed Maxick will also get more office space in Rochester as part of the deal. It plans to relocate its employees to Bernardi & Russo's offices there. No financial terms were disclosed. The merger is scheduled to take place September 15.

This is Freed Maxick's second merger since 1998. Battaglia Andrews & Moag joined the firm at that time in Batavia. Freed, Maxick & Battaglia provides audit, tax and consulting services in practice areas such as healthcare, public companies, manufacturing, agribusiness, real estate and services. Freed Maxwick also has an alliance with RSM McGladrey.

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