Accounting firm 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 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 as a result of the name change.   

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. "All of the firms will remain independent member firms, no different than they are today," he said. "They would have the ability to use the brand the same way they already are."

Obtaining the global brand name for his firm would provide opportunities for growth and for people to move within the organization, he noted. The international network also sees advantages. "Baker Tilly International as a network has been interested in solidifying the name in the United States, and so it was going to take one firm to step up and create that global brand," said Nelson.

Over 60 of Baker Tilly's 144 member firms across the globe have Baker Tilly as part of their name, but Virchow Krause will be the only one in the U.S. if regulators approve the deal. Virchow Krause has offices in Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis and Wisconsin, and a staff of over 1,300. Nelson said the firm hopes to gain regulatory approval around the end of the year.

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