August 21, 2018

Plante Moran and Blackman Kallick Are Now In a Relationship

In today's firms you've probably never heard of if you aren't in the Midwest news, we've gotten word that Plante Moran will announce it's taking on Chicago firm Blackman Kallick as its new +1 at some point today. This should be pretty exciting for the Blackman Kallickers since Plante Moran has a great reputation (size isn't the only thing that matters, after all) and we expect it to work out well for both firms.

Post merger, they'll be looking at about $350 million in combined revenues, probably 18 offices (Blackman's only got one in Chicago), 257 partners and 1,355 professionals (based on Accounting Today data).

They must have been matched on eHarmony as both firms have a reputation for great culture and supportive environments. “The informal training at Blackman is great. Everyone seems willing to help out, and no one is too busy for simple questions or inquiries about careers. I have had a great experience with formal mentors who are genuinely interested in helping me achieve my goals and advance my career. They are never too busy to discuss with me concerns and issues I may have or point me in the right direction.”

Blackman Kallick is currently #23 on Vault's Accounting 50. Founded in 1962, Blackman Kallick is the ninth-largest accounting and consulting firm in Chicago and offers all sorts of employee perks like a high deductible medical plan for the healthy youngsters, busy season love like occasional on-site chair massages and decent salary and benefits. "The firm works hard to show they really care about employees," said one employee on Vault.

Plante Moran, meanwhile, ranks 6th on the Vault Accounting 50 and has added several hundred staff members and several dozen partners in the last few years. By adding Blackman Kallick, Detroit area Plante Moran will expand its reach in Chicago and strengthen its reputation as a strong healthcare firm. All in all, it looks like a smart move for both firms.

Calls placed to Blackman Kallick HR (since they lack a communications department) were not returned. As of now, Plante Moran has not made an official statement, we will update accordingly if or when they're ready to gush about the great news.
Congrats, both of you! You make such a cute couple!

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Wherein We Speculate Wildly on the Merger of Accounting Firms Mazars and Weiser

Last week we told you about the on-going Global 6 talks between Mazars and Weiser. As we mentioned then, the copulation of the two firms would put them in the direct competition with the likes of Grant Thornton, BDO, RSM and hell, they may even snag some Big 4 clients.

Web CPA caught up with this story yesterday and we learned that not only has Mazars done business in the states with Weiser, they’ve also “relied on joint venture agreements with U.S. firms…Moss Adams and BKD.”

Maybe we’re going way out on a limb here, but if Mazars is making a play for Weiser (and it sounds like it’s all but a done deal) are they just trying to make a play on the whole IFRS bonanza that’s being unleashed OR are they looking to get closer to the likes of Moss Adams and BKD to expand their exposure and to become a bigger player in the States? Even if Mazars were to merge with Moss Adams and BKD the combined revenues still would be a drop in the bucket of the Big 4 but it would cement their presence in U.S. and allow them to compete even more directly for potential business here.

If we’re letting the cat out of the bag here, mucho apologies, just kinda thinking out loud.

Grant Thornton to Close Greensboro, NC Office

We’ve received multiple tips informing us that Grant Thornton’s Greensboro, North Carolina office will be closing in the spring after busy season has ended.

Greensboro has approximately 35 professionals in all three service lines although our sources indicate that many tax professionals were laid off late last year in anticipation of the closure. Greensboro currently functions as a satellite of the Charlotte office which houses the support professionals.

What’s not known at this time is whether the office will become virtual, similar to the setup that Ernst & Young arranged for its Greensboro office other whether it will be an outright closure.

We contacted Grant Thornton for comment and had not heard back from them at the time of this posting.

If you’re familiar with the situation in Greensboro and have more information, get in touch with us. We’ll continue to keep you updated as we learn more.