Particular Report: Accounting – Teaming Up

Particular Report: Accounting – Teaming Up

The accounting business’s expertise pool has been experiencing a shrinkage downside of late, and that has induced increasingly more companies to show to mergers.

Take the Lengthy Seaside-based O&S CPAs and Enterprise Advisors. The five-partner, 36-employee agency lately merged with BPM LLP, one of many largest public accounting and advisory companies within the nation. The deal, in keeping with O&S Managing Associate Cynthia Schoelen, took place as the answer to raised serve purchasers and develop the vary of O&S’s providers.

“We had been getting extra purchasers, however we didn’t have the employees to do the work,” Schoelen stated. “So, you’re turning purchasers away and also you’re additionally turning away current purchasers who herald stuff out of our wheelhouse.”

Schoelen’s agency, which supplies tax, accounting, advisory and forensic accounting providers and focuses on helping carefully held companies and nonprofits, has labored with purchasers in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernadino counties for greater than 25 years.

Now that O&S and BPM are underneath the identical roof, Schoelen and her staff can refer current purchasers to different accountants within the expanded agency. BPM has roughly 70 companions and greater than 1,200 staff.

That is the third strategic mixture that BPM has carried out previously six months, following others in Santa Rosa and Sacramento. These two mergers added Elliott CPA Group Inc. and Avaunt Ltd. CPAs and Consultants. Since 2020, BPM has additionally expanded in Southern California by means of mergers in Orange County, Lengthy Seaside and Santa Monica.

Tony Gales, a tax associate in BPM’s Lengthy Seaside workplace, stated the precedence for the mergers was folks; he pressured that the accounting business is in a spot the place recruiting and retaining staff has turn out to be tough.

Making transitions

O&S had been considering a merger for some time earlier than the BPM deal got here to fruition, in keeping with Schoelen, who added that her agency had been speaking to BPM for a number of years on and off. She stated that the cultures of the companies had been very comparable.

“O&S was searching for some time to see what was on the market, as a result of senior companions need to retire and so they’re discovering they will’t actually substitute their ability set as simply as they used to,” Schoelen stated. “Usually, you’d need to carry that ability arrange from (subordinates) and promote them, nevertheless it has been more durable to get folks in on the decrease ranges from school and up.”

BPM Partners, Cynthia Schoelen (left) and Tony Gales in the office.
Cynthia Schoelen, managing associate of O&S CPAs and Enterprise Advisors, and BPM tax associate Tony Gales.

In line with the 2022 New York State Society of CPAs’ Rosenberg Survey, many companies, together with a number of the largest within the nation, are turning to mergers and acquisitions to deal with succession points and lack of management. Such strikes, in keeping with the survey, may assist a agency make the transition from compliance providers to advisory providers.

“Corporations that supply monetary providers are extra worthwhile,” the Rosenberg Survey acknowledged. “For instance, revenue per associate for companies that supply monetary providers is $638,000, whereas revenue per associate for companies that don’t provide monetary providers is $539,000.”

The Rosenberg Survey discovered that, on a nationwide stage, the proportion of companions older than 60 elevated from 24% to 25% final 12 months, that means one-quarter of accounting agency companions are close to or previous retirement age.

Accountant numbers have additionally dropped in recent times. A Bloomberg Tax evaluation from final 12 months discovered that in 2021 the variety of employed auditors and accountants dropped 17% from its peak in 2019, which was practically 2 million.

One of many primary causes that fewer people are selecting accounting as a profession, in keeping with each Schoelen and Gales, has to do with adjustments within the licensing necessities wanted to turn out to be a CPA.

In line with Gales, CPA licensing necessities as soon as included 4 uniform checks and one ethics examination, along with holding an undergraduate diploma. Now, an extra 30 items are wanted with a purpose to qualify as a CPA.

Schoelen echoed Gales’ sentiment, noting that the extra 30 required items shouldn’t have to be in accounting schooling. She worries that the extra items might deter college students from following by means of on their plans to be an accountant, whether or not it’s the added time or cash wanted to pursue these items.

In line with, since a bachelor’s diploma consists of 120 semester hours, college students trying to turn out to be CPAs typically enroll in grasp’s diploma packages in accounting to earn the extra 30 semester hours.


PricewaterhouseCoopers, a London-based skilled providers agency with two places of work in Los Angeles, discovered that final 12 months’s merger and acquisition exercise was decrease than 2021’s, however above historic ranges.

In Los Angeles, merger exercise amongst companies has not been excessive, however acquisitions have been a special story. PwC was one in every of a number of companies busy with such exercise final 12 months.

Within the final two years, the agency acquired EagleDream, ACTS, Netrovert and Sagence, all of which strengthened and strengthened PwC’s current choices with cloud service suppliers and platforms.

BPM5000 E Spring St. Long Beach, CA
O&S’s Lengthy Seaside constructing.

“Collectively, the enterprise logic for focusing on these corporations particularly is to more and more have an effect on the digital cloth of our purchasers, in addition to to have lasting, sustained influence on the operations and trajectory of their companies,” PwC spokespeople stated.

PwC added that in lieu of assorted financial cycles, it and different companies have needed to have interaction in mergers and acquisitions with the long run in thoughts.

PwC’s twenty sixth Annual International CEO Survey discovered that the lure of mergers and acquisitions in difficult occasions is stable. In line with the survey, 73% of company leaders had been pessimistic about world financial development, with 60% of these leaders stating that they weren’t planning to delay offers this 12 months with a purpose to mitigate potential financial challenges and volatility. The survey was launched this 12 months.

“Together with the necessity to develop, we consider that CEOs proceed to eye M&A as a approach to speed up transformation of their companies,” the spokespersons stated. “And that is what we’re seeing with our purchasers, because the challenges to natural development and the urgency for transformation proceed to make M&A a viable capital allocation choice.”

When it comes to the offers market, PwC is seeing enterprise leaders function as if a recession is imminent. It additionally discovered that extra price pressures imply further strain on near-term offers, giving companies pause about what they pursue and when.

Restoration ought to emerge later this 12 months, in keeping with the spokespersons, who added that those that see offers as an enabler for development could profit from performing decisively.