Merger Gives Marcum Foothold into Real Estate Industry

By Jason Bramwell

In an effort to expand its real estate practice, New York Citybased national accounting and advisory firm Marcum LLP has merged with Cornerstone Accounting Group, a real estate accounting and assurance firm also based in Manhattan. Financial details of the merger were not disclosed. 
 
No layoffs are expected at either firm, Marcum Managing Partner Jeffrey Weiner told AccountingWEB. Marcum will absorb the entire Cornerstone team, which consists of five partners and seventy-five staff members. Cornerstone Managing Partner Daniel Vitulli will become national leader of Marcum's real estate industry group and will join Marcum's executive committee. 
 
Weiner says the reasons for the merger were twofold.
 
"On the Marcum side, Cornerstone is probably the preeminent boutique real estate practice in the country. It was certainly a really good practice in a practice area that we wanted to expand," he says. "I think Cornerstone wanted to be able to take what they created in New York and expand it nationally. Cornerstone felt that between the people at Marcum and the Marcum footprint, we would be the best place for them to expand what they started on their own."
 

Two Keys to Successful Mergers

What makes a merger successful? Marcum Managing Parter Jeffrey Weiner says it's people and the motivation for doing the merger.

"First and foremost, it's the people. We're in a people business. People work with other people. It's not a factory full of machines. You have to like each other as people first," he says. "Then, you have to identify what the motivation is for the merger on each side."
 
Coincidentally, both firms have offices in the same buildings in New York and Roseland, New Jersey, says Weiner, who adds that those offices will be consolidated.
 
New Services for Clients
Weiner says Cornerstone clients will now have access to services in a one-stop shopping environment that they've never had access to before.
 
"Cornerstone was simply an attest practice, so they were doing compilations, reviews, audits, and agreed-upon procedures. They didn't do any tax work, they didn't do any valuation work, they didn't do any cost segregation work. So we're going to bring all those services to their client base," he adds. "The Marcum clients will have a deeper breadth of resources in the real estate industry. We'll have a much deeper bench now that we've added seventy-five people whose sole focus is real estate."
 
When asked if Marcum has plans for future growth, Weiner says, "Yes, we're always looking to grow."
 
Weiner also says he doesn't foresee any issues with consolidating workflow processes. "We both use very similar technology, so there won't be a problem with that," says Weiner, who declined to answer what specific technology the firms use.

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