By Anne Rosivach
Clifton Gunderson and LarsonAllen, two of the nation's top 20 certified public accounting and consulting firms, have announced plans to merge and form one of the top 10 accounting firms in the United States. The new firm will be named CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA). Pending final approvals, the merger will take effect on January 2, 2012.
The new firm will bring what it claims to be unprecedented emphasis on serving privately held businesses and their owners, as well as entities in the public sector – not-for-profits and governmental units.
"The top 10 accounting firms have a significant focus on public companies," Kris McMasters, CEO of Clifton Gunderson told AccountingWEB. "We are unique right now for firms of this size in our focus on private companies and not-for-profits, and combining us takes that focus further. We will be their firm of choice, their champions and leading resource center, proactively addressing their needs with our comprehensive suite of services."
"CLA will bring deep knowledge of the industries we work in, in the health care, financial institutions, manufacturing/distribution, construction, real estate, agribusiness, and dealerships, employee benefits plans, and other industries, in addition to its strong technical foundation in audit, accounting, and advisory services," the firm's press release stated.
"When we began to talk about this combination," Gordy Viere of Larson Allen said, "we were both building a national practice, but we did not want to combine just to get bigger. We wanted to come together for a better reason – to deliver on our clients. We will be unique for the depth of knowledge and the capabilities we bring to private companies, to not-for-profits, and the public sectors."
"There is a linkage between our firms because of our industry specialization," Viere said. "We have deep knowledge of strategy, operating requirements, regulations, and the business needs of our clients. We will bring a wide range of specialized services to our private clients. We will bring them significant international resources, including a very strong, high level tax consulting practice, both domestic and international. We can help companies to do businesses abroad, and help foreign companies do business in the U.S. We will also be unique because in addition to maintaining a presence in large metropolitan areas, we are developing locations in smaller communities where we think there is tremendous opportunity."
The new firm will have more than $550 million in combined revenue, employ more than 3,600 professionals, including 500-plus partners, and will operate from 25 states and Washington, D.C. CLA will maintain executive offices in both Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin.
CLA will be built around a holding company and three entities: CLA LLP, CLA Wealth Advisory, and CLA Outsourcing – all integrated in their capabilities and delivery of services. Kris McMasters, CEO of Clifton Gunderson and Gordy Viere, CEO of LarsonAllen, will continue as CEOs within the integrated CLA firm.