Crowe Chizek Acquires Illinois Accounting Firm

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On Monday, Crowe Chizek and Company LLC announced that it will combine practices of its Public Sector Services group with Oak Brook, Ill.-based accounting firm PTW.

Effective January 1, 2005, the combination of Crowe and PTW practices will create the largest integrated practice group in Illinois offering governmental consulting, governmental attestation and governmental financial services.

PTW will join Crowe's Public Sector Services group, which provides assurance, operations consulting, financial advisory, utility rate consulting, systems and technology services to state and local governmental entities, colleges and universities, membership organizations and not-for-profits.

Crowe's public sector practice has been focused primarily in Indiana, with smaller, but developing practices in Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio. Crowe officials say the transaction to combine resources with PTW will significantly expand Crowe's reach into Illinois, adding significant expertise in government and not-for-profit related services and depth of experience in that market.

“Both firms are known for their significant experience, strong industry knowledge and excellent client service,” said Mark Hildebrand, Crowe CEO. “This combination of talented individuals and complementary practices deepens and expands upon the existing strengths of both firms, better positioning us as a unique alternative to ‘The Big 4' in Illinois. We're excited about the opportunities ahead.”

The two firms will operate under the Crowe name, with the 50 PTW personnel joining Crowe's workforce of more than 1,800 personnel within offices in eight states. The combined practice provides the Illinois client community with access to resources from Crowe's offices throughout the United States, in addition to access to other firms around the world via Crowe's affiliation with the Horwath International network of public accounting and consulting firms.

“The access to Crowe's network of information and support provides substantial benefit to our clients,” said James Pandolfi, PTW partner.

Crowe has been ranked in the top 10 of largest U.S. accounting and consulting firms for the past 10 years and PTW ranked 25th in Crain's Chicago Business' 2004 list of top area accounting firms and 9th in Springfield Business Journal's 2004 list of top area accounting firms.

“This combination of practices will benefit Crowe and PTW clients by providing them with greater experience and industry knowledge of the combined personnel,” said Bob Lazard, managing executive for Crowe's Public Sector Services group. “We also believe that the combination will provide both our personnel with significant opportunities for personal and professional development. “

In Illinois, Crowe operates offices in Oak Brook and Chicago and PTW operates offices in Oak Brook, Chicago and Springfield. The combined practice represents many Illinois entities including the Chicago Board of Education, the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Transit Authority, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Roosevelt University, the Archdiocese of Chicago and several state of Illinois agencies.

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