Baker Tilly Virchow Krause merges with Beers + Cutler

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Baker Tilly Virchow Krause of Chicago has merged with Beers + Cutler of Vienna, VA, in a move that adds 260 employees to Baker Tilly.

With the December 1 merger, which brings in the third-largest accounting firm in the Washington, D.C. area, Baker Tilly can expand its presence in the nation's capital. Baker Tilly now has more than 1,400 employees and $250 million in annual revenue, making it the 13th largest accounting and consulting firm in the U.S., according to the company.

Baker Tilly formerly operated as Virchow, Krause and Co., and was headquartered in Madison, WI, but the firm changed its name in June and moved to Chicago upon joining Baker Tilly International, the Journal Sentinel of Milwaukee reported. Beers + Cutler is also a member of the global network of independently owned accounting firms. The Beers + Cutler Vienna office will serve as Baker Tilly's East Coast hub.

Tim Christen, CEO of Baker Tilly, said in a statement that the D.C. area is a "critical market as we continue to develop the Baker Tilly brand in the U.S." The firm currently has offices in Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, New York, and throughout Wisconsin.

The Washington Business Journal reported that the move comes in the wake of layoffs at Beers + Cutler, which cut 17 percent of its employees over the past year. Managing Partner Ed Offterdinger told the newspaper that the layoffs "were not at all a factor in the decision to merge. We're doing this from a position of strength." He said that the economic downturn is easing, which will bring increased demand for the firm's services and that the "merger will accelerate that."

Offterdinger will serve as regional managing partner for the East Coast practice and vice chair of the firm's management committee. He said in a statement",In looking out at the next five and ten years, it will become increasingly important to have a national and global platform to maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace."

The merger is part of an aggressive campaign to double Baker Tilly's revenue to $400 million by 2012, Christen said, calling that number "conservative."

"The entire profession has seen a downturn", Christen said. "We feel like we're nearing the end of that economic cycle. The combination of the end of that cycle with this merger, we feel will be a catalyst for rapid growth", he told the Washington Business Journal.

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