M&A: CG buys Farrell & Associates; Two Ohio CPA firms merge

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Milwaukee-based Clifton Gunderson, in its fifth acquisition since May, has expanded its presence into northern Illinois by merging in Farrell & Associates of Rockford.

Farrell & Associates’ three partners – Robert Farrell, Michael Abrahams, and Michele Reagan – and 15 employees will join Clifton Gunderson. The new Rockford office will be led by Managing Partner Steve DeBruyn and Partner-in-Charge Todd Etheridge.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but the arrangement is part of a larger growth strategy for Clifton Gunderson, which is looking to expand through mergers and new business. Clifton Gunderson, ranked the 13th largest firm in the United States, has nine offices in Illinois. In all, the firm has 46 offices in 21 states and Washington, D.C.

Joining Clifton Gunderson “will allow us to expand our tax and accounting services, and supports our desire to grow in additional strategic services,” Farrell said in a statement. “We are excited about the tremendous network of resources offered by Clifton Gunderson, which will enhance the opportunities to serve our clients’ needs of tomorrow.”

Clifton Gunderson Chief Executive Kris McMasters told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the firm is on the lookout for those looking for a merger partner. One partner scouts for firms full time. "We always look at opportunities in our current footprint first because those are the easiest to integrate into our firm", McMasters said.

McMasters told the newspaper that recent acquisitions have been traditional practices in new geographic markets. Services to clients have expanded based on the expertise of those brought into the firm.

"We brought 14 partners and staff who have focused their entire careers just on international tax", McMasters said. "That's a new service that we believe our clients really need as they expand globally."

Two firms combine in Troy, Ohio

Two CPA firms in Troy, Ohio, have become one – David C. Murray & Co. CPAs, Inc., and Robert K. Rohlfs, CPA, have combined their practices and will operate under the David C. Murray name in the firm’s present location.

Rohlfs started Robert K. Rohlfs, CPA, in 1990 after working as a tax accountant with Hobart Corp. and area CPA firms. Murray worked for an oil company and then another CPA firm for 10 years before starting his own firm in 2004, the Dayton Daily News reported.

“Clients of the combined firm will all see an immediate benefit as the depth and breadth of our services continues to grow,” Murray said in statement.

The firm offers a full range of tax services for businesses, nonprofits, and individuals. David C. Murray and Co. is the 25th largest accounting firm in the Dayton area, with three CPAs and eight full-time employees, according to Dayton Business Journal.

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