ParenteBeard merges with Chicago accounting firm

The main page at the ParenteBeard website. The company's name is to disappear in the merger.
The main page at the ParenteBeard website. The company's name is to disappear in the merger.
Posted: September 05, 2014

The largest Philadelphia-based accounting firm, ParenteBeard L.L.C., will join Chicago-based Baker Tilly Virchow Krause L.L.P., the two firms said in a statement Wednesday.

The combined firm will be called Baker Tilly Virchow Krause L.L.P.

The ParenteBeard name will disappear, the combined firm will be headquartered in Chicago, and Baker Tilly leadership will remain in place. But, Baker Tilly spokesman David Pendery insisted, the transaction was a merger and not an acquisition by the larger Baker Tilly. He declined to disclose financial details, including how partnership interests would be combined or handled.

Both firms have been independent members of Baker Tilly's parent organization, London-based Baker Tilly International.

"Our two firms have worked collaboratively and successfully for many years and on many fronts," Timothy L. Christen, Baker Tilly chairman and chief executive officer, said in the statement. "This merger is an opportunity for two successful, complementary firms to join forces and create even greater opportunities for our people while broadening our geographic footprint and deepening our industry and service specialization capabilities to better serve our clients."

Robert J. Ciaruffoli, ParenteBeard chairman and chief executive officer, said Wednesday that he told his firm's partners in 2013 that he planned to retire on Dec. 31, 2015, and that he will remain with Baker Tilly until then. ParenteBeard president Jeff Ferro will become executive managing partner of the northeast region of Baker Tilly.

Though ParenteBeard once had nearly 1,000 employees through acquisitions, Wednesday's statement said it had "more than 800 professionals."

Ciaruffoli said that "nothing changes" and that there will be "zero" negative impact on the firm and its presence in Philadelphia. "The people here are staying here. We're not cutting jobs in Philadelphia," Ciaruffoli said.

If anything, he said, the combination will give the new Baker Tilly a better chance to win larger clients involved in finance, insurance, governmental and international work.

By adding ParenteBeard, Baker Tilly expands its presence in the Northeast. Most of ParenteBeard's leadership worked from its Philadelphia headquarters, though others were based in New York, Pittsburgh and other Pennsylvania towns.

The companies' statement said the combined firm will employ approximately 2,500 people in 29 cities in the U.S., with total annual revenue of $475 million - making Baker Tilly one of the 12 largest professional services firms in the country.


dsell@phillynews.com

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