BDO USA acquires accounting and consulting firm Smith & Gesteland

01 June 2018

Consulting and accounting giant BDO USA has acquired Wisconsin-based consulting firm Smith & Gesteland. The 85 person-strong firm will bring BDO’s total Wisconsin headcount to 185 employees.

Chicago-based BDO USA, one of the country’s largest accounting and consulting firms, announced that it has acquired boutique consultancy Smith & Gesteland. The acquired firm, founded in 1948 and based out of Madison Wis. suburb Middleton, provides accounting, tax, HR management, and IT services to mid-market businesses. S&G has particular expertise serving the construction, technology, manufacturing, non-profit, and real estate industries.

S&G’s 85 staff – including 15 partners – will join the 100 BDO professionals in Madison and Milwaukee, bringing the firm’s total headcount to 185 in Wisconsin.

“I look forward to welcoming all of the partners and professionals of Smith & Gesteland to BDO USA,” commented CEO Wayne Berson. “Our firm has demonstrated steady growth in the Madison market and this combination will greatly enhance our presence in both Madison and the greater Wisconsin market. S&G’s entrepreneurial culture is a natural fit with BDO.  They bring significant resources to our existing industry strengths in real estate, nonprofit, manufacturing, construction and especially technology, where we will be the dominant firm in the market.”BDO USA acquires accounting and consulting firm Smith & GestelandBDO USA – which is part of BDO Global, the fifth-largest professional services network in the world – has performed strongly in recent years. From 2012 to 2017, BDO USA’s growth rate outpaced all other major US accounting firms and the firm’s revenues more than doubled from $618 million to $1.41 billion.

As such, the firm is eager to acquire talented, like-minded companies in order to grow further and keep up with demand for its services. With both organic and inorganic expansion, BDO USA has entered 24 new US cities and grown its size in 13 existing markets in the last five years. Currently, the firms has more than 60 offices across the US, and can leverage the resources of BDO Global – which boasts 73,000 employees in 1,500 offices across 162 countries.

When it came time expand its Madison footprint, BDO was attracted to S&G’s similar culture, strong leadership, and depth of talent. S&G had been voted the top CPA firm in Madison by In Business Magazine for 13 consecutive years, while also being recently named one of Madison Magazine’s Best Places to Work.

“In combining with BDO, we will form the leading firm serving middle market businesses in the Madison market, while providing both our clients and our people with additional opportunities for growth,” remarked S&G Managing Partner Bill Pellino. “Our clients will still receive the same close personal attention they have come to expect from our team, but now they will have access to a wider array of services, broader industry experience, and the full coverage of BDO's extensive global network. BDO has a team-oriented, collaborative culture, similar to our own.  The firm’s reputation as a favorable workplace also fits well with our focus on our people, who will now have access to more training and many more opportunities to pursue career growth.”


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OneDigital buys Northwestern Benefit in company's largest acquisition yet

11 April 2019

Human resources and benefits consultancy OneDigital Health and Benefits has acquired Northwestern Benefit, the largest privately held benefits broker in Georgia.

Atlanta-based OneDigital has carried out an aggressive acquisition strategy in past years, completing 28 deals in 2018, as well as five in 2019 thus far. Its recent acquisitions have included consulting firms Paradigm Group, Cherry Creek Benefits, and Veritas Risk Services. OneDigital’s rapid expansion last year boosted annual revenue by $100 million in 2018, reaching $400 million.

OneDigital’s core offerings include strategic benefit advisory services, analytics, compliance support, human resources management technology, and insurance broking. The firm has more than 80 offices in the United States.

The consulting firm has continued its accelerated growth strategy with the purchase of benefits and HR consultancy Northwestern Benefit, which is also based in Atlanta. “This represents an exciting milestone for OneDigital, where our largest acquisition to date is also located right here in our home state of Georgia,” Adam Bruckman, CEO of OneDigital, said. “Northwestern lets us compete in the Atlanta benefits marketplace in an entirely new way.”OneDigital buys Northwestern Benefit in company's largest acquisition yetThe acquired firm was founded in 1996, and provides benefits, HR, compliance, wellness, education, and workforce planning advisory services to clients in George and across the US. Northwestern Benefit’s 150 employees will join OneDigital, bringing the firm’s headcount to over 1,600 employees, and its employer client count to approximately 50,000.

OneDigital’s chief growth officer, Mike Sullivan, highlighted Northwestern’s excellent sales culture and client service models as factors in the deal, while noting that the deal will significantly expand the firm’s middle market scale and capabilities. Sullivan expects more deals on the horizon, as OneDigital seeks to scale up further. “We expect north of 25 acquisitions again this year to bring us over the $500 million revenue threshold,” he said.

David Asbury, CEO of Northwestern Benefit, will join OneDigital as a senior managing principal. “As the benefits space continued to consolidate and we considered acquirers, it was incredibly important to me to find the right partner,” he said. “With OneDigital’s scale, reach and long-term vision, we knew our organizations would fit together and be stronger together right off the bat.”

As employment levels remain at record highs, employers are increasingly turning to effective and comprehensive benefits packages in order to attract and retain a dwindling pool of talent. HR and benefits firms help employers strategize the ideal benefits and compensation packages to get the talent they need, while doing so in the most cost-effective manner. “In a rapidly changing economy, an employer’s ability to attract and retain talent is often directly tied to the benefits they can provide, and OneDigital ensures we’re supplying our clients with the most robust health, wealth, and HR advisory services,” Bruckman said.