Rehmann changes approach, expands

January 11, 2009
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The Rehmann Group, one of the Midwest’s largest CPA firms, announced last week it has acquired both Farmington Hills-based MSW Group and Muskegon-based Pridnia LaPres PLLC effective Jan. 1 and has joined Nexia International to service clients with international needs. The firm has also trimmed its name to simply Rehmann.

Steve Kelly, chairman and CEO of Rehmann, said that, as part of the firm’s continuing growth plan, it is adopting a new service model to provide clients with more collaborative and comprehensive services.

“CPA firm clients really want proactive advice and business partners,” Kelly said. “Typically, CPAs just get in there and get the audit or the tax return or the financials done and then move on. We’ve seen that our most satisfied clients over the last several years have been those where we’ve had a large team of people serving their needs. Different people bring different skills, observations and viewpoints to the equation.”

The name Rehmann Group implies several different organizations under one banner, whereas the name Rehmann sends a message that it’s a single firm and that a client can be served by people of any discipline or specialty within the firm, Kelly explained. Under the new model, business advisers will continue to collaborate with each client while engaging a broad team of Rehmann specialists to deliver business acumen. 

“We want to give clients the services they need with one seamless team that communicates regularly with one another: The right hand knows what the left hand is doing, and it’s all about helping clients achieve their goals,” Kelly said. “Rather than having everything flow through one person, we’ll have teams serving clients.” 

Nexia International is a network of independent auditors, business advisers and consultants that ranks ninth worldwide. It has 620 offices in 97 countries and substantial representation in the world’s major financial centers. The benefits of Nexia membership for Rehmann is that its clients that operate in international markets have various tax, audit and regulatory needs around the globe.   

“Nexia is an avenue for us to have brother and sister firms in key markets where we can help them serve their U.S. clients’ needs, and they can help us serve our clients’ needs in other countries,” he noted.

Kelly said the acquisitions of MSW Group and Pridnia LaPres enhance Rehmann’s core industry segments, which are health care, manufacturing, distribution, real estate, construction, government/nonprofit, and closely held and family-owned businesses. The three combined companies now employ more than 600 associates statewide.

Neither Farmington Hills nor Muskegon are new markets for Rehmann, but they are markets the firm wants to expand in, Kelly said. Having a greater presence in a market also helps the firm attract top-notch talent in those markets, he added. Rehmann’s Muskegon office staff will move into Pridnia LaPres’ offices in Muskegon and Rehmann’s people in its Farmington Hills office will move into MSW Group offices in Farmington Hills. All positions will be retained, Kelly indicated.   

“Our new team delivery model was one of the key reasons these firms agreed to merge with us,” Kelly said. “Our vision has always been to be better not bigger, so we’ve never had any revenue targets. But we’re continually in contact with key firms in our state, and when we see an attractive firm that we believe can make us better, mergers happen.”

Both Steven Maltzman, managing partner of MSW Group, and John Pridnia, partner in Pridnia LaPres, said the merger represents an opportunity for their firms to better serve their clients with a more diverse array of offerings.

Ron Knipping, managing partner of Rehmann Grand Rapids, noted that with the addition of Pridnia LaPres in Muskegon, Rehmann in West Michigan is now a 125-person professional services organization and one of the largest such organization’s in the region. He said both the mergers and Rehmann’s affiliation with Nexia are a reflection of the firm’s internal themes of growth and opportunity.

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