- In reaction to the competitive threat posed by consolidators, a group of large local CPA firms banded together, forming the Leading Edge Alliance. They created the affiliation to help independent firms be more successful, profitable and competitive by sharing “best practices” information and by networking. The group hopes to attract firms that are dominant in local markets and with nationally recognized niche practices.
The average firm in Leading Edge has more than $10 million in annual revenues. The group, which consists of 19 founding members, is based in Chicago.
Lawyers Vote No on MDPs
- The house of delegates of the American Bar Association voted overwhelmingly (304 to 98) in August not to endorse multidisciplinary practices—those that provide both legal and accounting services. The vote preserves existing rules that have banned lawyers from practicing law within entities controlled by nonlawyers, stopped lawyers from forming partnerships with nonlawyers and prevented fee sharing in such arrangements for the last century.
The ABA said it might consider endorsing MDPs in the future if studies proved that such arrangements would not compromise the traditional values of the legal profession and would benefit consumers. (For more on the ABA and MDPs, see “ABA Urges One-Stop Shopping,” JofA, Sept.99, page 15).
Still the One
- For the 18th straight year, Arthur Andersen received the highest rating in the annual CPA Personnel Report’s survey of accounting professors. In the survey, professors were asked to rate CPA firms based on business success, compensation, client service and career opportunities. The top-rated eight firms were as follows:
1. Arthur Andersen
2. Deloitte & Touche
4. Ernst & Young
6. BDO Seidman
7. Grant Thornton
8. McGladrey & Pullen
The professors also were asked to rate college accounting programs. The University of Illinois’ program was voted the best for undergraduates, the University of Texas had the highest rated graduate program and the University of Chicago’s curriculum topped the list for doctoral students.
Saloman Joins IASC Staff
- James Saloman has been named technical director of the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC). A partner in the national accounting and auditing services group of PricewaterhouseCoopers since 1986, Saloman is taking a leave of absence from his position in the firm’s Toronto office to join the IASC. He will serve his term as IASC’s technical director in London from September 1999 to the end of 2001.
Saloman, who is both a chartered accountant and a CPA, served as chief accountant on the Ontario Securities Commission from 1994 to 1996. He also served as chairman of the accounting and auditing subcommittee of IOSCO and was a member of two of the IASC’s steering committees.
Ex-CEO Elected to Hall of Fame
- Longtime Deloitte & Touche CEO, J. Michael Cook, was elected to the Accounting Hall of Fame. Cook, a former chairman of the AICPA (19861987), was the longest serving chief executive officer of a major accounting or consulting firm at the time of his retirement in May. Cook held the post at the firm for 15 years.