Hartman Leito & Bolt to join accounting firm BDO

Betty Dillard bdillard@bizpress.net Regional accounting firm of Hartman Leito & Bolt LLC of Fort Worth will combine forces with the national accounting and consulting firm BDO USA LLP, effective June 1, the two firms announced on May 12. . The deal, whose terms were not disclosed, will expand BDO’s presence in North Texas. Combined with the company’s existing office in Dallas, the transaction will add about 60 staff, including six partners from HLB, bringing BDO’s total staff in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to 225. BDO USA currently has more than 400 professionals serving clients from offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. The Chicago-based firm has 52 offices and more than 400 independent alliance firm locations around the country. As an independent member of BDO International Limited (the fifth largest global network of accounting firms), the firm can leverage the resources of more than 1,200 member firm offices in 144 countries.

“In HLB, I believe we’ve found a well-respected firm that expands us in a new strategic market in Fort Worth while also adding to our critical mass in greater North Texas,” said Wayne Berson, CEO of BDO USA. “This is a good market for us. We’re very successful already in Dallas and this just adds on to our success nicely. This establishes us as a clear alternative to the Big Four firms in the Fort Worth market.” BDO, one of the mid-tier accounting firms below the Big Four – PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Ernst & Young and KPMG – has been on a fast-track growth plan under Berson’s leadership. The integration with HLB marks the company’s eighth acquisition nationwide since Berson became chief executive in November 2012. Founded in 1910 as Seidman & Seidman, BDO is now the seventh largest accounting firm in the United States and the fifth worldwide. International revenue in fiscal year 2013 was $6.5 billion. Berson, who also is chairman of BDO’s global board, says the firm expects to report about $815 million in U.S. revenue in the fiscal year ending June 30, up from $683 million in 2013. “Over the past 19 months we’ve really pursued an aggressive expansion program. We’ve added approximately 900 staff in the eight transitions around the country. When combined with organic growth, which is driven by M&A growth, our total staff count has jumped 38 percent,” Berson said. “We’re seeing an extremely successful growth spurt.” One of the top accounting firms in Tarrant County, HLB has had steady growth since its founding in 1986 by Frank J. Hartman Jr. and Mark Walton as Hartman Walton & Associates. James Leito III joined the firm in 1991 as an audit partner and in 1994 Tracy Bolt came aboard as a federal tax partner. The firm would later evolve into Hartman Leito & Bolt. The company generated $11 million in revenue during fiscal year 2013 through its offices in Fort Worth and Dallas, Leito said. HLB supports its clients through audit services; federal, state and local tax compliance; and consulting services. The firm has a strong client base in the manufacturing, construction, real estate and nonprofit industries as well as a significant high-net-worth practice. Hartman Leito & Bolt has been recognized by numerous business and industry publications for its workplace accomplishments. For seven consecutive years, HLB has been named a “Best Company to Work For” by the Texas Association of Business and recently was named a “Top 100 Best Accounting Firm to Work For” by Best Companies.

In 2002, HLB became a member of the BDO Seidman Alliance, a nationwide association of independently owned local and regional accounting, consulting and service firms with similar client service goals. By accessing the resources of BDO and each other, the Alliance presents an opportunity for these accounting and consulting and business and technology firms to expand services to their clients – without jeopardizing their existing client relationships or their autonomy. “When we began to look at our clients’ needs going forward and looking at trying to grow our practice, it seemed like the natural way to grow was with BDO,” Leito said. Leito has more than 30 years of experience in public accounting and will be responsible for the Fort Worth assurance practice for BDO. Pam Roberts, who has 15 years of public accounting experience, will manage the tax practice. Hartman will not transition to BDO but plans to start his own accounting and tax practice. “We found our clients need more global reach than we could capture here locally,” Leito said. “Over the years we’ve worked with BDO locally, nationally and globally on various client opportunities. We have established relationships with them. BDO was our No. 1 choice. No other competitor can match what BDO can bring to the Fort Worth market.” Bolt has entered into a long-term strategic consulting relationship with BDO USA to continue to provide Fort Worth and Dallas clients with his extensive business advisory experience.

“HLB has established a long history of creating strong relationships with closely held business and individuals in the Fort Worth and Dallas communities,” Bolt said. “By combining with BDO, the firm will build on that tradition by bringing clients a wider array of solutions, broader industry experience and all of BDO’s resources. We believe this is a natural step and benefit to our clients and their needs and their growth.” Berson says he expects the firms’ integration to go smoothly, thanks in large part to a high level of familiarity the companies have with one another. The firm will maintain its two local office locations, at 6050 Southwest Blvd. in Fort Worth and at 700 N. Pearl St. in Dallas. BDO’s combination with HLB will build on the company’s growth history, Berson added, and along with its other recent acquisitions will further set BDO apart from other mid-tier firms. “There’s tremendous opportunity out there today in the accounting industry and what I want to do is find firms that are looking to grow, looking to take advantage of the resources that BDO has and at the same time be an entrepreneur,” he said. “I think HLB is a very entrepreneurial firm that will fit in very well with us as we move to the next level together.”