LarsonAllen to Merge With Milwaukee Firm

The merged organization will have 3,600 employees-including more than 500 partners-and its annual revenue will exceed $550 million, placing it among the 10 largest accounting firms in the nation.

Major Minnesota accounting firm LarsonAllen, LLP will merge with Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Clifton Gunderson, LLP, the two firms announced Tuesday.

The combined firm will begin operations as CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA) on January 2. CLA will have 3,600 employees, including 500-plus partners, and generate annual revenues in excess of $550 million, making it one of the 10 largest accounting firms in the country.

In addition, Minneapolis-based LarsonAllen's 40 offices and Clifton Gunderson's 47 offices will extend the firms' combined presence to 25 states and Washington, D.C.

LarsonAllen CEO Gordon Viere told Twin Cities Business that the two firms are very similar as they both focus on serving the private sector, government, and nonprofit clients, and that the merger creates a “strong” national firm that focuses on these sectors.

He added that industry specialization has been at the core of both firms' practices. Thus CLA will offer audit, accounting, and advisory services to highly specialized industries such as health care, financial, government, not-for-profit, manufacturing and distribution, construction, real estate, and agribusiness.

“Coming together heightens our capacity to develop that vital focus and extend it beyond our accounting and advisory services to our wealth management and outsourcing capabilities,” Viere said in a statement.

The combined firm will have three entities-CLA, LLP; CLA Wealth Advisory; and CLA Outsourcing-under a yet-to-be-named holding company that will be based in Minneapolis.Viere will oversee the holding company; CLA Wealth Advisory, which will merge the two firms' existing wealth advisory services; and CLA Outsourcing, which will merge the firms' outsourcing practices through which accountants are placed inside of companies.Clifton Gunderson CEO Kris McMasters will oversee CLA, LLP-which will handle professional services and accounting.

The two firms began merger talks this spring, and partners at LarsonAllen voted in September to approve the merger.

Viere said there will be no staff cuts as a result of the merger. Instead, CLA plans to hire about 200 people across the country in early 2012. A “significant” number of the job openings will be in Minneapolis, Viere added.

LarsonAllen currently employs about 1,800 people and provides audit, accounting, tax, consulting, and advisory services in 12 states and Washington, D.C. It is Minnesota's largest accounting firm based on the CPAs in the state, of whom there were 368 as of April. The firm reported revenues of $285 million for the fiscal year that ended Monday.