Accounting News

Chicago-based BDO acquires Miami accounting firm MBAF

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Tony Argiz, chairman of MBAF

Miami powerhouse accounting and consulting firm MBAF has been acquired by BDO, one of the largest accounting firms in the country.

“As we were looking at the future of the firm, BDO is what we wanted to be when we grow up,” said Tony Argiz, MBAF’s chairman and CEO. “So why not do it all at once?

“We’ve known the leadership at BDO for some time, and we felt the cultures were a good match. … This is a great organization that we’re joining,” he said.

For BDO, the marriage doubles its existing Florida staff, said CEO Wayne Berson, and significantly expands its Miami presence, where BDO has about 200 employees.

“What’s really attractive to us is this will make us the largest firm in Miami,” Berson said. “It will build out our footprint in area where we see tremendous growth as more and more people leave New York, Chicago and California. You’re where they want to be.”

MBAF’s Latin American clientele and Spanish-language abilities fit into BDO’s international strategy, he said.

With revenues of $2 billion, Chicago-based BDO was ranked as the nation’s seventh largest accounting firm in 2019 by Accounting Today, with 70 offices in the United States and 170 offices worldwide. MBAF was ranked at No. 36, and has about $150 million in revenue, Argiz said.

The union expands MBAF’s capabilities for clients, Argiz said, and benefits MBAF’s 600 employees. “Our professionals will have opportunities to advance not just locally but on a national basis,” Argiz said.

Under the terms, BDO will assume MBAF’s employees, clients and retirement obligations. Argiz will run BDO’s operations in the tri-county area and will sit on BDO’s board of directors and compensation committee. MBAF name partner Miguel “Mike” Farra will oversee the South Florida tax practice. Stuart Rosenberg, president of MBAF technology affiliate WhiteOwl, will help that entity transition to become part of BDO Digital.

The deal is expected to close Jan. 16.

Founded in 1969, MBAF has grown from a small homegrown firm to a regional heavyweight with 13 offices, including five in the tri-county area, New York, Westchester, Naples, Las Vegas, Baltimore, Orlando and India. Since Argiz took over the firm in 1997, it has received ongoing recognition as a Top 40 firm and as a best place to work. Argiz is involved in the civic and philanthropic communities and serves on multiple boards, including those of the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and Jackson Memorial. The firm honors early partners Alvin Brown, now retired and the late Al Morrison, plus Argiz and Farra.

Jane Wooldridge, an award-winning journalist and Miami Herald veteran, oversees coverage of real estate, economy, urban development, tourism, cruises, visual arts and Art Basel. She is president of the Society of American Travel Writers. Find her on Instagram @JaneWooldridge.