Wipfli accounting firm makes big moves

Oct. 12, 2011

Quietly, Wipfli LLP has had a great year in a not-so-great economy. The accounting and consulting firm, based at 10000 Innovation Drive in the Milwaukee County Research Park, has either added to or strengthened its life sciences, insurance and public company practices, while also opening an office near Chicago. It was ranked among the top 10 of value-added software resellers in the nation.

Clarence J. Wipfli founded the partnership in 1930 as a one-person accounting shop in Wausau.

Today the business has 138 partners, about 1,000 associates, 20 offices in the United States and two in India.

Wipfli serves small, family owned businesses as well as large, publicly held companies.

In January of this year, Wipfli formalized an industry practice that meets the needs of life sciences companies at every stage of development in the life cycle. Wipfli's specialized industry practice will serve medical device companies, providing them with a one-stop shop for their accounting, tax and consulting needs and with services that are tailored to each stage of the life cycle.

Formalization of a practice means it creates a team of specialists with knowledge to meet the needs of those specialized clients and expands services to this specific group of companies.

"While the firm has served life sciences companies for over 80 years, we saw a need to carve out this industry practice, increasing our focus on the medical device industry to help these organizations thrive," Ron Hafner, co-leader for the life sciences industry niche said in announcing the move.

Other practices formalized

Wipfli also formalized its Public Company Services Practice. The move is said to help the firm better serve emerging-growth and mid-sized publicly held companies as well as entrepreneurial, private companies that are considering selling stock in public markets.

Hafner said: "With a focused practice, we can broaden the services we offer. And because we're a mid-sized firm, we can leverage our depth of experience and expertise at a very competitive price."

The firm earlier launched its insurance practice, which includes a number of associates who have extensive knowledge of the issues, trends and challenges facing insurers. The team crafted several proprietary solutions for helping insurance companies tackle common issues, including turning customer data into insights that can be used to grow and improve their businesses.

Wipfli opened its sixth Illinois office in Oak Brook, Ill. - its first in the Chicago area.

A new division

At mid-year, Wipfli launched a corporate financial services entity called WCF Advisors LLC, that will provide investment banking and corporate finance services, including merger and acquisition advisory services, capital raising and financial advisory services serving middle market companies with $10 million to $500 million of revenue, and for capital providers seeking investment opportunities or assistance with portfolio companies. Investment banking services will include assisting clients raise capital for growth; recapitalizing a client's business through a minority or majority sale of equity; selling a client's business outright; and advising on, and executing, a client's acquisition strategy.

The firm's growth has paid off. In a survey of professional services firms and software resellers conducted by Accounting Today magazine, Wipfli ranked ninth out of 100 value-added resellers in the nation. The list was based on the revenue generated from that area of the business. The firm was the only Wisconsin-based firm in the top 10 resellers.

Robert Warde is a freelance business writer living in Wauwatosa. He has been a journalist for more than 27 years and a business journalist for the past 16 years. Reach him at robert.warde@yahoo.com.


WHAT: Wipfli LLP

WHERE: 10000 Innovation Drive

AREAS OF PRACTICE: Process and performance management; human resource; operations

and organization structure; systems and information technology; marketing, sales, and customer

service; capital and financial strength.

WEBSITE: www.wipfli.com


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