October 29, 2020

BDO’s World Domination Tour Makes Its Next Stop: Baltimore

Cookies will be served.

Why Baltimore? Maybe because BDO USA CEO Wayne Berson is a big fan of Under Armour apparel? Or maybe because he’s binge-watching all five seasons of The Wire on HBO Now? Nah, it’s because BDO just bought a Baltimore-area investment and tax advisory firm.

Baltimore Business Journal reported:

Chicago-based BDO completed the acquisition of the Biegel Waller group on Jan. 1. All 27 of Biegel Waller’s employees remain onboard and the office will remain located at 10211 Wincopin Circle in Columbia.

Wayne Berson, CEO of BDO, said the acquisition is part of the firm’s strategy for expanding across the 25 largest metropolitan markets in the U.S. When Berson became CEO in November 2012, BDO was in 14 of the top 25 markets and had revenue of about $600 million. Today, BDO is in 22 of the markets and has grown revenue to about $1.7 billion.

“This is it, this is our grand entrance,” Berson said. “We needed to be in Baltimore.”

Wayne Berson

The Little Dipper of accounting firms will gain about $10 million in revenue with the acquisition of Bieger Waller, which is no great shakes for Bravo Delta Oscar. But WB said the growth will likely be far more than that because BDO can offer services, such as auditing, to clients that BW doesn’t.

Fortunately for Bieger Waller clients, BDO’s audit quality is getting a little bit better.

Discussions of a union between the two firms started where all great discussions about deals in accounting happen: on the golf course:

BDO looked at various firms when it started exploring a Baltimore-area expansion. One of BDO’s partners was friends with Jim Waller, a co-founder and partner of Biegel Waller. Berson played a round of golf with Waller and as they talked, they realized their firms had similar philosophies for how to serve clients.

BDO already has offices in Potomac, downtown Washington, D.C., and Tysons Corner, Virginia. The firm also already serves clients in Greater Baltimore and has employees who live in the region. But not having an office directly in the area has held BDO back, Berson said.

While getting its foot in the door in the Baltimore area is good and all, BDO hasn’t made its way into the 21202 ZIP code yet.

BDO plans to open an office in downtown Baltimore and is looking for space, Berson said.

“It’s a market we haven’t really gone in hard enough,” Berson said. “We needed to do more in that particular market. By getting local Baltimore people on board, it will be easier to access Baltimore businesses.”

Something for Wayne-o to consider: EY is leaving its 20,000-square-foot office in the Pratt Street Power Plant building on the Inner Harbor for a 13,500-square-foot space in the fast-growing Harbor Point development.

I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’.

BDO USA makes entry into Greater Baltimore, looks for downtown office space [Baltimore Business Journal]

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