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The 259th Largest Accounting Firm Just Skipped the Line to Number 20 With Wipfli Merger

Milwaukee’s Wipfli — one of the only top 25 firms on Accounting Today’s 2023 Top 100 to have lost partners — announced on Monday it has entered into a merger agreement with Clayton & McKervey, the itty bitty Southfield, MI firm we mentioned in January for their partnership with Adrian College to help unlicensed staff pursue a master’s. See:

The 259th Largest Accounting Firm Is Paying For Unlicensed Staff to Pursue a Master’s at the 87th Best Online Business School


More than 90 Clayton & McKervey shareholders and associates will join Wipfli (revenue of $506.7 million), bringing the headcount to about 3,300. Clayton & McKervey also brings with it more than 2,000 clients. Shout-out to whoever wrote this press release for not using “leading firm” in the press release, that phrase has lost all value due to following firms constantly abusing it in their own press releases.

Speaking of press releases, here’s some of it:

Clayton & McKervey is a full-service public accounting firm, providing tax, audit, digital advisory and business consulting to domestic and foreign clients.

The Clayton & McKervey team will bring to Wipfli its proven experience in the automotive and technology sector; specifically in the manufacturing and distribution, industrial automation and architecture and engineering industries, among others. Clayton & McKervey has a special focus helping closely held domestic and international companies compete in the global marketplace. Our combined businesses will allow us to bring additional value to the clients we serve.

Clayton & McKervey is well known for helping foreign-owned companies expand to the U.S. and helps domestic entities expand abroad. Their reach is significant: including North America, Europe, South America, Asia, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Wipfli offers Clayton & McKervey clients full-service tax and financial solutions as well as the benefits of expanded services that help businesses improve organizational performance, coach their executives and teams, transform their digital capabilities, optimize finances and drive decisions with data and analytics.

Then comes the usual “client service” nonsense, blah blah, quotes quotes. “We are looking forward to Clayton & McKervey joining our firm,” said Kurt Gresens, Wipfli’s managing partner. “Their strong reputation and business approach in accounting, audit, tax and consulting will be a great fit at Wipfli. Their deep bench in helping startups and multinational companies based in the U.S. and abroad will help us connect with a broader client base, enabling us to introduce a larger range of consulting services including digital, cybersecurity, cloud computing and outsourced accounting services. Working together, we’ll be well-positioned to support them.” Presumably when he says “deep bench” he means plenty of talent and not an excess of talent sitting around twiddling their thumbs.

The merger was of course advised by Allan D. Koltin, CEO of Koltin Consulting Group, the Patti Stanger of the accounting profession (minus the problematic comments). “Clayton & McKervey was sought after by numerous suiters but selected Wipfli for the culture connections and strategic fit with middle-market and high-net-worth clients,” he said. “They also saw huge growth opportunities for their younger talent and leaders.”

With combined revenues of 522.7 million between the two firms, Wipfli might just unseat #19 Eide Bailly next year. Funny enough, Wipfli and Eide Bailly almost merged a decade ago, ultimately a disagreement on “key terms” sabotaged that deal.

The Wipfli/Clayton & McKervey transaction takes effect on September 1. And now that makes two times in 14 years we’ve written about Clayton & McKervey. Moving up in the world!

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