Accounting wars: 12 partners quit Philly's biggest firm, may join rival

At least a dozen partners of ParenteBeard, the biggest accounting firm based in Philadelphia, have quit and are in talks to join a rival firm.

According to industry sources, Richard T. Farrell from the firm's Philadelphia office, Alan Molin from its Clark, New Jersey office, and other audit partners have turned in their resignations to Robert J. Ciaruffoli, the firm's chairman and CEO, and Ciaruffoli has notified colleagues at the firm of their departure. ParenteBeard employs hundreds of accountants at 20 offices, mostly in the Northeast.

The partners are negotiating to possibly join rival BDO's Philadelphia office, which has also expanded in recent years. Both firms target mid-market and regional companies for an array of tax, audit and other services.

Ciaruffoli was the architect of the Parente firm's recent expansion through mergers and its move from Wilkes-Barre to Philadelphia in 2004.

Farrell and Molin both worked at the former Beard Miller Co., which Parente acquired in 2009.

After I contacted Ciaruffoli's office to ask about the departures, the firm sent me a statement which says, in part, "We can confirm that we have accepted the resignation of certain individuals," but declined to comment on who has left. The firm added: "We are working closely with our clients and staff during this period of transition," and said that, of 13 partners who originally resigned, one resignation "has been rescinded."