"Our industry needs to consolidate. We were an awkward size," says Jim Smart, cofounder with Richard Devine of Smart, Devine & Co., an "accounting-oriented consulting firm" which includes 17 partners and 63 support staff at offices in Center City and King of Prussia as it plans to combine with 1,400-staff audit-and-tax accounting firm Marcum LLP of Melville, N.Y.
Five years after Smart, Devine opened -- seven years after Smart sold his larger Smart & Co. firm to private-equity investors, who broke it up -- the founders and their partners approved the Marcum deal. (These guys are used to joining forces: Marcum includes Philadelphia's former Margolis & Co.; Smart, Devine included Hanna McGlone and Nihill & Riedley.)
Jeff Zudeck, boss of Marcum's Bala Cynwyd outpost, will run the combined Philadelphia practice for Marcum. "They have a few industry expertises that locally we didn't have: in higher ed, in insurance, in litigation support service," he told me. "As a larger player we get more visibility." Plus, "we were clearly looking for a Center City presence."