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Squar Milner Merges With Chicago CPA Firm

Nearly a year after absorbing SRG, an accounting firm in Woodland Hills, Irvine-based Squar Milner will merge with Baker Tilly as of Nov. 1, retaining the Baker Tilly name.On the Business Journal’s list of Accounting Firms published Feb. 17, Squar Milner ranked No. 6 with 42 CPAs in its Encino office.After the merger with Baker Tilly, Stephen Milner, former chief executive of the Orange County firm, will assume membership in the combined company’s senior leadership team, while also serving as the head of the combined company’s western region, according to Baker Tilly Chief Executive Alan Whitman.Whitman also told the Business Journal that no Squar Milner employees will be cut as a result of the merger.The Chicago firm approaches a revenue threshold of $1 billion and has a global reach, the company said in a statement, with “top notch talent and critical mass” in New York, London, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago — the world’s leading financial centers.“When we merged with SRG, we had done so because they had similar and complementary lines of business and would propel us into the top 10 of the Los Angeles market, and that was important to us,” said Milner. “(Baker Tilly) has some of the same strategies.”The firms have known each other for three years, Milner said, and recognized a lot of the same qualities in each other, such as growing to give each respective team a broader range of opportunities, and recognizing that having a main location where leadership congregates can be limiting.“Our administrative office is in Orange County, but leadership was spread throughout the state,” explained Milner. “One of the many things that attracted us to Baker Tilly is that their leadership lives and works in markets throughout its footprint. Headquarters is more of a legal designation.”Internally, Milner said the umbrella of a larger firm would give greater opportunities for employees. “It was the overwhelming reason for the combination,” he added.“I think putting together these two fantastic organizations helps us stay ahead of what we need to do on behalf of our clients, our profession, our communities,” Whitman said. For team members such as Shashi Mirpuri, managing partner at the Squar Milner office in Encino, the merger will allow employees to pursue larger clients and retain workers ready for a larger firm.“Inevitably when you’re trying to attract talent, there are people that just want to be at a bigger firm, and now we’re on that same scale,” Mirpuri told the Business Journal. “We can talk to clients that maybe we wouldn’t have before we were in the top 10 and that puts us in a different conversation; that’s what I’m excited about.”In the last two years, Baker Tilly expanded into Texas; it bolstered capabilities in data analytics, municipal advisory, global forensic accounting, valuation and litigation services, and outsourced accounting through other strategic acquisitions, the company said.Squar Milner offers tax, audit, wealth management and consulting services to clients in the tech, entertainment, restaurant, construction and cannabis sectors. Baker Tilly has a similar profile but also specializes in manufacturing, dealerships and tribal accounting.

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