For many companies doing business in multiple North American locations, the thinking used to be that only the large, national accounting firms had the sufficient expertise to handle complex tax issues that 'cross the line' into other state or national jurisdictions.
But a group of Russell Bedford's North American members have turned that conventional wisdom on its head. They've started pooling their collective local knowledge to match the cross-border tax experience of the 'big guys' - and in addition are offering their services at more reasonable fee rates.
Operating as the Russell Bedford Tax Services Group, the network of eight local firms is promoting its knowledge of local tax laws, legislation and litigation to help growing companies cope with the complexities of doing business in multiple regions of the U.S. and Canada.
The group comprises member firms in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco and Austin, plus Toronto, Canada.
"As mid-sized independent firms acting locally in our own markets, we are as familiar as any of the big national firms with local tax and business planning issues," says Bill Rucci of Rucci Bardaro & Barrett PC, who acts as co-director of the group.
"We're used to moving pretty quickly on local issues as they come up, whether it's complying with local tax regulations, preparing for an audit, structuring for growth or valuing a company's worth," says Bill. "So we think it's a better alternative from a speed, efficiency and value standpoint.
"The other difference is that all our members operate with less overhead, so clients who use us rather than a large national firm tend to benefit from a cost standpoint, too," he adds.
As an example, Bill recalls the recent case of a manufacturing client that needed to move one of its warehouse operations from Virginia to Canada. With the help of the network's affiliate in Toronto, Kestenberg Rabinowicz Partners, the Boston firm was able to bring its client up to speed on Canadian registration and tax filing requirements, help expand the client's record-keeping systems to include the new cross-border entity, complete and file the required provincial tax returns and prepare claims for tax refunds due.
Barbara Kogen of NSBN, also a co-director of the group, cites other examples. "Our firm recently collaborated with the New York/Philadelphia firm on a very complex Pennsylvania income tax matter. Working together, we were able to find a resolution beneficial to our client. We have also referred Washington state tax matters to the San Francisco member’s satellite office in Seattle."
Commenting on the launch of the group, Barbara adds: "The partners of the firms in the Tax Services Group meet frequently and know one another’s expertise. The group gives us the ability to share our knowledge and work together. Now that the group has been formalised, we plan to use our collective knowledge and skills to provide world-class service to North American companies operating in multiple jurisdictions."
For further information, contact Bill Rucci on +1 781 321 6065 or Barbara Kogen on +1 310 288 4282.
Russell Bedford International was established in 1983 by a group of medium-sized independent accounting practices aiming to counter the market dominance of the major multi-national accounting firms.
Russell Bedford is now a closely-connected global network of independent accounting and business consultancy firms in key locations around the world, and is represented by some 200 offices in more than 70 countries in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific.
All Russell Bedford affiliates are well-established firms offering international business advice and services to local and multinational clients. Most provide a full range of services comprising accounting, auditing, tax advice, general business guidance and financial consulting. In addition, many have special expertise in particular fields, such as international taxation or information technology.
In January 2008 Russell Bedford International was been named one of the first 17 full members of the IFAC Forum of Firms after reporting it has implemented a globally coordinated quality assurance programme, committed to the use of International Standards on Auditing (ISAs), and met other specific ethics requirements.