Horwich Coleman Levin, a CPA firm based in Chicago, has joined Wipfli LLP, marking the fourth firm in the Chicago area to join Milwaukee-based Wipfli in the past 13 months.

Wipfli's offices in Wausau, Wisconsin
Wipfli's offices in Wausau, Wisconsin Courtesy: Wipfli LLP

The deal with HCL took effect Wednesday. As part of the deal, 18 HCL employees, including five partners, are supplementing Wipfli’s more than 1,800 professionals. Wipfli ranked 19th on Accounting Today’s 2016 list of the Top 100 Firms, with $227 million in annual revenue.

Last month, Wipfli announced it had merged in another Chicago firm, BIK & Co. LLP (see Wipfli adds BIK). In August, Wipfli announced it would merge in Weltman Bernfield in the Chicago suburb of Buffalo Grove in September (see Wipfli to merge in Weltman Bernfield). Last January, it added Steinberg Advisors, a firm based in Northbrook, Ill. (see Wipfli adds Steinberg Advisors).

“Chicago is a key market for Wipfli, which has been demonstrated over the past 13 months as we have combined with several strong Chicago CPA and advisory firms, including HCL,” said Wipfli managing partner Rick Dreher in a statement. “We are very pleased that HCL, a highly respected firm in the Chicago market, has agreed to become part of the Wipfli family. The combination enhances our downtown Chicago presence and increases our capacity and ability to serve clients in Chicagoland and across Illinois.”

Dreher noted the combination would expand Wipfli’s capabilities in the hedge fund, litigation support and dispute resolution areas.

Allan Koltin, CEO of Chicago-based Koltin Consulting Group who advised both firms on the merger, pointed to Wipfli’s expansion in the Windy City. “It is truly amazing to see what Wipfli has accomplished in terms of establishing their presence in the greater Chicago market with very high-performing firms,” he said in a statement. “In addition to a great culture, they provide deep industry specialization and an impressive array of services for the middle market and high net worth individuals. HCL’s client list reads like a ‘who’s who’ among Chicago's most established business leaders and high net worth individuals. The firm had been courted for years by many other regional and national firms looking to establish a presence in the downtown Chicago market. Unlike many firms today, HCL didn’t have a succession issue, but rather became attracted to the additional value-added services they could offer their clients, as well as the growth opportunities that they could provide to their people by combining with Wipfli”

HCL was founded in 2005 and provides a range of audit, tax and consulting services to closely held businesses, organizations and individuals in the Chicago area and around the country. The firm focuses on servicing investment funds. Other services include forensic accounting, litigation support, alternative dispute resolution and IT consulting.

“We are very excited to be bringing HCL’s highly experienced team and our commitment to exceptional client service to a national firm that holds similar values and ideals,” said HCL managing partner Larry Horwich in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to provide the same high-quality service our clients have experienced over our history, while gaining the ability to add Wipfli’s specialty services to provide enhanced value to our clients as they encounter the need for additional services. Through this combination we will also be able to provide enhanced training and career opportunities to our valued employees, so this is very positive news from all vantage points.”

Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn, editor-in-chief of AccountingToday.com, has been covering business and technology for a variety of publications since 1985.