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Withum’s West Coast Push Starts in Irvine

WithumSmith+Brown PC, a Princeton, N.J.-based accounting firm with a large presence in the East Coast, wanted exposure to the West Coast.

The accounting firm, one of the 25 largest in the U.S., chose Irvine to make its entrée, by acquiring KSJG CPA LLP, effective Jan. 1.

“We’d thought it’d be a good start in California,” Withum Managing Partner and CEO Bill Hagaman told the Business Journal.

“We think Orange County has had extraordinary growth. The economy here is strong. There are a lot of new businesses starting up in the Orange County marketplace.”

KSJG’s 63 employees, including eight partners, will join Withum.

The Business Journal last year ranked KSJG the 20th largest accounting firm in the county by the number of local employees.

“The biggest reason [for the sale] is that they have a great culture,” KSJG Managing Partner Larry Gregson said. “They have [also] developed a lot of new services” for clients.

“Because they’re not on the West Coast, it seemed a great fit for our people and our clients,” added Gregson, who is now partner-in-charge of the office.

Founded in 1979, KSJG is an acronym for Robert Kushner, Daniel Smith, Dana Joanou, and Gregson.

Withum has 14 offices, 1,100 employees and annual revenue of $224 million.

Clients can expect their KSJG personnel and fees to remain the same, Hagaman said. The company is hiring about four to five employees for its Irvine office, which will remain in the Spectrum area.

Withum will be able to provide new services to KSJG’s clients such as cybersecurity, Gregson said. KSJG has expertise in areas such as audit and tax compliance, Hagaman said.

“That’s a good skillset to add and take advantage,” he said. “KSJG is a good solid quality firm in this marketplace. They were large enough to give us critical mass.”

Withum will be seeking other acquisitions in California, Hagaman said.

“We look at the California marketplace as exciting,” he said. “It’s the seventh largest economy in the world. The opportunities outweigh the issues.”

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Peter J. Brennan
Peter J. Brennan
Peter J. Brennan has been a journalist for 40 years. He spent a decade in Latin America covering wars, narcotic traffickers, earthquakes, and business. His resume includes 15 years at Bloomberg News where his headlines and articles sometimes moved the market caps of companies he covered by hundreds of millions of dollars. His articles have been published worldwide, including the New York Times and the Washington Post; he's appeared on CNN, CBC, BBC, and Bloomberg TV. He was awarded a Kiplinger Fellowship at The Ohio State University.
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