November 1998 Issue


In a move to become a major player in the consolidation business, HRB Business Services, a subsidiary of H&R Block, announced its acquisition of Friedman Eisenstein Raemer and Schwartz, LLP, a Chicago accounting and consulting firm. The acquisition includes affiliated businesses owned by the partners: Practitioner's Development Institute, LLC, a publisher of customizable marketing newsletters and financial planning guides; Essex, LLC, an investment adviser and management services company; and FERS Personal Financial Services, LLC, a financial planning services company. Founded in 1972, Friedman Eisenstein Raemer and Schwartz is one of the top 25 CPA practices in the country, providing tax and accounting services to small and mid-sized businesses in the Chicago area.

The acquisition is a significant step for H&R Block toward its stated goal, announced last May, of building a national accounting practice along the lines of American Express Tax and Business Services (TBS) and Century Business Services. Frank L. Salizzoni, president and CEO of H&R Block notes that the acquisitions will "make a notable impact toward expanding our customer base as well as our financial products and services."

TBS also continues its expansion with additional acquisitions in the Chicago and Baltimore areas. TBS announced the acquisition of Berger, Goldstein & Company, a Deerfield, Ill., firm. TBS first entered the Chicago market last year with its acquisition of Checkers, Simon & Rosner. Coupled with May's acquisition of Dennis Nelson & Company, this recent move greatly enhances TBS's presence in the suburban Chicagoland area. In Baltimore, the acquisition of Wolpoff & Company, LLP, increases American Express's position in the accounting market. TBS will merge the Wolpoff offices with its existing metropolitan offices, formerly those of Walpert, Smullian & Blumenthal. These acquisitions come on the heels of TBS's major July purchase of the nonattest assets of Goldstein Golub Kessler & Company in New York City. According to Bowman's Accounting report, TBS is the 10th largest accounting firm in the country, with 57 offices in 18 states. *

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