A listing of 11 “power players” in the Rochester region’s accounting industry.
James P. Brennan
Managing Partner – Upstate NY, Deloitte LLP
Brennan has been managing partner of Deloitte’s upstate New York marketplace, which includes Rochester and Buffalo, for three years. He is also the leader of the audit practice in the region
As with other companies, Deloitte has had to change priorities in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have prioritized the safety of our people, our clients and our community, ahead of any other business objective,” Brennan says.
As Deloitte’s leader in the local business and cultural communities, Brennan feels a responsibility to “give back and support the community in a way that demonstrates our commitment to the community as a business, but to personally invest financially and with time and talent to make the community a better place, with equal opportunity for everyone.”
Brennan, a member of the RBJ’s Forty Under 40 class of 2004, says Deloitte “will continue to focus on the growth of our people and our business, while continuing to support our community in a very significant way” in 2021.
Managing Partner, Insero & Co. CPA’s, LLP
Catarisano, who founded Insero’s Outsource Accounting Services Group and has been managing partner since October 2012, is proud of how the firm has responded to the challenges of COVID-19.
“As a team, we helped our clients deal with the fiscal uncertainties from the pandemic and we provided as much information as we could at no cost to our clients, including many webinars focusing on federal relief package, human resources and other relevant topics including cash flow and working remotely,” she says.
Looking ahead to 2021, Catarisano thinks the first half will be similar to 2020 with some return to normalcy as the year progresses. “I know we will take advantage of the ability to work remotely and embrace a new hybrid model of working, which is exciting to me,” she says. “The hybrid model accelerates what I believed for years as the way we can be more flexible to help attract the best talent into our workforce.”
Catarisano, who co-founded Ciaccia & Catarisano LLP in 1990, is a member of the RBJ’s Forty Under 40 Class of 1998 and was a 2020 finalist for the ATHENA Award.
Managing partner and co-founder, DeJoy, Knauf & Blood LLP
DeJoy founded DeJoy, Knauf & Blood LLP with Mark Blood and Ed Knauf in 1990 after leaving Arthur Andersen.
The firm has grown to nearly 60 employees, including nearly 30 CPAs, and in 2016 moved to Tower280 from its original headquarters on State Street to accommodate its growth.
DeJoy, who has served as chairman of the board of multiple high-tech companies, assists clients at all stages of their business, from start-up through exit strategies for key players.
DeJoy is also co-founder and CEO of OLEDWorks, where his expertise in developing and managing partner relationships has helped OLEDWorks grow and collaborate with customers and suppliers. He teamed up with former Kodak employees, Michael Boroson and John Hamer in 2010 to found the organic light-emitting diode manufacturer.
Managing partner, Flaherty Salmin CPAs
In addition to his role as managing partner, Flaherty leads the affordable housing/community development practice for Flaherty Salmin. He works with real estate developers, owners and managers on navigating affordable housing and development programs, tax credits and subsidies.
“Our firm is known for its deep experience in the affordable housing and community development industry,” he says. “We believe that we have a significant responsibility to help our clients develop the housing and communities for the people who need it most. This responsibility extends beyond our normal workday as we actively volunteer for community nonprofit organizations, boards and other committees.”
Flaherty is a board member and finance committee chair for Action for a Better Community, a board member and treasurer for Sojourner House and the Wilson Commencement Park, and an executive board member and treasurer for the New York State Association for Affordable Housing.
Looking ahead to 2021 and the continuing impact of the pandemic, Flaherty says his firm will “stay the course and do what we do — provide straight answers and trusted solutions to our clients who rely on us to help them navigate the anticipated series of new laws, programs and related requirements.”
CEO, Davie Kaplan CPA P.C.
Jones has been a partner with Davie Kaplan since 2010 and became CEO — and the firm’s first female managing partner — last year.
Jones, whose industry expertise includes manufacturing, wholesale, real estate development and management and broker dealers, serves as the firm’s internal-focused leader, including risk management, staffing, work culture and managing partners. She works in partnership with Scott Kogler, the firm’s president.
Davie Kaplan has grown to more than 60 total employees, including nearly 30 CPAs.
“What sets us apart, with the size of a firm we are and our measured growth, is really to have the partners focus on clients,” Jones told the RBJ when she assumed her new role last year. “We really want high partner involvement with our clients— we feel it’s the best way to serve” our customers.
In the community, Jones is a board member of the Canandaigua National Bank Advisory, the F.F. Thompson Hospital Foundation Board and a former member of the Finance Committee of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Rochester.
Managing partner, Mengel Metzger Barr & Co.
Kovaleski became managing partner of Mengel Metzger Barr, where he has worked since 1998, seven years ago and has continued to focus on supporting the firm’s employees in face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our employees are the main contributor to our success as an organization,” he says. “From the onset of the pandemic, we made a commitment to have no layoffs, furloughs or pay cuts. In fact, we continued to execute our hiring plan, rewarded our employees on par or in excess of prior years and even gave each employee a stipend to improve their work from home experience.”
Kovaleski, a board member for the Ronald McDonald House, believes Mengel Metzger Barr has a responsibility to support the community.
“I feel we still need to do more in the current environment,” he says. “We are extremely committed to placing an increased emphasis on diversity and inclusion within our firm, in our work with our clients, and as model citizens in our community.”
That includes developing a Diversity Committee and planning the launch of an Accounting Diversity Scholarship.
“This is just the first of many programs we hope to offer our staff and our community as we continue to help create a society of acceptance,” Kovaleski says.
Managing partner, EFPR Group, LLP
Marasco, who has been with EFPR Group for more than 25 years, is one of the founding members of StoneBridge Business Partners, an affiliated consulting firm. He is also a member of the firm’s Business Valuation, Litigation Support & Forensic Services Group.
Marasco is a court-recognized expert, lecturer and author on fraud and forensic auditing. He has contributed to a book on corporate fraud and has helped protect some of the largest Fortune 1000 companies from fraud and abuse.
He is a full-time management consultant with expertise in the health care distribution and franchise fields. He has worked with more than 50 of the top franchisors in the country.
Marasco also gives back to the community as the board president for the Landmark Society of Western New York.
Rochester Office Managing Partner, PwC
Parrilli has led PwC’s Rochester office for seven years since taking over after Ed Kay retired. He is proud of the resilience his office has shown in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our people are the backbone of our firm and our greatest asset and throughout the entire pandemic — which in a matter of days upended how we work, serve clients, and live on a daily basis — our people stepped up,” he says. “Our people embraced our firm’s purpose — to build trust in society and solve important problems — and continued to focus on the factors they could and can control by adapting and responding quickly to work with our clients and each other, and led with empathy to navigate the disruption created by the pandemic.”
Looking ahead to 2021, he says it will continue to be crucial to be able to evolve and adapt.
“The reality is that technology and the impact it will have on our jobs is going to continue to change — the critical skill we all need to be developing is how to continually learn and upskill ourselves,” he says. “The investment in our digital transformation and the upskilling of our people is an ongoing journey, progressing alongside us in order to position us to continue enhancing quality and value in a digital way at scale.”
Managing director, Freed Maxick CPAs PC
Russo, whose practice focuses on individual and business taxation and business consulting areas, has led Freed Maxick’s Rochester office for 12 years. His main concern amid the COVID-19 pandemic has been his employees.
“I am most proud of the understanding, flexibility and tools that our frm has extended to our employees … that made them feel comfortable and safe while continuing to provide flawless and uninterrupted services to our clients,” he says. “This was not an easy task but one which was of utmost important to us.”
Russo says that Freed Maxick was able to navigate the challenge of protecting employees while continuing to serve clients.
“Our biggest responsibility is to provide a safe working environment for our employees, while making sure that our decisions do not add to the community’s health concerns,” he says. “We balanced this responsibility for safety while continuing to provide services to our clients, which in turn allowed them to remain viable and successful to benefit commerce in our community.”
While the pandemic is still raging, he foresees better times in 2021.
“I certainly expect to see a return to normalcy, albeit a new leaner normal,” he says. “I also envision a very busy and productive 2021 for Freed Maxick and the accounting industry as a whole.”
Founder, Webber CPA, PLLC
Webber’s firm, which she launched five years ago, works with law enforcement, Adult Protective Services, attorneys and other agencies across New York state and the U.S., and she shares that experience in speaking engagements across the country.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge, she sees silver linings as well.
“COVID was an opportunity for many organizations to do a hard reset and restructure, whether that meant becoming more lean or stacking their talent decks for growth,” she says. “Even before the pandemic, the accounting industry was seeing this major shift toward automation, so we used our lockdown time to contract with a developer to automate much of our data intake and analysis processes over a cloud-based platform. The beta version will be ready in the first weeks of 2021, so we’re poised to scale even in a continuing remote environment.”
Webber wants to repay the College at Brockport for the education she received there and to give back to the community in as many ways as she can.
“I want to give other aspiring students the same opportunity to learn and thrive in the city we love,” she says.
She serves as president of the Brockport Alumni Association Board of Directors, as a governor on the Genesee Valley Club Board of Governors and recently joined the YWCA Board.
CEO & managing partner, The Bonadio Group
Zicari worked alongside The Bonadio Group’s founder, Tom Bonadio, for 23 years before taking the helm last year. But COVID-19 presented the immense challenge of keeping clients up to date on confusing and ever-changing regulations and programs while simultaneously shifting a 700-employee workforce to remote work.
“It’s been a stressful time, but our people have worked together as a team to assist our clients and local communities to navigate the challenging environment through cutting edge and timely guidance,” Zicari says. “Our organization has had to be nimble and innovative as we’ve transitioned into a fully remote and partially remote working environment, and I’m so impressed by the dedication and flexibility of our teams.”
Community has always been an important part of The Bonadio Group, and that has continued throughout this pandemic with the firm’s Bonadio Gives Back campaign, its annual Purpose Day, and a $190,000 United Way fundraising campaign.
Zicari sees potential ahead despite the continuing challenges, and plans to keep a strong focus on the firm’s employees.
“We plan to reward our current employees for their hard work and dedication and recruit new and unique skillsets to join our top-notch team,” he says.