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Bonadio plots further growth as it moves up Top 100 list

By Traci DeLore

Date:

SYRACUSE — The Bonadio Group, upstate New York’s largest independent CPA firm, recently ranked as the 50th largest tax and accounting firm in Accounting Today’s Top 100 Firms list.

Bonadio, which ranked at number 55 in 2012, is the highest-ranking firm from upstate New York on the list, which recognizes the top revenue-producing firms from among the nation’s 45,000 CPA firms. Accounting Today is a bi-weekly magazine for the accounting industry.

“We’re very proud to be on the Top 100 list coming from the markets we come from,” says Thomas Bonadio, CEO and managing partner. The Bonadio Group, headquartered in Rochester, does not have a significant presence in major markets like New York City, he says. Rather the firm is the big fish in a small pond, with offices in numerous mid-size markets across New York including a 10,000-square-foot office at 115 Solar St., Syracuse, where the firm has between 45 and 50 employees.

Accounting fees are traditionally lower in the markets Bonadio is located in, he says, which makes the company’s revenue achievement even more significant. On top of that, the markets are not ones that have seen a great deal of economic growth, he adds.

The Bonadio Group, on the other hand, has produced revenue growth. The firm’s projected revenue of $66.29 million for fiscal year 2014, which ends April 30, is well ahead of the revenue goal of $60 million it set in its last three-year strategic plan, which runs through next year.

Thomas Bonadio says he expects revenue in the $75 million to $80 million range for the coming fiscal year as it will include the three mergers Bonadio closed on this fiscal year. The firm is also generating internal growth.

“We’re not growing just through mergers,” he notes. “We’re up about 8 percent organically.” That growth comes from winning over new clients as well as doing additional work with existing clients, he notes.

The potential is out there for even more growth, Bonadio says, and he has his eye on two markets for the coming year. The Central New York/Syracuse area, as well as Manhattan, is on his radar for future growth.

“We won’t be happy until we’re the number one firm in Syracuse,” Bonadio says. The firm has a goal of reaching 100 employees at each of its offices, he says. That size gives the firm enough staff to find and focus on areas of expertise as well as provide the best level of service to clients.

One area of expertise the Syracuse office has honed is providing internal audit services to banks and credit unions. “That practice has been growing great guns,” Bonadio says, setting the Syracuse office apart as almost a sole provider of that service in New York. “No one else has the expertise.”

Mergers
While he declined to discuss any specific plans regarding mergers, Bonadio says the firm is in some stage of talks with potential merger in every market where Bonadio has an office. It would be surprising if the firm didn’t have news of a merger in the Syracuse area in the coming year, he says.

“The whole industry is in merger mania,” Bonadio says. Figures show there are 45,000 CPA firms in the nation today, but experts estimate that figure will drop to fewer than 20,000 over the next decade through mergers, retirements, and other changes. Many small firms, with owners looking to retire, are interested in joining forces with another firm that can keep the business going, Bonadio says. In addition, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for smaller firms to successfully compete with their larger competitors, especially as clients require more and more specialized services instead of general accounting services.

With 11 offices and nearly 500 employees, The Bonadio Group (www.bonadio.com) serves more than 17,000 clients in New York and several other states. Founded in 1978, the firm provides accounting, business advisory, payroll, and personal financial services. Offices are located in Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, Geneva, Perry, Utica, New York City, and Rutland, Vt.

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