Szymkowiak & Associates CPAs (Szymkowiak) and PEAR Consultants, LLC (PEAR) are joining Cohen & Company. The firms, who share an office location, are based in Buffalo and serve clients across the country. The transaction is expected to close in December 2023.
Founded in 2001 by Managing Partner Dennis Szymkowiak, the firm bearing his name focuses on tax, assurance and advisory services for closely held and private equity-owned companies, high-net-worth individuals and family offices. The firm also provides outsourced corporate tax and accounting advisory services.
Kristine Bly, in partnership with Szymkowiak, founded PEAR in 2022. PEAR is a tax consulting firm with a specialized focus on state residency services and audit defense for ultra-high-net-worth individuals. With a team that has decades of previous experience working as government tax auditors, PEAR offers a unique perspective to their clients.
"This market expansion fits perfectly into our overall strategic growth plan, and the resulting synergies will be meaningful for all parties," says Cohen & Company CEO Chris Bellamy. "Szymkowiak and PEAR are entrepreneurial at their core with deep business advisory expertise. We are excited to welcome such great talent to our firm — including their current local leadership, who will remain firmly in place and highly active in the market. We look forward to our continued investment in this region, from a people, community and client perspective."
All professionals of Szymkowiak and PEAR are expected to join Cohen & Company when the transaction closes. This includes their existing partners and approximately 25 additional team members.
"This transaction was driven by the desire for long-term sustainability for our firm," says Szymkowiak. "We are joining a team that, together, will be the firm for tax, assurance, and business consulting work for private companies and high-net-worth individuals in our region. This move ensures our firm's future success and positions us as a highly attractive alternative to other accounting firms in our market and beyond."
"PEAR's tax consulting work complements much of Cohen & Company's existing tax advisory function, so we will amplify each other's value to a larger group of clients,” says Bly. “We are also well aligned on the importance of investing in technology and see it as a key differentiator for us going forward."
Koltin Consulting Group served as an adviser to Cohen & Company on this transaction, which is the second acquisition announcement from Cohen & Company this year. The first occurred in March 2023 when the firm expanded to Philadelphia with the acquisition of BBD's Investment Management Group. That transaction added 40 team members focused on investment industry audit and tax.