Ascend Adds Ninth Partnership of 2023 – Wilson Lewis in Atlanta

Ascend, a strategic partner for regional accounting firms backed by private equity firm Alpine Investors, today announced that Atlanta-based Wilson Lewis will become part of Ascend’s growth platform on Dec. 1.

The transaction gives Ascend its first foothold in the Southeast and advances the firm across the $100 million revenue threshold. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

As is common in private equity deals with accounting firms, Wilson Lewis will adopt an alternative practice structure, under which WL Advisors LLC will provide tax, business advisory and other non-attest services, and Wilson Lewis Duluth LLC, an independently owned and licensed CPA firm, will provide attest services.

“We are so excited to join forces with the team at Wilson Lewis, a longstanding firm in the greater Atlanta region that has clients who are raving fans,” said Ascend founder and CEO David Wurtzbacher. “There are some remarkable things that Wilson Lewis is doing that have already been passed along to our other firms through CEO Josh Crisp’s participation in our Ascend Growth Model Bootcamp earlier this year. Everyone across Ascend is also celebrating that with the addition of Wilson Lewis, we are a $100 million revenue firm.”

Wilson Lewis is a full-service accounting and advisory firm serving entrepreneurial clients across a range of industries. Founded in 1999, the firm brings nine partners to Ascend.

“We think the accounting industry is primed for disruption and we want to be ahead of that. Ascend is the perfect solution for us at the perfect time,” Crisp said. “We are a rapidly growing $15 million firm facing the same challenges as other firms our size. How do you deal with the severe talent shortage in our industry, and how do you maintain scale to keep up with the curve on tech stack and infrastructure? Absorbing a smaller shop would only compound those problems, and we had no desire to merge up and become part of a machine where we would lose our unique culture. Everybody is talking about these challenges, but Ascend is actually doing something about them.”

Ascend makes strategic investments in the non-attest businesses of entrepreneurial middle-market CPA firms and provides resources to help them grow independently. The Ascend Growth Model aligns partner firms and their teams around a shared vision for revitalizing the profession.

Ascend launched its growth platform in January 2023 with its partnership with Vancouver, Wash.-based Opsahl Dawson followed by San Antonio-based ATKG in May and IPA 300 firm LMC of New York (FY22 net revenue of $19.2 million) in June; Goering & Granatino of Overland Park, Kan., in July; and now Wilson Lewis. Also in July, Ascend acquired Sentient Solutions for Accounting, an offshore accounting services and technology solutions provider with offices in India and Mexico.

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