Bob Lofgren, a founding partner at La Jolla-based Lavine, Lofgren Morris & Engelberg LLP, says smaller accounting firms compete with lower rates and more personalized service.

Bob Lofgren, a founding partner at La Jolla-based Lavine, Lofgren Morris & Engelberg LLP, says smaller accounting firms compete with lower rates and more personalized service. Photo by Melissa Jacobs.

Aquisitions

Two of the 10 largest independent accounting firms based in San Diego County were acquired by larger outside

competitors at the end of 2015.

McLean, Rotherham & Co.

Seller: McLean, Rotherham & Co., founded in 1968 and based in San Diego, which had grown to 36 employees

Buyer: Squar Milner LLP, which has grown in the past 10 years to be the largest accounting and advisory business based in Southern California. In 2006, Orange County-based Squar Milner had merged with San Diego-based Peterson & Company.

CEA

Seller: CEA LLP, founded in Carlsbad by Thomas Applegate in 1979, which had grown to

31 employees

Buyer: BDO USA LLP, a national firm based in Chicago that came to San Diego in 2007. It has entered 20 new markets in the past three years.

— In the San Diego region, locally based accounting firms face challenges from international and national companies that are seeking to increase their presence here...

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