Accounting, auditing of financial statements and the host of services provided by accounting firms are extremely important to businesses, investors and stakeholders in the clean technology industry. Accounting firms assist in addressing a number of issues that are extremely relevant to the myriad clean technology companies, as well as advising on proper application of accounting standards, accessing governmental support and tax incentives, establishing effective systems of business processes and controls, executing merger and acquisition transactions and raising capital. They also audit the companies’ financial statements, assist with Federal, state, local and international tax compliance and provide outsourced internal audit services. In certain situations, accounting firms may act as corporate finance advisors in the raising of capital or securing debt for the company or individual cleantech projects. Below is a list of the top ten accounting firms in the United States that are working with various renewable energy and other clean technology companies, from small entrepreneurial ventures to large, global businesses.
1) KPMG, whose member firms provide audit, tax and advisory services to companies in more than 150 countries, takes a global view of Cleantech as a pivotal component of its Climate Change & Sustainability Services — a team with almost two decades of experience working in and around the emerging issues associated with energy and environmental sustainability. Leaders of the service include acknowledged experts in various sectors of Cleantech and sustainability from industry, government organizations, non-government organizations, and academia. KPMG’s superior work credentials include audit engagements with more than 50 Cleantech companies in the United States alone, including some of the largest names in the sector. KPMG provide tax and advisory services to solar and wind projects throughout the United States, including some of the world’s largest solar projects under construction in the United States. KPMG’s global reach includes representing successful bidders under Australia’s solar flagship program and providing assistance to companies in Germany, Spain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. KPMG recently launched a Global Center of Excellence on Sustainability in Amsterdam to generate and coordinate Cleantech thought leadership and stimulate global discussion and awareness on key issues and topics not only for the firm and its clients, but also for the broader market. KPMG’s Global Energy Institute serves as a knowledge-sharing forum on a number of important topics.
2) Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services in more than 140 countries around the world. The firm is also the leader in serving fast growth companies around the globe and in serving VC-backed companies through its Strategic Growth Markets practice. For the 13th consecutive year, Ernst & Young was selected as one of Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.” Additionally, the firm is celebrating its long-time commitment to leading business innovators this year with the 25th anniversary of its Entrepreneur of the Year program, which has honored many cleantech trail blazers including the 2011 global winner, Olivia Lum, CEO of Singapore’s Hyflux. The firm’s Global Cleantech Center homepage, www.ey.com/cleantech, provides access to thought leadership and other resources from its network, including cleantech investment analyses, the firm’s Global Renewable Energy Attractiveness Indices and the firm’s 4th annual Global Cleantech Insights and Trends Report.
3) Deloitte is the leader in serving clean tech companies. With our multidisciplinary experience in energy, technology, life sciences, manufacturing and consumer products, coupled with our deep understanding of the power and regulated utilities markets, Deloitte is well-positioned to help clean tech companies – solar energy, biofuels, batteries and fuel cells, energy efficiency, other renewables, and service and materials companies – across their entire life cycles and to grow and diversify their offerings. Leadership in Clean Tech also demands active participation across industry’s diverse community. Our commitment is demonstrated by our involvement in and support of a wide range of associations, conferences, and seminars, including Cleantech Group and Cleantech Open
4) PricewaterhouseCoopers is one of the top accounting powerhouses around the globe with offices in more than 150 countries. This industry-focused accounting firm deals with performance improvement, transactions, human resources, tax, and audit fields, as well as crisis management assistance and stakeholder issues. In 2010, Fortune Magazine listed PricewaterhouseCoopers as one of the Best Companies to Work for in America. PricewaterhouseCoopers knows that innovation is extremely important, especially in the clean technology center, and helps them with growth strategies, obtain necessary resources, and fully manage their ROI.
5) Grant Thornton International Ltd is a global accounting organization serving clean technology and energy companies around the globe. Their cleantech professionals possess deep industry understanding and business and financial knowledge. Through independently owned and managed accounting and consulting firms with more than 2,400 partners in over 100 countries they provide assurance, tax and specialist advisory services to privately held businesses, publicly held companies and public interest entities in this dynamic and growing sector of the global economy. Services offered to cleantech companies, in addition to the traditional audits of financial statements, international, federal, state and local tax planning and compliance and business advisory, also include a full range of accounting, internal audit, merger and acquisition structuring and due diligence, governance risk and compliance, SOX readiness, IT and business processes, compensation and employee benefits, valuation, corporate finance and economic and business advisory. Grant Thornton member firms and their over 30,000 professionals provide the experience, expertise and trust need to grow and succeed in the world of clean technology including accessing the public capital markets through initial and follow-on public offerings of stock and debt.The Grant Thornton International Cleantech Steering Committee coordinates their global focus on serving the cleantech industry and includes member firm partners from leading and emerging economies. Grant Thornton is the global accounting firm sponsor of the Global Cleantech Cluster Association’s (GCCA) 2011 Later Stage Cleantech Company Awards.
6) BDO USA, LLP is the U.S. member firm the world’s fifth largest international accounting and consulting network. BDO USA provides assurance, tax, financial advisory and consulting services to a wide range of publicly traded and privately held companies. The firm has deep roots in both the technology and natural resources industries, and oversees cleantech engagements in the U.S. and abroad through the global BDO network. Through dedicated Cleantech and Alternative Energy practices, BDO leverages extensive industry knowledge and technical experience to help companies navigate tax credit incentives, SEC comments on climate change, IPO readiness, sustainability reporting, value-added alternative energy tax strategies (including a focus on green energy tax), obtaining LEED certification, FCPA compliance, IFRS consulting, and navigation of joint interest audits.
7) Reznick Group is a top 20 national CPA firm with 10 offices nationwide and over 1,000 professionals. Reznick Group focuses on renewable energy and offers a broad array of accounting, tax and business advisory services specific to this industry. With services tailored to investors, infrastructure developers and producers of renewable energy power, clients include independent power producers, energy project developers, entrepreneurial companies, financial institutions, utilities, governments and municipalities, technology firms and mid cap to large cap companies. Since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 created many new financial incentives for the renewable energy industry, Reznick Group has helped clients leverage those and other incentives, like Section 1603 grants. While guiding clients through the renewable energy regulations that are in place, Reznick Group also provides clients with the industry insights and financial advice needed to move ideas, and business, ahead.
8 ) RSM McGladrey has over one-hundred offices throughout the United States and is a leading firm offering wealth management, tax and business consulting, retirement resources, international business services, and investment banking. In 2008, RSM McGladrey partnered with CTEK Denver Ventures and created a new facility to foster and support regional entrepreneurship and innovation using capital resources, advisor network, community venture centers, and technology transfer. The incubators formed by the venture, known as CTEK Stapleton will focus on clean technology and biotechnology.
9) CBIZ is one of the leading national providers of a number of accounting services, including attest and assurance, compliance, accounting and tax, internal audit, information security, business valuation, budgeting and forecasting, mergers and acquisitions, strategic planning consulting, and benefits and insurance. The goal of CBIZ is to provide the clean technology industry, with the assistance they need to achieve all business objectives.
10) Crowe Horwath LLP is one of the largest national public accounting and consulting firms. This firm offers a number of services, including tax, audit, advisory, performance, and risk. Crowe Horwath LLP has a number of clean technology industry specialists. They are able to provide deep insight and a comprehensive understanding. This offers maximum opportunity for complete success when it comes to achieving all business goals and elevating their competitive advantage.
Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He can be reached at email@example.com