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Bonadio to acquire Gaines Kriner Elliot in merger of accounting firms

Two of the region’s prominent public accounting firms will merge on Nov. 1, creating a combined firm that will rank among the six biggest in the Buffalo Niagara region.

The Bonadio Group, upstate New York’s largest independent firm, and Gaines Kriner Elliott LLP, Buffalo’s 11th-largest firm, announced their merger Thursday.

“Our presence in the Western New York market will expand exponentially,” said Tom Bonadio, chief executive officer of the Bonadio Group. “It will change the market and the way CPA services are delivered in Western New York. The synergy at the top of the line will be significant.”

The combined firm will become the area’s second-largest non-Big 4 firm in the market, Bonadio said.

The firm’s revenues are expected to increase by $10 million to $70 million.

The new company will operate under the Bonadio name and will add 88 employees from Gaines Kriner Elliott to Bonadio’s Western New York operations, giving the combined firm a total of 130 employees, including eight partners and workers at two subsidiary companies.

The combined company will allow Bonadio, which is headquartered in Rochester, the opportunity to further its business in the Western New York market. The Bonadio Group currently has 380 employees in nine offices across New York and Vermont.

It will now have offices in Amherst, Batavia, and East Aurora. Bonadio’s office currently has a Williamsville office.

Phil Mann, the managing partner at the Bonadio Group’s Amherst office, will retain that role.

“I think we’ll extend client reach in areas we weren’t big enough to handle,” Mann said.

Gaines Kriner Elliott was founded in 1923 and had clients in United States and Canada. The merger also includes Gaines Kriner Elliott’s two subsidiaries: GEMKO Information Group, a reseller of computer equipment; and Athena, a lead generation service provider for companies.

Rocco Surace, managing partner of Gaines Kriner Elliott, said merger talks began last winter, and as they progressed, “everything was a plus. It’s a merger of strengths. There’s very little redundancy, all complimentary.”

Bonadio said the company will continue to look for other synergistic merger opportunities within the area and nationwide.