Moore Leaves BDO Staying Here

    GRAND RAPIDS — Cyril Moore, who led the Grand Rapids office of BDO Seidman for 14 years, has retired after a 36-year career with the Chicago-based firm.

    Moore spent 27 of his years with BDO as a partner, 10 of them as local managing partner and four as a regional partner.

    He is credited with spearheading the growth of BDO’s Grand Rapids practice in the 1980s and 1990s, helping build it into the largest CPA practice in town.

    Moore guesses there were probably about 25 people in the Grand Rapids office and about 300 across the company’s 10 offices when he started as a CPA at Seidman & Seidman in 1966. The local office employs about 100 today.

    Seidman is the U.S. partner of BDO, the international practice started by Seidman & Seidman in the early 1960s, which later became known as BDO Seidman.

    In addition to the leadership he provided the local BDO practice, Moore, 59, has served as chair and board member of a number of area civic, cultural and professional organizations through the years.

    It was just those kinds of community affiliations that kept him in Grand Rapids, even though he had opportunities to move to other cities while with BDO.

    Besides, he said, he always liked being a big fish in a small pond.

    “I just felt I could accomplish more from a community standpoint here than I could in another city,” he recalled. “I’ve always enjoyed community service and will stay involved.”

    He currently serves as president of Noorthhoek Academy, as treasurer of the Grand Valley Metropolitan Council and the Grand Rapids Economic Club, and as a trustee of the Grand Rapids Symphony Endowment Fund.

    He’s also looking into the possibility of a new venture of his own.

    “I know I’m going to be doing something else,” he said. “This will give me some time to sit back and explore some other avenues, something I never had the chance to do before because I was always so busy. I might buy a business or something.”

    As a CPA with BDO Seidman, he has come to know, work with and befriend people from all over West Michigan.

    What he enjoyed most about accounting was working with clients.

    The true highlight of his career has been working with so many companies that have been successful — from Amway, Steelcase and Donnelly to Universal Forrest Products and many others.

    “It’s been fun just to work with them and see them all grow. They were all great people to get to know and to be involved in community activities with,” he remarked.

    “One of the things that working for BDO Seidman has enabled me to do is to meet a lot of people that I wouldn’t have otherwise met — business leaders, political leaders, presidents, vice presidents, governors, prime ministers from other countries. It’s all been because I had a career at BDO Seidman.”

    When he started practicing in 1966, CPAs couldn’t advertise and couldn’t solicit another CPA’s client. He said elimination of those rules was the biggest change he saw in 36 years of practice.

    “That’s what has led up to the whole Enron thing and all these other situations that have happened. They happened out of greed,” he said.

    “The whole auditing part of our practice has gotten so competitive that firms were willing to sell audits based on price, figuring they were going to make it up someplace else with consulting practices. It drove down the price of audits. I don’t think quality audits were being done in every situation because of the price.”

    More regulation in terms of consulting is ahead, and though Moore says he’s not for regulation, he thinks it will strengthen the audit side of public accounting. He thinks new regulations may include rotation of auditors.

    Some companies change auditors every few years but not many, he said. The problem with rotation is that for large public companies there are only four large international firms that can handle their audits.

    Companies like General Motors or Wal-Mart, for instance, are so big they’re limited as to what firm they can choose to do their audits.

    “BDO Seidman couldn’t do the audit and wouldn’t want to do the audit because it would take so many of our people. That one fact could prohibit the rotation of auditors on large public companies.”

    Moore was involved with BDO on a national as well as local level. He served on the firm’s human resources committee and takes a note of pride in the committee’s accomplishments.

    “I think we did some neat things there as far as diversification in our profession,” he recalled.

    “When I first got started there weren’t that many women in the profession, so we really made an effort in the ’60s, ’70s and early ’80s to make sure that opportunities for women were going to happen.”

    He also was part of the firm’s management committee, and, more recently, has been chairman of the firm’s retirement committee.

    He has already committed to continue serving on the latter committee for two years following retirement because he has expertise in the retirement and investment areas, he said.

    Moore’s BDO business partners, Richard Noreen, William Kinsley and Thomas Hiller, manage the Grand Rapids office and have expanded their roles since Moore’s retirement June 30.      

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