LOS ANGELES, CA (Jan. 26, 2022) – GHJ, a leading accounting and advisory firm, is pleased to announce the promotion of five talented leaders to partner:
- Dr. Frances Ellington (State and Local Tax Leader)
- Douglas Halley (Health and Wellness Practice Leader)
- Peter Klass (Filmed Entertainment Practice Leader, Profit Participation Services)
- Dan Landes (Media and Advertising Practice Leader)
- Richard Wu (Real Estate Practice Leader)
These promotions are another example of the Firm’s commitment to growing future leaders and expanding service lines and practice areas to better service clients. Developing leaders is integral to GHJ’s vision and values, and the Firm’s underlying success is driven by retaining and developing the best, diverse talent.
In addition to having five new partners joining the partner group, GHJ is excited to announce that Partner and Chief Strategy Officer Mari-Anne Kehler will be joining the Firm’s Executive Committee.
FRANCES ELLINGTON, DBA, CPA
Frances Ellington, DBA, CPA, is GHJ’s State and Local Tax Practice Leader and has more than 10 years of experience assisting her clients on issues related to tax audit controversy, nexus and reporting requirements, as well as various tax planning initiatives. A strong supporter and mentor of other women outside and at GHJ, Frances is co-leader of GHJ’s Women’s Empowerment Cohort. Given her significant contributions in the community and accounting industry, Frances was also a recipient of The Accountant’s and International Accounting Bulletin’s 2020 “Young Accountant of the Year” award and CalCPA’s 2019 “Women to Watch” award in the Emerging Leader category.
“I could not be prouder to see Frances transition into the role of partner,” said GHJ Partner and Tax Practice Leader Akash Sehgal. “Her reputation as a state and local tax expert has provided immense value to the Firm. Her leadership and mentorship of employees are also inspiring. She embodies our #BeMore philosophy and sets a fantastic example of being a leader in her field.”
DOUGLAS HALLEY, CPA
Douglas Halley, CPA, is a leader GHJ’s Audit and Assurance Practice. With more than 30 years of public accounting experience, Douglas primarily works with clients in the nonprofit and healthcare sectors. He demonstrates excellence in financial management and analysis coupled with executive leadership and financial expertise. Douglas is also a well-known industry speaker and lecturer at universities such as UCLA, USC School of Public Health and national conferences on accounting updates to corporate governance best practices. Due to his extensive expertise in the area, Douglas will also be responsible for leading and growing GHJ’s Health and Wellness Practice.
“Douglas has been a great addition to GHJ this year,” said GHJ Managing Partner Tom Barry. “His breadth of experience and skillset has been integral in the growth and success of our Healthcare and Nonprofit Practices. We are confident he will be a great asset to the partner group as we focus on GHJ’s continued growth, especially in the health and wellness sector.”
PETER KLASS, CFE
Peter Klass, CFE, has more than 20 years of entertainment accounting and audit experience, specializing in profit participations, distribution and contract compliance of film and television programs. He also consults on disputes and litigations, profit-sharing arrangements and settlement negotiations on behalf of clients. Peter is a co-author of the 3rd edition of Movie Money: Understanding Hollywood’s (Creative) Accounting Practices (published in 2020) and has written and been interviewed on various entertainment and media topics. He is a guest lecturer at Pepperdine University and Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution and has participated in various speaking engagements centered on film and TV profit participations. Currently, Peter oversees profit participation audits and consultations at various studios, including Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate and HBO.
“Peter is focused on helping GHJ’s profit participation clients with everything from contract negotiation to dispute resolutions,” said GHJ Partner and Profit Participation Services Practice Leader Ilan Haimoff. “He consistently thinks outside of the box and continues to innovate. He embodies the entrepreneurial spirit that helps us deliver the best service to our clients.”
DAN LANDES, CPA
Dan Landes, CPA, leads GHJ’s Technical Consulting Group as well as the Firm’s Media and Advertising Practice. With 15 years of experience, he is an expert in the application of accounting, auditing, revenue recognition and general business consulting related to digital media, advertising, technology and filmed entertainment companies. He is a regular guest lecturer at universities, such as UCLA and California State University, Northridge, and leads the revenue recognition segment of CalCPA’s annual “Motion Picture and Television Industry: Accounting and Auditing Overview” course. In addition to guest lecturing, Dan is actively involved in GHJ’s Mentoring Program and has led various internal trainings such as the Revenue Recognition Standard Update, Financial Statement Preparation and Supervision and Review.
“Dan’s mentorship of young professionals has helped shape the Firm’s future,” Tom said. “He is inspiring in the way he approaches the future of the accounting industry, especially in relation to implementing technologies to improve client service and streamline internal processes. We look forward to the great things he will continue to accomplish as a partner.”
RICHARD WU, CPA
Richard Wu, CPA, leads GHJ’s Real Estate Practice and provides business strategy, tax advisory and tax compliance services to regional, national and international real estate companies as well as family offices and high-net-worth individuals. He has more than 15 years of tax compliance and consulting experience with Big Four and other accounting firms in Los Angeles. Richard advises clients with a clear understanding of their business operations and long-term goals as well as on tax-efficient entity structuring, due diligence on sales and acquisitions of real estate investments, mortgage debt analysis and cash flow and net-operating-income projections. Richard has also authored numerous tax blogs for GHJ as well as having spoken on tax topics for CalCPA.
“Richard started his career with GHJ as an intern! We were thrilled when he came back to the firm after gaining insights beyond our walls,” Akash said. “Since then, we have seen him grow and thrive at GHJ, especially in his development of the Real Estate Practice. I am incredibly proud of his success and ability to mentor other young professionals. It is an honor to have him join the partner table.”
CHANGES TO THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
In addition to changes in the partner group, GHJ’s Executive Committee will be welcoming Partner and Chief Strategy Officer Mari-Anne Kehler to join Managing Partner Tom Barry and Partner and Advisory and Transaction Advisory Services Practices Leader Anant Patel.
“I am excited to have such a strong group of leaders on the executive committee,” Tom said. “We have had significant growth over the past few years and are continually looking to innovate our continued evolution as we look for more ways to innovate.”
MARI-ANNE KEHLER, CDP
As partner and chief strategy officer, Mari-Anne Kehler, CDP, is known as a dynamic and transformational leader at GHJ. A longtime advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, Mari-Anne uses her platform to create a better workplace for all. In 2020, she became Certified Diversity Professional (CDP).
Mari-Anne was brought on to GHJ’s Executive Committee due to her ability to drive growth and transform challenges into opportunities. Her innovative mindset was key to helping GHJ pivot during the business disruption caused by COVID-19. Additionally, she is managing the design and launch of GHJ’s firm-wide client experience program, creating a formalized approach to enhance client relationships.
“Mari-Anne’s strategic approach to innovation has helped GHJ stay ahead of the curve,” Tom said. “Her deep involvement in the strategy and growth of the Firm is why it is important to have her on the Executive Committee. Her ideas have helped shape our culture and strategy since she joined us seven years ago.”
In 2022, Mari-Anne was featured as a visionary honoree in the Los Angeles Times DEIA issue, and in 2021, she was a finalist for their Inspirational Women in Business Awards for the Corporate Executive Category. In both 2020 and 2021, Mari-Anne was nominated for the Los Angeles Business Journal’s Women’s Leadership Awards’ “Executive of the Year.” She was also previously named a “Most Influential Marketer” by Los Angeles Business Journal and was recognized for the CMO Club’s “CMO Transformation Award” for her demonstrated ability to lead company-wide brand transformation beyond the marketing department.
By continually investing in the next generation of leaders, resources and technology, GHJ is transforming its vision and passion into tangible results for its clients and people.
GHJ is an accounting and advisory firm that specializes in nonprofit, food and beverage, entertainment and media and health and wellness companies. Previous recipient of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce Employee Champion For Life Work Harmony Award and named a “Best Places to Work” by the Los Angeles Business Journal eight times since 2008, GHJ is passionate about helping clients and its people #BeMore by focusing on building thriving businesses and creating a better future.
GHJ works as a business advocate for its clients — providing personalized service and building long-term relationships to help position our clients for growth. Through its affiliation with HLB International, a global network of independent professional accounting firms and business advisers, GHJ is able to partner with other top firms across major cities throughout the U.S. and the world. GHJ’s audit, tax and advisory teams leverage the HLB network to partner with its clients and give clients access to member firms in over 158 countries across the globe.
Also ranked as a top-20 largest accounting firm on the Los Angeles Business Journal’s Book of Lists, GHJ has 15 partners and more than 180 staff members that serve over 3,000 clients. GHJ is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the AICPA Governmental Audit Quality Center (GAQC), the California Society of CPAs and the California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofit).