Finance veterans launch consulting firm

July 17, 2011

David Kay, chief financial officer of Municipal Mortgage & Equity, and Erik Linn, former managing director for Navigant Consulting, have launched CrossCountry Consulting, a Tysons Corner-based accounting and advisory firm to help clients navigate the changing financial landscape.

CrossCountry, with nearly 20 consultants on staff, provides bookkeeping, financial reporting, risk management, litigation support and forensic accounting services.

Stricter regulatory oversight has put a premium on consultants experienced in risk management, while corporate consolidation and initial public offering activity fuel demand for advisory services, Linn said.

He said CrossCountry stands apart from the big four consulting firms — Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte and KPMG — because it specializes in finance and accounting functions, rather than general consulting.

“We’re a smaller, more flexible partner to work with,” Linn said. “We expect to win work based on our deep knowledge of the CFO suite.”

Indeed, the company will cater to financial officers and controllers, whose objectives Kay said he understands given his role at MuniMae, where he is stepping down at the end of August. In his position, Kay said he was often frustrated by the lack of consultants who really understood the company’s business and objectives.

As a result, he said, “one of the things that we are really focused on is . . . having a quality control process in place to get continuous feedback from buyers to make sure we are performing on target.”

Kay and Linn have known each other for more than 20 years. Linn started his career at accounting firm Arthur Andersen, where Kay was managing partner of the mid-Atlantic Assurance and Risk Management practice. They again crossed paths in 2005 when Kay joined Linn at Navigant Consulting to co-manage the firm’s Finance and Accounting Solutions practice.

With the launch of CrossCountry, “this is our third time putting together this business model,” Linn pointed out.

He and Kay enter this latest partnership with an established track record that has already garnered them four clients. They anticipate the business will grow through referrals, but also plan to host quarterly “training and knowledge-sharing sessions” with local controllers to attract potential clients, a common practice during their time at Arthur Andersen.

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