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Brown Smith Wallace names two new partners

(ST. LOUIS, February 12, 2021) Brown Smith Wallace, a Top 100 firm and the third largest firm in St. Louis (by number of CPAs), added two new partners to its ranks, the firm announced today.


Promoted from principal to partner in the Transaction Advisory and Litigation Support Services practice is Jason Buhlinger, CPA, Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA). Buhlinger leads the firm’s business valuation, litigation support and fraud investigation engagements. Also promoted from principal to partner in the Audit practice is Katherine (Katie) Zahner, CPA. She serves as one of the firm’s nonprofit industry leaders.


“These two individuals have been and continue to be stellar performers in their disciplines, for their clients and for the firm,” said Tony Caleca, managing partner for Brown Smith Wallace. “Our business valuation and nonprofit clients continue to be profoundly challenged by the pandemic, and Jason and Katie continue meeting the challenges presented with diligence and professionalism, just as they have throughout their careers here.”

Jason Buhlinger, CPA

Buhlinger performs business valuations for mergers and acquisitions, tax, litigation and corporate planning, and provides litigation support, fraud, and forensic accounting services.




“The pandemic has given many companies either their best year ever, or their worst,” said Buhlinger. “Last year, we saw a lot of business owners having a difficult year take advantage of depressed values and the election to do some gifting, and I expect we’ll be factoring Covid-19 into our valuations well beyond 2021.”


With 15 years of public accounting experience, Zahner has managed a variety of nonprofit audit engagements for nonprofits in the areas of social welfare services, health care, religious, educational, fraternal associations, and foundations.



Katherine (Katie) Zahner, CPA

Nonprofits have also been hit hard by the pandemic, particularly in the areas of operations and fundraising. “Like other for profit enterprises, nonprofits have used the disruption caused by Covid-19 to accelerate their digital transformation,” said Zahner. “Nonprofit leaders quickly pivoted and enhanced their digital channels — websites, social media and payment apps — to facilitate fundraising, volunteering, and donor engagement.”


Zahner also added that nonprofits must be prepared to readily and consistently share program impact and outcomes with stakeholders to sustain ongoing support for their missions. “Telling your story with meaningful quantitative and qualitative data is more important today than ever,” she said. “Community impact is among the top criteria donors and volunteers use to make or support decisions.”

Buhlinger earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Fontbonne University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Buhlinger was also recognized as a member of the St. Louis Business Journal's “30 Under 30” class in 2014.


Zahner earned a Bachelor of Science in accounting and a Master of Business Administration from Mississippi State University. She is also a graduate of the AICPA Leadership Academy—Class of 2018. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants (MOCPA). She currently serves as the Treasurer on the national board of Fight Colorectal Cancer and on the Audit Committee of National Children’s Cancer Society.


About Brown Smith Wallace

Brown Smith Wallace—an independent firm associated with Moore Global Network Limited—is a nationally recognized, top 100, full-service CPA and business advisory firm in Missouri with more than 300 employees. The firm is the top-ranked St. Louis firm in the 2021 Vault Accounting Firm ranking, is recognized as a top workplace for women by the Accounting MOVE Project and is a 2020 INSIDE Public Accounting Best of the Best Firm. For more information, visit brownsmithwallace.com or call 314.983.1200.


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