Derek Barto, CPA

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Meet Derek

As a partner in the Law Firm Services group, Derek spends 100% of his time consulting with law firms. He provides advice on critical issues that law firm managers encounter, including advising on partner compensation methodologies, merger and acquisition analysis, firm startups, finance and reporting restructuring, accounting department process improvement, profitability improvement, and analysis and benchmarking studies.

His clients range from startup law firms with less than 10 attorneys to multi-office firms with over 500 attorneys operating in multiple states. He also manages tax return and financial statement engagements for his law firm clients.

Derek has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accountancy from Wake Forest University and a master’s degree in law firm management from George Washington University.

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Professional History


  • RBZ, LLP
  • Reznick Group


  • George Washington University
  • Wake Forest University


Q. What is it about accounting and consulting that first drew your interest?
Accounting is the best of all worlds. My accounting focus provided me with a specialized skillset to take into the business world yet still have many career options. Through my time as an auditor I was able to learn a lot about many businesses, providing a very strong foundation for the consulting services I have been providing to law firms for all these years.
Q. Without naming names, tell us about your favorite client and why you enjoyed working with them.
I’m lucky to have a lot of great clients and even more fortunate that I get to work with most of them on a frequent and recurring basis. My favorite client experiences are those through which we transform something that isn’t working well into a highly functioning business process.
Q. Describe your work style.
Highly collaborative. I prefer to work with a team, which suits me well in my role as an advisor. While I have a knack for analysis and applying my observations and experiences to develop workable strategies, I rely heavily on collaboration with others to develop and execute structured workplans to achieve success.
Q. What’s your proudest moment?
I am proud of many things that I have accomplished or helped others accomplish. While moments are fleeting, the thing I am most proud of is my relationship with my children. We have a special bond, and I am thankful we have been able to influence one another so deeply.
Q. Who is (or was) the most influential person in your life
When I was 13, I worked in my godfather’s restaurant during my summer vacation. One day I called him to let him know I wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t go to work. He quickly rebutted that I was not sick (I wasn’t) and he would be over to pick me up all the earlier. This experience and many others as I continued to work for him for the next eight years in various capacities reinforced the importance of taking ownership and responsibility for the commitments I make. These lessons shaped me into the person I am today and prepared me to be a successful consultant and a dedicated parent.
Q. What do you love most about your work?
The people are what make me love my work most, and the culture we have at Armanino is the special sauce that makes it all come together. Learning from my coworkers while sharing my own knowledge and together helping clients achieve success is what makes being a consultant so fun.
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Industries Served
Derek's Thought Leadership
Regulatory and Industry News Alerts from Armanino
Firms need to build solid controls for their trust accounting to meet the program's new requirements.

February 01, 2023
Law Firm Cuts Manual Accounting Tasks, Improves Processes and Employee Retention With New Tech Stack
Case Study
Here’s how digital transformation helped the firm focus on its core business, reduce expenses and secure its future.

April 04, 2022
Law Firm Client Expenses: Is Your Firm Using the Correct Tax Treatment?
You may be able to deduct certain expenses, but don’t ignore phantom income and cash flow issues.

May 04, 2021