Jackson — Businesses that face a complex and ever-changing economic climate need and expect more from their CPA firm than just running the numbers and performing routine tax and accounting functions. One statewide firm well aware of that is Smith, Turner & Reeves, PA, (ST&R) which reflects the increasingly broad role the company plays by identifying itself as “a Professional Association of Certified Pubic Accountants and Consultants.”
“I was looking for a CPA service company that would go beyond the simple accounting and year-end work,” said Walter Knepper, president of Driltec Inc., a client of ST&R for the past 10 years. “Certainly Smith, Turner & Reeves has provided services far beyond just regular accounting and CPA work in terms of giving help lining up the appropriate banking connection, and also giving us advice well in advance of changes in tax laws that might affect our business.”
“They are simply a very good all-around company that you call on basically for any business matter. They will be able to provide you with the needed answers. It is certainly a great pleasure to work with all the people at Smith, Turner & Reeves. They are very courteous and make all efforts to find the answers.”
ST&R celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2004. This past year the company with offices in Jackson and Oxford grew into one of the state’s five largest CPA firms with a merger with another CPA firm that was also formed in 1974, Gillon & Company, Ltd., in Natchez. The merger brought three shareholders, William H. Gillon III, Cathy R. Reed and Louis M. Tatum, and 11 other staff members to ST&R.
“This strategic merger made our firm the fourth-largest CPA firm in the state of Mississippi with a staff of 55 including 30 CPAs and 10 shareholders,” said Jon Turner, managing partner of ST&R. “This also positions Smith, Turner & Reeves as a true statewide firm with offices in North, Central and South Mississippi, providing easy accessibility to clients, and them to us. Our combined size, along with some other strategic alliances we have in place, will allow us to serve any size client in our region.”
Turner said the company has enjoyed solid growth and through the years has earned a reputation as a progressive, quality-oriented firm. He attributed that to the firm’s commitment to exceeding the expectations of its clients by providing consistently high-quality service and solution-oriented results through a complete understanding of client objectives, on-going communication and timely response.
“There are a lot of firms that can get the right answer, but to do so quickly and in a way that the client understands it is the most important thing in that relationship,” Turner added.
Also included in the merger was Gillon’s affiliate, Magnolia Medical Billing, LLC, which provides billing services to area physician practices. Gillon, who was president of the Mississippi Society of CPAs in 2003, said that the merger gives them an opportunity to provide extended services to their clients.
“The size and strength of Smith, Turner & Reeves is allowing us to handle work for larger clients, and there is the opportunity for growth that will allow us to employ more professionals locally,” Gillon said. “An immediate benefit is Smith, Turner & Reeves’ expertise in specific areas. For example, four members of the firm are valuation specialists, allowing us to offer those capabilities in-house. ST&R also owns expertise in the audits of specific industries prevalent in our state. ST&R also does work throughout the Southeast, which offers our staff expanded continuing opportunities and exposure.”
Gillon said that he felt for a long time a firm in a smaller community such as Natchez would be better off, long term, associated with a well-respected firm in Jackson, which is the state’s center of commerce. “The merger is already helping us achieve that goal,” he said.
Previous mergers of ST&R include the practice of Vickie M. Cook, CPA, of Oxford in 1999. Since that time the Oxford office — which serves clients throughout North Mississippi — has seen a tremendous increase in business. Smaller mergers in the Jackson area have included The Church Company, a healthcare firm, and several solo practitioners through the years.
ST&R also recently announced an affiliation with BDO Seidman Alliance, the fifth-largest accounting firm in the world. The alliance is between 135 similar size local CPA and technology firms across the nation with BDO.
“The BDO Seidman Alliance offers us a way to assist our clients with their expansion plans,” Turner said. “In addition to the geographic benefits, we have access to an incredible depth of industry knowledge and expertise via BDO, the CPA firm, but also with the other Alliance members, like ourselves. The overall goal of this move was to more completely serve our clients.”
While ST&R remains locally owned, Turner said the BDO Seidman alliance enhances ST&R’s capabilities through the availability of supplementary professional services, comprehensive management consulting services, professionals with experience in a wide range of industries, customized state of the art computer systems and internal training programs.
“All in all, 2004 was a hugely significant year for our firm,” Turner said. “Everything we did was designed to position ourselves for what looks to be a very busy next few years in the CPA world, and to do so with an excellent professional staff and the absolute best possible resources for our clients.”
Contact MBJ contributing writer Becky Gillette at email@example.com.