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Horne Technology Group growing at impressive pace

Jackson — Over its seven-year history, Horne Technology Group has known nothing but success. It has enjoyed double-digit growth every single year it has operated, and 2005 is lining up to be a record-breaker.

How has Horne Technology Group pulled off this impressive coup? By mirroring the efforts of the parent company, Horne, LLP, an accounting firm that has grown its presence by positioning itself as more than a traditional accounting firm. It has evolved into an advisor and consultant to its clients, looking at those it serves as an entire entity, then partnering with them to meet their goals and objectives.

Horne Technology Group has found that strategy works fine for it, as well.

“I would attribute our success to service,” said Jeff Lincoln, CNA, MCP, director of the Horne Technology Group. “Especially when it comes to technology, companies want a one-stop shop and unbiased advice. They don’t want to go to one company to buy their software, another to buy their hardware, another for connectivity. They want to get all of this from one place.

“They also want to be assured that they are getting good, objective advice. We don’t come in and try to sell them software and hardware. We’re not pushing anything, or just trying to sell them something. There is a huge trust factor there.”

Lincoln talks about Horne Technology Group’s growth with understandable pride. A Jackson native, he graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in computer science in 1987. Lincoln’s professional background includes stints at Texas Instruments, IKON and MCI WorldCom. He also has extensive experience as a technology consultant.

Lincoln was at WorldCom when he was approached about founding a technology consulting division at Horne, LLP, by Roy Ward, Horne’s chairman emeritus and partner. Ward pointed out that more and more of Horne’s clients were asking for technology consulting services, and the firm was convinced that it needed that capability in-house.

That was in late 1996, and Lincoln was intrigued. His entrepreneurial side liked the challenge of starting a new technology consulting business. On the other side, he also found appealing the fact that he would be leveraging Horne’s well-respected name, and have the backing of the aggressive leadership at the firm who have proven themselves open to change and new, innovative ideas. His division would be new, but would have a firm foundation from which to build.

Still, Lincoln had a high-paying job and was not going to take the job without spending some time mulling the offer and getting assurances that Horne was truly committed to the endeavor. By the spring of 1998, Lincoln had heard enough and came on board. He has never regretted his decision.
Horne, LLP, founded in 1962, is the largest

Mississippi-based, full-service accounting firm. It currently has a total staff of 350 workers, including 101 CPAs and 39 partners. It has grown through listening to its clients and providing what they need to succeed. It provides a wide range of services from tax preparation and valuation services to forensic accounting and employee benefits. These services are offered to clients of all sizes and industries, from small and mid-sized companies to the largest corporations. Horne has especially been successful in recruiting clients in such industries as construction, healthcare, manufacturing and restaurant franchising. (It has restaurant-franchising customers in some 30 states nationwide.)

Horne Technology Group’s clientele and range of services mirror its parent. Its service offerings are grouped in three areas with a number of offerings in each one. Strategic planning services include, but are not limited to, systems selection and implementation, technology planning and information technology assessments. Security risk assessment services include information security, HIPAA compliance, WAN/LAN consulting and Internet connectivity, among others. The division also offers the accounting software MAS 90 and MAS 200, but can also write customized software packages for clients when needed.

When Lincoln started Horne Technology Group, the division had two employees, including Lincoln. Today, the division employs 16 workers, seasoned, certified technicians, many of them with more than 15 years of experience to their credit. The division is especially strong in the Southeast in terms of clients, but its customer base includes entities in such far-flung areas as Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans and Nashville. (The group operates data centers in Jackson and Nashville.)

While it offers a plethora of services, according to Lincoln the hottest over the last 24 months has been hosting. More and more clients, such as Shoney’s Corporation, are tapping Horne Technology Group to host their servers and applications.

How hot is this service area for Horne Technology Group? This year is shaping up to be the division’s best, with a growth rate 80% above last year’s performance. And Lincoln said Horne Technology Group is well positioned for more growth.

Contact MBJ staff writer Wally Northway at northway@msbusiness.com.

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