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Johnson, Bruce, Host form new downtown firm

Jackson — Johnson, Bruce & Host is a new metro-area CPA firm formed by three alums of the Jackson office of KPMG. The principals, Peder Johnson, Donna Bruce and Olivia Host, are a team who’ve been working together for 20 years and they’re excited about their firm’s opportunities for diversification and growth.

“We have great relationships and like each other,” Johnson said. “We wanted to stay together to keep serving our clients.”

At KPMG and in their new firm, they and other members of their team served some of the state’s largest public and private companies, exempt organizations and family businesses. These clients are active in manufacturing, real estate, healthcare, education, financial services and professional services including law and medicine.

Additionally, Johnson, Bruce & Host serves a large contingent of individual and personal financial planning clients in areas such as estate planning, retirement planning and succession planning.

“I am looking forward to broadening the range and depth of our financial planning practice and believe that the new firm opens to us a market segment which was previously not available and in many instances under served,” Bruce said. “I am also excited at the additional opportunities for growth and advancement that the new firm provides for Mike Carraway and Penny Wood, other members of our team.”

Johnson, who was with KPMG for 27 years, retired from the big four CPA firm where he was a managing partner and did some soul searching before deciding to enter the new group. “There is a transition for me,” he says. “I don’t have the back office help here but I’m more involved in client matters and my time will be more focused on that now. It’s fun and challenging.”

He admits to working long hours as the new firm gets up and running during the busiest time of the year for accountants. Right now the firm’s 10 professionals are averaging 70-hour weeks, but they do expect that workload to level off after tax season. That will enable them to branch out. The partners knew the first year would be a tough one but they’re doing what they like to do.

“We started from scratch and sort of late in the tax season, but we hit the ground running pretty fast,” he said. “We can offer more services here with financial and estate planning. We also have other plans we’re not able to unveil yet, services that go beyond tax advice. This firm is not a one-size fits all firm.”

He thinks accountants are trusted, and through their services get a perspective of people’s business. That trust and perspective will enable Johnson, Bruce & Host to do more for clients. Johnson says that accounting remains one of the most trusted professions and believes that credibility will rise.

“I am excited about the chance to continue to serve our lon- term clients and the opportunity to be able to offer them new services,” Host said. “The ability to be more nimble and respond quickly to client needs offers new opportunities for us and additional help for our clients.”

This professional group is located on the 13th floor of One Jackson Place, two floors up from their old workplace. They were committed to staying in downtown Jackson, and it’s convenient for their clients, some of whom use them and KPMG.
Johnson, Bruce & Host has been well received by the community. That’s an encouraging thing as the new venture moves along.

“We still have a good relationship with KPMG and want them to stay here. The city and state needs them,” Johnson said.

Host lives in Madison and is a graduate of the University of South Alabama. She works in tax planning and compliance with emphasis in individuals, trusts, partnerships and small businesses.

Bruce also lives in Madison and is a graduate of Mississippi State University. She has 18 years of tax experience serving a variety of clients including individuals, family groups, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Johnson lives in Jackson and is a graduate of Millsaps College. He was office managing partner and a tax services partner with KPMG.

Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at llofton656@aol.com.

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