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Taking care of employees, clients keeps HORNE LLP on course

It’s a year of milestones for HORNE LLP. The Jackson-based accounting firm is celebrating 45 years in business, was named one of the top 50 CPA firms in the country and listed among the top 10 in the Southeast. It also ranked 15th in the United States in terms of the percentage of growth for the last year.

Hugh Parker, executive partner and chairman of the firm’s board, said the reason HORNE has been successful is real simple. “It’s staying true to the course of what Mr. Bill Horne Sr., established as the culture of this firm when he founded it in Laurel, and that’s taking care of our people and clients,” he said. “We focus on being proactive in terms of our clients and our people.”

To remain relevant, the firm looks at changes in the economy and continually looks to the future to anticipate needs.

“There are two real drivers of change — technology and people,” he said. “We embraced technology early on. It’s important in terms of efficiency, what our people can do and the way they can serve clients.

“Without people, technology is no good. We’ve tried to be very anticipatory. We absolutely want the best people we can get, and we work hard to have an environment to attract those people.”

HORNE has flexible hours for employees who don’t want a traditional schedule and that includes partners.

Listening is also key with the firm where employees listen to clients as a way of helping clients meet their goals. Listening to internal and external audiences also helps HORNE LLP remain true to its original vision and brand.

“It’s a very basic thing,” Parker said. “Our brand is not new. It’s us saying this is our brand and what we’ve been for 45 years. We are doing some things with the color of the logo, but it’s not different.”

With more than 550 employees and 12 offices, the firm looks to a bright future of doing exactly what they’ve been doing.

“We anticipate we’ll continue serving our clients,” he said. “We don’t drive to have 550 people. That’s a result. The number of employees and offices will come about as a result of taking care of our clients. We work on three things — people, consistency and the growth that’s a result of those.”

Parker points out that the late Bill Horne Sr. was a visionary who gave the firm a legacy that stays with it. “He saw the emerging market in healthcare. At that time, CPAs didn’t do that. We’ve become known across the country for working in healthcare,” he said.

He added that Roy Ward succeeded Horne as president and served more than 30 years as the firm stayed on course. Ward remains active with the business.

The HORNE group places great value on the quality of life its employees have. “We know there has to be a balance between a person’s goals and the needs of the firm,” Parker said. “We try to look at it in a holistic way and don’t shoehorn people.”

The firm has career balance initiatives that include alternative career arrangements, a developing wellness program and a sabbatical or personal enrichment program of which at least half must be unstructured.

“Our overall philosophy is not training employees, it’s developing them. We believe in developing leadership,” he said. “We do the traditional things of a CPA firm and also develop a curriculum that helps people with life skills. We have two different tracks. We bring some trainers in and use some from inside.”

Toward that end, the firm encourages employees to have a lifestyle that’s important to them and that also fits with the firm.

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


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