2017 IPA 100 Firm Profile: Brown Edwards & Co.

Ranked No. 104 last year, Brown Edwards & Co. cracked the IPA 100 list this year with a ranking of No. 99. INSIDE Public Accounting asked MP Jason Hartman to offer his insights into his firm’s success, growth goals, top clients and predictions on how the accounting profession may change over the next 10 years. Congratulations to the entire Brown Edwards & Co. team.

Firm: Brown Edwards & Co.
MP: Jason Hartman
Headquarters: Roanoke, Va.
FY17 Net Revenue: $37.5 million
Organic Growth Rate: 4.5%
Total Staff: More than 275
No. of Offices: 9
Year Founded: 1967To what do you attribute your ability to become one of the largest accounting firms in the nation?

Put simply, for 50 years we have built a reputation for delivering superior service to our clients. In many ways we are a traditional firm, focusing on providing accounting, audit and tax services to our clients. We also, however, are highly consultative in our approach and the result has been significant growth in consulting, tax strategy and planning, and wealth management. Industry specialization has allowed us to develop extensive knowledge in specific practice areas; our clients in those industries benefit from that depth of knowledge.

Tell us about the types of services you provide to your top three clients.

Services provided to our top three clients are indicative of services we provide to clients throughout the firm:

Client 1 – Specialized accounting and outsourced CFO functions

Client 2 – Compilation, tax and strategy, and management consulting

Client 3 – Audit, SEC consulting, employee benefit services

What are your growth goals for the next five years?

Our goals for the next five years are to continue organic growth of at least 7% while continuing to look for strategic acquisitions. We believe our geographic footprint and client base will continue to expand, partially as a result of our industry specialization.

What type of client is an ideal fit for your firm?

One of the reasons for our growth is that we try to find the “right” kind of clients. We have found the client experience is enhanced when we work with clients who fit a certain profile we have developed over the years. Generally, our clients are successful and stable in their industry, understand and appreciate the value a relationship with a CPA firm brings, want and expect proactive solutions and advice, and are interested in achieving the right kind of results. We focus on mid- to large-size entities primarily as well as individuals with all manner of tax needs.

Can you predict how accounting firm services will change over the next 10 years?

We believe the need for compliance services will diminish, but never entirely go away. We expect the need for specialized consulting to increase. Continued advances in technology will change how we function and what we do, however we believe personalized service and focus on the client will always be critical to our success.