Mergers, Acquisitions & Succession Planning – A CPA’s Personal Reflection

Mergers, Acquisitions & Succession Planning – A CPA’s Personal Reflection

By Sherry S. Johnson, CPA,  Partner

As many of you know, November 1, 2017 was a monumental day for Bernard Robinson & Company and the Dunn office of Oscar N. Harris & Associates, P.A. On that day, the two firms joined together with the ultimate goal of continuing to provide excellent client accounting, auditing, tax and consulting services.  I started my accounting career with Oscar N. Harris & Associates, P.A. in 1979, when the staff consisted of four full-time members.  Over the years, the firm’s client base expanded, requiring the staffing to more than quadruple.  Oscar N. Harris & Associates, P.A. had reached the point where we felt the need for additional staffing and resources to continue serving our clients with the most up-to-date technology and information.

Merger and acquisition decisions are never easy. However, in this case, a lot of the “compatibility of the firms” legwork in the due diligence process had been accomplished over many years of the firms working together on various projects.  Staff of each firm knew each other and had consulted with each other numerous times.  Both firms utilized the same income tax preparation and depreciation software, which we knew would help make the transition easier for our staff.  Each firm had similar office environments, and both emphasized work-life balance and a family feel for the employees. Being involved in the community was of key importance to both firms and was an important factor in the decision-making process.

The timing was perfect for both firms. The senior partner of Oscar N. Harris & Associates, P.A., who had recently celebrated holding his CPA certificate for 50 years, indicated he wanted a slower pace in the accounting profession.  Around the same time, Bernard Robinson and Company was looking to expand its offices.  The final decision to proceed with the transition was made after numerous meetings with key leaders of each firm over a time span in excess of a year.  Much thought and concern was given to the impact of the decision on current staff and clients to make sure it was positive for both.

Since November 1, 2017, the Dunn office staff has been welcomed by all offices of Bernard Robinson & Company.  Another busy tax season has come and gone with much success, and our Dunn office is enjoying working with the staff of all locations.  We are looking forward with enthusiasm to the future of providing the highest level of services to our clients in an ever-changing accounting profession and global environment.

Is succession planning on your to-do list?  If so, please contact Bernard Robinson & Company for advice from professionals who have personally been through this experience.