Executive highlights merger’s advantages

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Print this page by Heather B. Hayes

Virginia is losing the headquarters site of a major accounting firm, thanks to the recent merger of Virginia Beach-based Goodman & Co. and North Carolina-based Dixon Hughes. The combined company, now known as Dixon Hughes Goodman, will be based in Charlotte, N.C.

That change, however, will be the only downside for Virginia, says Thomas H. Wilson, the former managing partner of Goodman & Co.  who now serves as deputy chairman and chief operating officer of the consolidated firm.

“We really think that this merger is a major plus for Virginia,” Wilson says, noting that Dixon Hughes previously had no presence north of North Carolina other than in West Virginia. “Everyone involved sees some great growth opportunities within Virginia, and I think initially you’re going to see a very strong marketing focus on growing our Virginia offices. And that will mean adding clients in Virginia and hiring new staff at our Virginia offices within the first year.”

The merger, which was scheduled for completion on March 1, means that Dixon Hughes Goodman will become the 13th-largest accounting firm in the nation, with nearly $300 million in combined revenues and 1,700 employees.  The company also will have a larger geographic footprint, with 30 offices in 11 states throughout the South, making it the largest certified public accounting firm in the region.

Wilson says that the merger will result in a sum greater than its parts   because each of the merger partners excels in complementary niche areas. Goodman, for example, is particularly strong in government contracting, retirement plan administration, human-resource consulting and outsourced accounting services. Dixon Hughes, on the other hand, has a strong portfolio in health care, financial institutions, manufacturing and auto dealerships. Both firms have depth in accounting services for the real estate, distribution and nonprofit markets.

After the merger, Wilson expects Dixon Hughes Goodman to not only provide more expertise to existing clients but also provide more accounting services to privately held midmarket companies and tax compliance services to public companies.

“The fact that we have more credentials and that we’re larger will open more doors for us, that’s for sure,” he says. “But it’s not just about getting bigger, it’s about getting better, and we think all of it, taken together, will definitely help us to have more opportunities with some of the larger companies in Virginia.” 

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