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Roanoke accounting firm expands its size and expertise

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Print this page by Tim Thornton
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Jason Hartman is managing partner of Brown Edwards & Co., which
marked its 50th anniversary last year. Photo by Don Petersen

When Roanoke-based Brown Edwards & Co. became a top 100 CPA firm last year, Managing Partner Jason Hartman told INSIDE Public Accounting he expected the firm to keep growing “while continuing to look for strategic acquisitions.”

So far, those acquisitions have included the absorption of Dixon Hughes Goodman’s 18-person Roanoke office last February and a merger completed in January with Charleston, W.Va.-based accounting firm Gibbons & Kawash.

The first deal increased Brown Edwards resources and deepened its expertise, Hartman says in a statement. He also says it strengthens Brown Edwards’ position as “the largest independent certified public accounting firm in our geographic footprint.”

The Roanoke firm’s footprint already included Charleston among its nine offices. The Gibbons & Kawash deal, however, triples the size of that office to nearly 60 partners and associates, making it Brown Edwards’ second-largest.

Brown Edwards marked its 50th anniversary last year. It was created with the merger of Fred P. Edwards Co. and C.A. Brown & Co. when each of those firms was about 40 years old. In addition to its Roanoke and Charleston offices, Brown Edwards has Virginia offices in Bristol, Harrisonburg, Lynchburg, Wytheville and the New River Valley. There are also Brown Edwards offices in Bluefield, W.Va., and Kingsport, Tenn.

Valerie Ellis, Gibbons & Kawash’s managing director, says in a statement the expanded Brown Edwards offers “more comprehensive business advice tailored to our clients, while enabling us to focus more on our specialized niche areas as well.”

One of those niche areas is expertise in West Virginia government agencies, says Hartman. That’s an area where Brown Edwards had limited resources. He says Brown Edwards brings “banking, construction, wealth management and other areas of expertise that Gibbons & Kawash did not have.” Hartman also says the merger creates “much more depth and resources” than Gibbons & Kawash had on its own. “The combination of these factors, we believe, will lead to significant growth of the combined firm.”

During the next five years, Hartman predicts 7 percent annual organic  growth for the firm — growth in its client base and in its “geographic footprint.” That may eventually mean development outside of Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee, but Hartman says, “Continued expansion in these states is our more immediate goal.”  


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