PMB Helin Donovan Continues on Fast Track with Latest Merger

By Frank Byrt

PMB Helin Donovan LLP (PMB) is on an aggressive growth track, most recently merging with a San Francisco Bay Area CPA firm, BBR LLP. This is PMB's third significant merger in the last two years and is its largest.
 
The deal will boost the Austin, Texas, firm's annual revenue by 30 percent, to more than $21 million, putting it among the top 150 accounting firms nationwide, up roughly fifty spots from its ranking prior to the merger, the company said in a January 18 press release. 
 
The merger gives PMB three new offices in California – in Walnut Creek, Carmel, and Salinas – and brings its total number of offices to nine, located in four states. PMB's staff increases by forty, bringing the total headcount to approximately 165. 
 
Tom Wilkinson, CPA, and managing partner for PMB, said in the press release announcing the BBR merger, "Our goal is to become one of the top 100 firms, but just as importantly is how we're going to get there. We're growing through a well-thought-out and carefully executed alignment with firms that share similar values and philosophies. We're really pleased with how our growth is materializing, and it has us very bullish on what 2013 will bring."
 
"This latest (merger) is the biggest by far, more than all of the other mergers together and a continuing part of our growth strategy" of merging with regional accounting firms, Wilkinson told AccountingWEB, in an interview.
 
He said his firm is also growing organically. "Our secondary goal is to strengthen our existing offices, and we're entering a new area – client accounting services." Wilkerson explained the new division will offer outsourced accounting services to small and midsize businesses and not-for-profit organizations. 
 
BBR's partners are now partners in the merged organization, Wilkinson said. A key element of his firm's due diligence in its mergers is making sure that the potential new partners "are compatible with us and our business."
 
He said past mergers have gone well and have helped the firm grow its offerings and knowledge base. "We're really enjoying the input of our new partners and their experiences with new software platforms and methodologies, and we look to adopt the best practices of the combined group."
 
"Speed isn't nearly as important as finding solid fits," Wilkinson said, in the press release. "We're thrilled we found another great fit with BBR." 
 
Chris Steinbruner, who had been a BBR managing partner, has been named PMB's new West Coast tax partner in charge.
 
Steinbruner said in the press release that there are no planned layoffs; rather, the California offices are seeking to add at least five CPAs or CPA candidates within the next year.
 

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