Watkins, Ward & Stafford Builds Central Mississippi Presence with White Merger
By Frank Byrt
The Mississippi accounting firms of White & Company and Watkins, Ward & Stafford, PLLC (WWS) have merged, building the latter firm's presence in the state capital of Jackson.
WWS, based in West Point, Mississippi, is the second-largest accounting firm in the state, with thirteen offices and 110 employees, thirty-six of whom are CPAs.
Eight personnel came to WWS as a result of the merger with White, including the firm's founder David O. White, who is now a manager. All other White staffers will retain their same positions in the merged firm.
WWS will continue to operate out of the same location in Jackson currently occupied by White & Company, and that firm's clients will continue to be serviced by the merged firm, WWS said in a press release.
"The merger will provide a strong accounting firm positioned to meet the needs of the Central Mississippi business community," said James Lee Stafford, CPA, executive manager of WWS, in a press release.
The combined firm offers accounting and auditing services for businesses, local governments, and nonprofit organizations as well as tax services for individuals, businesses, and estates. It also offers specialized consulting services, such as tax planning, forecasts, business start-ups, bookkeeping services, and payroll services.
Robert Cordle, CPA, the WWS Jackson office manager, told AccountingWEB that the impetus behind the merger was his firm's interest in building its presence in central Mississippi, and specifically in Jackson where it now has sixteen employees. There was also an issue of succession, as David White has been in the business twenty-six years and was considering the future of his organization.
Cordle said WWS will continue to look at other business opportunities when they present themselves, "although we're not seeking anything more right now. We have good base and plan on growing it."
He said the firms have similar corporate cultures and long-term plans, so the merger is going smoothly.
WWS has offices throughout Mississippi, including in Amory, Columbus, Eupora, Houston, Jackson, Louisville, Macon, Okolona, Philadelphia, Pontotoc, Ridgeland, and Starkville, and West Point.
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