On February 3, 2012, Austin-based PMB Helin Donovan LLP (PMB) announced its merger with Vink Teague & Associates LLLP (VTA). The firm will operate under the PMB Helin Donovan name.
"Dallas has been on our radar screen for quite some time. We put our feet on the ground by opening an office in 2009, but our strategy has always been to cement our footprint by finding ideal companies and aligning forces. As a bunch of CPAs, we go about this as methodically as one would expect," said Tom Wilkinson, CPA, Managing Partner for PMB. "This marks the alignment of two companies that fit well together, complement each other, and we look forward to better serving existing and new clients alike."
The merger also effectively triples the number of accounting and CPA professionals PMB has in the Dallas market – from seven to over twenty, plus additional support staff. The goal is to grow to fifty employees in the next three to four years through organic growth and additional mergers.
The merger immediately helped the company land a new audit client – an undisclosed public company – that neither firm alone would have been likely to land, notes Jeff Jamieson, Partner-in-Charge of the Dallas office.
"This opens up more avenues for their clients and immediately increases our presence in the Dallas market so we can both compete for larger companies than we could before," Jamieson said.
Dallas operations will continue to be led by Jamieson. Meanwhile, Mary Hennington, Managing Partner of VTA, will become part of PMB's firm-wide executive committee. Furthermore, Hennington, James D. Hodges, and Kathy Still, all partners with VTA, are being named partners with PMB.
VTA, established in 1986, found a good niche with family and privately held mid-market businesses. Clients include law firms, distribution, service and manufacturing companies, private schools, and not-for-profits.
"Even before we were approached by PMB, we were realizing that in order for us to be a viable player in our industry in the future, we would need to align with another firm in some capacity," Hennington said. "There's definitely a consolidation trend going on right now within the CPA industry. The mom-and-pop shops – often launched in the 1970s and 1980s – aren't able to compete because of the way business itself has changed. Business has become more global, rules have become more tedious requiring more sophisticated software tools in need of constant updating, and clients need more depth than the one person they've turned to for twenty years."
Jamieson notes PMB has worked hard to craft an attractive financial package for small CPA firms, particularly ones with partners nearing retirement age. The package enables partners that have spent their careers building a firm to have a succession plan that ensures continued quality service to their clients – while solidifying their financial futures as well. Jamieson says he is in merger talks with other undisclosed Dallas firms as well.
After a great amount of due diligence in determining the firms were culturally and philosophically a good fit, Hennington says VTA concluded that merging would offer better opportunities for them as individuals and for their clients. Each would benefit from a broader range of services, expertise, training, and global connections.
Hennington notes PMB is a PCAOB-registered and inspected firm, meaning the firm can perform work for publically traded companies, something VTA was unable to do before. PMB's strengths are in specialty service niches and industry niches with publicly traded and private companies in the health care, life sciences, technology, financial services, real estate, insurance, energy, oil and gas exploration, and production industries. Additionally, PMB services a wide variety of not-for-profits, private schools, and governmental agencies. With clients in more than thirty countries on six different continents, the firm performs work across the globe.
According to PMB, based on the number of employees (120), it's now the largest accounting firm based in Austin. PMB was recognized as one of the best places to work in 2010 by both the Austin American-Statesman and Austin Business Journal.