Carr Riggs & Ingram announces merger with Florida firm

Carr, Riggs & Ingram (CRI), LLC, the fourth largest CPA firm in the Southeast, announced that it has merged with the Maitland, Florida accounting firm FelsingRankin LLC. Effective January 1, FelsingRankin's Maitland operations were consolidated into Carr, Riggs's Central Florida practice unit in Winter Park. The Winter Park office was established in October 2007 through the merger of Winter Park-based firm Cuthill & Eddy LLC with CRI. FelsingRankin co-founders, Marlyn Felsing and Judy Rankin, have joined Carr, Riggs & Ingram as partners.

Carson Eddy, managing partner of Carr, Riggs's Winter Park office, said that the FelsingRankin merger adds a small business consulting group and estate planning expertise to their practice unit and allows them to bring more services to the Central Florida, Orlando market. "In 2007, the primary reason behind the merger of Cuthill & Eddy with CRI was to make the combined practice much more competitive in the Orlando area," Eddy said, "by enabling them to provide more specialized services - SEC services and expanded services to our banking and health care clients."

CRI, based in Enterprise, Alabama, is ranked as the fourth largest accounting firm in the Southeast and the 35th largest in the nation in Accounting Today magazine's survey of the Top 100 Firms. The firm has 16 offices across the Southeast, in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee, and employs more than 500 people, including 355 professionals of whom 85 are partners.

"This merger further accelerates Carr, Riggs & Ingram's profile as one of the fastest-growing accounting firms in the country," said William H. Carr, chairman and managing partner of CRI. "We strategically targeted the Central Florida community in our growth plans and feel the move offers an unparalleled level of resources and services to our clients."

"We have taken pride in providing quality services to our clients, and this partnership will only enhance that capacity," said Marlyn Felsing, who specializes in advising small businesses. Felsing, 62, who, along with Judy Rankin founded FelsingRankin in 1987, said he made the decision to merge FelsingRankin with Carr, Riggs & Ingram after considering his retirement options, according to The Orlando Business Journal. "We just didn't have people coming up who could take over the business." The decline in the numbers of accountants nationwide in recent years, with the resulting smaller number of junior partners, has left accounting firms with unfunded retirement plans ill-equipped to cover the late-life expenses of senior members, he said.

Since CRI was formed in 1997, it has pursued growth by absorbing 17 other firms. It plans to expand further into Texas, North Carolina, and other states across the Southeast.

There are no immediate plans for additional mergers in the Orlando-Winter Park practice, Eddy says. "Any future merger will be based on the 'right fit.' It will involve expanding services and will make us much more competitive."

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