Three Mississippi accounting firms combine with BKD, LLP

Three Jackson, MS-based accounting firms are combining with Springfield, MO-based BKD, LLP, one of the 10 largest CPA and advisory firms in the United States. BKD Managing Partner Neal D. Spencer announced the firms' combination is effective June 1, 2008.
Smith, Turner & Reeves, P.A. (ST&R); Johnson, Bruce & Host, PLLC (JB&H); and Shearer, Taylor & Co., P.A. (ST&C) jointly bring approximately $10 million in annual revenues and approximately 70 personnel, including 12 partners, to the transaction. The combination of firms creates the second largest CPA and advisory firm in Jackson and the third largest in Mississippi.

Spencer said the result will significantly enhance expertise to better serve client needs as well as expand BKD's southern reach.

"We have been looking at adding Mississippi to our footprint as we continue our strategy of wise growth, and the timing was right for this multiple combination," Spencer said. "We have been diligent about finding the right fit for our firm; these three firms have the reputations, talent, and quality we look for on behalf of serving our clients."

Jon C. Turner, managing partner of ST&R, said his firm has been in operation since 1974 serving the telecommunications, health care, financial services, not-for-profit, government, and manufacturing industries. With annual revenues of approximately $5 million, ST&R's Jackson (200 East Capitol St., Suite 100) and Oxford (405 South Lamar Blvd.) offices will adopt the BKD name. A third office in Natchez is not involved in the transaction. Approximately 40 personnel are transferring to BKD, including six partners.

"It's exciting to have the 10th largest CPA and advisory firm investing in Mississippi - this strategic opportunity will be good for our clients, for our employees, and for the business community," said Turner, designated as co-partner in charge of BKD's Mississippi practice. "This synergistic combining of talent is a grand slam. We like the culture of BKD and their approach to serving all clients."

Peder R. Johnson, managing member of JB&H, is pleased about the wide array of services the combination offers for clients as well as career opportunities for staff.

"We will be able to offer broader-based services with a greater number of professionals to a wider range of businesses and organizations. In addition, we will be providing enhanced opportunities for our people," said Johnson, designated as co-partner in charge of BKD's Mississippi practice. "We are excited about the unique opportunities this combination will provide the Mississippi business community and our clients."

With approximately $2.3 million in annual revenues, JB&H primarily offers tax services to high-wealth individuals, families, and businesses as well as closely held and public entities. Industries served include manufacturing, real estate, and health care. Operating since 2006 at One Jackson Place, Suite 1300, the firm's personnel have served clients for more than 25 years by applying a Big Four accounting firm background and training. Total personnel transferring number approximately 18, including four partners.

Also joining BKD is Ridgeland, MS-based ST&C, set to relocate from 605 Renaissance Way to downtown Jackson, site of the combined firms' statewide headquarters. Established in 1981, the firm brings two partners and 11 tax and audit client service professionals. Its strong financial services practice yields approximately $2.3 million in annual revenues serving 40 community-based financial institutions and several of the state's largest banks.

"This combination will help us provide better resources to our banking clients, an important factor since the rules and regulatory climate change at such a fast pace," said Managing Shareholder J. Robert Shearer. "We expect our clients to experience a seamless transition into BKD. To have these three local firms combining under the umbrella of a well-respected Top 10 accounting firm is a unique situation for Jackson and for Mississippi."

BKD (www.bkd.com), with headquarters in Springfield, MO, has net annual revenues of $318 million and approximately 1,900 personnel, including approximately 230 partners, in 27 offices within 11 states. The firm provides consulting, tax, assurance, accounting outsourcing, information technology, investment advisor, and corporate finance services. Its services also include specialized consulting for the health care, financial institutions, manufacturing, distribution, construction, real estate, not-for-profit, and government industries.

BKD is the largest U.S. member of Praxity, AISBL, a global alliance of independent firms. PraxityTM enhances BKD's ability to serve the dynamic needs of multinational clients.

About Smith, Turner & Reeves, P.A.
Smith, Turner & Reeves, P.A. (www.str-cpa.com) is a professional association of certified public accountants and consultants founded in 1974. For more than 30 years, the firm has served individuals and the business community of the Southeastern United States and offers accounting, tax, and consulting services to clients across the nation. Smith, Turner & Reeves also is affiliated with the PCPS Firm Alliance, the Tax Division and the Management Consulting Division of the AICPA, the Institute for Commercial Lending Advisors (ICLA), and the Institute of Profit Advisors (IPA).

About Johnson, Bruce & Host, PLLC
Johnson, Bruce & Host, PLLC (www.jbhcpa.com), certified public accountants, was founded in 2006, and firm personnel have served clients for more than 25 years. The people of Johnson, Bruce & Host, formerly Mississippi's premier Big Four accounting firm tax practice, have almost 100 years of combined Big Four experience and training. The big firm excellence and depth of experience are the foundation of a firm with local roots and a family sensibility as well as a global perspective and unmatched expertise. Services provided include tax, audit, financial planning, and consulting.

About Shearer, Taylor & Co., P.A.
Shearer, Taylor & Co., P.A. (www.shearertaylor.com) is a full service certified public accounting firm located in Ridgeland, Mississippi. The firm is registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). We also are members of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), AICPA Center for Audit Quality, and AICPA Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center. With specialized skills in the banking industry, the majority of the practice involves providing services to financial institutions, including a large number of banks and bank holding companies.

About BKD
BKD, LLP (www.bkd.com) is the self-proclaimed CPA and advisory firm of choice for growing companies and high net-worth individuals. As one of the 10 largest such firms in the country, we help clients go beyond their numbers by applying our technical expertise, unmatched client service and disciplined delivery of solutions to their management and financial needs. BKD's approximately 1,900 personnel, including approximately 230 partners, are based in 27 offices within 11 states in the central United States. Praxity, AISBL, a global alliance of independent firms, enhances BKD's ability to serve the dynamic needs of multinational clients. PraxityTM provides the gateway to tax, assurance and consulting services delivered by alliance firms committed to the highest standards required in international business.

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