Accounting Firm Merger Expands Reach of Dixon Hughes

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The Charleston, W.Va.-based accounting firm, Simpson & Osborne, has announced it with join with Dixon Hughes of North Carolina, in a move that could create 100 jobs in West Virginia in the next three years.

Dixon Hughes, the largest accounting company in the Southeast, plans to target business niches in West Virginia that it specializes in elsewhere, Dixon Hughes co-CEO Eddie Sams said in a news conference in Charleston Monday.

“We have a lot of dealerships — autos, equipment,” Sams said. “We're also really big in community banks. And we also want to build our health-care business. That's the largest single segment of our business,” the Charleston Gazette reported. “Bob [Simpson, S&O Chairman] and Roger [Osborne, the other founder] have built a great practice here. We're just tickled pink to pick it up and move it forward.”

S&O has 70 employees while Dixon Hughes employs more than 1,000 people in seven Southeastern states. No money changed hands in the merger deal, officials said. The merger will be effective Feb. 1, making the West Virginia branch of Dixon Hughes the largest in the state.

Rick Slater, now the Managing Partner of Dixon Hughes' West Virginia practice area, said the merger would give both companies a new depth of resources and expertise to better serve clients in the region. He also said that Dixon Hughes' aggressive growth strategy could only be fueled by bringing on additional talent.

“We were looking for a firm high in integrity that cherished their people,” said Slater, “and that's what we found in Dixon Hughes.”

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin said his administration helped pave the way, but the state did not offer specific incentives. “We have to create the infrastructure. They're going to follow the market. If we don't create the environment, they won't come,” the Gazette reported.

The deal is Dixon Hughes' second regional expansion in three months. In November, the firm acquired Gamble Givens & Moody and Pratt-Thomas & Gumb, the two largest CPA firms in Charleston, S.C.

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