Arkansans seeking financial guidance have a major new option this year, as five of the state’s top certified-public-accounting (CPA) firms are merging to form Garland & Greenwood CPAs and Advisors, PLLC. The new firm will incorporate FDV CPA and Consulting Services, PLLC, in Bentonville; Gasaway & Company, CPAs, and Mcllroy.Keen.Goodman, LLP, in Little Rock; Prince & Tuohey, CPA, in Hot Springs; and Robert G Schichtl II, CPA, in Conway. The new firm will maintain offices in each city.
The merger became official on Jan. 1, with Jake Froemsdorf and Rocky Goodman serving as the firm’s managing partners. The firm’s name Garland & Greenwood was derived from the locations where the group had their initial meetings to discuss the merger: Garland County, Ark., and Greenwood, Miss.
According to Goodman, combining the expertise of each firm’s specialties will provide greater service across the board for their clients.
“We came together with a desire to engage with other professionals in Arkansas and to build a firm that offers our clients services which we may not have offered separately,” Goodman said. “Our shared visions of serving our existing clients while taking advantage of other opportunities attracted us to one another as well.
“We see opportunities to expand into other areas leveraging the talents among the firms and the synergies that will be created as we come together as one. The locations of the firm represent areas in which we see growth opportunities and are also the areas in the state that we love and in which we want to make a difference. The six of us also have an entrepreneurial spirit, and we often say that we are entrepreneurs in CPAs’ bodies.”
Goodman also noted that the merger is reflective of a broader trend in the financial services industry, rooted in the expected retirement of baby boomers over the next five to 10 years.
“Our profession is going to be impacted greatly, as many firms in Arkansas have one or two partners, and a great percentage of those partners are in their 50s and 60s,” Goodman said. “Small firms have a more difficult time generating a succession plan, and merging with other firms is a good way for them to transition their clients to capable hands as they begin to slow down.
“Our firm will be active in this area, and we believe that we can help many of these smaller firms with a succession plan and give them some peace of mind about what their future holds. I like to joke that I want our CPA firm to be one where other CPAs ‘go out to pasture.’ The value of having the more mature generation assist us in our practice is beyond measure.”