Eide Bailly Acquires Magee Rausch & Shelton

Eide Bailly LLP will acquire Tulsa-based CPA firm Magee Rausch & Shelton LLP, effective Nov. 1, 2008, significantly increasing Eide Bailly’s presence in the Tulsa market and strengthening its position as one of the largest full-service CPA firms in Oklahoma.
A regional public accounting and business advisory practice based in Fargo, N.D., Eide Bailly is a Top 25 CPA firm in the nation that is expanding its business in the region and has recently experienced considerable growth in the state.
The addition of three partners and 26 staff members from the MRS practice brings Eide Bailly’s total staff to more than 1,200, including 157 partners.
The firm’s total revenues for fiscal year ended April 30, 2008, were $114 million. MRS adds more than $3.5 million of revenue, and the acquisition of Oklahoma City- and Norman-based Murrell, Hall, McIntosh & Co., PLLP, Aug. 1, added $9 million of revenue for a combined total revenue of more than $126 million.
“Our growth plan for Oklahoma included expansion in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa,” said Jerry Topp, managing partner/CEO of Eide Bailly.
“Three months ago, Murrell, Hall, McIntosh joined our firm, expanding our Oklahoma City and Norman presence,” Topp said. “Like MHM, Magee Rausch & Shelton is a great fit with our culture and service philosophy. We feel fortunate to join forces with two Oklahoma-based firms within a short time period, as this allows us to greatly expand our service to clients in the state of Oklahoma.”
Nov. 1 also marks expansions by Eide Bailly in Denver and Boise, Idaho, with acquisitions in those markets, Topp said.
“We are finding a lot of activity in the country with the baby boomer generation looking at what’s the next step,” Topp said. “At this stage of the firm’s evolution we are concentrating west of the Mississippi river.”
He explained that many Eide Bailly employees are from that region, and “we understand the client services expected in that part of the country.”
“As long as the economy is vibrant west of the Mississippi, that’s where we are going to concentrate,” he said.
Steve Corley, partner-in-charge of Eide Bailly’s Oklahoma practice, said the MRS acquisition strengthens a number of industries shared by the two firms, including oil and gas, non-profits, financial institutions, health care and manufacturing.
“By combining our talents, we are able to bring more industry knowledge and experience to our clients,” Corley said. “Clients will also have access to additional services, including business consulting services, training, employee benefits, financial services, forensic and investigative services, medical practice management and technology consulting.”
The MRS acquisition brings Eide Bailly’s employment in Oklahoma to about 155 from 125 currently, Corley said. The acquisition of MHM, where he was a partner, added about 90 people in the Oklahoma City and Norman markets.
“We had a great footprint in central Oklahoma, but we have always had a focus on expanding the Tulsa market as well,” he said.
“We are on a growth path,” Corley said, noting that with the expanded staff, “we will have the resources to serve a large number of clients. We are definitely going to be aggressive in business development and try to attract more clients and create more opportunities for our staff and partners.”
Tim Roberts, managing partner of MRS, said the cultures of the firms meshed because Eide Bailly not only takes good care of its clients but also its people.
“This is a win-win situation for our staff, as well as our clients,” he said. “Our staff will have additional opportunities to specialize in industry and service areas, to take on leadership roles at the firm level and to advance their careers as part of a larger firm. We also become part of the strong succession strategy of a larger firm; this really translates into greater stability for our clients in the long run.”
Roberts, who joins Eide Bailly as an audit partner and will be in charge of operations for the Tulsa office, said the MRS staff will also benefit from Eide Bailly’s strong infrastructure, including firm-wide resources in human resources, technology and training.
In addition to compatibility of cultures and increased capability to offer specialized services, principals pointed to the advantage of size in attracting clients and recruiting talent.
Topp said Eide Bailly is now well-positioned in the market to serve larger companies who previously looked beyond Oklahoma for help with their business needs.
“Our clients, nationwide, appreciate and value our personal approach to client service, as well as access to the talents of more than 1,200 professionals within our firm who can help them with their specific business needs,” he said.
Eide Bailly serves more than 39,000 clients across the nation.
Industry newsletter Public Accounting Report listed Eide Bailly as the 23rd largest accounting firm in the nation, ranked on net revenues of $101.1 million, in 2007.
“We believe we have to be in the top 30-35 firms if we want to compete for the clients and the staff we would like to have,” Topp said, explaining, “As the talent pool shrinks, the only thing that is going to keep firms from succeeding on their own is going to be the inability to attract talent. Most of the firms that we are finding, similar to Magee Rausch, are very excellent firms, and they can do quite well on their own, but as they go forward, the question is: “Can we attract the talent that we are going to need to grow the firm like we would like to by ourselves?”
MRS had already outgrown its offices at 1856 E. 15th St. and was looking for new space prior to the decision to combine the firms, Roberts said. Eide Bailly has offices at 1700 One Williams Center.
“We will be a little over 40 when the dust settles,” Roberts said. “We will be moving as soon as we can find a location. Hopefully we will be moved by the end of the year.”
In addition to Roberts, MRS partners Dan Cunningham and Tom Ritchie are joining Eide Bailly as tax partners.
With its expanded Oklahoma locations in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Norman, Eide Bailly also has offices in Phoenix; Boulder, Denver, Frisco, Golden, Grand Junction and Vail, Colo.; Dubuque, Iowa; Madelia, Mankato and Minneapolis, Minn.; Billings, Mont.; Fargo and Bismarck, N.D., and Sioux Falls and Aberdeen, S.D.

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