Earlier this month, PBMares LLP officially acquired RSM US LLP’s local Wilmington accounting office.
With a staff of 30, including 13 certified public accountants, the firm is the second-largest in the Wilmington region, according to recent Greater Wilmington Business Journal survey results.
The Wilmington office is PBMares’ 13th overall and third in North Carolina, following acquisitions in 2020 of offices in Morehead City and New Bern.
All employees have been welcomed to the PBMares team, according to company officials. Five team members have been elevated to partner: Rob Wagner, Jeremy Roberts, Robert Parker III, Charles Craft and A.A. Rickey Godwin. Offices will remain in downtown Wilmington at 300 N. Third Street.
“This acquisition is a milestone in PBMares’ growth strategy,” said Harvey Johnson, CEO and partner of PBMares. “This provides the right location and in the right market that fits our existing client base.”
PBMares was ranked 77th in the U.S. in INSIDE Public Accounting’s latest list of top firms and is among the top 10 fastest-growing. Chief operating officer Mary Aldrich said though the firm has been recognized for its fast growth, “We consider ourselves a slow growth acquisition firm.”
The Wilmington office merger is the only acquisition PBMares will engage in this year. “While we have growth strategy, culture is our number one objective,” Aldrich said. “So we're very careful; we're very methodical.”
Johnson said he hopes to build out the Wilmington team in the future after completing a smooth transition. “We would love to continue to grow it. It's part of what we think makes Wilmington really attractive,” he said. “But our focus is about stability and transition. We want to make sure that we transition the clients [and] stabilize the office. It's a big change.”
Wagner, leader of the Wilmington office under RSM, said in a press release the firms share a similar culture. “We carefully considered the opportunity, with the right fit for our Wilmington clients and people as our highest priorities,” he said.
RSM acquired local firm McGladrey & Pullen LLP in 2015. The office had been in operation since the 1920s as Lowrimore, Warwick and Co. before merging with McGladrey & Pullen in 1992, according to a PBMares spokesperson.
PBMares is part of the RSM US Alliance, which is an association of independent accounting firms that shares resources. The firm acquired substantially all of the Wilmington RSM office’s assets, with the exception of existing public company work, an aspect of business PBMares has chosen not to pursue, according to Johnson.
In all, PBMares employs about 400 people in offices in Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina. “Our method is to find the market spaces where we can really invest… We have an ability to serve a broader and deeper hole in the Wilmington market,” Aldrich said. “We are all in when we enter a community.”