Beene Garter Adds Area Accounting Firm

January 7, 2008
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GRAND RAPIDS — Beene Garter LLP and Deem, Huizing & Associates began the New Year as one, having completed a merger in the final days of 2007.

With Deem Huizing blended in, Beene Garter — already the largest independently owned accounting and consulting firm in the region — now has more than $11.3 million in annual net revenue and employs 14 partners and 63 staff members. Deem Huizing partners Stephen Deem and Marla Huizing and the five members of their staff moved into Beene Garter’s headquarters at 50 Monroe Ave. NW downtown more than a month ago.

Beene Garter Managing Partner Tom Rosenbach said his firm floated the idea of a potential merger with Deem, Huizing & Associates a couple years ago, and the two firms had been talking on and off since then. It wasn’t until this past June that they really became serious about it, he said. 

Deem Huizing was formed in 1995 and has built a diverse client base, primarily in West Michigan. Beene Garter, founded in 1949, also serves primarily West Michigan clients and offers a full menu of audit, tax and advisory services, employer support services and wealth management services through its subsidiary, BG Investment Advisory Services Inc.

Marla Huizing and Stephen Deem are “very good at what they do,” Rosenbach said, adding that they’ve built a solid reputation and an attractive client base.

“The more that we talked and the more I got to know them, it seemed like they would fit really well with the partners and staff at Beene Garter,” Rosenbach said. “Knowing who some of their clients were, they just seemed like the kind of people we wanted to be associated with.” 

The firm not only brings “exceptional” clients, partners and staff to Beene Garter’s table, but its client service philosophy, industry focus, and tax and audit expertise complement Beene Garter’s, as well.

“We work for a high client retention rate, which means a lot of personal attention and proactive service. We work for a 96 percent client retention rate and a 94 percent staff retention rate,” Rosenbach noted.

Huizing said the move is in the best interest of her firm’s clients as well as the professional growth opportunities of her firm’s staff. She said all of Deem Huizing’s clients have followed the firm to Beene Garter.

“Staffing is an issue in the accounting industry, and we’ve got some great people that we bring to the mix. What Beene Garter gives us is additional expertise in the fields of cost segregation studies, and a lot of expertise in technology that our clients will really benefit from, as well.”

Beene Garter is an independent member of Moore Stephens North America and Moore Stephens International Ltd. Through that affiliation, Beene Garter provides its clients access to an array of consulting services, industry-specific resources and international capabilities, while offering “the convenience and personal attention” of delivery through a local firm.

“In this age, you really need to have access to both national and international expertise, so that Moore Stephens affiliation was a big draw for us, as well,” Huizing said.  

Rosenbach said Beene Garter partners have been talking about expanding the firm’s service area beyond West Michigan and have discussed that possibility with West Michigan-based firms that have operations around the state and elsewhere. But when or if the company will expand its reach is a subject of ongoing discussion, he said.

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