For four consecutive years, Accounting Today magazine has named Laurel-based certified public accounting firm Bormel, Grice & Huyett P.A. (BGH) as one of the nation’s best accounting firms to work for.
The annual list, created by Accounting Today in partnership with Best Companies Group, comprises 100 CPA firms nationwide.
“We like to think we’re doing something right,” said BGH Partner Larry Bormel, who has served with the firm for 40 years. “I think it really has to do with the atmosphere of our firm. We have a great collaborative atmosphere that emphasizes flexibility to suit our staff’s personal schedule, and giving everyone a lot of responsibility and a lot of opportunities to learn and grow.”
Founded in 1968 by Henry Pear, the firm will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2018. Throughout those years it has provided high quality accounting, tax, audit, financial, business and professional services.
“Some of the areas we focus on are real estate and construction, not-for-profit organizations, professional service providers and a wide array of businesses,” Bormel said. “We are a business-oriented firm, but we also have more than 500 individual income tax clients in addition to all of our businesses.”
Most of BGH’s clients are located within the Baltimore-Washington Corridor, “although we do have clients in virtually every state in the country,” he noted.
The steadiness with which BGH appears on Accounting Today’s Best Companies list attests to the stability that the firm and its partners have worked to achieve.
Partners Kathy Grice and Anna Huyett have each been with the firm for 35 years, while relative newcomer Ray Plummer has spent 14 years at BGH.
Moreover, the firm has been located in Laurel since its inception.
“We have 25 people on staff, and the average tenure with us is 16 years,” Bormel observed. “We have a very unique accounting firm with virtually no turnover, which is unusual because accounting firms typically see a lot of turnover.”
Adding to that sense of stability is the customer base BGH serves.
“We’re really blessed with great clients, and in fact, our 10 largest clients have been the same clients for the last five to 10 years,” Bormel acknowledged. “[Our stability] comes down to having great staff and a great client base that continues to expand and keeps doing things that help keep us expanding along with them.”
Longtime Chamber Involvement
Community service is an important consideration for the firm, Bormel said, an outlook that has driven BGH’s involvement with most of the community organizations in the Laurel area.
Bormel serves on the Howard County Hospital Foundation Board, Kathy Grice serves on the Laurel Regional Hospital Foundation Board, and Anna Huyett is involved with the Community Action Council of Howard County.
“There are so many organizations we are supportive of, but we have been involved with the Baltimore Washington Chamber, and now the Central Maryland Chamber (CMC), for our entire 50-year existence,” Bormel said, the firm having provided no less than four different chairmen on that organization’s board.
“Ray Plummer has continued that involvement and was part of the leadership to help ensure a smooth transition to the CMC,” he added.
According to Plummer, the transition has gone smoother than anticipated.
“One of the reasons we joined the chamber is networking, and getting information from local governments and state government,” Plummer said. “Raj [Kudchadkar]’s connections there have been very helpful.”
Membership pays big benefits for smaller members like BGH, he stressed.
“We just attended the Economic Forecast Luncheon, which was a great event to help small businesses learn about what’s going on in the local economy and what’s going on in the regional economy,” Plummer explained. “It’s not like we’re a big bank or a big business where they have this kind of [information] coming in all the time. [CMC] is trying to provide members with what they need, especially from the small and local business aspect.”
Plummer said he plans to attend an executive meeting in the coming weeks to discuss new members coming on to the CMC board. “Our firm will stay very involved with the chamber,” he said.
Planning the Future
As an added service, BGH publishes a blog on its website that addresses trends and current events that affect or concern clients and others interested in the areas that the firm specializes in.
Recent topics have included information on tax relief for Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma victims, as well as student loan debt relief for Maryland residents.
“We’re always monitoring changes in tax laws,” Bormel said. Right now there are so many people speculating and waiting for what the new tax laws will be under the [Trump] administration, we’re trying to see how that’s relevant to our clients.”
Because BGH has been around for such a long time and has such a stable clientele, the firm has begun to see increasing demand for multi-generational planning services.
“A lot of our clients are on second- and third-generation ownership,” Bormel said. “Transitioning to those future generations of owners and trying to help them by catering to their needs and the things that are important to them is something we’re really focused on”
As for BGH’s own longevity, “It’s not any deep, dark secret,” Bormel said. “It’s just a lot of hard work and a lot of great people keeping on top of our clients’ needs. Our clients love the fact that they’re working with the same people year in and year out, building trust and familiarity.”