The closing of the deal between Aprio, the fifth-largest accounting firm in Atlanta, and HPC, a cloud-based accounting practice that services it clients online, is still subject to certain contingencies, officials from both firms said. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
HPC was one of the early adopters of New Zealand-based Xero’s technology and is a U.S. Xero platinum partner. And according to HPC’s website, a 2011 meeting between Bruce Phillips, the firm’s CEO and founder, and Rod Drury, the founder and former CEO of Xero, changed the direction of the business completely.
For decades Harshman Phillips was a traditional CPA firm. … [But after] talking with Rod, Bruce realized that technology like Xero was about to dramatically change the way accountants interact with their clients.
Bruce flew back to Atlanta and started setting up Harshman Phillips & Company (HPC) on Xero. Within six months, HPC was Xero’s number one partner in the United States. Not long thereafter, HPC mothballed its servers [and] closed its physical offices, letting all employees work from home.
HPC also provides custom solutions for businesses across several industries, including professional services, technology and SaaS, e-commerce, and retail.
Once completed, the acquisition of HPC will complement Aprio’s existing outsourced accounting services practice that was established in 2016. Aprio officials said the firm will then be able to offer specific technology solutions to meet each client’s needs, from Xero to NetSuite, and provide integrations with such products as Bill.com, Gusto, Expensify, Karbon, Hubdoc, and Receipt Bank.
Needless to say, Aprio CEO and Managing Partner Richard Kopelman is ready for this deal to get done.
Once we add the experienced staff and technology stack that HPC provides, Aprio will be able to further service our clients at the speed of now. After HPC is on board, we will be prepared to deliver the next generation of client service fueled by the transformation of machine learning and artificial intelligence. We will be able to leverage a myriad of technologies and create the best cloud-based accounting practice for our global small to mid-size clients. Clients want to collaborate with us and engage with their business data to gain real-time insights that will drive growth.
Phillips is expected to lead the practice as president and partner in charge. In a statement, he said:
We are excited to have signed our agreement to join Aprio because, like us, Aprio is continuously changing and adapting to what’s next. Once closed, Aprio will provide our clients a breadth of new services like sophisticated international tax planning and structuring, and tax credits and incentives, including the R&D tax credit, which is so critical for technology companies. Once we become part of Aprio, we will continue our tremendous growth and further increase our capabilities, so we can advise and partner with our clients to help them be ready for the future.
Before the deal, Aprio had 51 partners and 400 professionals in four offices, according to Accounting Today. After acquiring Cloudsourced Accounting in 2015, HPC increased its head count to 25.