The Best Places to Be an Accountant

Ranking the best regions of the country to operate an accounting firms.

Intro Intro

While there are a small number of accounting firms whose reach spans the country, the vast majority of firms are focused on their immediate environment — the city and state they operate in, as well as nearby areas that share similar conditions. In our annual Regional Leaders report, we rank the top firms in these economic ecosystems, but not the ecosystems themselves—that’s what this slide show is for. Here, ranked by the overall growth of their top firms in 2010, are the best regions in which to run an accounting firm. (For our Regional Leaders and Top 100 Firms report, visit our Rankings section at http://www.accountingtoday.com/papers/-57548-1.html.)

1. The West 1. The West

California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington
Growth: 1.93%
Top firm: Moss Adams (Seattle; $316 million in 2010 revenue)
Fastest growing firm: Gallina (Roseville, Calif.; grew 31.25%)
Despite high unemployment, economic activity picked up in the West in 2010. With its wide variety of industries — ranging from clusters of high-tech innovation to large-scale agriculture — and its number of major metropolitan areas, the region offers a huge range of opportunities for accounting firms.

2. The Mid-Atlantic Region 2. The Mid-Atlantic Region

New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania
Growth: 1.86%
Top firm: EisnerAmper (New York City; $251 million in 2010 revenue)
Fastest growing firm: O’Connor Davies Munns & Dobbins (New York City; grew 27.96%)
Traditionally, there has always been a concentration of strong firms in the Mid-Atlantic Region, particularly in the New York Metro area, and it boasts the largest number of Top 100 Firms of any part of the country. Recently firms here have been bent on expanding beyond their borders, reaching out to markets like Florida and California, and overseas.

3. The Midwest 3. The Midwest

Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota
Growth: 1.66%
Top firm: BKD (Springfield, Mo.; $391 million in 2010 revenue) Fastest growing firm: Honkamp Krueger & Co. (Dubuque, Iowa; grew 13.93%)
Benefiting from a relatively mild recession, and a diversity of sectors to practice in, including large agricultural areas and major cities like St. Louis and Minneapolis, firms in the Midwest posted the third-strongest growth of our Regional Leaders, and are poised for more.

4. The Capital Region 4. The Capital Region

Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia
Growth: 1.59%
Top firm: Reznick Group (Bethesda, Md.; $191.53 million in 2010 revenue)
Fastest growing firm: Argy, Wiltse & Robinson (McLean, Va.; grew 13.87%)
With Washington, D.C., at its heart, government activity plays a significant role in making the Capital Region a good place for firms, whether they’re serving the federal government itself, or companies and institutions that work with the government. It’s not the only factor, though, as the states that make up the region have relatively solid and diversified economies.

5. The Southwest 5. The Southwest

Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas
Growth: 0.97%
Top firm: Weaver (Fort Worth, Texas; $65.30 million in 2010 revenue)
Fastest growing firm: Weaver (grew 12.39%)
Powered by Texas’ relatively strong economy, the Southwest has a clutch of firms in the $20 million range, but only one firm above $50 million, Fort Worth-based Weaver. The region offers a growing population, international connections, and a range of business sectors, with a particular strength in energy.

6. The Gulf Coast 6. The Gulf Coast

Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi
Growth: 0.23%
Top firm: Carr, Riggs & Ingram (Enterprise, Ala.; $85.85 million in 2010 revenue)
Fastest growing firm: LaPorte Sehrt Romig Hand (Metairie, La.; grew 11.80%)
While the rest of the country may associate the Gulf Coast with oil spills and hurricanes, it’s also something of an overlooked hot spot for accounting, boasting strong firms not just in Florida, but also in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. From agriculture to industry to international work for clients operating across Latin America, the Gulf Coast is no backwater.

7. The Southeast 7. The Southeast

Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee
Growth: -0.42%
Top firm: Dixon Hughes (High Point, N.C.; $193 million in 2010 revenue)
Fastest growing firm: Bennett Thrasher (Atlanta; grew 9.88%)
A slowing economy hurt the Regional Leaders in the Southeast, but it still has a variety of strong firms, particularly around the region’s unofficial capital, Atlanta. Once the economy rebounds, expect local and regional firms to resume strong growth across a range of practice areas, from banking and high-tech to agriculture and more. Until then, though, times will be a little tough.

8. New England 8. New England

Growth: -2.05%
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont
Top firm: Blum, Shapiro & Co. (West Hartford, Conn.; $44 million in 2010 revenue)
Fastest growing firm: Kahn, Litwin, Renza & Co. (Providence, R.I.; grew 7.13%)
With the acquisition of Boston-based Caturano &



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