Richmond, Ky.-based accounting firm Baldwin CPAs has merged with Louisville professional services firm Christopher L. Hatcher, CPA.

The combined firm will retain the Baldwin CPAs name and have a total of 25 employees maintaining offices in Richmond, Louisville, Maysville and Lexington. The firms agreed on the deal in November with an effective date of Jan. 1, 2013.

“Our firm is looking for strategic growth through mergers,” said Alan Long, managing partner of Baldwin CPAs. “This merger allows us to expand our organic growth because of the size of the Louisville market.”

The transaction will also strengthen several niche areas for the firm and add the knowledge and experience of firm owner Christopher Hatcher in the areas of fraud protection, business valuation, expert witness and forensic accounting.

“Chris’s skills and his niche areas really fit well with our firm, with the CFE designation he has, and he’s also heavily involved in the construction industry,” Long said.

“It is great to be part of a successful firm such as Baldwin CPAs, whose commitment to superior quality and service matches our business philosophy,” said Hatcher, who will be partner-in-charge of the Louisville office, in a statement. “The firm’s great breadth of services will benefit our clients and continue to strengthen our capabilities.”

The firm plans to hire 10 more employees in the next two to three years to support its planned growth in the areas of construction, banking, governmental, not-for-profit and employee benefit plans.