Tax prep giant H&R Block has launched a new business employing CPAs to serve the needs of small business owners.

After a test of the small business services concept in the Tampa, Phoenix and Atlanta markets, the Kansas City, Mo.-based company purchased 11 office locations from American Express Tax & Business Services to enter the market.

The new venture, H&R Block Small Business Resources, will offer services such as tax preparation and planning, payroll processing, bookkeeping, and financial advisory services, and will target businesses with 25 or fewer employees.

"We looked at the small business market, which has 20 million small businesses, and saw that no single brand was meeting the needs of these businesses. It was a good opportunity and a good fit for us," an H&R Block spokesperson told WebCPA. "Small Businesses Resources will fit a new niche for us. We have RSM McGladrey to serve the mid-market businesses with 25 to 5,000 employees, and H&R Block Financial Advisors serves individuals."

The recently acquired offices are located in Tucson, Ariz.; Rancho Palos Verdes and Walnut Creek, Calif.; Fort Wayne and Rochester, Ind.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Wakefield, Mass.; Livonia, Mich.; Omaha, Neb.; Dublin, Ohio; and Roanoke, Va.

A spokeswoman for American Express, who noted that the acquired offices "are very small offices staffed by an average of 11 employees in each,"  added, "The sale aligns with our strategy in American Express Tax & Business Services to focus on national accounting, tax and business advisory practices for middle market firms and high net worth individuals."

H&R Block expects to expand the number of offices, services and products over the next several years, depending on demand from small businesses in specific geographic areas.

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