Minnesota accounting firms Smith Schafer & Associates, Ltd. and Blanski Peter Kronlage & Zoch, P.A. are merging, effective Jan. 1, 2017.

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The combined firm will use Smith Schafer’s name and continue to operate out of the firm’s office in Minneapolis. Smith Schafer is one of 25 largest accounting firms in Minnesota, dating back more than 45 years.

The combined Twin Cities office will include 12 principals and 38 employees, specializing in servicing manufacturing companies, law firms, architects, engineers, nonprofits, hospitality businesses, governments, transportation, construction and real estate industries. Smith Schafer has approximately 90 employees in Minneapolis, Rochester and Red Wing, Minn.

“The combination of our firms will enhance our ability to serve our clients and provide opportunities for staff growth,” said Smith Schafer managing principal Steve Erchul in a statement.

“The merger brings together two talented teams with similar core values and vision for the future,” said John Edson of BPK&Z.

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