Charleston Regional Business Journal
Local accounting trio remodels existing CPA firm
Jan 09, 2006
By Dennis Quick
Senior Staff Writer

When Joe deBrux retired from deBrux & Associates, the Charleston accounting firm he founded in 1978, he turned the firm’s reigns over to William Jarrard, Christopher Nowell and William Russell III. The three new partners changed the firm’s name to Jarrard, Nowell & Russell LLC.

That happened a year ago. Since then, the 10-employee firm has expanded its services from traditional accounting practices, such as auditing and tax services, to include financial management services for businesses, business valuations, captive insurance consultation and auditing, 1031 tax-free exchange services for buying and selling property and wealth management services.

With these additional services, the firm has seen its client list grow from about 800 to roughly 950. Clients include general and mechanical contractors, real estate developers and agencies, professional service firms, nonprofits, retail outlets, restaurants, distribution companies and logistical firms.

Small to mid-size businesses comprise the firm’s clients. The firm also continues to provide services for individuals, as deBrux & Associates did.

“We took what Joe (deBrux) was doing and expanded it to businesses,” Nowell explained. He added that the in counseling its clients, the firm emphasizes long-range financial goals and business planning.

Jarrard, Nowell and Russell believe familiarity with one another helped breed success.

Before joining deBrux & Associates, the principals worked together at industrial products giant Cameron & Barkley Co. for about 14 years. Jarrard was a vice president and controller at the company, Nowell was the company’s treasurer and Russell the assistant treasurer.

The trio used their Cameron & Barkley experience, which included work in mergers and acquisitions and corporate financial management, plus their backgrounds in business valuations and captive insurance management to beef up Jarrard, Nowell & Russell’s repertoire of services.

Although the firm does not provide specific investment advice for wealth management, it refers clients to professionals who do. The firm also refers health insurance-minded clients to health savings account specialists.

Jarrard, Nowell & Russell maintains a “personal touch” with clients, Russell pointed out.

“We’re a team,” Russell said. “There are no individual practices. Clients will get served no matter which of us picks up the phone.”

Norwell and Russell believe accounting firms face a busy future.

Just as accounting firms received a boost in business from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, enacted by Congress in 2002 in response to the public outcry over corporate and accounting fraud after Enron, Worldcom and other scandals involving public companies, a more aggressive Internal Revenue Service is likely to bring additional business to the accounting industry, Russell said.

“Because of corporate scandals and tax evasions, the IRS will do more audits,” Russell explained, adding that the IRS is taking the “No more Mr. Nice Guy” approach.

S corporations, which avoid double taxatio– once to the shareholders and again to the corporation– by being exempt from federal income tax other than tax on certain capital gains, are likely to receive stronger auditing from the IRS, Russell said.

Dennis Quick is senior staff writer for the Business Journal. E-mail him at dquick@charlestonbusiness.com.