Kennewick accounting firm acquires longtime CPA business

About two years ago, Jennifer Mitchell, owner of Account Sense in Kennewick, met a fellow accountant and discussed with him the possibility of a future buy-out when he was ready to retire.

That time has come with Account Sense recently buying Robert Vaughan, CPA of Kennewick.

“When Bob (Vaughan) finally set a retirement date, we connected and began discussions to hash out the details,” said Mitchell, a certified public accountant. “He’s a well-respected accountant and sole proprietor that has been a CPA since 1980, practicing in the Tri-Cities since 2006, the same year I opened Account Sense.”

Vaughan and Mitchell began planning for the sale last October, with Vaughan moving his practice into the Account Sense office at 6601 W. Deschutes Ave., Suite C, a beneficial move during the transition.

“Bob worked his last tax season in our office and was able to introduce his clients to me and our team,” Mitchell said. “They were each made aware of Bob’s retirement and the transition of his practice over to us.”

The sale became official last month, with Vaughan committing to stay on a couple more months to “make the transition as smooth as possible.”

“We have collaborated and have become good friends,” Mitchell said.

The acquisition proved to be a good fit as the two businesses’ client base and philosophies are similar.

“Account Sense is passionate about helping small businesses. We also enjoy working with real estate professionals and individuals that are looking to pay the least amount of tax,” Mitchell said.

“We have very similar clients and a shared philosophy of educating and being proactive. We both offer accounting, payroll and tax advisory and preparation services. It was a natural alignment,” Mitchell said.

Account Sense gained about 200 additional clients, half individuals and half small businesses, upon buying the business.

“We anticipate this purchase will increase our practice by about 20 to 25 percent. We’re incredibly excited for the growth,” Mitchell said. “It’s the first time Account Sense has acquired another practice, so it’s a pretty proud moment for us. We’ll be adding new staff this year as a result of the growth.”

Learning Vaughan’s style of business has been helpful and the transition made easy by his presence in the Account Sense office for the past six months.

“The most difficult part will just be the processes (Vaughan’s clients) are used to. It’ll still be great customer service, just a little different,” Mitchell said.

After 36 years in the accounting business – first near Coeur d’Alene and since 2006 in the Tri-Cities – Vaughan will retire to Idaho, where he’ll be near family and enjoy the great outdoors.

“I’ll spend time with my grandkids, hike, camp, fish and have plenty of honey-dos,” he laughed. “I’ll enjoy doing a lot of outdoorsy stuff.”

He said he enjoyed spending the last several months in business with Mitchell at Account Sense.

“It’s been really, really fun…just perfect,” he said.

Mitchell agreed.

“It’s been a pleasure having him in our office, learning from his years of experience and witnessing the connections he has made with his clients. On several occasions, I witnessed hugs and tears when saying goodbye and wishing Bob a happy retirement. He’s obviously made an impact on them,” she said.

Mitchell said she plans to continue growing her tax service and bookkeeping business.

“We’ve sought growth because we enjoy helping others – teaching and training staff, mentoring new accountants, and serving clients – saving them time, stress and money. The growth gives us more experience to continually expand our knowledge to better serve our clients,” Mitchell said.

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