KEARNY MESA – The accounting firm of RBTK has been acquired by a national firm based in North Dakota.
RBTK has become the San Diego headquarters of Eide Bailly, a growing firm with more than 40 offices in the U.S. and India and a staff of about 3,300.
“They’re a smaller firm, but growing and they needed resources,” said Eide Bailly CEO Andy Spillum, adding that Eide Bailly is on the hunt for more San Diego firms to add to its roster.
RBTK had a staff of 14 and Spillum said that Eide Bailly would like to expand the San Diego operation to have a staff of 100 or more within the next five years.
“We’re pretty focused on expanding in San Diego. Our goal is to be in the top five or six firms in San Diego,” Spillum said. “We’ve got a pretty sizable presence in Southern California, as well as Arizona, so it fits our footprint really well.”
In addition to RBTK, Eide Bailly in December acquired two other California accounting firms – Raimondo Petit Group, a public accounting and financial firm based in Torrance, and Bessolo Haworth, with offices in Sherman Oaks and San Rafael.
More Local Accounting M&As
Among other recent accounting mergers and acquisitions affecting San Diego accounting firms, Torrey Partners, based in Carmel Valley, was acquired by Chicago-based Stout in September 2023 and Lazarus, Goldbarg & Associates, based in Bankers Hill, merged with Duffy Kruspodin, based in La Jolla in January 2023.
Scott Trendel, a former partner of RBTK, has become a partner in Eide Bailly and will be the market leader of the San Diego office.
With a staff of 14, RBTK specialized in accounting for construction companies, which Trendel said accounted for about half of its clients.
“We’re looking forward to bringing that expertise and kind of merging that in with the Eide Bailly side of things,” Trendel said.
RBTK’s client list also includes manufacturers, software companies, and professional services firms such as doctors and dentists.
“Having the resources from Eide Bailly where we will be able to grow our practice, being able to take on new clients, being able to offer our existing clients new services, those are all goals of ours,” Trendel said.
Spillum said that RBTK’s focus on contractors blends nicely with Eide Bailly’s own construction services.
Eide Bailly is “kind of a Midwest-culture firm,” Spillum said. “People want to join firms with that same Midwest culture and mindset.”
“It feels more like a family business, yet they’re connected to a larger firm,” Spillum said. “Younger people want to join larger firms in general.”
Spillum said that the accounting business is undergoing “a lot of disruption,” with a shortage of workers as older staffers retire and fewer younger workers are entering the field.
“There’s just volatility in the market everywhere,” Spillum said, adding that it was that volatility that was responsible for some of the mergers and acquisitions among accounting firms in 2023.
Spillum is optimistic about the state of the economy in 2024.
“It might not pick up to the level it was before. I don’t think you’ll see a downturn. We think it’s going to be pretty steady,” Spillum said.
Similarly, Trendel said that he expects a good year in 2024.
“We have construction contractors that are working on industrial, commercial, and multifamily, and that side of the business is not having any problems right now. It continues to go strong. There’s plenty of work out there,” Trendel said. “I don’t really see that we’re going to be seeing much of a recession or a slowdown.”
HEADQUARTERS: Fargo, ND
CEO/MANAGING PARTNER: Jeremy Hauk
BUSINESS: Certified Public Accounting and Business Advisory
NOTABLE: Top 25 CPA firm in the nation with more than 40 offices in the U.S. and India. Women account for 31% of the firm’s partners.