Personal Accounting Office Grows to Area Giant

Article excerpt

By Nancy Raiden Titus

Journal Record Staff Reporter

Bob C. Murrell left his practice at the international accounting firm of Arthur Andersen Co. in January 1973 to see if he could build a small, personal practice near his home in Moore.

More than 20 years later, he is telling the success story of Murrell, Hall, McIntosh Co., one of the largest locally-owned accounting firms.

Dec. 29, 1993, marks the 20th year of the firm though Murrell himself has been in independent practice for nearly 21 years.

"In January 1973," he said, "I opened an office in Moore by myself. I shared space with an attorney for six months. In June, the practice had grown, and I hired an OU grad with an accounting degree. By the end of the year, in December, Mike McIntosh came to work with me. I had worked with him at Arthur Andersen. Stan Hall, also from Arthur Andersen, came with me later."

Murrell Hall McIntosh now has about 1,500 clients and three offices: the headquarters at 1700 N. Broadway in Moore, 303 E. Comanche in Norman, and 2000 Classen Center, Suite 620 South, in Oklahoma City.

Phil Hollingsworth joined the firm as a shareholder in its Norman office in the early 1980s. In 1991, Kenneth E. Dorsey became a shareholder through a merger with one of the oldest Oklahoma City firms that dated back to 1925.

"We have clients throughout Oklahoma City, a lot in Texas and New Mexico and some as far away as California and Japan. We have grown with the attitude of trying to provide a personal level of service which you can't get with a lot of national firms."

Murrell said he did not set out to have a practice that far-reaching.

"We have not grown by design," he explained. "The fact is that with the economic climate and taxes as complex as they are, accountants couldn't continue to be generalists like you could 20 years ago.

"The need for specialization is so much greater than it used to be. The only way to have those specialties is to develop them within the firm through individuals with areas of expertise. That has been the driving factor behind our growth."

The entire accounting industry also has become more competitive. National firms have begun to seek clients that they were not interested in 15 years ago, and many of those form the bread and butter for firms like Murrell Hall McIntosh.

"Any success we do have is as a result of the people working for us, and the loyalty we have had from our clients."

The firm has had an influx of clients in the last six to eight months, and Murrell expressed optimism about 1994.

"We have been enjoying growth this past year. We are affected by the economy, but fortunately even during the downturn in the oil business, we were never so dependent on any one industry. …