Elliott Davis CEO says he expects more growth with shorter name

Elliott Davis CEO says he expects more growth with shorter name

Greenville, S.C.-based accounting firm drops Decosimo name

October 12th, 2017 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

CEO Rick Davis, left, and Chattanooga office managing shareholder Nick Decosimo pose for a photo before a reception for Elliott Davis Decosimo at the Hunter Museum of American Art on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The accounting and consulting firm is dropping the Decosimo name from its title as it expands into new markets.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

Company at a glance

Name: Elliott Davis Decosimo (becoming just Elliott Davis on Nov. 1)

Founded: 1920, acquired Joseph Decosimo & Co., in January 2015

Headquarters: Greenville, S.C.

Staff: 700 employees, including about 150 in Chattanooga

Offices: Nine offices in the North and South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee

Revenues: $130 million

Rank: 33rd biggest accounting firm in the nation, fourth biggest in the South

Ownership: A limited liability company with 82 shareholder employees

Sources: Accounting Today 2017 Top 100 firms, Elliott Davis Decosimo

Chattanooga office managing shareholder Nick Decosimo poses for a photo before a reception for Elliott Davis Decosimo at the Hunter Museum of American Art on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The accounting and consulting firm is dropping the Decosimo name from its title as it expands into new markets.

Chattanooga office managing shareholder Nick Decosimo poses for...

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

One of the South's biggest accounting firms is shortening its name but still planning to broaden its footprint as the accounting profession changes and consolidates.

The Greenville, S.C.-based Elliott Davis Decosimo, which purchased the former Joseph Decosimo and Co. in 2015, announced Wednesday it will drop the Decosimo brand on Nov. 1 when it returns to its 97-year-old moniker of simply Elliott Davis.

"The change is in name only," said company CEO Rick Davis. "I don't have any doubt that for many years to come people will refer to the Elliott Davis office in this town as Decosimo and that is fine because the Decosimo name is a great family and firm name and that legacy will continue."

But as Elliott Davis prepares a new social media and promotional branding strategy — and as the company continues to look for growth opportunities in other markets — Davis said company leaders determined the nearly century-old Elliott Davis brand made the most sense to promote and grow.

In January 2015, Elliott Davis merged with the former Joseph Decosimo & Co., in its biggest acquisition ever. Decosimo was formed by Joe Decosimo and two other accountants in 1971 and grew into Chattanooga's biggest hometown accounting firm before merging with Elliott Davis.

The combined firm has about 700 employees at nine offices and will generate about $130 million in revenues this year, making it the fourth biggest CPA firm in the South, according to the industry publication Accounting Today.

While the Decosimo firm had a lot of investment company and manufacturing clients with more than a half dozen offices, Elliott Davis was strong in serving financial services and international clients in its core markets in the Carolinas and Georgia. Since the merger, the firm has picked up about 40 banks as clients in Tennessee even as the company has opted to close some of the locations previously operated by the Decosimo firm.

Davis said he expects the overall firm to grow to at least $200 million in revenues in the next three to five years through growth and acquisitions.

CEO Rick Davis poses for a photo before a reception for Elliott Davis Decosimo at the Hunter Museum of American Art on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The accounting and consulting firm is dropping the Decosimo name from its title as it expands into new markets.

CEO Rick Davis poses for a photo before...

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

"We really see opportunities in our existing markets as our No. 1 priority, but we're always looking to expand within a reasonable footprint," Davis said. "When you look at what it going on in our industry with technology, talent and market mobility, size is going to be more important than ever."

Davis said Elliott Davis has invested in software and IT services to help the firm be more efficient, cost effective and up to date.

"We celebrate the vitality of Elliott Davis and the recommitment to the cities and communities where we have a presence, to our employees we value, and to our clients that we cherish," Davis said during a reception Wednesday night at the Hunter Museum of Art.

Davis told Chattanoga clients Wednesday night the accounting firm remains committed to Chattanooga and will be the presenting sponsor of the Faith and Family Night at the Riverbend Festival from 2018 through 2020.

"The original name has vast recognition and a strong presence in the marketplace on both a regional and national level," said Nick Decosimo, a shareholder and Chattanooga market leader. "As we look forward to future growth in all our markets, we are pleased to show how much the people of Chattanooga mean to us by sponsoring Faith and Family Night at Riverbend."

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340.


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