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Pair of large Tampa-area accounting firms announce merger

With the merger with Westbay CPAs, Spoor Bunch Franz now has more than 100 employees.


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  • | 9:20 a.m. January 6, 2023
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The SBF leadership: Rich Franz, W.G. Spoor, David Harper, and Steve Bunch. (Courtesy photo)
The SBF leadership: Rich Franz, W.G. Spoor, David Harper, and Steve Bunch. (Courtesy photo)
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Spoor Bunch Franz, one of the region's largest accounting firms, has merged with Westbay CPAs. Financial terms of the deal, which took effect Jan. 1, weren't disclosed. 

The merger with Clearwater-based Westbay, one of the state’s top firms specializing in forensic accounting and business valuation, "broadens SBF’s capabilities while bringing together two firms that already had a number of clients in common," according to a statement. The move will also add a Clearwater office for SBF, which already has its headquarters in St. Petersburg and an office in Tampa.

With the merger, SBF now has more than 100 employees, and since the start of the pandemic in 2020, SBF has increased its staff over 20%. SBF has also been growing steadily since its founding — the result of a 2016 merger of two large longtime Tampa Bay firms. In addition to its organic growth since 2016, SBF added employees and clients through mergers with the Strawn, Marshall, Cunningham, Condon & Sweat accounting firm in 2018 and the Dwight Darby accounting firm in 2021, the release adds. 

With the addition of Westbay, founded in 2013, SBF will now be able to offer forensic accounting, including accounting in divorce cases, shareholder disputes and other civil and criminal cases; assisting business owners with capturing the current value of a business and offering advice on building value; and M&A/business transaction services. 

"Adding Westbay to the SBF lineup of services strengthens the breadth of our offerings, continuing the ability for our clients to have a one-stop shop,” SBF managing partner Rich Franz says in the statement. “Not only does the merger enhance our ability to serve our clients, it gives SBF employees the opportunity to consider advisory services as a potential career path.”

Westbay’s owner, David Harper, will become an equity partner at SBF, which will continue to operate its headquarters facility in the Baypoint Commerce Center in north St. Petersburg. The firm also has two other offices, in Clearwater and Tampa. SBF/Westbay will be co-branded initially, and will work on a long-term joint branding strategy in 2023.

 

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