Wichita accounting firm expands into Oklahoma through acquisition

03/28/2014 9:25 AM

03/28/2014 9:25 AM

Wichita accounting firm Dunning & Associates has expanded into Oklahoma through the acquisition of a tax and accounting practice in Ponca City.

Jim Dunning Jr., Dunning & Associates managing partner, said Friday that the acquisition of Welema Greer CPA PC enables the firm to increase its business in oil and gas accounting in northern Oklahoma and south-central Kansas.

But the deal was also as much about growing Dunning & Associates through acquisitions.

“We actually talked to (Greer) some time ago,” Dunning said. “She does the same things we do, and it was just a nice fit culturally.”

Greer and her two employees will continue to staff the Ponca City office, while Dunning, partner Deborah Harper and manager Shayna Weninger will work out of the office on a rotating basis.

“She’s been introducing us to her clients, and we’ve been assuring them we’re going to leave the office open,” he said. “We’ve had somebody in (Ponca City) office four days a week to work through the transition.”

The Ponca City acquisition follows Dunning & Associates’ acquisition of another Wichita CPA office in January. Dunning said the acquisition of Paula VanAndel’s practice was also “a nice fit culturally.” He said VanAndel and her employee will be moving in July from their east Wichita office to Dunning’s main office at 1401 E. Douglas.

“We’ve always got our eyes open” for the right acquisition, Dunning said. “But we’re not necessarily looking to create a monster.”

Dunning’s father, Jim Dunning Sr., founded the firm in 1980. Dunning Jr. joined it in 1985. Last year, the firm changed its name from Dunning & Dunning to Dunning & Associates. The new name reflects the addition of partners Harper and James Wurbs.

Dunning said the Greer acquisition almost didn’t happen. He said Greer approached him last May about buying her firm as part of her succession planning. But Dunning said he was concerned about the distance between Wichita and Ponca City and having a remote office. That concern disappeared after Dunning & Associates added technology last year “that made it able for us to connect with them,” he said.

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