One of Chattanooga’s largest accounting firms is expanding its office footprint in the biggest expansion in its 41-year history with plans for a new four-story downtown.
HHM CPAs has moved beyond existing space in the historic Freight Depot on Market Street and adds the 30,000-square-foot structure on an adjacent King Street parking lot that the company owns, said Beverly Edge, chief operating officer and General Counsel of HHM.
Edge said in an interview that the company will continue to occupy the freight depot and move some of the existing staff to the new building. A subsidiary, HHM Wealth Advisors, will also move to the new tower, which will provide space for future business growth, she said.
It’s expected to begin construction within a month or two and open in late 2023, Edge said.
“We need this space,” she said, noting that the company’s staff in Chattanooga has grown to about 150 people. “We have grown a lot.”
Donnie Hutcherson, managing partner of HHM’s Chattanooga office, said the new building is an approximately $10 million project.
“It’s just a space issue. It’s crowded here,” he said in an interview on the Freight Depot site the company has occupied for a decade and a half.
The expansion is the second for HHM in a year in Southeast Tennessee. In 2021, the company announced it was expanding into Bradley County.
In Cleveland, HHM purchased an abandoned car dealership and office next to the Museum Center at 5ive Points where it converted the two-story structure.
The company, which started in 1981, also has an office in Memphis.
HHM was recently named one of the 100 largest accounting firms in 2022 by Inside Public Accounting, ranking 94th in the nation.
Trip Farmer, an HHM partner, said when the coronavirus pandemic hit, the initial thinking was that the company’s business would be equal or lower.
But HHM has stayed busy and revenue has grown in double digits in 2020, he said in an interview.
“We kept hiring,” Farmer said.
He said the company found its customers needed more help due to changes in tax laws.
“People needed help with the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program),” Farmer added, citing the massive business loan program introduced by the federal government in 2020 to help businesses through the crisis. pandemic.
Additionally, he said, the company brought its staff back in the summer of 2020, when it was safe to do so, with 95% of them on site by the end of that year.
Farmer said people “want to be in the office and need to be in the office. Young people need it the most.”
Travis Hutchinson, managing partner at HHM Wealth, said clients also wanted to visit their financial advisors.
“Wealth dynamics are constant,” he said in an interview, adding that more employees have also been recruited from this side of the house. The drivers of growth are baby boomers transitioning to retirement and tax complexity, Hutchinson said.
Hutcherson said even with the new offices, the company will continue to have parking for employees and customers.
“Customers can stop outside the front door and walk in,” he said.
The expansion shows that HHM is committed to downtown, Hutcherson said.
“Chattanooga has been good for us,” he said, adding that there was “no way” the business was leaving downtown.
HHM is a comprehensive accounting and consulting firm providing services to various industry groups including healthcare, manufacturing and distribution, automotive dealerships, real estate and construction.
The firm offers traditional tax services, in addition to offering specialized services such as advice and counsel on mergers and acquisitions, business valuations, estate planning and tax planning for high net worth clients.
Contact Mike Pare at [email protected] or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.