Business

Renton's Merrill Carlson merges with California accounting firm

Kirk Merrill is managing partner of Gallina Merrill Carlson. - Dean A. Radford
Kirk Merrill is managing partner of Gallina Merrill Carlson.
— image credit: Dean A. Radford

A longtime Renton certified public accounting firm, Merrill Carlson PLLC, has merged with a California accounting firm, GALLINA LLP.

Kirk Merrill, a founding partner in Merrill Carlson, formed his certified public accounting business in 1990, with offices in the Evergreen Building on South Grady Way where they remain today. Merrill has worked as an accountant in Renton since 1987.

In 2000 Merrill and fellow accountant Eldon Carlson merged their businesses to form Merrill Carlson LLC.

Now, according to Merrill, the company is taking another evolutionary step, designed to broaden the accounting services available to its clients, through the resources of GALLINA, based in Roseville, Calif.

Many of Merrill Carlson clients are in the construction and health-care industries, along with other groups and individuals, Merrill said.

"The same people will be serving the same clients," he said. There won't be a "dramatic change," he said because of the merger.

The company's name for now is GALLINA Merrill Carlson but eventually that will shorten to GALLINA LLP, he said.

Merrill will continue as the managing partner of the merged company. Carlson will continue, too, but Merrill said he will eventually reduce his hours. Merrill said the merger also provides him with an "exit strategy." He is 57.

Chris Carlson has become a partner in the firm.

Merrill Carlson now has 12 employees, including Merrill and Eldon Carlson. GALLINA has about 225 employees.

GALLINA officials contacted Merrill Carlson in November; Merrill said his company was not looking for a merger partner. The talks lasted for months, he said.

“What is exciting about becoming part of the GALLINA team is the ability to bring a greater depth in our bench through more robust resources to serve our clients as well as expanded expertise and greater capacity," Merrill said.

Larry Taylor, GALLINA LLP’s managing partner, said in a press release that  “the business philosophies of the two firms are very similar.

"Both firms believe in developing close, and long-term, relationships with clients by providing specialized services focused on solving challenges and achieving business successes.”

“GALLINA is well known as a leader in the West Coast with strong expertise in construction while Merrill Carlson is respected within the Puget Sound region business community," Taylor said.

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