MartinelliMick PLLC, a Spokane-based accounting firm with a specialty in public company audits, has moved into the downtown offices of Fruci & Associates PS, a longtime CPA firm here.
Kemper Rojas, Fruci's managing partner, says five staff members with MartinelliMick moved in early March into the Fruci Building, at 218 N. Bernard, in a transition that both firms have called office sharing. However, the firms also might consider a merger in the next year or two, Rojas says.
Fruci & Associates is focused heavily in tax preparation for businesses and individuals, and it also offers litigation support and expert testimony for court cases as well as managerial business consulting. Additionally, Fruci handles audits only for nonprofits and nonpublic companies, Rojas says.
"We have two very complementary firms," Rojas says. "In the future, we might look at a merger, so we're looking at it now as akin to marriage, and we're kind of dating."
MartinelliMick, which was founded in 2011 by partners Pete Martinelli and Melanie Mick, previously occupied about 1,500 square feet at Rock Pointe Tower, at 316 W. Boone. Martinelli says the move benefits their smaller firm, which also offers tax and small-business consulting services.
"It's a good fit," he says. "Fruci gave us the opportunity to survive and take on new accounts because they are a much larger firm."
He adds that the office-sharing arrangement also provides MartinelliMick with technology and office supportand the ability to use a Fruci accountant for an audit as needed.
For Fruci, Rojas says, the office-sharing arrangement is attractive because of MartinelliMick's specialty in public company audits, and because Fruci had the extra space available in its building to accommodate the smaller firm.
"The hope is in the future, if this all works out, that we will be able to merge and be able to offer more of those (audit) services," Rojas says. She says Fruci has experienced significant growth in the past year, with net income up 22 percent for last year compared with the year earlier.
"We had a fantastic year," she adds. "Some processes and procedures we had put in the previous year (2010) were really making a huge difference last year."
Fruci & Associates employs 30 people year-round, but that expands to between 45 and 50 during tax season. It has most operations on the second floor but also uses some third-floor space in its building, for a total of about 14,000 square feet, Rojas says. MartinelliMick PLLC moved into second-floor space, Rojas says.
Rojas is one of three partners, with the others being Paul M. Fruci and his son, Paul R. Fruci. She says all parties need to get past tax season before they can talk in detail about any possible merger structure.
"We need get through tax season," she says. "We haven't begun to work on the details. We'll start working on it this summer about how it might be structured."
She adds, "I would hope it would be done within the next couple of years."
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