Our History

BKD PRIDE Through the Years

The PRIDE values that drive our BKD Trusted Advisors™ today (passion, respect, integrity, discipline, and excellence) were there at our firm’s beginning when three CPAs founded Baird, Kurtz, & Dobson in 1923. Walk with us through nearly 100 years of Unmatched Client Service® and learn how BKD’s legacy reflects our continuing commitment to helping you achieve success.

  • 1923 January

    1923 January

    Founding Fathers

    Accountants Baird, Kurtz, and Dobson start their own firm with offices in Kansas City and Joplin, Missouri.

  • 1923 January

    1923 January

    First Joplin Office & First Kansas City Office

    The Clinton Montgomery firm disbands in 1922. Shown is the first entry of the original ledger on January 2, 1923, for $1,700. Revenues for the first year total $17,010.

  • 1948 April

    1948 April

    The BKD Family

    Firm personnel take a snapshot for posterity.

  • 1948 July

    1948 July

    Springfield Office Opens

    The World War II draft creates staff shortages for the firm. Baird, Kurtz, & Dobson opens its third Missouri office in Springfield.

  • 1953



    BKD’s first formal partnership agreement admits five partners, including future CEO Hearld Ambler. Gross revenue is $252,000. Dobson suffers a series of strokes, and the partners agree to buy out his interest and maintain the BKD name.

  • 1965


    BKD Healthcare Practice

    President Johnson signs the Medicare bill into law. BKD begins representing hospitals in negotiations and relations with the federal government, laying the groundwork for the healthcare practice that would eventually become BKD National Health Care Group.

  • 1967


    BKD Joins The American Group

    BKD joins The American Group (TAG), an association of CPA firms. TAG significantly influences BKD until the firm leaves the association in 1982.

  • 1969


    Breaking Out of Missouri

    BKD acquires the Swofford & Co. firm in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Partner Jim Glauser, who joined BKD in 1957 as the firm’s first college intern, volunteers to head up the new office.

  • 1969 June

    1969 June

    Explosive Growth

    BKD opens offices in Fort Smith, Arkansas; Wichita, Kansas; Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Little Rock, Arkansas; St. Louis, Missouri; and Miami, Oklahoma.

  • 1972


    Hearld Ambler Named BKD’s First CEO 

    After serving as a part-time administrative partner and overseeing the Springfield, Missouri, practice, Hearld Ambler becomes BKD’s first full-time CEO. Under his leadership, the firm begins to centralize records and systematize procedures and standards.

  • 1974 January

    1974 January

    Judy Breeding Joins BKD

    BKD hires its first woman professional, Judy Breeding, in Springfield, Missouri. Judy becomes the firm’s first female partner in 1984.

  • 1974 October

    Accounting & Audit Quality Control

    1974 October

    Ahead of the Game

    Leading the industry in quality control, BKD creates a firmwide accounting and auditing specialist role. This is prior to the AICPA issuing national A&A standards.

  • 1980 January

    1980 January

    BKD Growth

    BKD acquires Farrow, Stone & Blubaugh, picking up offices in Wichita, Kansas, and Enid, Oklahoma.

  • 1982


    Building a Brand

    BKD begins developing marketing infrastructure in response to the 1976 agreement signed by the Federal Trade Commission and the American Institute of CPAs, which allowed broader rights to advertising.

  • 1986


    James Glauser Confirmed as CEO

    Following his extensive BKD service as a healthcare practice leader and managing partner in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and Springfield, Missouri, James Glauser is named CEO.

  • 1986


    Accountant Liability Assurance Company

    To improve risk management, BKD forms the Accountant Liability Assurance Company, providing a means of security through self-insurance.

  • 1987


    Mission Matters

    BKD drafts a formal Mission Statement.

  • 1987


    Quality Control Consolidation

    BKD centralizes quality control by creating tax and A&A director positions for local offices.

  • 1989


    Gaining Influence

    BKD joins Moores Rowland International, a global network of independent firms that shares resources and referrals.

  • 1994 August

    1994 August

    BKD’s First Subsidiary

    The firm creates its own subsidiary, BKD Corporate Finance, to provide additional value-added services.

  • 1997 January

    1997 January

    Bill Fingland Confirmed as CEO

    As CEO, Fingland codifies BKD culture and spearheads tremendous growth.

  • 1998 June

    1998 June

    BKD Wealth Advisors

    BKD Wealth Advisors is created as an independent wealth management firm registered with the SEC.

  • 2000 January

    2000 January

    BKD Foundation

    BKD Foundation is organized to enrich BKD communities through financial support and volunteerism.

  • 2000 December

    BKD Growth - Houston

    2000 December

    BKD Growth

    BKD makes it's long anticipated return to Texas with the acquisition of two Houston-based firms.

  • 2001 February

    2001 February

    Olive Merger

    Baird, Kurtz, & Dobson and Olive LLP merge to create BKD, LLP, doubling the size of the firm.

  • 2003 January

    2003 January

    It’s All about PRIDE

    BKD unveils its PRIDE values (passion, respect, integrity, discipline, and excellence) to provide foundational direction and behavioral guidelines for the firm and personnel.

  • 2004 January

    2004 January

    The BKD Experience

    The first edition of The BKD Experience: Unmatched Client Service is published and distributed to partners and personnel. The hardbound book codifies the five standards of Unmatched Client Service—Integrity First, True Expertise, Professional Demeanor, Responsive Reliability, and Principled Innovation.

  • 2006 June

    2006 June

    BKD Growth

    BKD acquires Lisle Compton Cole & Almen LLP in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

  • 2007 January


    2007 January


    BKD helps form Praxity, AISBL—the world’s largest alliance of independent accounting firms. As a member, BKD shares knowledge, provides specialized global support, and collaborates with colleagues of other highly rated firms around the world while remaining independent and committed to Unmatched Client Service.

  • 2007 February

    2007 February

    Neal Spencer Confirmed as CEO

    BKD restructures into four regions overseen by regional managing partners.

  • 2008 June

    2008 June

    BKD Expands to Mississippi

    BKD acquires three accounting firms in Jackson, Mississippi: Smith, Turner & Reeves; Johnson, Bruce & Host; and Shearer, Taylor & Co. BKD becomes the second-largest CPA and advisory firm in Jackson and third-largest in Mississippi.

  • 2008 July

    2008 July

    BKD Growth

    BKD acquires The Hanke Group, P.C., in San Antonio, Texas.

  • 2009 June

    2009 June

    BKD Growth

    BKD acquires KBA Group in Dallas, Texas.

  • 2009 October

    2009 October

    The BKD Experience, Second Edition

    BKD unveils an updated edition of The BKD Experience: Unmatched Client Service.

  • 2011


    BKD Expands to Waco

    BKD acquires Parrish, Moody & Fikes, P.C., in Waco, Texas.

  • 2012 June

    Ted Dickman

    2012 June

    Ted Dickman Confirmed as CEO

    Under his leadership, BKD continues to expand its national footprint.

  • 2013 May

    2013 May

    90 Years in Business

    BKD commemorates nine decades of delivering Unmatched Client Service with a firmwide celebration and new ads focusing on the special anniversary.

  • 2013 May

    2013 May

    The BKD Experience, Third Edition

    BKD unveils an updated edition of The BKD Experience: Unmatched Client Service in conjunction with the firm’s 90th anniversary celebration.

  • 2013 September

    2013 September

    BKD Growth

    BKD opens new offices in Des Moines, Iowa, and Nashville, Tennessee. In September, the firm expands northeast after acquiring Malin Bergquist in Erie and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

  • 2014 February

    2014 February

    Diversity Initiative

    BKD launches its SKY Initiative to help identify and remove cultural barriers and biases that prevent personnel from realizing their potential.

  • 2014


    BKD Growth

    BKD acquires Wolf & Company in September, adding Chicago to the firm’s national footprint.

  • 2015 December

    2015 December

    BKD Growth

    BKD acquires Peterson, Peterson & Goss, expanding BKD’s Wichita, Kansas, practice.

  • 2016

    2016 Top 25 Firms


    Record-Breaking Year

    BKD achieves two milestones at the end of the fiscal year:

    • BKD National Health Care Group exceeds $100 million in industry revenue, helping elevate BKD to #12 on INSIDE Public Accounting’s list of Top 25 Firms.
    • BKD surpasses $500 million in total revenue ($538M).
  • 2016


    BKD Growth

    BKD acquires Kiesling Associates LLP in December, increasing BKD’s geographic footprint to 35 locations in 16 states.

  • 2017 June

    2017 June

    BKD Growth

    BKD acquires Paragon Audit & Consulting, Inc. in Denver, Colorado. The firm’s office count increases to 36 with the opening of a second Chicago practice.

  • 2017 July

    2017 July

    Brand Update

    Brand personas Kate and Ben launch the firm’s award-winning marketing identity. They exemplify the mission, values, and client service standards shared throughout the firm.

  • 2017 October

    Eric Hansen AICPA

    2017 October

    Hansen Promoted to AICPA Chair

    Chief Operating Officer Eric Hansen is elected to serve as the 105th Chair of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). Prior to this role, Hansen served on the institute’s Governing Council and board. He is the first BKD partner to chair the AICPA.

  • 2018 January

    2018 January

    Financial Services Expertise

    BKD acquires the financial services industry practice of Harper & Pearson Company, P.C., in Houston, Texas.

  • 2018 May

    2018 May

    Audit Quality Report

    BKD releases its first audit quality report. “The Importance of Quality: Our Commitment to Integrity & Excellence” highlights the firm’s policies and practices, demonstrating how our distinct culture is foundational to providing valuable services.

  • 2018 June

    2018 June

    Advancing in Kansas & Texas

    BKD acquires a portion of the Wichita, Kansas, audit and tax practices at Grant Thornton LLP as well as the office of Rylander, Clay & Opitz, LLP in Fort Worth, Texas.

  • 2018 July

    2018 July

    BKD Debuts in New York City

    BKD extends its reach to the Empire State when it acquires Loeb & Troper LLP in New York City, New York.

  • 2018 October


    2018 October

    BKD Launches Innovation Program

    BKD launches its firmwide innovation program, BKD EDGE. Reflecting our legacy of Principled Innovation, this initiative leverages resources and tools from across the firm to develop new solutions for meeting client needs.

  • 2019 January

    2019 January

    Fourth Edition of the BKD Experience

    The BKD Experience: Unmatched Client Service is updated to celebrate the firm’s 95-year history and increased focus on Principled Innovation.

  • 2019 June

    2019 June

    BKD Growth

    BKD acquires Stayner Bates, P.C., in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Teegardin & Associates CPAs in Austin, Texas. The firm’s office count increases to 40 locations in 18 states.

  • 2019 June

    BKD Capital Advisors, LLC

    2019 June

    Adapting to Market Changes

    BKD Corporate Finance, LLC celebrates 25 years and rebrands as BKD Capital Advisors, LLC.

  • 2020 January

    Private Client Services

    2020 January

    Focused on Service

    BKD Private Client Services becomes a firmwide specialty group similar to BKD's seven core national industry groups.

  • 2020 April

    COVID-19 Response Guidance

    2020 April

    Pandemic Milestone

    BKD releases COVID-19 Response Guidance.

  • 2020 April

    BKD Acquires Portion of Grant Thornton's Municipal Government Audit Practice

    2020 April

    BKD Growth

    BKD acquires a portion of Grant Thornton's municipal government audit practice, mostly in Texas and Oklahoma.

  • 2020 May

    Stand Against Racism

    2020 May

    Standing Together

    BKD issues public stance against racism.

  • 2020 June

    CampbellWilson has Joined BKD

    2020 June

    BKD Growth

    BKD acquires CampbellWilson, LLP—a Dallas-based firm specializing in healthcare regulatory consulting.

  • 2020 June

    National Commercial Services Group

    2020 June

    A Name for Growing Capabilities

    BKD National Manufacturing & Distribution Group rebrands as BKD National Commercial Services Group.

  • 2020 June

    COVID-19 Giving Campaign

    2020 June

    COVID-19 Giving Campaign

    The BKD Foundation, partners, and employees raise more than $500,000 for local food banks and United Way chapters.

  • 2020 October

    Chief Operating Officer Abe Cole

    2020 October

    Introducing BKD’s Next COO

    BKD North Region Managing Partner Abe Cole is announced as the next chief operating officer after the retirement of former AICPA chair and BKD COO Eric Hansen.

  • 2021 January

    Chief Practice Officer Rob Pruitt

    2021 January

    New Leadership Position

    Rob Pruitt is named BKD’s first chief practice officer. His primary responsibilities include overseeing the organic growth activities of the firm and providing executive leadership, sponsorship, coordination, and guidance.

  • 2021 March

    BKD acquires Hamernik LLC

    2021 March

    BKD Growth

    BKD acquires Hamernik LLC, an Indianapolis-based firm specializing in restructuring and business advisory services.

  • 2021 April

    BKD acquires Strategic Sourcing Results

    2021 April

    BKD Growth

    BKD acquires Strategic Sourcing Results, a Chicago-based firm specializing in healthcare supply chain consulting. 

  • 2021 June

    Chief Executive Officer Tom Watson

    2021 June

    Watson Becomes CEO

    Tom Watson begins his tenure as BKD’s next chief executive officer, replacing the retiring Ted Dickman.

  • 2021 June

    SKY Chair Rachel Dwiggins

    2021 June

    Diversity Initiative

    Rachel Dwiggins succeeds retiring Wendy Henry as SKY Chair to further develop BKD’s diversity and inclusion initiative.

  • 2021 June

    BKD Private Client is introduced

    2021 June

    BKD Private Client 

    BKD Private Client is introduced. BKD Private Client is a firmwide specialty group dedicated to helping high-net-worth individuals and families, businesses, and foundations thrive through complexity and continual change. Our suites of services include financial planning and investment management, consultative tax, and family office.

  • 2022 January

    BKD Expands into Phoenix Arizona

    2022 January

    BKD Growth

    BKD acquires Schmidt Westergard & Company, PLLC, in Mesa, Arizona. The firm’s office count increases to 41 locations in 19 states.

  • 2022 March

    BKD acquires Ledgeview Partners in Appleton, Wisconsin

    2022 March

    BKD Growth

    BKD acquires Ledgeview Partners in Appleton, Wisconsin. The firm's office count increases to 42 locations in 19 states.

At BKD, we believe being an advisor who’s earned your trust is as much about character as it is expertise. It only takes a glance through our history to see the ways character is essential to the foundation of BKD’s long-term growth. That’s why we’re confident the same BKD PRIDE that has served our clients so well over the years will continue to benefit generations to come.

Ready to learn how BKD can help build on your legacy of success?

Kate & Ben — How can we help you? Contact Us!

How can we help you?