The Davenport-based accounting firms of Oelerich, Reiling & Miller (ORM) and Centennial Tax & Accounting have merged under the Centennial name.
The partnership, announced in a Dec. 31 news release, combines ORM with Centennial, a firm owned by Northwest Bank & Trust Co. The merger – the latest in a string of accounting firm acquisitions by Northwest Bank – will allow the partners to expand their expertise and combine resources to connect their clients to financial opportunities.
“We are thrilled to have Rick Oelerich, Doug Reiling and the ORM team join Centennial Tax & Accounting,” said Adam Pelzer, Northwest Bank’s CFO and Centennial executive, who helped orchestrate the merger. “They are an excellent fit for our entrepreneurial culture and our commitment to client service.”
With their combined efforts, Northwest Bank and Centennial offer a full range of financial services. The Davenport-based Northwest will provide the capital for Centennial Tax & Accounting as well as administrative duties.
“I’m proud of the firm that we built over the past 45 years,” said Rick Oelerich, ORM’s president, who now joins Centennial. “We believe that our combined resources and talent position us to confidently serve the needs of our clients well into the future.”
With the addition of eight ORM staff, Centennial has 26 local professionals serving 5,500 clients, said Northwest President and CEO Joe Slavens.
The firm plans to continue serving individuals, not-for-profits and small businesses in the Quad Cities. Together, Centennial’s team has more than 400 years of combined expertise in tax, accounting, payroll and advisory services.
While the Quad Cities also is home to larger accounting firms that operate regionally, nationally and even internationally, Mr. Slavens said “Our goal is to be the top local firm in client service delivery to the Quad Cities. We have our eyes entirely on the Quad Cities.”
Mr. Pelzer said the deal establishes Centennial as one of the top three locally-owned accounting firms. “It’s a reflection of our commitment to be local and keep those clients and dollars inside the market,” he said.
He estimated the deal took nearly three months to complete. Details of the financial transaction were not disclosed.
The ORM team will continue to work in their Brady Street offices for the immediate future, but eventually it will join the Centennial team at the Northwest Bank NorthPark Tower.
Northwest became the first Quad Cities bank with full accounting services in 2019 when it created Centennial with its Jan. 1, 2019, acquisition of Blair, Westfall & Co., a firm that had provided services to the bank and its clients, Mr. Slavens said.
Centennial grew quickly through its merger with Pyle Scott & Associates in 2020 (including its predecessor’s firm James K. Schnoor, CPA). Then in 2021, CPAs Dave Schebler and Randy Sovey brought their decades of experience to Centennial including time as partners in Huckfeldt & Smith. Through its various predecessors and mergers, Centennial traces its roots back to 1979.
According to Mr. Slavens, the bank’s leadership recognized a trend in the accounting field of smaller firms and individual accountants who were looking to transition out of business ownership but still very interested in continuing their work advising clients. “We’re supporting small business and we’re also a platform for these retiring partners…”
While much of the firm’s growth has come from late career professionals, Mr. Pelzer also sees an opportunity to recruit young professionals who might want to grow their careers without having to transfer to another market to do so. “Here, they can offer the same level of services and it provides an option to stay in the Quad Cities and stay focused on this market,” he added.