In 1983, in the middle of an economic recession, two young CPAs left the security of a “Big Eight” accounting firm and hung a shingle on a small office in West Knoxville, Tennessee. Within a span of less than 10 years, PYA (Pershing Yoakley & Associates, PC) had outgrown its office space twice and set its sights on renovating a former school to further accommodate its rapid growth in the healthcare industry. By 2010, the Firm again was “bursting at the seams,” and fittingly, renovated a former textile mill, a nearly 200,000 square foot campus, in which to move its headquarters.
In its more than 30-year span, the Firm and its affiliates have grown from only three employees to more than 350, including the successful affiliated companies—Realty Trust Group (RTG); Healthcare Horizons Consulting Group, Inc.; and PYA Waltman Capital, LLC. The Firm has grown to include additional offices in Atlanta, Nashville, Tampa, and Kansas City to better serve its more than 3,500 clients in 50 states and the Virgin Islands.
From the beginning, PYA has been built on “Vision Beyond the Numbers,” outstanding client service, and strong community involvement. Developing long-term client relationships has always been among the Firm’s main goals, and personal service and commitment to each client’s success have been foundational principles in PYA’s culture. In addition, the Firm donates thousands of hours each year to improving the communities in which its offices are located.
“Personal service and commitment” isn’t just a tagline, it is an integral practice of the Firm. Among the first healthcare providers that PYA assisted was a community hospital, to successfully establish an internist and a pediatrician to help address the area’s critical shortage of physicians. Co-founder Ed Pershing loaded his father’s pickup truck with medical and office equipment and supplies and met them as they were moving in to help set up both physicians’ offices. Together, they all unloaded the truck, forming life-long bonds with the two doctors and their families. To this day, they laugh as they share stories of “moving-in day.”
One of PYA’s first major clients was a large regional medical center. Finding itself in the middle of industry changes and facing declining financial performance and market share, the medical center reached out to PYA and requested the Firm serve as advisors. Over the ensuing years, the medical center completely reversed its downward trends and became the region’s largest health system. It remains a PYA client today – more than 30 years after it first engaged the Firm.
There are many more stories like those we could share; and, as PYA continues to grow, many more in the making. Today, PYA is consistently ranked among the Top 20 healthcare consulting firms in the U.S., is ranked third-highest female ownership among Top 100 Accounting Firms by Inside Public Accounting, and is a Top 15 auditor of the nation’s largest health systems. It has been recognized nationally as a trusted resource whose team of industry experts, thought leaders, “big problem” solvers, and strategic thinkers and doers is touted for its extensive breadth and depth of experience.
The first “shingle” the founding owners hung at the Firm’s inception is displayed in the lobby at PYA. It serves as a reminder of where the journey began; the opportunities that lie ahead; and, as all the PYA owners believe, “the best that is yet to come!”