Strong professional services sector supports growth of NKY’s key industries

By Lorie Hailey

The Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati region is rife with business and professional services firms that help meet the needs of the region’s key industries.

From accounting and IT services to brand marketing and waste disposal and more, Northern Kentucky is stocked with business and professional services talent to help meet the needs of the region’s key industries – advanced logistics, eCommerce and manufacturing, among others.

A strong professional services sector is crucial to the local economy and plays a large role in recruiting companies to Northern Kentucky, said Lee Crume, president and CEO of Northern Kentucky Tri-ED, the region’s economic development corporation.

“Professional services are incredibly important and Northern Kentucky has a strong presence of IT consulting, accounting and legal firms in the region,” Crume said. “These services are especially important when our economic development team is working with foreign companies – they want to know that they can find trusted and experienced advisors locally.”

The professional services sector has seen steady growth in recent years, and it has been identified as one of several optimal business clusters for the region by local economic development leaders. Service firms provide back-office support, such as human resources and payroll services; accounting services and financial software; managed IT and cybersecurity needs; financial advisory expertise; and national marketing and brand development skill.

Business and professional services is one of the optimal business targets identified in Covington’s economic development strategy. The plan, developed by consulting firm Garner Economics of Atlanta, said “All Things Office” and new-collar jobs are optimal targets for Covington’s recruiting efforts. Those companies include business and administrative services; creative design and services; software publishers; IT and computer systems design; data processing and hosting; internet publishing and web portals; financial, insurance and health care technology and related customer service; architectural and engineering services; and logistics consulting.

Both small and large CPA firms provide services in Northern Kentucky, from family-owned companies to firms with footprints in multiple states.

MCM CPAs & Advisors, one of the largest CPA firms in Kentucky, also serves the Greater Cincinnati region. It has 65 staff members in its Cincinnati office (also serving clients in Northern Kentucky), including 35 CPAs, providing specialized tax, audit and advisory services to a broad range of clients and industries.

“Many of our clients in the area have international business needs or are in the hospitality, real estate or construction industries,” said Brad Smith, MCM managing partner. “Northern Kentucky is a great region for growing a business with its talented workforce, real estate opportunities and international airport.”

MCM’s clients are from all over the U.S. and world. The firm offers expertise in audit and assurance services, tax planning, business valuation, litigation support, fraud examination, business startup and consulting for non-profit, public and privately held organizations, and individuals. It has six offices in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana, and expects to expand its regional footprint.

“We want to be problem solvers who come up with solutions and help clients navigate the opportunities and challenges that keep them up at night,” Smith said.

The firm offers a more individualized and holistic approach to solving those challenges, he said.

MCM had many changes and much growth in 2019. Smith was named managing partner and the former managing partner assumed the role of executive chairman. The firm also adopted a new brand identity and launched a new website.


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“We wanted a more up-to-date identity that communicated our history, core values and the new energy that will drive us forward in our mission to help both our team and clients succeed,” Smith said.

BKD CPAs & Advisors is another firm that serves the region, providing tax accounting and audit solutions to clients in construction, real estate, financial services, health care, manufacturing, not-for-profit, hospitality and insurance industries. BKD staff members are involved in the Greater Cincinnati community, volunteering with community service organizations and serving on numerous boards and committees.

CPA and business advisory firm VonLehman & Co. was founded in 1946. It has offices in Fort Wright as well as Cincinnati and Indianapolis. In addition to accounting and audit services, VonLehman offers strategic business advice to several sectors that drive the regional economy, including manufacturing and distribution, construction and real estate, nonprofits, health care, and professional services.

Some of the other local accounting firms include: Van Gorder, Walker & Co. in Erlanger; Thomas Lonnemann CPA in Florence; Anneken, Huey & Moser in Highland Heights; Bressler & Co. in Covington; Munninghoff, Lange & Co. in Covington; and others.

Mailing, information technology and more

From mailing to IT needs and more, there’s a service firm for that in Northern Kentucky.

Located in Florence since 1992, DataMark Mailing Services is a full-service mailing house that specializes in direct mail marketing, mailing lists, fulfillment and data processing, among other services. Across the river in Cincinnati, Addressed for Success is a full-service printing and direct mail company serving the region since 1995. Newport-based Steinhauser, a fourth-generation family business that is now 100% woman-owned, is a printer of custom labels for consumer packaged goods.

If sustainability is your goal, Close the Loop in Hebron helps companies enhance corporate social responsibility programs. It designs and manages highly efficient ink and toner take-back, recovery, and reuse programs, and helps companies find ways to minimize waste.

Best Way Disposal in Burlington specializes in the collection and transportation of commercial, industrial, construction and demolition waste. It has updated its fleet to fully automated trucks for commercial and residential collection, which reduced its total number of trucks on the road and lowered emissions.

Informatics is a burgeoning sector in Northern Kentucky, and the region is rich in information technology services firms to meet those needs.

C-Forward based in Covington provides IT consulting services to small and midsize businesses.

The company is active in the community, sponsoring events and investing in the region’s growth. C-Forward recently sponsored two huge Northern Kentucky tourism events, Kentucky’s Edge and BLINK.

“There is so much excitement and momentum in Northern Kentucky right now,” said Brian Ruschman, president of C-Forward. “We are proud to be a part of it all.”

Another technology services provider in the region is Vivitec in Fort Mitchell. Vivitec began in 2015, and its team specializes in cybersecurity services and completely managed IT. Its entire approach is to be easy to work with, earn trust, deliver business value, minimize issues, and secure information and assets.

Titan Tech, a Cincinnati-based firm, started in 2006 with a mission to help individuals and small businesses make the most of their technology investments. It designs custom-built, cost-effective and comprehensive IT solutions.

Red Hawk Technologies in Newport has grown 450% since it was established in May 2008. Its 12 employees have experience working at the intersection of marketing and technology. The company specializes in workflow automation, sales enablement and system integration. It also serves as the outsourced innovation team for several client IT and marketing teams.

Some of the other IT-related providers in Northern Kentucky include: ISOCNET in Florence; EMERGE IT Solutions in Erlanger; Prolocity in Covington; 3z.net in Covington; Systems Insight Inc. of Covington; Nexigen of Newport; and CMIT Solutions of Florence.

Northern Kentucky companies also benefit from the proximity to large professional services agencies located across the river in Cincinnati, Tri-ED’s Crume said.

“With the Kroger and Procter & Gamble headquarters across the river, we have a strong community of consumer branding, analytics and consulting services that are attractive to many of the companies in Northern Kentucky,” he said.


Brad Smith, Managing Partner, MCM

MCM CPAs & Advisors

201 East Fifth Street

Suite 2100

Cincinnati, OH 45202

(513) 579-1717

mcmcpa.com

MCM is a regional accounting firm that exists to help both its clients and team succeed. It provides a wide range of services and expertise in audit, tax and business advisory that go beyond traditional accounting services to help our clients thrive. MCM helps privately and publicly held businesses and individuals across the region, and throughout the country, identify opportunities and anticipate challenges, from all angles. Our clients receive personalized attention and local access from national-level talent.

 MCM is regularly recognized as one of the United States’ top 100 CPA firms, as ranked annually by Accounting Today and Inside Public Accounting (IPA). Its offices are located Cincinnati, OH; Louisville and Lexington, KY; and Indianapolis and Jeffersonville, IN.


Jon Stewart, President/CEO

Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance (KEMI)

250 W. Main St., Suite 900,

Lexington, KY 40507-1724

(859) 425-7800

kemi.com

Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance (KEMI) is the largest provider of workers’ compensation insurance in Kentucky, providing coverage to more than 23,000 policyholders in all 120 counties of the state. We provide exceptional underwriting, safety education and claims services to our policyholders. This, combined with our competitive pricing, responsible financial management and a focus on innovation, makes KEMI the provider of choice for Kentucky businesses. We are proud to have earned and maintained an “excellent” rating by A.M. Best.

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