There are many things that attribute to making a company successful – pursuing a mission, employing a great team and retaining talent, focusing on customers and exceeding their expectations, and even adapting to new technology in this ever-changing society. For decades, Odom, Moses & Company, LLP has climbed the ladder of success and continues to go above and beyond for their clients and community as they celebrate 70 years of business.
Odom, Moses & Company, a certified public accounting, and financial advisory brokerage firm planted its roots in Lake City on June 1, 1951, in the People’s Hardware Building on Marion Street in downtown Lake City. When the firm first began, it was originally called Darby, Darby and Odom, which was named after the founding partner, Drakon B. “Hayes” Odom, and his two initial partners, C. Dwight Darby and Richard E. Darby. Ralph Abrahamsen, LeRoy T. Knapp and Fredrick E. Fisher were added as partners later that same decade. In the following years, James Lackey, Earl Gause, Philip J. Moses, Jr. and G. David Brewer were admitted as partners.
“When I was offered the job in August of 1972, the company at the time was named Darby, Darby, and Odom,” says Philip J. Moses, Jr., Managing Partner of Odom, Moses & Company. “The firm was very prestigious and well respected throughout North Florida. In the beginning, we served many business clients in the Lake City and Live Oak area as well as performed the audit for the University of Florida.”
Philip explains that Columbia County, at the time, was a very small community and began to grow when the two interstates began to attract more business to the area. Many of the businesses during this generation were owned by World War II Veterans that had come home to start their businesses and firms.
“These men and women were of high moral character and worked very hard to provide for their families,” Philip says. “I believe they established the foundation and integrity that has made Lake City a desirable place for us to live.”
In 1980, the firm was reorganized and renamed to Odom, Moses & Company and continued as a certified public accounting firm until the business expanded in 1999 by partnering with Raymond James. While Odom, Moses & Company continued its tax and accounting services, it was also now available to offer financial and investment planning. Partners today are Philip Moses, Cammy Scott, Tammy Hall, Patricia Stuart, Deserrai Goosen, Clarence Brown and Charlie Cowen. “Though I am still a CPA, I began providing financial services in 1999 and initially had $10 million in assets under management,” Philip says. “Today, we currently have $725 million in assets under management. We have experienced compound growth of 20% per year since we began providing financial services. We also provide comprehensive financial services to these clients as well as managing their assets. Our staff of 23 professionals and paraprofessionals also prepare over 1,000 tax returns to clients throughout the United States.”
Today, Odom, Moses & Company services over 1,300 families within 29 states throughout the country. Through its affiliation with Raymond James, the company has evolved from an accounting firm providing financial services to a financial services firm providing accounting and income tax services. “When I first started, we were still using DOS,” says Cammy Scott, who started at Odom, Moses & Company 28 years ago and is now a Partner at the firm. “About a month later, David started us on Windows. I can remember having to exit a program to open the email program because you could only have one program at a time open.”
As the business grew over the years, the company adapted with the times and started filing tax returns electronically around 1999, Cammy explains. And now, they actively encourage their clients to make tax payments electronically as well.
“We are planners by nature,” says Tammy Hall, who has been with the firm for 26 years and is also a Partner at the firm. “As CPA’s and financial advisors, we are just planners by nature, so we are always planning for the future.”
In December 2015, the firm relocated its business to the newly constructed building and current location along Highway 90 in Lake City.
“When we built this building, we built it with the thought of growth in services, staff and expansion of facilities eventually. However, with how times have changed, especially with more transition to virtual, we see our ability to serve all of our clients wherever they may be at without having to have additional locations,” says Patricia Stuart, who is a partner and has been with the firm for 25 years.
Between the firm’s seven partners, there is a big diversity in age and expertise, but all the partners are long term, local residents whose families have grown up in the community. Having familiar faces and local support is why the partners feel there is a lot of continuity among the staff.
Philip has been with the firm now for several decades and gets asked frequently if he has any plans to retire. He explained that he and his wife, Sarai, try to travel often and spend time in the town of Suwannee on the Gulf of Mexico and they have a small home on the Santa Fe River, and he doesn’t have any plans to retire soon.
“Consequently, I love my practice, partners, staff and most importantly, our clients,” Philip says. “And I plan to serve them as long as I am mentally and physically able. My father, Philip Sr., who was a forester, worked until he was 90 years old and had a wonderful life serving his clients, and I would like to do the same.”
Employee Longevity at Odom, Moses & Company
For professional accountants and financial advisors, numbers and consistency are a big deal. And when it comes to employee longevity and retaining employee talent, Odom, Moses & Company is proud of this accomplishment.
The average years of service for all 23 employees, including the seven partners, is 17.3 years. And to break the numbers down even further – the average years of Odom, Moses & Company’s staff is 12.4 years, and 19 years for the partners.
“We have at least five employees that have worked for us, left for continued education or other personal commitments, and come back,” Tammy says. “I think that shows the company’s commitment to its employees, our commitment to our clients and therefore, our relationships with those clients are why these employees come back. We provide service above and beyond. We exceed our clients’ expectations.”
Giving Back to the Community
Odom, Moses & Company has deep-rooted ties to Lake City, and the partners and staff firmly believe in the value of relationships. They view every client relationship like a partnership and many clients have been with the firm for over 30 years.
The partners and staff strongly believe in giving back to our community and each year the firm contributes approximately $70,000 to charitable organizations throughout our communities, and in the past have participated as a team in community fundraising events such as Relay for Life, Hunger Fight, and March for Babies.
Last November, the staff put together and donated 50 shoeboxes to Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child. In addition to their websites, Odom, Moses & Company, and Raymond James have grown their social media presence with Facebook and LinkedIn. Beginning last year, client meetings have been held via Zoom or teleconference to continue providing excellent service while supporting social distancing. In-person meetings take place in disinfected conference rooms, with facemasks.
Additionally, with this year being Odom, Moses & Company’s 70th anniversary, they decided to donate $7,000 to Catholic Charities and will be giving two high-school scholarships in the amount of $700 each to one student at Columbia High School and Fort White High School.
“It’s important to us to express how much we appreciate the community’s support of us because not only do our employees not leave us, our clients don’t leave either – so we appreciate our client’s commitment to us as their financial professional and all the relationships we’ve created in our community,” Tammy says.
In Memory of Mr. Odom
Drakon B. “Hayes” Odom was a driving force in the business and is therefore still a lasting part of the company. After serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II, Mr. Odom graduated with High Honors from the University of Florida in 1947 and joined their faculty, serving as professor of accounting. Mr. Odom was the very first Certified Public Accountant between Jacksonville and Tallahassee and was appointed by the Governor to the State Board of Accountancy. He also served as President of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants from 1970-1971. In 2001, Mr. Odom was recognized as an Honorary Member for fifty years of membership to the American Institute of Public Accountants. After a long and distinguished career and having served as an active civic and political leader in our community for more than 50 years, Mr. Odom died March 6, 2007.
BEST MEMORY QUOTES FROM ODOM MOSES PARTNERS
“My best memories are when we have completed a financial plan for a client approaching retirement. We give them the confidence and the assurance their plan is successful and tell them to enjoy their retirement and not worry. We also have completed other planning for them including estate documents, adequate insurance to protect their assets and many other strategies. It takes time for them to believe in our planning but once they do, they relax and thank us for having the peace of mind around their finances. Our staff works hard to be sure everything works smoothly for these clients. This experience repeated many times for our clients and many friends is extremely rewarding.”
– Philip Moses, Jr., CPA/PFS
“There are so many memories that come to mind. Our clients tend to become like family as we know so many of the personal details of their lives. It is the same with our employees. We have celebrated marriages, births and graduations as well as mourned their losses. Becoming a CPA has been rewarding in so many aspects but making partner is my best memory with moving into our current office being a close second.”
– Cammy Scott, CPA
“Among my best memories over my career are the heartfelt expressions of appreciation from clients that I guided through a personal life changing event. For some it was retirement, loss of a close family member, dissolution of marriage and other major life events. They have become more than just a client, they are extended family. Helping to make a difference in someone’s life when they are at their most vulnerable is the most rewarding experience.”
– Tammy Hall, CPA/PFS
“There is a lot of work and people involved in our client relationships. I feel very fortunate that as a partner and advisor I get to see firsthand the impact this work has in helping clients make the best financial decisions. This is truly a very rewarding aspect of my job and it’s what continues to inspire me.”
– Clarence Brown, CFP
“As a ‘trusted advisor’, you develop an understanding of your clients that deepens over time. This is especially true here at Odom, Moses & Company where we pay particular attention to the needs of our clients. In my 25 years with the firm, I have been fortunate to develop relationships with many special individuals. My best memories include talking with a few special now departed clients about their earlier days. Sharing those stories brought joy to the teller and to me. To a person, I can still see the twinkle in their eyes as they talked fondly about days gone by. I continue to forge similar relationships with existing and new clients. I am thankful for the mentorship and opportunity to serve in this role afforded me by our senior partner, Philip J. Moses, Jr.
Working here can also be highly stressful, due to the nature of the continuously evolving tax laws and our firm commitment to the highest quality of work. As we individually, and as a firm continue to forge the path forward to find the right answer and deliver the best product, we achieve a sense of fulfillment in the quest. That is especially rewarding when our clients acknowledge our efforts. I happily remember Lenvil Dicks reading one of my many letters to the IRS on his behalf; and saying, “your English teacher would have been proud.” Moments like that make it all worthwhile.”
– Patricia Stuart, CPA
” One of the best memories of my career was the first time I was able to sign CPA after my name. I worked at Odom, Moses & Company through college as a single mother and dreamed of finally graduating and passing the CPA exam. To finally be able to sign CPA was a dream come true.”
– Deserrai Goosen, CPA
” My best memory is the day I found out I was going to be named a partner of our firm. I was excited for the opportunity to continue to serve our clients and employees through a new leadership role. One of my favorite aspects of this role is helping our clients prepare for some of the biggest decisions of their life – including when to retire – as well as continuing to walk side by side with them once they make those decisions.”
– Charlie Cowen, CPA
ODOM MOSES & COMPANY: EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT
Philip J. Moses, Jr., CPA/PFS, was born and raised in Lake City and graduated from Spring Hill College with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting in 1971. Shortly afterwards, he obtained his CPA certificate and joined the firm. He became managing partner of Odom, Moses & Company in 1987. In 1999, through his new affiliation with Raymond James, he began providing financial planning and investment services to clients. Philip holds Series 7, 9, 10, 31, and 66 securities licenses as well as a Personal Financial Specialist certification. He has been named to Raymond James’ Chairman’s Council annually for more than 10 years and has served on several local foundation boards, including Florida Gateway College.
Cammy L. Scott, CPA, graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in 1993, with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in Accounting and Information Systems. Cammy holds Series 7 and 65 securities licenses and has been with the firm since August 1993. She provides superior accounting and tax planning services to meet the specialized needs of the firm’s business clients. Cammy supports several non-profit organizations in our area.
Tammy D. Hall, CPA, has lived in Lake City most of her life and has been a trusted advisor for the firm’s clients for over 26 years. Tammy graduated with honors from the University of North Florida with a degree in Business Administration in Accounting. She has been a CPA since 1999 and is a certified Personal Financial Specialist. Tammy holds Series 7, 9, 10, 31, and 65 securities licenses. Tammy provides comprehensive financial planning and specializes in estate planning and wealth management. She is active in Altrusa International and supports several nonprofit organizations including The Foundation for Florida Gateway College.
Patricia B. Stuart, CPA, is a lifelong resident of Lake City and graduated with Honors from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Patricia received the AICPA Elijah Watt Sells certificate for her performance on the Certified Public Accounting exam in 1993 and she holds a Series 7 license. She joined the firm in 1996 and provides a broad range of accounting and tax planning solutions for our clients. Patricia is also a QuickBooks Online Certified ProAdvisor. She supports local Habitat for Humanity and other non-profit organizations.
Deserrai Goosen, CPA, joined the firm in 2000 and was named partner in 2014. She graduated with Honors from the University of Florida in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and in 2003 with a Master of Accounting. She is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a Series 7 securities license. Deserrai provides tax and accounting services to individuals and business clients. She serves on the board of Columbia County Senior Services and supports local non-profit organizations.
Clarence E. Brown, III, CFP, is a Lake City native and graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Accounting. Clarence is a professional Certified Financial Planner and holds a Series 7 securities license. He enjoys assisting clients with investment and retirement planning emphasizing the importance of diversification and long term planning. Clarence serves in the community through his position on the Business and Economic Development Council for the Lake City Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, and The Foundation for Florida Gateway College.
Charlie D. Cowen, Jr., CPA, is a Lake City native and graduated from the University of Florida in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and then earned a Master of Accountancy from the University of North Florida. Charlie joined the team in 2006 and was named partner in 2020. He holds Series 7 and 66 securities licenses. He assists clients with 401(k) planning as well as investment and retirement planning. Charlie is on the Board of Directors of United Way of Suwannee Valley and supports other non-profit organizations.
Odom, Moses & Company’s partners highly value each member of the team as essential in their role of providing excellent service to its clients:
• Kim Bauman is the Staff Accountant and has been with the firm for over 20 years. She is a QuickBooks expert and sets up training for clients in addition to her accounting responsibilities.
• Angie Oglesby is a Raymond James financial representative and has been with the firm since 1999. She has a Series 7 securities license and helps provide comprehensive financial planning to clients, among other responsibilities.
• April Janson has been with the firm for 20 years as an Administrative Assistant. She offers a diverse background of professional experience and knowledge having held previous administrative support positions in the health insurance, real estate, and banking industries.
• Debbie Bedell had a previous career in banking before relocating to Lake City. She has been with the firm since 2005 and supports advisors as a Client Manager. Debbie enjoys working with detailed processes and assisting clients.
• Ashley Summers is a Raymond James financial representative and has been with the firm since 2008. She has a Series 7 securities license and assists clients with retirement planning and investment planning.
• Megan Edwards is the Bookkeeping Administrator, and she has been with the firm for 9 years. She supervises the payroll and bookkeeping department among other duties.
• Jenny Hosford joined the firm in 2013 and as a Client Manager, she supports the advisors and assists clients. Jenny enjoys making a difference in the lives of others.
• Nicole Harris has been with the firm for 6 years and supports the CPAs and bookkeepers. She facilitates daily operations and has a vital role in the processing of tax returns and data entry.
• Amy Latinka has been with OMC since 2015 as a Staff Accountant and she works with payroll, bookkeeping and tax returns.
• Katie Sessions joined the firm in 2016 and is a Financial Advisor. She has Series 7 and Series 66 securities licenses and assists clients in planning and reaching their financial goals.
• Terri Ursomarso is the company’s receptionist, and her role is vital as the “face” of the company at her desk in the lobby. She has been with the firm since 2017 and her organizational skills and ability to handle multiple tasks gracefully is much appreciated by everyone at OMC.
• Crystal Singletary joined the firm in 2017 and is Administrative Assistant to Philip J. Moses, Jr. Her
organizational skills and willingness to help make her a valuable team member.
• Myranda Labree is a bookkeeper and joined the firm in 2018. She works with payroll and bookkeeping.
• Lauren Beadles joined the firm in 2018 with a background in banking. She has a Series 7 securities license and supports the advisors in helping clients identify and reach their financial goals.
• Christy Milligan has been with the firm since 2018. She has a Series 7 securities license and has a heart for helping people and assists the advisors as a Client Manager.
• Beth Baures is the newest member of our team. She supports the financial advisors as a Client Manager and is excited about making a difference as she helps serve our clients.