Much has been made of the centennial celebration of Borland Benefield, and most of the focus of the celebration has been centered around the firm’s Birmingham office, but since 1984 the Florence office of Borland Benefield has been quietly churning out quality accounting services to clients in northwest Alabama.
The Florence branch began when David Crawford – a shareholder in the Birmingham office, saw an opportunity.
“Mr. Crawford had a lot of friends in the Florence area, and he felt it made sense for the firm to locate an office there,” says Dena Davis, Borland Benefield shareholder and current manager of the Florence office. “He was looking for a way to extend the firm’s reach at that time, so the move made a lot of sense.”
After a bit of preparation, the Florence office found its home on the fifth floor of the former SouthTrust building.
The Word of a Friend
At that time, Dena Davis was in school at the University of North Alabama, studying accounting and computer information systems.
“I knew for sure in college that I wanted to end up in accounting,” she says with a laugh, “because I knew that CIS was not for me.” After a stint in the private sector, Dena sought an opportunity in public accounting. It was pure serendipity that led her to Borland Benefield.
“I had a friend that had a graduate class with someone that worked at Borland Benefield. They gave me a call, and I landed at the Florence office in November of 1995,” says Dena. “I feel like the firm’s commitment to their clients and the quality that commitment generates is a key reason why I and so many others have stayed with them.”
The talent does tend to stay at Borland Benefield for a long time, but in 2005, when the shareholder and managing director of the Florence office took another position, Dena was asked to take over the Florence office.
A New Home
After 37 years, it was time for the Florence office to stretch its legs and find a new home.
In November of 2021, they moved into a free-standing location at 313 West College Street, just a few blocks from their former home.
“We’re a small team,” Dena comments, “but I couldn’t be more proud of what we do here. We deliver a full array of accounting services such as tax returns, auditing, consulting, and tax planning to many entities – law firms, medical practices, nonprofits, and individuals.”
Some of their better-known clients are staples to the area, including Bigbee Steel Buildings and Alabama Painting Inc. And like the Birmingham office, Florence also handles a number of nonprofits, including ARC of the Shoals and SafePlace.
Borland Benefield associates are more than just accountants; they’re people who love their families and communities.
“I was born near Florence, in a tiny town called Rogersville, so this area is very important to me.”
Being born and raised in a small town community, Dena has grown up with a fondness for the closeness only a tight-knit community can foster. She feels fortunate to be able to work for an established firm yet still enjoy the small-town way of life.
“My family – my three children and my husband – mean the world to me,” she says. “That love and care has translated over to Borland Benefield clients. We work with many nonprofits that serve many communities – communities like mine. I’m proud of what my team could do for them through the challenging times brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Now, everyone at the Florence Office is settled in and is ready to take on the tax season.
“Borland Benefield is the most professionally-operated institution I’ve ever worked with,” Dena says. “Everyone at the Florence branch proves that fact to any individual or organization that chooses to work with us. Our new location will only help in that mission.”
“Plus,” Dena adds, “it’s rather nice to have an office on the first floor. No more waiting on the elevator.”