Rapidly growing Envolta acquires fellow Ottawa firm Picco Accounting

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Envolta's David DiNardo. Photo by Mark Holleron.

Already the owner of Ottawa’s fastest-growing accounting firm on OBJ’s 2018 list, David DiNardo isn’t taking his foot off the gas pedal in his pursuit of an even bigger share of the expanding market for tax and accounting advisory services.

DiNardo’s company, Envolta, announced Wednesday it has acquired local firm Picco Accounting in a move that will significantly boost his firm’s headcount and revenues. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

A former NCAA soccer player, DiNardo brings the same competitive fire to the business world that he brought to the pitch. Envolta ranked sixth on OBJ’s list of the city’s fastest-growing companies in 2018 with three-year revenue growth of nearly 620 per cent, and its founder says he has an even loftier target in mind this year.

“I’m going for No. 1,” DiNardo told OBJ in an interview on Wednesday.

Envolta, which had 25 employees in four locations in Ottawa before the acquisition, will now add the 10 employees from Picco’s office on Ridgewood Avenue into the fold. DiNardo said he expects Envolta’s revenues to jump as much as 70 per cent in 2019 as a result of the deal, which will maintain Picco’s current location. The Picco name will also remain on the door for the next three years.

DiNardo said Picco Accounting founder Nancy Picco first broached the idea of selling him the firm about six months ago after reading about Envolta in OBJ. Picco, who will remain part of the merged company’s team, was looking to step away from ownership of the venture she launched in 1992 and thought Envolta might be a willing buyer.

It turns out the feeling was mutual.

“She has a great reputation,” said DiNardo, a former IT consultant who founded Envolta in 2014. “One thing everyone knows about Nancy ​– she loves what she does and she’s always there to help clients. She’s very client-focused, which is what I want for my company as well.”

Both firms specialize in personal and corporate tax planning and consulting, bookkeeping and payroll services, and seven in 10 of Envolta’s customers are small and mid-sized businesses.

DiNardo said his long-term goal is to help SMEs automate much of their day-to-day bookkeeping chores using cloud-based subscription software such as QuickBooks, leaving him and his team more time to focus on their roles as tax and accounting advisers.

“If the owner wants to do his bookkeeping, we’re there as guidance,” he said. “(For example), if they buy any capital assets and they don’t know how to do it, we’re there as support for them.”

DiNardo said modern software and communications technology allows accountants to work with clients remotely from almost anywhere. He believes firms that are ahead of that curve are going to carve out an ever-growing slice of the local and provincial markets.

While the vast majority of the combined company’s clients – about 10,000 – are individuals who require personal tax services and another 500 are corporate customers who use the firm’s services perhaps a few times a year, Envolta now has about 500 customers who subscribe to the firm’s services on a monthly basis, DiNardo said.

“We’re seeing a huge amount of growth (in subscription services),” he said. “Accounting in this world is changing. You really have to be tech-savvy.”