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Tailored Audit, Tax, and Accounting Solutions for Independent Schools

Empowering Independent Schools

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Build a Brighter Future with
Smith + Howard

Independent schools face the dual challenge of advancing their educational mission while maintaining a financially prudent and efficient business model. This delicate balance underscores the necessity for an accounting and advisory partner equipped with specialized knowledge and expertise. Smith + Howard steps into this role with a blend of technical proficiency, business acumen, extensive experience in independent school dynamics, and an authentic dedication to responsive and personalized service. As a trusted advisor, we are committed to guiding independent schools on their journey towards success.

Ability is important – but so too is availability. Serving as your partner is a responsibility we take seriously. We communicate promptly, help plan for the long-term, and will always be ready when called upon.

Services for Independent Schools

Beyond the confines of traditional accounting, assurance and tax services, we actively seek opportunities to provide additional value to our independent school community. At Smith + Howard, you’ll find experts in a diverse range of topics relevant to independent schools:

Accounting

Day-to-day accounting services provide a firm foundation for financial operations. Our accounting support unlocks financial clarity and enables you to embrace efficiencies in your daily accounting operations.

  • Outsourced CFO and Controller Services
  • On-Site Accounting Assistance
  • Accounting Software Selection
  • Payroll Tax Compliance

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Assurance

Our approach to audits is designed to make your life easier. With specialized professionals for financial statement and 403(b) audits, our teams blend domain expertise with a smooth, efficient process that uses the latest technologies.

  • Financial Statement Audits
  • 403(b) / 401(k) Plan Audits
  • Agreed Upon Procedures

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Cyber Risk Management

Schools face an ever-growing range of cyber threats. Phishing, ransomware, and IP theft bring significant risk to your business. Our professionals help you address and prepare for each.

  • Business Impact Analysis
  • Security Risk Assessment
  • Information Security Programs
    • ISO 27001
    • SOC 2

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Tax

At Smith + Howard, we recognize Form 990 isn’t just a tax filing – it’s an opportunity to tell your story. Our experts ensure compliance, minimizing IRS and public scrutiny while helping you develop the right narrative.

  • Form 990 Preparation
  • Unrelated Business Income Tax Planning
  • Employee Benefit Consultation

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A Firm of Distinction

50+
Schools served nationally
13
Consecutive years as a Best of the Best firm in the US
99%
Average client retention
15
Average tenure (years) of our Partners, Principals and Managers

A Nationally Recognized Accounting Firm

With clients in all 50 states and many with operations around the world, Smith + Howard brings an extraordinary level of expertise and knowledge that helps your school reach the next level.

Our team lives and breathes a promise of personal, responsive client service. It is part of what repeatedly lands us on the client-nominated Forbes Top Accounting and Tax Firm list and the INSIDE Public Accounting National Best of the Best list.

We invite you to connect with us and tell us more about your business.

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Why Smith + Howard?

Our independent school client family is diverse, stretching across the nation and encompassing day, boarding, single-gender, co-educational, secondary, and faith-based schools.

Recognizing the seasonality of the school year, we understand the importance of timing and the delivery of our services. This understanding allows our team to align with the schedules of our independent school clients enabling us to deliver tailored support for each of our clients.

All independent schools are unique, but they all have one thing in common: a shared need to operate with solid clear insight and robust financial strategies. At Smith + Howard, we provide that and more, and are always striving to find new ways to add value.

From helping schools shape compensation strategies to addressing internal control concerns, our professionals have tackled challenges across the board. We strive to provide actionable recommendations anchored in best practices that help your organization flourish.

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What clients are saying

“When we began looking for a new audit firm, Smith + Howard stood out from the beginning as a firm committed to a strong client relationship. We have been impressed with the professionalism, industry insight, and responsiveness of everyone we’ve interacted with.”

Courtney Stillwagon, CFO, The Mount Vernon School

Independent School Team Leaders

At Smith + Howard, our Independent School team is composed of the most skilled and knowledgeable professionals in the industry. We work closely with schools across the country, delivering expert guidance and a genuine commitment to the success of their mission.

David Lee
CPA
Partner
Smith + Howard PC
Smith + Howard Advisory LLC

Our clients’ value always resonates with me in everything I do. I love working with my clients and they never get less than 110% from me.

Sabre Linahan
CPA
Partner
Smith + Howard Advisory LLC

We have an incredible employee base - people who are smart, dedicated and excited to serve our clients. I am proud to work alongside our people, help them learn and grow, and introduce them to our clients to continue expanding the relationships our clients have within our firm.

Paul L. Atkinson
CPA
Partner
Smith + Howard PC
Smith + Howard Advisory LLC

Without the best people, we cannot be the best firm. I take great pride and joy in mentoring and coaching the next generation of leaders of the firm and seeing the success they all have with hard work and dedication to the firm and their clients.

Daniel Sage
CPA
Senior Manager
Smith + Howard Advisory LLC

We do the right thing, even when nobody is watching. This applies to how we treat our clients, employees, competitors and acquaintances.

Andrew Hedrich
CPA
Senior Manager
Smith + Howard Advisory LLC

I constantly seek opportunities to connect, develop, and embolden our people to passionately serve our team, our clients, and our community.

Josh Stinson
CPA
Manager
Smith + Howard Advisory LLC

I enjoy the value we provide clients on a consistent basis. Whether it is guidance on a complex accounting issue or simply fostering an open line of communication with regular check-ins to see how the year is progressing – personally and professionally.

Kaitlin Becker
CPA
Manager
Smith + Howard Advisory LLC

The most important aspect of my job is being dependable to our clients. I want our clients to feel comfortable and confident reaching out to me with any problem or question at any time.

Let's Connect

We partner with independent schools like yours to ensure compliance, minimize taxes, and build lasting relationships.

Let’s navigate success together – start by completing the form on the right to have one of our independent school leaders contact you or to request an RFP template. If you need help with next steps, here’s an overview on how to develop an RFP.