Bauknight Pietras & Stormer, P.A. (BPS) announced that Jay Swearingen, CPA, will succeed Russell Bauknight, CPA, as managing shareholder of BPS effective January 1, 2024. Bauknight, who will complete his five-year term as managing shareholder at the end of the year, will continue as a BPS shareholder and focus his time consulting with clients within the firm’s vibrant Estate and Trust practice.
Assuming the role of managing shareholder is particularly gratifying for Swearingen, who joined BPS 29 years ago as one of the firm’s first hires. At the time, BPS had less than 10 employees. Swearingen was also the first employee to become a shareholder outside of the founding partners: Ken Bauknight, Russell Bauknight, Tom Pietras, and Chris Stormer.
“I’m honored to be elected to serve as managing shareholder for BPS. I’m also excited about the opportunity BPS has in front of us to continue to serve our excellent clients, grow the firm profitably and provide opportunities for our staff to develop and excel professionally. We have come a long way since I joined the firm, developing into one of the premier accounting firms in the United States with a strong brand and an excellent platform for continued success,” Swearingen said.
A native of Columbia, S.C., Swearingen earned a B.S. in Accounting from Clemson University and a Master of Accountancy from the University of South Carolina. He joined BPS in 1994 and was named a shareholder in 2001. Over the years, he has built a thriving business and tax consulting practice, specializing in privately held, owner-managed businesses with an emphasis in real estate, franchise restaurant businesses, professional service companies, manufacturing, retail, and distribution. Swearingen is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the South Carolina Association of Public Accountants, and is president of the Norman J. and Gerry Sue Arnold Foundation as well as treasurer of South Carolina United FC, the state’s largest amateur soccer club.
Commenting on the announcement, Bauknight said he is proud of everything BPS has accomplished over the last five years and excited to see Swearingen step up as the firm’s next managing shareholder. “BPS has grown phenomenally since 2019 and has been recognized among the best by Forbes and INSIDE Public Accounting. We achieved both milestones despite a global pandemic that shut many businesses down, by creating a culture that puts our people first, supporting professional development while prioritizing personal and family obligations. This year it was also gratifying that BPS was named among South Carolina’s Top Ten Best Places to Work for mid-sized companies.”
He continues, “I’m extremely happy for Jay. He joined BPS on the ground floor and is proof that our people can achieve anything they set out to do with the firm. I’m looking forward to what the next five years bring under Jay’s leadership.”
A native of Columbia, South Carolina, Bauknight is a trusted advisor to closely held businesses and their owners. Recognized by several South Carolina courts as an expert in fiduciary administration, he serves as trustee or personal pepresentative to many trusts and estates. Since 2009, Bauknight has been the court-appointed fiduciary of the James Brown Estate (Godfather of Soul). He serves on the board of Prime Global and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and South Carolina Association of Public Accountants.
About Bauknight Pietras & Stormer, P.A. (BPS)
Established in 1991, BPS is among the Southeast’s premier accounting and consulting firms and among the largest locally owned public accounting firms in South Carolina with nearly 100 Certified Public Accountants and professional staff. BPS is a strategic, trusted partner to clients in the insurance, construction and real estate, trusts and estates, hospitality, manufacturing, distribution, professional services, telecommunications, and technology industries. BPS is a member of Prime Global, an association of private accounting firms. The firm was recognized among America’s 50 Best of the Best Firms in 2020 by INSIDE Public Accounting, a top three advisory firm in the U.S. by Captive Review in 2023, and named among the top recommended tax and accounting firms in America by Forbes. In 2023, BPS was named among the top 10 Best Places to Work in South Carolina. Learn more at www.BPS.CPA