Roanoke, VA – Brown Edwards (“BE”), an Inside Public Accounting (IPA) top 75 firm, announces a change in its leadership effective June 1, 2024. Jason Hartman, the firm’s current CEO, will retire after 38 years of dedicated service, leaving behind a legacy of exceptional leadership and growth. Laura Sprouse, the firm's current chief operating officer (COO), will become CEO.  


Hartman, who has led BE for seven years, has been instrumental in shaping the firm's success. During his term as CEO, BE grew significantly through acquisitions that not only expanded the Firm’s market presence to Richmond, Colonial Heights and Newport News, VA, but also expanded the firm’s service offerings. This growth helped BE reach #72 on the IPA Top 100 list of the largest accounting firms. Hartman also enabled investments in technology and innovation and instilled a strong culture of excellence and integrity. Most significantly, these investments have enabled BE to offer the expertise and specialization of a major firm to its middle-market clients while providing the accessibility expected of a local office.  


The Firm’s transformation over the past seven years was achieved with Sprouse serving alongside as COO. As Hartman noted, “Laura has proven herself as a talented and capable leader and has played an integral role in developing and implementing firm strategy. Laura has extensive knowledge of the accounting industry and a deep commitment to the values that define BE. She is well suited to be CEO which will result in a seamless transition.”   


Sprouse has been with BE for 25 years and led the firm’s accounting information systems group before becoming the Firm’s COO. Laura is active with the BDO USA Alliance, serving as a leader of a COO roundtable. She has frequently spoken to industry groups on accounting firm operations, paths to partnership, and mergers and acquisitions.  


"I am truly honored to assume the role of CEO at BE," states Laura. "I am committed to building upon Jason’s remarkable legacy and steering our firm towards a future of continued growth, innovation, and client-focused excellence. Along with our exceptional team, we will uphold our core values and remain a trusted partner for all our clients' financial needs." 


The firm expresses its heartfelt gratitude to Jason for his dedication, vision, and unwavering commitment to BE. His leadership has been instrumental in the firm's accomplishments and leaves a solid foundation for the future.  


“The firm will be in very capable hands, and I look forward to seeing its continued success,” says Hartman.