Editor’s Note: The following story appeared in the Dec. 7 issue of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. “Then & Now” is a profile of a past member of the Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 class.
The Northwest Arkansas Business Journal recognized Rogers accountant Mark Lundy as a Forty Under 40 class member in 1998. During a recent interview, when a reporter jogged his memory about that honor being 22 years ago, Lundy laughed.
“Oh, man,” he said. “I was barely under 40 then.”
Lundy, a gregarious sort who will turn 60 in March, has been a practicing accountant for 25 years in Northwest Arkansas. He’s changed jobs a couple of times in the past two decades. Since 2009, he’s been a partner with BKD LLP, a national firm based in Springfield, Mo., and the largest CPA firm in Arkansas.
Lundy said the decision to join the company is the smartest and most impactful move of his career.
“It’s like a ‘Goldilocks’ firm,” he said. “There are small and large accounting firms in this region. Here, [at BKD] we’re a big firm with a small-firm feel. It’s just right.”
A Rogers native, whose family tree dates back to the mid-1800s in Benton and Carroll counties, Lundy started work after high school at Northwest Arkansas Sheet Metal. He liked the job and had a handshake agreement with the owner, George Blue, that he’d buy the business one day when Blue was ready to retire.
Lundy and his wife, Karen, later moved to Nashville, Tenn., where he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Lipscomb University and later went to work for Deloitte.
When Blue told Lundy it was time to sell, he and his wife moved back to Rogers. The ownership transition did not go as planned, however, and Lundy called Dick Barclay. In 1995, Lundy started his professional career in Northwest Arkansas with the Rogers accounting firm Barclay, Yarbrough & Evans.
Two years later, the firm merged with another accounting firm to form Beall Barclay & Co. The firm today is known as Landmark PLC.
In 1999, Lundy and a former Beall colleague, Bart Allard, formed their own business in Rogers called Lundy Allard & Co.
“We shared overhead and made it nice and easy to separate our practices,” Lundy said. “That’s how we managed the business for 10 years, and it worked well. We grew [the business], had about 25 [employees]. It was better than either of us had expected.”
In January 2009, BKD announced the acquisition of Lundy’s considerable audit practice, comprised of Lundy, three CPAs and 10 staff members, to establish an office in Northwest Arkansas. The deal allowed BKD — which had Arkansas offices in Fort Smith, Little Rock and Pine Bluff — to meet the expanding service needs of Northwest Arkansas.
Today, the Rogers office has 17 employees offering tax, accounting and audit services, focusing on the construction and real estate niche. Lundy specializes in partnership tax law.
Lundy said partners in other offices are very accessible and readily lend their expertise on any topic that arises. For BKD and other accounting firms, no issue has been more dominant in 2020 than the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a loan program originated from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It was designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.
Lundy called the program — specifically, the moving target of loan forgiveness — possibly the most demanding business issue he’s dealt with as an accountant.
“Many accountants are a focal point for everybody’s frustration with the government,” he said. “It’s been stressful.”
With retirement rapidly approaching, Lundy can see the time when the stresses will fade. He will reach BKD’s mandatory retirement age, 62, in a little over two years. He and his wife will tend to a portfolio of rental properties, and he’s been asked about some consulting work. But Lundy’s big focus is on the job board at CoolWorks.com. Lundy frequently visits the site, which contracts with employers in national parks, ski resorts, dude ranches and other travel destinations to promote job opportunities. It allows people to travel for little or no cost. And in some instances, they get paid.
“I’m going to Alaska,” Lundy said. “I retire [from BKD] May 31, 2023, and as quick as I can get out and on a plane, I’m going to have a job at one of those lodges up there. I may be cleaning fish or making beds.
“Or a resort transportation driver. Chatting with people from all over the place. That sounds like loads of fun.