Hannis T. Bourgeois: Investing in the next generation of CPAs

Since 1924, Hannis T. Bourgeois has been synonymous with trust and expertise in accounting in Louisiana. As the firm marks its 100th anniversary, leaders have a sharp focus on the future. In particular, they are investing in young, early-career professionals—the next generation of certified public accountants.

With more than 150 employees at five locations across the state, including newly opened offices in Hammond and Alexandria, HTB provides accounting and business advising services. It has long prioritized a positive work environment and development opportunities for employees … and those efforts have paid off. HTB recently landed the No. 6 spot on Accounting Today’s nationwide list for Best Firms for Young Accountants.


Top executives: Jay Montalbano, Managing Partner

Phone: 225.928.4770

Address: 2322 Tremont Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70809

Website: htbcpa.com

“We’re very proud of our culture,” says Managing Partner Jay Montalbano. “If you have a happy staff, that’s a better engaged staff, and a better engaged staff leads to better client service.”

HTB takes employee satisfaction and success seriously, offering flexible schedules and wellness initiatives to encourage good work-life balance. For its newest staffers, a program called Thrive pairs them with seasoned HTB employees who help them set goals and receive feedback.

“We really try to individualize the experience for our employees,” says Firm Operations Manager Claire Harrell. “We try to give them training and help them find the perfect fit in terms of interest and acumen.”

That early training is critical to maintaining HTB’s reputation for providing expert service, Montalbano says. Because the firm specializes in six industries—construction, financial institutions, auto dealers, nonprofits, government agencies and healthcare— it’s important for CPAs to know the ins and outs of those industries.

“When you come in the doors, we get you acclimated into one or two of those industries,” Montalbano says. “We don’t like to create generalists. As you advance, you develop one or two specialties. I think that’s of tremendous value to the client.”

Needs vary widely by industry.

“Clients know when they come to us that we have partners and staff who know the nuances of their industry and can provide value from day one,” he says. “Now more than ever, there’s so many intricacies to accounting for the different industries.”

HTB’s specialty model has resulted in many longstanding client relationships, Montalbano says, some of which have lasted for decades. Nurturing those connections is important to him and his staff.

“That’s what keeps our partners going,” Montalbano says. “Accounting is complex, but it can be very rewarding. The most fulfilling part of our career is seeing our clients grow and helping them prosper.”

The firm has benefitted numerous businesses in the century since Hannis T. Bourgeois first opened shop in 1924 in down[1]town Baton Rouge’s Roumain Building. “We’re very engrained in the community,” Harrell says. “It’s really awesome when you drive down the street and see businesses, we have an impact on.”

As HTB looks ahead to its next chapter, Harrell is confident the firm’s time-honored tradition of top-tier service will endure.

“We have a lot of really smart, exciting young professionals who are continuing that legacy,” she says.

From the Managing Partner

Jay Montalbano

We are excited this year to celebrate our 100th year of service to the Greater Baton Rouge area. What started in 1924 as a sole proprietorship in the Roumain Building in downtown Baton Rouge has grown to five locations throughout Louisiana with over 160 professionals. In recognition of this milestone, our firm will be celebrating three foundational pillars throughout 2024—our clients, the Louisiana communities where we live and serve, and most importantly, our people, the real reason behind our generations of success at HTB. On behalf of everyone at HTB, I want to express our sincerest gratitude for trusting the people of HTB as your business advisors for the last century. We look forward to serving Baton Rouge for generations to come.