Read full article in the Nashville Business Journal.

Jim Meade is the new CEO and managing shareholder of Nashville-based accounting firm LBMC PC. He was tapped to take the position last fall, when then-CEO Jeff Drummonds announced he would step down from his role after eight years at the company’s helm. Meade recently sat down with the Business Journal to discuss his Southern background, why he became an accountant, and why he believes all change requires a supportive system.

Where did you grow up?
There has to be a country song that would relate to this, but I was born in Alabama and grew up in Mississippi, but I’ve lived most of my life in Tennessee. … I’m a Southerner for sure.

Do you consider yourself a Tennessean or Mississippian? I know those are hard-drawn identifying lines.
They definitely are. I have lived far and away the majority of my life in Tennessee, so I consider myself a Tennessean that has two other state footnotes. It’s whimsically cute, I think, to be able to say that.

Your dad was a dentist, your mom was an emergency room nurse, but you didn’t want to go into medicine?
I think it skips a generation in my family. My great grandfather was a physician, he graduated from what is now University of Tennessee Medical School in 1898. I have his diploma in my home office; it’s all in Latin. My grandfather was an engineer, he worked for the Corps of Engineers here in Nashville, and my father was a dentist and I’m an accountant. My youngest son is in college, and he’s pre-med. We say it’s a generation of medicine and a generation of something else.

What was it about accounting that appealed to you?
I knew I didn’t want to do architecture, and one of my best friends at the time … he was a CPA and said I should just get an accounting degree and then decide what I want to do, that having it would give me a great skillset for being in business. I did that and had no intention of going into public practice. I was going to do it for two years and then get my Ph. D and teach college, but I joined a firm in Memphis, KPMG, and never looked back.

What do you think you would do if you weren’t an accountant?
I’ve worked with a lot of attorneys over my career and have a great respect for the demands of their profession. If I had to practice something else, I couldn’t do accounting, I probably would consider law. I think it would be a good profession to be in. It would still not be medicine.

What do you do to detach from work?
I’ll let you know when I figure it out. It is challenging, and that’s the case, I’m assuming, for anybody who is up in [a leadership] position. It’s been pretty demanding thus far. I do detach some. My youngest son who’s in college still lives at home right now; he and I connect very well, we spend a lot of time together. I also spend time with friends and co-worker friends.

Are you spending time on Broadway?
No. We’ll hang out locally, I don’t go downtown a lot, unless it’s for a Preds game or another sporting event. It’s a challenge to go downtown and immerse yourself in Nashville. I’ll have a friend come visit from out of town, and of course that’s exactly what they want to do, but on a routine basis, no.

You mentioned the Predators – is that just an opportunity to hang out or are you a sports fan?I’m a huge college sports fan. I follow the Predators, and obviously the Titans, [and I] follow the Grizzlies in Memphis.

Is there a piece of advice you’ve received that you hold close?
One of the most impactful people in my life was my mother’s mother. I lived with her when I was in college. … I’ll never forget some of the conversations she had with me during those formative years. That was impactful. Several years ago, I got to spend some time with an adolescent psychologist here in Nashville. We were talking about human behavior, and he said when you become an adult it’s so difficult to expect somebody to change who they are and their behavior in a vacuum. He said the system is the solution: It’s about creating a structure and an environment that facilitates change rather than just saying, “You need to be a better administrator,” or “Be more timely.” It’s difficult for people to just organically flip a switch. You have to create a structure and a system to help them get there.

You’re a Southerner through and through, and a longtime Nashvillian. Are you a country music fan?
I grew up anything but a country fan. It was just never something that I appreciated. I like an unbelievably wide variety of music. I think people would be surprised by my Apple playlist. … I listen to a lot of alternative [rock] and a fair amount of hip hop.

Who are your top five artists, or who are the ones that come to mind?
I’m a big Alabama Shakes fan, but I’ve also been listening to Solid Theory, Falling in Reverse. My longest playlist is metal.

Like classic-era Ozzy, Van Halen metal or newer stuff?
Most of the stuff is newer stuff: Disturbed, Korn. I’ve got a lot of Korn in there, even though it’s not brand new stuff. I’ve got a Slipknot song or two. I would say it spans a long time period.

Jim Meade in the News

PE landscape challenges: LBMC experts’ perspective

Learn More

2024 Business Trends: Challenges, Strategies & Goals

Learn More

James R. Meade, Jr. Named CEO and Managing Shareholder of LBMC

Jeff Drummonds to Focus on Strategic Growth Initiatives

LBMC, one of the Southeast’s largest accounting and business consulting firms and top 35 in the nation, today announced its current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Shareholder Jeffrey S. Drummonds will transition his role to James R. Meade Jr. “Jim” effective January 1, 2024. Drummonds will pivot his focus to strategic growth efforts as part of LBMC’s ongoing dedication to the firm’s continued success.

“Jim will lead LBMC, PC forward at a time of continued growth and opportunity for our clients and for our firm,” said Drummonds. “He was the ideal choice because he understands the value of people and relationships, which comes first in our business. He knows attracting great talent to LBMC is imperative to bringing in great clients, and great clients lead to even greater talent.”

Meade, a CPA, is a 23-year veteran of the firm, most recently serving as a leading shareholder in the firm’s audit and advisory division and spearheading LBMC’s technology industry segment. He has managed audit services for venture capital and private equity firms and their portfolio companies, focusing on technology start-up enterprises, growth stage companies and acquisition-oriented businesses. Serving on the LBMC, PC Board of Directors and leadership committees, he is keenly aware of the issues that are critical to the future of LBMC’s success.

“I’m very proud of the impact that LBMC has had on the lives of our clients and of our employees and their families,” Meade says. “I’m equally proud of LBMC’s achievements in our profession and contribution to our communities. LBMC has accomplished great things, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to continue the momentum and excited to see where LBMC goes from here.”

Throughout LBMC’s success in becoming Tennessee’s largest CPA firm and a top firm in the nation, LBMC’s founders and executive leadership have been preparing the firm for its long-term future.

This is the firm’s second CEO transition in its 40-year history. Mike Cain and David Morgan co-founded the then Certified Public Accountant (CPA) firm of LBMC, PC in 1984 and led the firm until transitioning to Drummonds in 2015. Today, LBMC has grown to approximately 800 team members throughout a family of companies with offices in Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville and Charlotte, serving more than 10,000 clients across the nation.

About LBMC

LBMC is a 2023 Forbes Best Tax and Accounting Firm, one of the Southeast’s largest accounting and business consulting firms, and an Accounting Today Top Firm in the Nation serving approximately 10,000 clients with diverse needs across a spectrum of industries. Primary client groups include privately-owned middle market companies in the healthcare, manufacturing, technology, and private equity space. LBMC has more than 800 team members, with offices in Nashville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville, Tennessee, and Charlotte, North Carolina. Founded in 1984 as a traditional accounting firm, LBMC today offers a broad range of advisory and business consulting needs for its client base. Named an Inc. Best in Business company, LBMC is an industry leader in financial, human resources, technology, cyber risk, and wealth advisory services for businesses and individuals. For more information on LBMC’s experts and comprehensive services, visit lbmc.com or call 615.377.4600. LBMC is growing, and job opportunities can be found on our careers page.

MEDIA: Q&A: LBMC’s Jim Meade

Originally appeared in the Nashville Post.

Veteran accountant preps to succeed Jeff Drummonds as business consulting firm’s CEO

Author: William Williams

James “Jim” Meade is preparing to become CEO and managing shareholder for Brentwood-based accounting and business consulting firm LBMC, with the move to be effective Jan. 1, 2024.

As the Post recently reported, current company leader Jeff Drummonds will step away from those roles to focus on strategic growth efforts (read here).

A CPA, Meade is a 23-year veteran of the firm, most recently serving as a shareholder in LBMC’s audit and advisory division and spearheading its technology industry segment. He has managed audit services for venture capital and private equity firms and their portfolio companies, focusing on technology start-up enterprises, growth stage companies and acquisition-oriented businesses.

Meade also serves on the LBMC board of directors and various leadership committees.

As LBMC last week announced the acquisition of Louisville-based Strothman & Co. (read here), the Post recently asked Meade about his thoughts regarding the company.


How will the looming move involving you and Jeff impact your role and, in general, the company?  And what do you mean when you reference the “firm of the future”?

LBMC’s “strategic growth” plan is centered around understanding what will be required of the “firm of the future.” We believe this must include the expansion of the firm’s capabilities in the context of markets, service offerings, key growth industries and process innovation. Both our clients’ and our people’s evolving goals and expectations are critical in defining how we expand.

I will continue to collaborate with firm leadership to refine and execute our business strategy, and Jeff will be intricately involved in that execution. We continue to assess market trends, explore potential partnerships, key talent acquisitions and transactions to help us achieve what we consider to be critical objectives.

You will also see us elevating our community relationships and partnerships as we focus on being impactful in our communities. Giving back is part of the LBMC DNA. And as we embark on our 40th-year anniversary in 2024, you will see us continue that primary focus of being an active part of the cities and communities that we call home.

LBMC posted fiscal revenues two years ago of $160.3M and $192.5 million for this most recently concluded fiscal year. How are you increasing revenue?

Like essentially all businesses, increased revenues are, to a certain extent, a reflection of the current economic environment. However, we are also focused on increasing revenue by capitalizing on our diverse service offerings and our expertise in key industries. While health care makes up 30 percent of our overall practice, we continue to see significant growth in other industries such as technology. Private equity continues to be a driver of new business in both of these industries as well as with traditional manufacturing and distribution enterprises. These businesses are well suited for our multiple-service offerings.

Moreover, we continue to build out our advisory services, covering human resources, technology solutions, staffing, cybersecurity and IT consulting, wealth advisory and procurement. This unique focus on advisory services sets us apart from many similar-sized firms. About 60 percent of our practice is dedicated to advisory services, which not only opens new revenue channels, but also fosters lasting client relationships, solidifying our role as trusted partners in their business growth.

The industry average for retaining employees is 64.2 percent, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In contrast, LBMC most recently saw a retention rate of 85 percent and typically each year is above 70. How are you accomplishing this?

We are very proud of the investment that we continue to place in the professional and personal growth of our LBMC people. They are the cornerstone of our business. The foundation of exceptional client experience. We were just recognized for the fourth year in a row (by GreatPlacesToWork.com) as being a national GPTW with 93 percent of employees at LBMC saying it is a great place to work compared to 57 percent of employees at a typical U.S.-based company. We are purposeful in their development, focusing not only on technical expertise, but also in preparing them for leadership roles at all levels. Coaching and mentorship are integral to our internal relationships as is transparent communication.

Young professionals of today want to feel like they not only belong, but that they are key to the success of the organization. They want relationships with decision makers and to have big picture insights as to how they fit in the enterprise. Lastly, we continue to refine a flexible/hybrid work environment without sacrificing the development of our people or client service.

With the acquisition of Strothman & Co., LBMC will bring on board from Louisville some tax audit and client accounting services professionals. What will be the significance of this?

The move into Kentucky was initially driven by our existing client base there (we currently serve more than 100-plus clients in the state) and the identification of that market as being one that fit within our strategic plan. We anticipate that many organizations want to establish relationships with a market-based service provider who can bring the breadth of service offerings we provide. Strothman is an excellent cultural fit for us to partner with to establish our fifth LBMC location.

We currently serve clients from all our offices — and have professionals working across offices regardless of location. So, we also see this as an opportunity to tap into an additional market to add talent for the overall organization.