Our History

  • 2020

    MSA Today

    Over the years, Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. (MSA) has grown to over 60 employees and three unified offices. MSA has 7 Partners, 6 Senior Managers, 10 Managers, and over 20 CPAs on staff. The firm has over 125 governmental clients making MSA a premier provider of audit, reviews, and compilations across the state of North Carolina. On the tax side of the business, we complete approximately 700 individual returns and 400 business returns, not to mention approximately 60 bookkeeping clients and numerous other accounting services, such as Estate Planning Personal Financial Planning. We also offer Business Valuation services.

    MSA strongly believes in establishing mutual trust and building lasting relationships, which has contributed to our survival and ability to thrive throughout the years. We guide our clients in realizing their goals through that bond of mutual trust and our personal commitment. We are also committed to serving our community and are involved with the Chamber of Commerce for Catawba County and Alexander County, March of Dimes, Relay for Life, the Women’s Resource Center, the Greater Hickory Kia Classic, the Humane Society, Safe Harbor, Rape Crisis Center, Education Matters in Catawba County, Children’s Advocacy and Protection Center, Catawba County Parenting Network, Hickory Young Professionals, United Way of Catawba County, Habitat for Humanity, the Catawba County Cancer Task Force, and many others.

    It also takes a huge commitment from our wonderful and talented staff to be successful. MSA was named one of Best Accounting Firms to Work For by “Accounting Today” from across the United States for six years with the most recent year as 2019 when we were ranked 3rd. In addition, MSA was named as one of the 2014 Best Employers in North Carolina, ranking 2nd among small to medium-sized companies in a statewide survey and awards program. MSA was named as one of the 2015 Best Employers in North Carolina, ranking 15th. This is a great accomplishment from an accounting firm stand point and proof that our employees are always willing to go the extra mile for our clients.

    In 2015, MSA was among the 19 businesses in Catawba County who received recognition as a WellBusiness. MSA in particular received the award as a Silver WellBusiness. This award was given on behalf of Catawba County Cancer Task Force to businesses who created a workplace culture that educated and promoted cancer awareness, wellness, tobacco prevention, physical activity, nutrition, and cancer screenings. To be considered for WellBusiness status, businesses submitted applications detailing policy and organizational support efforts. Based on responses to questions regarding these support areas and business size, a score was determined and businesses were able to qualify for Bronze, Silver or Gold recognition levels. Additional criteria included the company being located entirely or partially in Catawba County with wellness practices impacting their employees. 

    After all these years, Vickie Martin continues to strive to manage one of the best client serving firms. Some of the words she lives by are: “Live in the present and plan for the future — Learn from the past, but don’t live in it.” At MSA, we value and appreciate our clients and their continued loyalty and support over the last 33 years, and we look forward to many more years to come.

  • November 2014

    How Far We’ve Come

    November 2014: MSA Merges with another Hickory, North Carolina Accounting Firm
    With great anticipation and a vision toward the future, the accounting firms of Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. (MSA) and Capps, Armstrong & Priestley, LLP have announced their merger, effective November 1, 2014.  Capps, Armstrong & Priestley, LLP Partners Harold Armstrong, CPA and G. Maurice Capps, CPA will become Partners at Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A., bringing the total number of Partners in the firm to six.  The staff of both firms will be retained in the merged entity.  These staff members will continue to serve their existing clients, as well as new Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. clients.

    Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. was founded in 1987 in Taylorsville, North Carolina with additional offices in Hickory, North Carolina.  Capps, Armstrong & Priestley, LLP was founded in 1972.  Both Capps and Armstrong have led a successful firm for many years in Hickory and the surrounding areas.  They have a historical record of maintaining long-term client relationships, which is a hallmark of both firms.  Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. has a prominent client base in corporate and individual tax, governmental, manufacturing, and distribution services along with a solid network for estate planning, retirement planning, and succession planning.

    "The combination of the two firms will form an even stronger alliance for clientele of all sizes and enable us to provide a deeper concentration in manufacturing, transportation, and healthcare services.  We are excited to have such a strong partnership of our two firms and are looking forward to working with the new Partners, their staff, and their clients," said Vickie Martin, Managing Partner.

    “Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. shares the same values as we do.  We conducted an extensive search within our region looking for an opportunity like this.  Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. exceeded our expectations as a firm we could combine with to continue the tradition we have for excellent service, extensive expertise, and an engaging environment for our clients and associates. It is a natural progression for our firm to align ourselves with a high caliber firm in the Hickory and North Carolina region.  We look forward to becoming part of the team at Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. and continuing to provide the level of service to which our clients are accustomed," said Maurice Capps.

    The combined firm will operate as Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A.  The new partners and staff will be located at 730 13th Avenue Drive SE, Hickory, North Carolina 28602. All telephone numbers and contact information will remain the same for the near future.

  • January 2013

    Two Additional Partners Announced

    In January of 2013, two additional partners were named: Marcie J. Spivey and Frank F. Williams are admitted as Partners effective January 1, 2013. Marcie started with the firm in 1996 as a Staff Accountant. She is a Reviewer for the Special Review Committee of the Government Finance Officers Association’s Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting and is also an active member of the AICPA and NCACPA. She serves on two NCACPA committees; the Government Auditing and Accounting Committee and the Technical Resources Subcommittee.

    Frank was hired as the Tax Director at the firm in 2008. He has over 30 years of tax consulting experience as well as extensive experience with corporate tax, pass-through entities, state and local taxation, mergers and acquisitions, tax provisions and individual taxation in a broad range of industries.

  • March 2011

    New Partner Announced

    2 New Partners for Martin StarnesIn March of 2011, Paula Hodges was named Audit Partner after being with the firm for twelve years. Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. also opened an additional office at the Piedmont Center in Hickory that same year. In December of 2011, Bryan Starnes left the firm to pursue other opportunities but continues to support the firm through consulting efforts.
  • 2003

    Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A Invests in Technology Advancements for the Firm

    Over the years, Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A continued to grow in the audit and tax areas. In 2003, we expanded our Hickory office and hired additional employees, making a total of seventeen.

  • January 1996

    Martin Starnes & Associates CPAs, P.A. Became Official Firm Name

    In January of 1996, the firm name officially changed to Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. or, as we fondly refer to, MSA. Due to the continued growth the following year, the firm opened another office located in Hickory. There were a total of ten employees working in both offices during that time.

  • 1992

    New Partner Added

    In 1992, Vickie decided to grow the business and placed an ad for a potential audit partner. Along came Bryan Starnes. He was the first male to break the “all female trend” of the firm. In the following year, he was named Audit Partner. Bryan was responsible for the sales & marketing role while Vickie wore the finance, administration, and tax hats for the firm.

    At that time, the firm was comprised of the one office in Taylorsville with approximately 125 tax clients, 25 bookkeeping clients, and two audit clients (one governmental and one non-profit ). The office had grown to six employees.

  • 1990


    In 1990, Vickie merged her firm with another firm. This merger lasted approximately 18 months, and there were nine employees at the time. Following this change, Vickie opened her own firm under the name of Victoria Martin & Associates, CPAs, P.A.

  • 1987

    Where Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A Began

    In 1987, at the age of 30, Victoria Martin “Vickie”, who was already a seasoned professional in accounting, set out to bring her dream of owning her own firm to life and opened an office in Taylorsville, North Carolina, under the name of Victoria A. Martin, CPA. She started with only two employees and worked with about $100,000 worth of clients. That certainly doesn’t sound like much today, but it was in 1987.