W. Henry “Hank” Hurst, Jr., CPA
President & Chief Executive Officer
Hank will tell you that he owes much of his career success to genetics, a family motto, and a gregarious personality that one typically associates with a salesman rather than an accountant.
“I’ve got short, fat fingers perfect for hitting a 10-key. I’m genetically made to do this. It’s in my blood.”
Indeed, Hank comes from a family of accountants. He grew up sitting in his father’s lap, playing with the adding machine on the desk at his dad’s CPA firm.
Though he admits a brief flirtation with the idea of becoming a prison guard after seeing Paul Newman’s iconic 1967 film Cool Hand Luke, his father’s death when he was 19 years old ultimately inspired him to return to the family business. Soon after, he enrolled at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting. Upon graduation, he worked for an Atlanta-based regional CPA firm, but it didn’t take long to realize his dream of reviving his father’s firm.
“Three years out of college was way too early to do what I did,” Hank recalls. Nevertheless, “On November 24th of 1996, I struck out on my own.”
The timing of the switch proved serendipitous. Looking through his father’s business correspondences, Hank found a press release announcing his dad’s 1966 opening of Hurst & Hurst CPAs – 30 years to the day before Hank opened his own firm, The Hurst Company, in Amelia Island, Florida. Though things were tough in the early days as he worked to build the business, his dad’s motto, “A Hurst never quits,” kept him focused, determined, and ultimately highly successful.
“People need advice more than they realize, and I like to give it to them. I love the strategy, and I love to be the implementer of it. But I’m not just a show dog,” he says, acknowledging that his personality isn’t what most expect from an accountant.
This go-getter approach is particularly effective when it comes to dealing with unethical professional practices, family matters, or governmental bureaucracy that can negatively affect a client’s finances.
“We take an organized, respectful approach until we’ve got to break bad,” Hank says. “Clients appreciate it because they know we’re looking out for them.’”
Hank’s soft side sees him regularly extending volunteer services both personally and via his firm to non-profits working to right a range of wrongs with multiple organizations dedicated to assisting families of children with autism. He also serves as the Chairperson of the Florida CPA Political Action Committee-North.
Hank is the proud father of Liza and Trip.