PORTLAND — Some of Portland’s top accounting firms have expanded into new markets in recent months and continue to see revenue growth despite tough economic conditions.

One of the area’s largest accounting firms, Portland-based Baker Newman Noyes, recently opened its first office in Boston, a major step for a firm that operates primarily in Maine and New Hampshire.

Baker Newman Noyes Managing Principal Charles Hahn said the firm, with a staff of 200, earned $28 million in 2010, up from about $20 million three years ago and about $9 million in 1995.

Hahn expects revenue to increase another 5 percent in 2011, and he predicts “significant” future growth thanks partly to the expansion into Massachusetts.

Accounting executives say the recession hasn’t had a major impact on their businesses.

“The good news is that clients always need us, whether things are going well or not well,” Hahn said.

Executives at other leading firms have seen demand increase for other services, such as business consulting.

“A lot of our expansion has been with consulting work,” said Cheryl Bascomb, director of marketing for BerryDunn, an accounting firm that has offices in Portland and Bangor and more than 200 employees. “Our accounting clients have a need for systems and management consulting.”

In addition to accounting, BerryDunn provides management and health care consulting to businesses and government agencies, and helps clients select and test information technology systems, among other services.

“Our IT practice that we began four years ago has rapidly expanded, and it has supplemented the work we do with other clients,” said Graham Smith, president of Macdonald Page & Co. LLC, a South Portland-based accounting firm that has about 85 employees and sells a range of accounting and business management consulting services.

Smith said much of his company’s growth has been in Maine.

“We have had a trend of growth for quite a while now, (and) a lot of it has been internally, here in Maine,” he said.

Firms have also pursued out-of-state growth.

BerryDunn works with clients up and down the East Coast and into the Midwest. And Macdonald Page recently worked in Texas, Tennessee, Louisiana and Guatemala.

Chief Operating Officer Ralph Hendrix said it sometimes can be easier to pursue new work outside of Maine than to wrestle clients from other accounting firms.

“People don’t change accounting firms a lot (just like) you don’t change your doctor or a lawyer very often,” he said.

But establishing operations in new markets comes with challenges. Other firms are entrenched. Often, acquisitions or mergers are the only way in, Hahn said.

Baker Newman Noyes found another route into Boston.

The firm formed a relationship with an accounting executive in Massachusetts who worked for a competitor, Ernst & Young. Hahn said his firm tried unsuccessfully to hire the executive, who eventually took a finance job at a major hospital in Boston.

The executive later helped Baker Newman Noyes land the hospital as a new client.

Hahn said the Boston office gives his firm access to some of the largest corporate clients in the country.

But he said the firm’s “bread and butter” clients remain small businesses, many of them in Maine.

Staff Writer Jonathan Hemmerdinger can be reached at 791-6316 or at:

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