We combine the experience of a large firm with the personal attention that only a small firm can provide.

We are responsive to our clients needs, providing solutions to their current business and tax problems, and consulting with them to avoid future problems.

We take pride in our accessibility and in the timeliness with which we provide services to our clients at a reasonable cost.

We understand the needs and objectives of small business. We take a personal interest in providing our clients with solutions to their business and tax problems.

Herfordt, Shelton, Mertens & Couch, P.C. has offices in Independence, Missouri and Mission, Kansas. The Firm has been providing high quality accounting and tax services in the metropolitan Kansas City area since 1967.

Our Shareholders

Otto P. Mertens
Otto Mertens practices in the Independence, Missouri office. He has been with the Firm since 1969 and has been a partner or shareholder since 1974. He is the shareholder-in-charge of the Independence office and co-managing shareholder of the Firm.

His primary areas of practice are in accounting services, tax planning and consulting. Otto's accounting experience covers many aspects of small and medium size businesses, from start-up consultation to the ultimate disposition of the business. As businesses grow, he assists businesses with their accounting systems and financial reporting to reflect both historical and prospective information. His tax experience includes preparation of personal and business tax returns. He advises clients to effectively accumulate and retain assets through financial and estate planning.

Otto received a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Lincoln University. He has been a Certified Public Accountant since 1974 and is licensed to practice in Missouri and Kansas. He is a member of the American Institute of C.P.A.'s, the Management Consulting Services Division of the A.I.C.P.A., the Missouri Society of C.P.A.'s and the National Society of Accountants. He is a member of the Independence Chamber of Commerce and has served in leadership and advisory capacities for several civic, educational and other non-profit organizations in the area.


Janet L. Fanska
Janet Fanska is a shareholder in the Mission, Kansas office and co-managing shareholder of the Firm. She is also the shareholder-in-charge of the Mission office. Janet's practice includes working with individuals and small businesses in the areas of accounting and income tax. She has the ability to explain complex issues in non-technological language. For many years, she has taught volunteers for the IRS'S VITA program establishing an excellent rapport with the Internal Revenue Service.

Janet graduated from the University of Missouri- Columbia. She received her Kansas C.P.A. certificate in 1976. She is licensed to practice in both Kansas and Missouri. Janet has been with the Firm since 1974 and in 1984 became a partner having previously served as manager of the Mission office.

Janet has had many public speaking engagements including presentation of a variety of topics for the Small Business Administration, the Johnson County Community College, the Clay County Extension and for various not-for-profit groups. She has served for six years as a national director for the American Association of University Women Education Foundation. She is a founding member of the Women's Resource Network of the Johnson County Business Women and founding member and past president of the local chapter of the Kansas Society of C.P.A.'s.


Back to the top

Our People

Our shareholders and staff provide a team of experienced professionals, with extensive backgrounds in various accounting, business and tax matters. The result is a well-rounded local C.P.A. firm which is innovative in its approach to services and comprehensive in its scope. Our team of professionals are as follows:

Independence Office Mission Office
Otto P. Mertens, C.P.A.
Jo Ellen Slahck, C.P.A.
Gerald E. Mack, C.P.A.
Lori Adkins, C.P.A.
Gregory M Weiss, C.P.A.
Shawn Williams
Donna Reader
Elaine Struve
Angela Harbord
Jennifer Zielinski
Janet L. Fanska, C.P.A.
Nila Barros, C.P.A.
Diane Small, C.P.A.
Harold Wambsgans
Cole Frye
April Feller
Carol Sissel
Monica Ferris
Debbie Dodson

Back to the top

Our History

Our Firm was founded under the name, Wright, Herfordt and Sanders, Certified Public Accountants, on January 1, 1967 by the merger of the Partnership of Wright and Herfordt, CPA's, and of the sole proprietorship of Maurice G Sanders, CPA.

Subsequently, Otto P Mertens, CPA was admitted to the Partnership on January 1, 1974. ManDatco, Inc. (a Missouri Corporation), was formed on August 7, 1970 to operate the data processing phase of the firm.

On January 1, 1984, Janet L Fanska was admitted to the Partnership having previously served as manager of the Mission Office.

Effective January 1, 1989, the Partners of the Firm formed a new Professional Corporation, Herfordt, Shelton, Mertens & Couch, P.C., and have practiced in that entity to the present time.

Back to the top

Our Credentials

All of our shareholders are members of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. All of our C.P.A.'s are licensed to practice in either Missouri or Kansas.

The Firm has been recognized by CPA Digest, a national accounting publication, as one of the top 50 small-to-medium sized C.P.A. firms in the nation. We are listed in the Kansas City Business Journal's Top 25 as one of the 25 largest C.P.A. firms in the metropolitan area and as one of the 25 largest tax return preparers in the area.

We realize the need for our staff to be up to date on current trends in business and tax issues as well as technological advances. As a result, each member of our professional staff averages at least 40 hours of continuing professional education each year.

The shareholders of the Firm are committed to the profession and to the various local governments and exempt organizations in our area. All of our shareholders either are or have served on various committees of the state C.P.A. societies, and have or are serving as officers, board members or advisors of numerous civic and charitable organizations.

Back to the top