"Upward mobility for strong performers"
"Excellent team spirit"
"The long hours and amount of work"
"Being on call pretty much 24/7"
"Office politics and gossip"
"A great place to work as an auditor"
"Never heard of this firm"
Short and sweet
In 1955, Norman S. Rachlin opened an accounting practice in Miami Springs, Fla. When his workload grew, he hired his first employee: his wife. By 1961, business was going strong, so the Rachlins moved to Coral Gables and hired another accountant, Harvey Miller. Norman S. Rachlin & Company expanded to Fort Lauderdale in 1965 and changed its name to Rachlin and Miller shortly thereafter. A merger with Stanley L. Cohen & Company in 1976 changed the firm name to Rachlin & Cohen; at the time, it had 75 employees and a client list that spanned Dade County. Tax law specialist Lawrence Blum, who’d come onboard in the early 1970s, was a pioneer of litigation consulting, and helped build up work with municipalities and utility companies. By 1983, Rachlin & Cohen was one of the top 25 firms in the Florida region.
Norman Rachlin and Stanley Cohen both retired by 1990, leaving the firm in the Larry Blum’s hands. Under Blum’s leadership as managing partner, Rachlin & Cohen’s headcount passed 100, and the firm merged with Holtz & Company in 1995. As Rachlin, Cohen & Holtz its earnings surpassed $10 million, and in 1997, the firm combined with Mukamal, Appel, Fromberg & Margolies. In February 2008, the firm’s name was edited down to simply Rachlin LLP, which has over 225 employees in five offices throughout Florida.
Three core services plus two divisions
Rachlin’s three core service lines are tax and business, advisory and assurance. A division called Rachlin Design provides marketing and design services like logo creation, newsletter design, press release and presentation creation, ad design, web design and maintenance and search engine marketing. Rachlin Staffing provides contract consulting and helps recruit and place accounting, finance, human resource, marketing, information technology and clerical professionals in several industries.
As a member of Baker Tilly International, Rachlin can draw on the expertise of more than 145 independent accounting and consulting firms in 110 countries. Rachlin is also a member of World Services Group, an alliance of professional services companies in over 120 countries.
More at the top
Shortly after making its name change official, in February 2008, Rachlin announced some executive developments. Nicole Mannarino was named a partner, and Robert Gellman a principal, in the Fort Lauderdale office. Meanwhile, over in Miami, David Berezin, Dave Roberts and Ronald Wise were named principals.
Investing in people
According to Rachlin’s employee welfare liaison, Suzanne Ormento, the firm has made a serious effort to invest in its people. “A lot of companies will pay you a basic salary and give you basic benefits, but that’s all you get. That says a lot about who you are as a firm,” she told WebCPA in 2008. “When people feel you care about them, they care about you and have much more ownership and a desire to do the best they can for you. It pays off in the long run, and it just makes for a much stronger foundation."
As part of a plan to strengthen that foundation, Rachlin has added a number of perks in recent years: employees get up to 16 hours of paid time off for volunteer activities, free health screenings and wellness seminars, and custom golf or tee shirts emblazoned with the company name. Offices have also been outfitted with quiet rooms, eat-in kitchens and massage areas, where the firm provides free 10-minute massages during busy season.
Charity starts near home
In September 2008, Rachlin became a major contributor to the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Miller School of Medicine in Miami. Through the Rachlin Foundation, its charitable arm, the firm will contribute $20,000 per year for five years to support the center’s cancer research initiatives.
The Sylvester Cancer Center, which treats 3,700 new cancer patients annually, is one of the firm’s designated charitable organizations for its planned giving program. For many years Rachlin professionals have contributed pro bono services and fundraising assistance to the center.
Nice to be recognized
Michele Lipson and Nicole Mannarino, both Rachlin partners, were honored at the 2008 South Florida Business Journal Key Partner Awards in September 2008. Lipson, who’s the partner-in-charge of the firm’s tax and business services division, was the overall winner in the accounting tax category. Mannarino, a partner in the commercial and SEC assurance practice area, was one of three finalists in the accounting audit category.
The Key Partner Awards, given annually, recognize “exceptional legal and accounting specialists” in the tri-county area.
Rachlin held its 14th annual governmental symposium in October 2008, with a keynote address from Broward County Vice Mayor Stacy Ritter. The two-day affair, presented by the firm’s assurance division, is a longstanding Rachlin tradition that focuses on the latest developments in governmental affairs, including legal, accounting and operational topics.
Rachlin’s governmental and law enforcement support group, which includes several IRS special agents, has conducted numerous forensic audits, investigations and reviews of government and law enforcement operations.
Making a difference
In November 2008, the South Florida Business Journal ranked the Rachlin Foundation in the top 15 local corporate foundations, based on gifts made to South Florida charities in 2007. All told, the Rachlin Foundation made over $99,000 worth of charitable gifts in 2007, not counting hundreds of hours of volunteer time and pro bono services.
Managing partner Larry Blum noted that Rachlin’s foundation was ranked alongside heavy hitters like Office Depot and Bank of America. “It just reinforces our belief that no matter the size of your company, you can make a really big difference when your entire team gets involved in a formal giving program,” he said in a statement.
Besides encouraging charitable works within the firm, in July 2008, Rachlin launched a new print ad campaign aimed at getting other local companies to create formal giving programs. The ads, which Rachlin created in house, encourage businesses to set up ways for employees to donate money, contribute items and give volunteer time. Suzanne Leslie, executive director of the Rachlin Foundation (and Rachlin’s marketing director), said the idea is to go beyond “a company writing a check. We’re talking about employees choosing to give back because there was a simple way for them to do so."
Suntrust International Center
One SE Third Ave, Tenth Floor
Miami, FL 33131
Phone: (305) 377-4228
Employer Type: Private
Managing Partner: Lawrence H. Blum
2009 Employees (All Locations): 225