Sunday, December 28, 2014

For Tax Day, Philly accountants dance

Drucker & Scaccetti is having too much fun helping us help Uncle Sam

For Tax Day, Philly accountants dance

Jane Scaccetti CPA (the well-connected chair of Temple Health System, director of Pep Boys, once married to one of Philadelphia's most power politicos) dances in front of City Hall. Ronald Drucker CPA, J.D., steps lively in a video montage of bopping tax partners. Associates and interns step rhythmically from their cubicles, shimmy in hallways, spill through the west Market St. skyscraper district, sort-of in time.

It's not Soul Train, or American Bandstand, or the smooth dancers-in-suits show on the wall screens over the elevator banks at Comcast headquarters. It's the mostly buttoned-down accounting firm of Drucker & Scaccetti  in Center City, one of the many accounting outfits where staff is celebrating the end of extra long hours and deadline stresses that come with Federal Income Tax Day, April 15.

So pleased are they to see all those tax returns heading down the wires and through the mail to Internal Revenue, the firm produced a video of its mostly casually-dressed staff busting moves, scored to this year's ubiquitous Happy by Pharrell Williams, produced by Sam Rossman and uploaded here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xgzc6qm5Agw

What's the message? "We had a great tax season," Scaccetti told me. "What we do is important and serious. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to do it with a smile, humor and lightheartedness. Too many of us take ourselves way too seriously."

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"I can vouch for the non-traditional character of this firm," says Eric Elmore, who joined Scaccetti's firm after starting his career at Big Four corporate-accounting giant Ernst & Young. "Though we are chock full of CPAs, we are not a traditional CPA firm. We do not do financial statement or audit work or bookkeeping, like most every other CPA firm."

But isn't a diet of straight tax work, well, boring? "Humor and fun are a large part of our DNA at Drucker & Scaccetti. Without it, taxes would be dull and dreary," acknowledges Elmore. 

The firm has also tried to boost morale by supplementing the usual greasy office take-out with occasional theme meals for holidays that fall amid tax season, like Chinese New Year, and has sprung for occasional Cuban, Moroccan, Italian or Jewish dinners -- sometimes catered, sometimes staff-led.

So "this video is not a departure of our character, rather an extension of it," says Elmore. Last year, a few days before April 15, the firm sponsored a Tax Cartoon Exhibit displaying works by longtime Inquirer cartoonist Tony Auth, Joseph Farris of the New Yorker, and West Coast-based Theresa McCracken. 

At its best, Elmore argues, taxes and tax-saving can be creative. The firm has adopted the moniker "Tax Warriors" to get the idea across: "Lke Samurai, we are skilled artisans at our craft of developing tax strategies for clients," he says. OK, but keep the swords on the wall, please.

 

Joseph N. DiStefano
About this blog

PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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