Legal Blog

A Video Conversation with Jane Scaccetti, CEO of Drucker & Scaccetti – Part 2 – On Being A Trailblazer

Click Here for Part 1 Applying tactical accounting and tax planning expertise to support clients’ business strategies Jane Scaccetti is the CEO of Drucker & Scaccetti, P.C. (D&S), an accounting and tax advising firm headquartered in Philadelphia. For over 25 years, D&S has provided specialized financial consulting services to entrepreneurs as well as private and public corporations and family-owned businesses. The firm refers to its team members as Tax Warriors, emphasizing their discipline, tactical prowess, and passion for vigorously defending clients’ wealth and assets. A preeminent figure in her field, Jane is an accomplished executive, CPA, and community leader. She was the first woman to tax partner of any Big Eight firm in Philadelphia, and has sat on the boards and audit committees of organizations and businesses such as Temple University (where she also taught as a professor), Salus University, Penn National Gaming, Mathematica Policy Research, and The Pep Boys. She is also an influential member of Philadelphia’s 2016 DNC Host Committee and current host of Money Matters TV. Her numerous honors include the Take the Lead Award from the Girl Scouts of Eastern PA (2016), the Temple University Hospital Diamond Award (2014), the Philadelphia Business Journal Outstanding Directors Award (2013), and the PA Best 50 Women in Business Award (2006). Jane Scaccetti spoke with Don Foster, Chair of Offit Kurman’s Commercial Litigation Practice Group, for this interview. https://youtu.be/BVrMqBnzijc DON FOSTER: You’ve achieved numerous remarkable accomplishments in your field, and co-founded a firm that has succeeded and grown despite its cutthroat industry. Do you consider yourself a trailblazer? JANE SCACCETTI: I think when someone calls you a “trailblazer,” it usually means, in my mind, that it’s doing something that someone had not thought was an area that you could explore. I grew up in South Philadelphia. No one in my family—I meant this and I realized it when I was talking to my mom many years later—but no one in my family really ever paid anyone an hourly rate to do anything. If you needed a plumber, it was someone’s friend that came over and they helped your father fix the plumbing. If you needed someone to paint, there was some kind of trade-off, and a cousin or someone would come over and paint. When I went to work at Laventhol, I had an hourly billing rate. I remember telling my mom about it, and I remember she looked at me, and she said, “Jane, I don’t know anyone that has a billing rate—well I do, but I don’t think that’s what you have in mind.” She actually couldn’t comprehend that someone would hire my services by the hour, and that it would be legit. It was just different. So, when you grow up that way and people aren’t really using professional services, and now you’re in a professional service firm, an expectation is that you’ll either bring in clients or attract clients to the office. I had no idea how I’d be able to do that. What I decided was that I would look at the clients that other people weren’t really paying attention to, and maybe I could learn from them. I remember someone asked me to do a tax return for a gentleman that had sold his business the year before, and as I opened the file and I looked at it, there was something called a personal holding company. I didn’t know what that was, but there were all these memos written by a very prolific tax attorney, who has since passed away, that I learned a lot from in just reading those memos and then, years later, working with him. The more I read it, the more I realized that there was a lot of planning that could be done post the sale of a company. Here, the firm had sort of pushed this guy to the side, thinking that he only needed to have his 1040 prepared. I started to become very inquisitive about what he was doing with his wealth, how was he increasing it, how was he preventing more tax drainage from that wealth, how was he taking care of the next generation. And, the more questions I asked, the more we started to put a team together—the attorney, the investment advisor, and me to start to work with this gentleman to figure out ways to either sustain or increase his wealth. I realized that that was something that could benefit a lot of people. This is back in 1980. So, I put together a proposal to the firm. It was still Laventhol & Horwath at the time. The proposal said we should get into personal financial counseling for individual clients and businesses. That was novel. Everyone was addressing mid-sized businesses and small public companies and public companies, and that seemed to be the focus of all the accounting firms. To the credit of the entrepreneurs at Laventhol & Horwath, they said, “Okay, good, go for it.” We started to develop it in the Philadelphia office and then I was asked to do training to the other major offices nationwide. I got pretty good at it, and I started to really understand it, and I think that took this concept of doing taxes to a level where you were really becoming a trusted advisor, where you were becoming a person that was working out the problems and developing a plan for sustaining and increasing wealth, and that stands true today to the heart of what we do at Drucker & Scaccetti.

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