On Wednesday, February 20th, the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce performed a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate Graham & Graham PC’s relocation to their beautiful new site at 368 River Street in Springfield. Over sixty local business owners and employees were in attendance for the February After Hours Chamber Business Mixer to celebrate the occasion. President Jeff Graham (CPA, CFF, CSEP, CEA-BV/GAA/ET) welcomed folks into his new space, offering tours of the offices and sharing stories of the renovations that modified the site to meet their needs.
Fifth-generation Vermonter Jeff Graham is from Springfield originally; his family lived on Craigue Hill when he was born, and he grew up on Union Street, after a brief residency in southern California. He’s a Springfield High School graduate, class of 1976. He attended Plymouth State College (now University) where he obtained his grad associate degree in Accounting. His two oldest brothers took accounting in high school with Mr. John Donegan, and as Jeff likes to say, he “coat tailed them in many areas, including accounting.” Jeff’s late oldest brother, B. Paige Graham, III was also a CPA, and Jeff’s first CPA firm partner. During the brief announcements at the Chamber Mixer, Jeff shared with everyone “I had Mr. Donegan and Miss Christine Lawlor for Accounting and Business Law. Miss Lawlor is totally responsible for me going to college, with lots of financial aid and scholarships. If it hadn’t been for her efforts, I would have moved furniture at JM Giddings in North Springfield.”
Jeff first started preparing tax returns during his college years. His Tax Professor (Dick Church, CPA) asked him to prepare returns with him because he saw Jeff’s interest and knew of his H & R Block experience outside of college. That was circa 1979 to 1980. He then started preparing taxes for family, friends, and referrals on nights and weekends during his years of employment at Dufresne – Henry Engineering, which was located in North Springfield.
On March 4th, 1982, Jeff started his accounting practice as Graham Financial Services. For two years he worked out of his home in Weathersfield, Vermont before he landed in Ludlow with two former Dufresne – Henry design experts, Steve Plunkard and Peter Bourgois. His work at Dufresne – Henry included providing outside accounting services to clients who were participating in federally funded construction projects with large federal (EPA, EDA, FEMA, HUD, FmHA, etc.) grants. Jeff spent May to November each of his first five years working on these projects and then worked December to April preparing tax returns. It was fortuitous arrangement and helpful to Jeff’s growth and diversity of services in his practice. Upon announcing his departure from Dufresne – Henry he landed five contracts with cities and towns in Vermont and New Hampshire.
Jeff was appointed to the NH Board of Accountancy by Governor Sununu in January of 2019. He previously was appointed by Governor’s Dean and Douglas to the VT Board of Public Accountancy, as well as by his CPA peers to the New England Peer Review Executive Committee. He served as Chair for the latter two positions at one point during each of those appointments. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants appointed Jeff as the “Champion” for the states of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont for a then newly formed Forensic and Valuation Services professional association. He still holds the title now.
Jeff became a New Hampshire resident in 2010 when he purchased a property on Lake Winnipesaukee, after living in Vermont for fifty-one years. Because of his CPA firm and family, he has always been and remains an active member of the Springfield community. He fondly recalls his athletic pursuits while at Springfield High School. Many Vermonters know of the Graham name in connection with the family’s years on the fields and courts, wearing green and white. Jeff was awarded five varsity letters in five sports while at Springfield High School: football, basketball, baseball, wrestling, and track. He coached football for two years (2002 and 2003) and is proud to say the JV football teams were undefeated both years. The current head Coach of SHS football was one of the players on the Varsity teams in those two years. Jeff is very proud of his father’s professional accomplishments during his years at Fellows Gear Shaper. He was a very respected and accomplished “gear guy” as well as a very successful coach of hundreds of young men who wanted to play baseball. Many Springfield Cosmos teams have been filled with his highly talented and accomplished players, from his work with them through grade 8. In fact, Jeff’s brother Paige was an All American Softball player at age 30 in the 1983 Atlanta Georgia National ASA tournament. It is believed Paige was the first ASA All American from New England.
Currently Graham & Graham PC employs two full-time and two part-time employees in the Springfield office. They also employ additional full-time employees in their two New Hampshire offices. Graham & Graham is a full-service accounting and consulting firm providing professional services to a wide variety of clients from individuals to medium-sized corporations. They offer everything from tax preparation and tax planning, to business and management consulting, auditing, bookkeeping, business valuations, fraud and forensic investigations, estate/trust/probate services, and expert witness in litigation cases. They serve all of Vermont, all of New Hampshire, and all of Maine. They also have “practice privileges” in four other states.
When asked about the most enjoyable aspects of the business, Jeff says it’s the people he meets, and the confidence and trust placed in him by peers, clients, friends, and neighbors. He enjoys the challenges of the services he offers, as well as the level of responsibility granted to him by people who need highly technical assistance in confidential areas. He also appreciates the accomplishments of his professional staff. The hardest aspects of the job involve “meeting with any family after they have lost a loved one, giving difficult news to anyone I admire, and being in court while participants have to endure the pain and difficulties involved in any court action.” But he dreads the day he will have to turn off his laptop because he can no longer handle the complex work world, he has enjoyed so much success from.
Jeff has lots of fond work memories, such as the time he landed the contract to provide services for the family that owns a large sports franchise in Boston, the employment relationship he had with Flossy and Ray Giddings, his very first time on the stand in a court case and the actions he used to tip the tables on the opposing and very experienced attorney. Jeff recalls so many important relationships and friendships that have emerged throughout his years in the business; he speaks fondly of how Christine Lawlor “risked her teaching career” to personally mentor him to the decision to attend college, and he remembers the tears in her eyes when he gave her the first ever published “Chairman’s Corner” article while he was in the Chair’s position as a member of the VT Board of Public Accountancy and gave her written credit for his professional accomplishment.
The list of ways that Jeff and his firm give back to the community is long and impressive. Jeff is a longstanding Chamber member, because to him it means “giving back and being available for business-related assistance.” Jeff is a Rotary Club member (since 1985), a board member for many nonprofit organizations, and a supporter of Parks & Recreation and the Springfield Booster Club. He loves coaching youth and teaching them how to hit a baseball. He is Chairman of the Business Advisory Group at River Valley Tech Center, a founding and continuing member of the Springfield Regional Development Corporation, and he has provided no-cost specialized services to organizations who needed assistance. He offers job shadow experiences for high school students and provides intern positions for SHS accounting students during their college years. Jeff is also the provider and presenter for the Miss Christine Lawlor scholarship.
Next week will mark thirty-seven years in practice for Jeff! Graham & Graham is located at 368 River Street in Springfield. For more information, visit the website: www.grahamcpa.com, or call 802-885-5340.
From left to right: Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce Board Member Ben Hills, Chamber President Amanda Moore, Chamber Administrative Support Specialist Alice Page, Chamber Vice President Kelen Beardsley, Graham & Graham PC Staff Accountants Chelsea Austin and David Fox, Chamber Director Caitlin Christiana, Graham & Graham PC President Jeff Graham, Graham & Graham PC Tax Preparer Mike Graham, Chamber Board member Lyndsie Perkins, and Chamber Second Vice President Jerry Farnum.