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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, July 23, 2012, 7:00 am

Napa’s Rabanal & Smith will become Moss Adams practice

Firm’s founding partners will remain; gives Moss additional Napa presence

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    SANTA ROSA and NAPA — Napa-based accounting firm Rabanal & Smith LLP will merge into Moss Adams LLP, giving Moss Adams and its wine industry practice a physical footprint in the Napa Valley.

    Moss Adams and Rabanal & SmithPart of a planned expansion of Moss Adams’ presence in the region, Rabanal & Smith will become a Moss Adams office on Aug. 1. The firm will add several more staff to the downtown Napa office in the coming months, broadening the practice’s wine industry focus to include clients in the hospitality, manufacturing, food and agriculture industries.

    Founding partners Jennifer Rabanal and Amy Smith will join Moss Adams, with Ms. Rabanal as a partner in the audit practice and Ms. Smith as a partner in the tax practice. Both will remain in Napa and continue to focus on current and future clients. Four other employees under Rabanal & Smith will also stay with the firm.

    Jeff Gutsch

    Jeff Gutsch

    “We’re extremely pleased to deepen our commitment to the Napa community and count the talented team at Rabanal & Smith among our accounting and business consulting professionals in the area,” said Jeff Gutsch, partner and wine industry group leader at Moss Adams.

    The move marks the first new North Bay office for Seattle-based Moss Adams since opening a branch in Santa Rosa more than 30 years ago. As the anchor for the firm’s Wine Industry Group, the office has grown to 70 staff members, with the Wine Industry Group currently serving more than 200 wineries and vineyards in California, Oregon and Washington.

    While the six-member Rabanal & Smith practice is much smaller, Mr. Gutsch said that the firm’s expertise in the wine industry and quality clients made it an attractive partner. Discussions about combining the firms began more than a year ago, with Ms. Rabanal and Ms. Smith looking to turn their attention more toward clients and less toward day-to-day management.

    “We remain fully committed to our wonderful clients and the wine industry as a whole in the Napa Valley,” said Ms. Smith. “By joining forces with Moss Adams, we are increasing our professional network and expanding the level of services, capabilities and expertise available to our clients.”

    Rabanal & Smith was founded nine years ago in response to an increased demand for compliance services in the wine industry and the Napa business community. Its founding partners have more than 33 years of combined experience serving the wine industry, and further experience in other accounting.

    That history is also seen as an asset, as many Napa County companies prefer to work with local professionals, Mr. Gutsch said.

    The new office will also serve as a more convenient base for serving Moss Adams clients in surrounding areas like Solano and Contra Costa counties, as well as current staff based in the Napa Valley, Mr. Gutsch said.

    Moss Adams is currently finalizing the logistics of sharing staff between the Santa Rosa and soon-to-be Napa offices. Future staff growth will proceed organically, with an eye on the volume seen at the firm’s more rural practices.

    The firm currently has nine offices in California, and 21 offices focused primarily in the western United States.

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