Financial ServicesA life built around career, art, community and colleagues Linda Kachiu, CPA


Zainer Rinehart Clarke

3510 Unocal Place #350

Santa Rosa 95403



SANTA ROSA -- Taking time out of her busy schedule as a partner at the accounting firm Zainer Rinehart Clarke in Santa Rosa, Linda Kachiu puts a good deal of effort into supporting the arts.

Artists "look at the world so differently,” she said. “And it is a great balance for me. I am better in this moment because I didn’t just focus on my career.”

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A lover of contemporary art, Ms. Kachiu has many artist clients and is able to take the time to support the Santa Rosa Symphony as a member of the audit committee. She also is part of the Sonoma County Economic Development Board, treasurer for its related foundation and treasurer for the Community Foundation Sonoma County.

Part of the reason she is able to take this time is the philosophy of the firm.

“It is a firm owned by women. This has lent itself to a more creative and innovative way to run a firm,” she said.

She cited flexibility as a main factor.

“Many of the partners and staff have come on as part-time. This is just not something you see. It never means anyone is less dedicated to their career. We are professionals dedicated to our clients,” she said.

San Francisco-born, Ms. Kachiu came to Santa Rosa after finishing college for what she thought would be two years to do the public accounting requirement for her degree. Then, she figured, she would go back to the city, get a real job and a real life.

But, she said, “There was a level of serenity here. People call it the pace. I think it was critical for my own well being.”

She has been in Santa Rosa now for more than 25 years.

After the first two years at Linkenheimer, Hebrew, Cooper & Kerr, she realized she was not quite ready to leave and took a position at Zainer Rinehart Clarke as a staff accountant. Shortly after that she was made the firm administrator. They had a different and innovative way to run a firm, she said.

“I was in all the meetings,” she said. And the partners served as a board. From the beginning she said she started to understand what business owners care about and how they think about business.

At 34, she became partner.

There were women partners already at the firm when she arrived, like Betsy Stewart, a director since 1985, and the late Ellen Masland Salyer, who paved the way for other women to become partners.

Initially, Ms. Kachiu had studied accounting as a way to get close to her father.

“Numbers and math were easy for me, and he was a computer programmer,” she said.

Ultimately, however, it was graduating college that brought her closer to him. She was the first in her family to graduate.

She said as a woman in finance, she feels like she has been fortunate.

“I know women who have fought battles and have been passed over. Someone was always seeing something in me, and there was always an opportunity made available,” she said.

And, she added, “I always said yes. Maybe I would have to figure it out, but it would be too late to back out now.”

As for mentors and women she looks up to, “There are so many, and for so many reasons,” she said.

Other than the women at her firm who came before her, she said she admires women in sports.

“I am in awe of incredibly strong women,” she said.

Her emphasis is in audit and accounting services, in addition to internal management, organizational development and design with businesses.

She serves as a U.S. representative on the DFK International board, a worldwide association of independent accounting firms, to which her firm belongs.

She also serves as the vice president of the Americas for DFK International. She is the first woman to hold that position.

Her responsibilities are to represent all the DFK member firms in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean — 200 firms in 70 countries — at the international association level.

Turning 50 this year, she said as she looks to the future she sees possibilities.

“I feel like I am finally comfortable in my own skin,” she said. “I am ready to get started.”