Capaldi Reynolds & Pelosi is a mature institution, an 80-year-old accounting firm whose chairman, Bob Reynolds, has been with the business for 57 years. But the company has been on a growth spurt lately, adding 26 new partners and staff members in 24 months and doubling the size of its Northfield offices to hold all those people.
In October 2012, Capaldi Reynolds had 34 accountants and 44 total employees. By last October, after a series of mergers, the firm was up to 52 accountants and 70 employees, meaning it had grown by close to 60 percent in just two years — and in a region where the business climate has suffered badly in that same time.
Matt Reynolds, one of three managing partners, starts that growing-up-fast story in November 2012, when Capaldi Reynolds merged with Morowitz & Co., of Galloway Township, and added seven people to CRP.
The following August, David Wagstaff of Clarity FI Consulting merged into the firm, and a few months later, in November 2013, CPA Francis C. Thomas did, too. But the biggest single move came last October, when the former Ventnor accounting practice of Lavinsky, Horowitz & Pollard merged with Capaldi Reynolds.
That move alone brought 14 new faces into CRP’s bulging Tilton Road headquarters, and adding so many people in so little time forced the firm into the most visible sign of its growth.
Capaldi Reynolds, which for decades had rented out half the building it owns to a tenant, took over the whole place. Earlier this month, Capaldi Reynolds held an open house to unveil its redone headquarters to clients — and to welcome some of those still-new partners and staffers.
The firm doubled its space, to about 24,000 square feet, just by knocking out a wall that used to cut the building in half. But it also gutted that formerly rented-out side and started over — there was less work to do on Capaldi Reynolds’ own historic half because the firm finished major renovations there just a few years ago, the leaders say.
After the latest redo, the sleek, modern building shows basically no trace of its own heritage:
“When I was growing up, this was the Northfield Bowling Alley,” Matt Reynolds recalled, with a smile.
Donna Buzby, another one of the managing partners, was with Capaldi Reynolds when it landed on Tilton Road in 1990. It had moved out of formerly rented offices on Atlantic City’s North Carolina Avenue — because Northfield was a more central, convenient location for both customers and staff.
Buzby also notes that there actually is one visible bit of the bowling alley in the new-look offices: In a redone cafeteria, the firm framed and hung up a section of an old lane on a sort of wall of fame.
(Apparently when CRP moved to Northfield a quarter century ago, workers just covered up the alleys with office flooring. “When we redid it a few years ago, there was bowling alley all over the place,” Matt Reynolds said.)
And the principals are happy with their modern transformation, but the idea behind the redo wasn’t just to look better. It was to work better, to draw more business to what was already the biggest CPA firm in Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties.
Buzby said one big, new growth area has been in business consulting. CRA Financial LLC — a related wealth-management and financial-planning business started in 1998 by Matt Reynolds and his brother, Tom — also had space to grow. Other specializations include financial statements, taxes (which still account for 50 to 60 percent of the overall business), estate and trust work and litigation support.
CRP does more too, and that one-stop shopping for financial services has been a major draw for Debbie Devlin, of Margate, and her family for 50-plus years — back to Atlantic City days, she said.
“We use them for accounting, financial advice and estate planning,” Devlin said. “If you have a question, you pick up the phone and you get a voice. You get one of them.”
Devlin, whose family owns Boardwalk stores in Atlantic City and Ocean City, said their use of the firm has grown gradually.
“At first, it was just accounting, but we started using CRA as soon as they established it,” she said. “We gave it a shot and it’s been terrific.”
The new offices left Capaldi Reynolds with 3,500 square feet or so of unused office space, so there’s still room to grow — but probably not too soon.
The latest merger “was so recent,” Matt Reynolds said, “we need to digest that for a while.”