Smith and Raab, CPAs and CPA Financial Planners in Decatur, Georgia, is a local firm with a personalized approach. Throughout the course of our work, with individuals as well as closely held and family-owned businesses, we focus on thoughtful, thorough planning. As tax advisors, we employ a detailed process that identifies options and strategies to reduce taxes for the current year and delivers similar benefits over the long-term. As financial planners, we combine the objectivity and big-picture perspective of CPAs with expertise in financial planning to help our clients take stock of their finances and achieve their personal financial goals.
Houston D. Smith Jr., CPA/PFS
One of the earliest to pursue and earn the designation of Personal Financial Specialist (PFS), Houston is also well-known and respected in his profession for his writings and teachings and as a speaker. Most importantly, he brings his unique depth of expertise to the financial plans he develops for his clients.
Nationally, Houston has contributed to the profession’s body of knowledge in both financial planning and taxation. Among extensive committee work with the AICPA, he served on the subcommittee which wrote the PFS examination as well as the committee that redrafted the PFP process curriculum and textbooks. From 2003 to 2008, he was on the steering committee for AICPA’s conference, “Tax Strategies for the High-Income Individual.” He has also taught financial planning courses to CPAs. Among his many speaking engagements, he delivered the keynote address at the AICPA conference, “The CPA and the Older Client.” In 2009, Houston was named one of America's “Top 40 Tax Advisors to Know During a Recession” by CPA Magazine.
In Georgia, Houston has served five terms as chairman of the PFP Committee and Estate and Financial Planning Section of the Georgia Society of CPAs, as well as a director on the Society’s Board. He has chaired the Society’s 6th, 12th, and 15th annual PFP conferences. And he was honored with the Distinguished Service Award in education in 1997 and Distinguished Committee Chair in 2000 and 2002. He is a charter member of the Atlanta Tax Forum, an active member of the Atlanta and DeKalb Estate Planning Councils, and a past president of the Atlanta Estate Planning Council.
Houston is a NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisor.
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Since 1969, Alvan has been an advisor to closely held businesses and their owners on a broad range of tax and financial matters. His clients know him for his adeptness at sorting through the multiple nuances and changes in the tax laws, and similar thoroughness in investigating options to develop the most appropriate tax-saving and wealth-building strategies.
Alvan joined the firm in 1968. He became a partner in 1974 and the firm was recast as Smith and Raab, P.C.
His expertise in both tax and financial planning, combined with his willingness to serve his profession, have led him to leadership positions in such organizations as the International Association for Financial Planning, the Atlanta Tax Forum, and the PFP Committee of the Georgia Society of CPAs. He has served as president and director of the DeKalb Chapter of the Georgia Society of CPAs and council member of the Georgia Society of CPAs.
Ann S. Rushing, CPA/PFS
Ann began her career as a CPA in 1975 with Arthur Andersen and Company, where she conducted client-company audits and consulted with corporations in the area of business management. She has been on the inside of the corporate world, with Fuqua Industries, as well as providing services to companies and individuals as a consultant. She brought her expertise in tax and financial planning to Smith and Raab CPA Financial Planners in 1992.
Ann has worked with clients on tax preparation and planning for three decades. Her work in the financial planning discipline dates back to 1987. She works extensively with her Smith and Raab clients on issues such as financial independence and education, estate and retirement planning. She has helped young professionals develop long-term plans to achieve financial independence as well as address specific challenges like their children’s education. She has also worked with widowed and divorced individuals to help them understand their finances and secure their financial well-being.
Ann received her CPA designation in 1977 and achieved certification as a Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) in 1993. She is a member of the Personal Financial Planning (PFP) Division of the American Institute of CPAs and the Estate and Financial Planning section of the Georgia Society of CPAs. Ann is an active member of the Atlanta and DeKalb Estate Planning Councils.
National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA)
Houston D. Smith Jr. is among fewer than 1200 financial planners nationwide who have met the stringent requirements to be designated as NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisors.
NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisors are committed to three primary ideals:
- Clients are best served by a comprehensive approach to financial planning.
- The highest levels of competency must be achieved and maintained.
- Fee-only compensation and a fiduciary relationship are vital to placing the interests of the client above all others.
Consumers look to NAPFA for access to financial advisors who meet the highest standards for professional competency, comprehensive financial planning, and fee-only compensation.
Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)
Personal Financial Specialists are certified public accountants qualified to offer financial planning services. They must complete an exam, have at least three years of financial planning experience, and submit recommendations before achieving certification. The title is authorized by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
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On December 1, 1949, Houston D. Smith opened his accounting practice in downtown Decatur, Georgia, just half a block from the firm’s current location. That stability and consistency are hallmarks of the practice, perhaps best reflected in the fact that the firm still boasts individuals and businesses who have been clients since 1951.
Those early clients were primarily small businesses in downtown Decatur: a clothier, a music instrument supplier, an auto dealership, an auto repair shop, a printer, an appliance dealer, a pharmaceutical manufacturer representative. Houston D. Smith was a Registered Public Accountant, a principal designation for his profession at the time. Later, when Houston Jr. joined the firm, the two became CPAs on the same day, an occurrence never before or since recorded in Georgia.
Houston D. Smith was above all a man known for his integrity, a reputation forever secured when he returned the largest audit fee he ever received rather than make a change to a financial statement that he knew to be misleading. That steadfast commitment to honesty is a characteristic that stands as the firm’s brand.
In 1962, with his father’s health failing, Houston D. Smith Jr. left his job teaching accounting at Georgia State University and working on his doctoral degree to help hold the business together. At his father’s death, Houston Jr. took over operation of the firm and has presided over the business since — more than 40 years.
Alvan Raab joined the firm in 1968, leaving a position at Arthur Young & Company, the forerunner of industry giant Ernst & Young. In 1974, the two became partners and, in 1980, incorporated as Smith and Raab, P.C.
Recognizing the need of many of their clients in the early 1980s for personal financial planning, the partners took steps to add that discipline as a formal part of their practice. Houston secured the designation of personal financial specialist (PFS) in 1988, and the following year, they incorporated as Smith and Raab CPA Financial Planners, P.C. In 1992, they bolstered their financial planning team with the addition of Ann S. Rushing, CPA, PFS.
Throughout the history of the firm, it has maintained the character of a family business. Houston Jr.’s mother worked along side her husband and remained at the firm until she died in 1992. Houston Jr.’s wife, Mary, has been an integral part of the business since 1963.
“My parents poured their lives into this business,” Houston Jr. recalls. “It is a joy to keep that legacy alive. We have been blessed with clients far better than we could have imagined or wished for, and staff accountants who have allowed us to serve those clients well.”
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Smith and Raab operates as two firms:
Smith and Raab. P.C. – a CPA firm in Decatur, Ga., the premier tax preparers
in Decatur, Ga., and
Smith and Raab CPA Financial Planners, P.C. – the only firm authorized to
use the designation of CPA Financial Planners in Decatur, Ga.