Theresa Rohm and Diane Smith first met at a meeting of the Tidewater Chapter of the Virginia Credit Union League in 1998. They were actually competitors, working for different firms. However, they remained friends. Rohm worked in Chesapeake and had been with her firm for 25 years. Smith owned her own firm in Newport News.
In 2016, Smith was ready to retire. She called Rohm, who had been thinking of having her own accounting business. “It fell together perfectly,” says Smith. She has remained in an advisory capacity. The six CPAs stayed on with Rohm at the helm.
Rohm’s firm handles auditing, tax returns and monthly accounting for small businesses and corporations. It also processes regulatory audits, a government requirement in the grant process. Only 30 percent of the business involves taxes. “We are able to stay busy all year round,” says Rohm. “We are interested in maintaining a long-term relationship with our clients. Some have been with us for 20 years.”
Most of the firm’s clients are small credit unions, small businesses and non-profits. “I enjoy working with the non-profits,” says Rohm. “I see the good they do, and it makes me feel better about the world,” she adds.
Rohm lives in Virginia Beach and spends up to two hours commuting each day. “I will probably move eventually,” she says. She is very happy with the current arrangement. “I work with a fabulous crew. I still see my former colleagues,” she adds. To survive the commute she “expands her mind,” listening to accounting podcasts. Her faithful Honda has logged 200,000 miles. “I also don’t leave at 5 pm,” she says with a smile.
Rohm grew up in Alabama but has no Southern accent. “I worked hard to get rid of it,” she says. Her Bachelor of Science degree is from the University of South Alabama. Her husband was in the military and they lived in San Diego for a while. “I loved it there,” she says. She and her husband have two children, one in college. Her hobbies include paddle boarding and reading. She listens to books on tape while commuting. “I’m very well read,” she says. She would like to learn to play golf. Her bucket list includes the desire to travel to South America and Europe. “I would like to see the Inca ruins in Central America.”
Rohm is a member of the Hampton Roads Gift Planning Council. She also supports the Jim White Fitness Foundation and the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Norfolk.
Smith cites health reasons as the impetus for her retirement. Last February a retirement party was held. At least a couple of days a month she comes into the office to review files and offer her expertise.
Smith has been very active in civic and professional organizations. She is past treasurer of the Newport News Friends of the Library and past president of the Newport News Council of PTAs. She was on the working committee of People to People and past president of the Peninsula Chapter of CPAs. She received the “Super CPA” award annually from 2000 to 2012 from Virginia Business magazine. Currently she is on the Peer Review Committee of the Virginia Society of CPAs.
Smith is from Pennsylvania. At age 18, she moved to Virginia when her father’s job transferred the family. She doesn’t miss the cold weather. “I would like to see one good snowfall a year,” she says. Smith received her Bachelor of Science degree from VCU in Richmond. She is married and for 12 years she was a “stay-at-home” mother. At her husband’s urging, she began taking accounting courses at CNU. Eventually she took the CPA exam. After working in various accounting firms, she opened her own business in 2003. “I loved it,” she says. “It had always been my dream.”
Now Smith is enjoying her free time. “Each day is open to new possibilities,” she says, “with no obligations.” She has joined a gym and hired a personal trainer. Her greatest joy is spending more time with her grandchildren. She has six of them, ages 2 –12. She likes to take them individually on trips, according to their interests.
Rohm and Smith will continue their friendship and shared business. They are proud that it has the standards of a large firm with the feel of a small local firm.
TO THE POINT:
A. Rohm, Smith & Company
Address: 11832 Rock Landing Dr., Ste. 101, Newport News VA 23606
Contact: Theresa Rohm, CPA, owner