About Build Your Firm
At Build Your Firm, we work with all types of accounting firms to help them work smarter, not harder. Our programs and services are designed to help you better utilize marketing for practice development, improve your hourly fee realization, and ultimately improve your firm profitability.
Our clients range from small start-ups to multi-million dollar firms operating in several states. While most of our clients are domestic, some are international in scope. Many have interesting niches and some are hybrid firms providing financial and/or legal services. At the core, all of our clients would like to be more effective utilizing marketing for lead generation, improve their profitability and secure a more balanced lifestyle. That’s where we can be of assistance.
Our ultimate goal is to provide you with new skills to improve your effectiveness and provide you with more control over your practice and life.
Allan Ratafia, Co-Founder of Build Your Firm, Inc. CPA, MS in Taxation, BS in Accounting
Allan left Price Waterhouse & Co. in 1993 to form his own accounting firm, Ratafia & Co., CPA’s, PC. Today, Allan's practice now has over 600 accounting and tax clients and operates with a lean staff. Today, the inflow of new clients is very healthy and has forced Allan to turn away clients that do not fit a specific client profile. Recognizing this overflow of business is precisely what led him to launch Build Your Firm.
Allan routinely conducts seminars and workshops for business clients, other accounting firms and continuing education courses. Last year, he spoke on behalf of Build Your Firm at annual conferences for the National Society of Accountants (NSA), National Planning Corporation (NPC), Cambridge Investment Research and a regional meeting for the National Association of Small Business Accountants (NASBA). For his own accounting practice, Allan has conducted sessions for Pfizer, Yahoo!, Provident Bank, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, 24/7 Real Media, Exodus Communications and many more.
Allan has a Masters degree in Taxation from Baruch College and a BS in Accounting from New York University. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the National Association of Public Accountants.
Hugh Duffy, Co-Founder of Build Your Firm, Inc. MBA in Marketing, BS in Finance
Hugh has more than twenty years of marketing experience working in the consumer packaged goods, internet media, publishing and professional services industries. Prior to joining Build Your Firm, he was the Vice President of Internet Marketing for Business & Legal Reports (BLR), a publisher of state/federal laws for employers. Prior to BLR, Hugh was a Director with a publicly traded global internet media company, 24/7 Real Media, responsible for Business Development and Strategic Partnerships.
The foundation of Hugh’s marketing background is fourteen years of consumer packaged goods marketing with Schick, Nabisco, Clorox, and Coca-Cola. During this period, he had the opportunity to manage well known brands like Schick, Nabisco Shredded Wheat, Cream of Wheat, Milk-Bone, Clorox, Fresca, Mello Yello, and many other familiar brands.
Hugh has a MBA degree in Marketing from the University of Rochester and BS in Finance from the University of Maryland. While at Maryland, Hugh was on a golf scholarship as a Terrapin and his college coach was Fred Funk, PGA Tour player.
See Hugh's Recommended Reading List for small business owners.
ACCOUNTING FIRM COACH
Nita Sabo, Director of Sales
Nita Sabo has excellent communication and listening skills. She prides herself on her ability to assess her clients’ unique situation and work with them to identify solutions designed to help them achieve their practice development goals.
Her professional background includes over twenty years of marketing, sales and public relations experience. Prior to joining Build Your Firm Nita was the owner of Creative Marketing developing many marketing and public relation campaigns solving clients issues of increasing business, improving internal flow of information and promoting good community will. Prior to that she worked as an Account Manager at Medical Economics successfully managing an advertising territory; working with clients such as Merck, Schering, and Hill Rom. Her past prior sales experience includes environmental conservation products, clothing lines and radio where she excelled at growing the company’s sales, reducing cost and working on marketing/public relations campaigns.
Nita graduated from Boston College with a BS in Marketing from the School of Management, and has made significant progress towards her Master’s in Public Administration.
Her spare time is spent volunteering in the community, gourmet cooking, boating, reading and enjoying her family.
WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT AND INTERNET MARKETING TEAM
Dawn Hendrixson, Director of Marketing
Dawn graduated from Elon College with BA in Psychology. She has over 18 years of diversified marketing experience across a broad range of industries including banking, publishing, internet media and professional services industries. While she enjoys in all areas of marketing, she has a particular interest and expertise in new media technologies, internet marketing, website development and social media marketing.
Prior to Build Your Firm Dawn was Marketing Communications Manager for a bank where she was responsible for mass media communications, direct mail marketing and Web initiatives for the bank. Prior to the bank, she was Director of Marketing for eBuild.com, a division of business-to-business publisher Hanley-Wood, LLC. While there Dawn was part of the team that was responsible for launching Hanley-Wood’s Web division and bringing the company’s award-winning magazines online, including industry leader BUILDER Magazine.
In her spare time, Dawn enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons. Her favorite way to spend free time is reading, cooking for family and friends or tending to her ever-growing garden.
Robin Nerkowski, Marketing & Website Development Coordinator
Robin is a part of the Website Development and Internet Marketing team. Her competency in communicating with clients and organizational skills enables her to skillfully assist clients through the process of building their new websites. She is a Certified Google Adwords Professional.
Robin gained her marketing experience through working in the medical marketing industry before joining the BYF team. There she assisted in the organization of medical marketing seminars throughout the country.
Robin enjoys cooking, antiquing and photography and is currently working on her fine arts degree at a local college.
James Bowen, Internet Marketing Coordinator
James graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2009 with a degree in Economics and minor in entrepreneurship. He interned for an internet start-up during college and since then has managed, built and advertised a portfolio of websites both personally and professionally. He is responsible for website development, Pay Per Click campaigns on Google Adwords and technical support to Build Your Firm clients.
James enjoys adventure vacations, staying outdoors and spending time with family.
Lauren Clark, Graphic Designer
Lauren is part of the Website Development team. She graduated from Southern CT State University with a degree in studio arts. She gained experience working in web design firms as a designer/developer before moving to Build your Firm. Lauren has almost a decade of experience working with Photoshop and HTML, and has worked in IT as well.
Lauren enjoys painting and drawing, computer & internet geekery as well hiking, yoga and spending time with her cats.
Deb Kelleher, Billing Manager
Deb graduated from Quinnipiac College with a degree in Data Processing and has over twenty years of experience working in various fields including; computer programming, elementary school library management and education, office administration, and accounts receivable. Her background has afforded her the organizational skills and attention to detail required to provide clear and accurate billing to all Build Your Firm clients.
Deb is a life-long Connecticut resident who enjoys doing needlework and baking, as well as spending time outdoors hiking and biking with her husband and teenage son and daughter.