In 1980, there were still a lot of stereotypes and limitations surrounding women professionals. The glass ceiling had yet to be touched, much less broken, and many young women struggled to find their way in a workforce that was dominated by men. This was even the case almost 20 years later, when in 1999, the country celebrated the first woman CEO to lead a company in the Dow Jones industrial average. We take a look back at 40 years of service to the community, as Emerald Financial Partners and CEO Valerie McLaughlin celebrate their business anniversary this year!
It was also in 1980, when a local Annapolis woman came to the stark realization that if she wanted to advance her career, she would have to create her own opportunities. With a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting, Valerie McLaughlin had worked for a private firm for several years. Several positions were opening up for advancement, and when she asked to be considered, she was told, “There are no leadership opportunities for women at this time.”
Valerie McLaughlin was not okay with the status quo. She resigned from the firm and began her own practice at the age of 24. She started out small, serving as an outsourced accounting consultant, for several local businesses. A few years later, her practice had grown and she opened her first office under the firm name Qualitax, located in Annapolis, Maryland.
The firm rebranded in 2018 as Emerald Financial Partners to convey a wider scope of services including accounting, tax planning, and outsourced CFO services to businesses and their owners, in the Mid-Atlantic region. The firm has also established a reputation in the community as a Proactive Accounting firm, which allows them to help businesses with planning vs. reacting to business and tax changes.
“There has been a lot of change over the last 40 years, with technology, tax laws, and entrepreneurial business models. I think we are very proficient in adapting our business to meet these changes and I am really proud of our team and the detailed level of support we provide to our clients,” reflects Valerie McLaughlin, CEO of Emerald Financial Partners. Valerie’s daughter and the firms’ President, Christy Bennett-Rawlings, now leads many of the day-to-day initiatives. Their team serves hundreds of clients in the Mid-Atlantic region and several national clients who require multi-state tax and accounting services.
Emerald Financial Partners proudly supports the local community through a variety of giving back initiatives. Christy Bennett-Rawlings has served as the Charity Chairperson for Thrive Arundel’s charitable initiatives.
Emerald Financial Partners will be holding a 40 year anniversary celebration in the Fall of 2020.