Kathy Zaffore, CPA
Grew up in a CPA practice in Los Angeles, so destiny was sealed. Family also owned and operated a motel business at Disneyland. Lost count of number of times she’s ridden the Matterhorn. Earned Bachelor of Science at University of Southern California—Fight On! An MA at San Francisco State, and then a Master’s of Science in accounting at University of Colorado – Denver. After years with other firms, started a practice in the fall of 1994 to follow her heart – working with people, helping them grow and manage their businesses and their wealth. Enjoys the Pinery wildlife, her grandson Ian (now 14!) and cooking (probably because she does so little of it). Trying to make more time to walk, read, write and spend time with her husband and the horse. Continues the quest to semi-fluent Italian so that the next trip will be more interactive (it’s nice to know if you are on the right train). Va Bene!
Kim Ruane, CPA, Shareholder and Practice Manager
Hails from the Chicago area. Graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting at University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. Passed through CPA firms in Santa Clara, California and Naperville, Illinois on her way to Colorado where she raised her family—now three great adults. As of 2018 added the title of Grandma! REALLY enjoys doing tax work but handles accounting, payroll, and other issues as well, while keeping the practice on track as our Organization Maven—AKA Practice Manager. Outside of the office, enjoys walking, bicycling and all things family. Enjoys domestic travel to see family in Illinois, New Jersey and Florida. Caught the international travel bug a few years ago and has enjoyed a few days visiting each France, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany and Austria! With the practice since 1996.
Stacey Garrett, CPA, Shareholder
Stacey spent her first few years in New York, and then moved to California. She was raised in the Simi Valley area, where she earned a B.S. in Accounting from California Lutheran University in nearby Thousand Oaks. She married her high school sweetheart in 1995, and entered public accounting just weeks after returning from their Jamaican honeymoon. They were feeling a little froggy in the fall of 1996, and decided to try out a short stint living in Colorado. It didn’t take long for them to fall in love with the area, and their short stint turned into a permanent residence. While raising their two teenage children in Parker, Stacey has worked in both the audit and tax areas of public accounting serving individuals, small businesses and nonprofit organizations. We are so glad that our paths crossed in 2017, and Stacey joined our firm. We are loving her wicked good sense of humor, along with her passion for organization and process – critical keys in a CPA practice. In her time away from the office, she is an avid book lover, an adventurous cook, a culinary summer gardener, and a long-haul road trip warrior. Her family vehicle has reached far off places such as Niagara Falls, Disney World and the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. Her other life pursuits involve learning classical Latin, and finishing the historically accurate Victorian dollhouse that she has been building meticulously from scratch for a long time.
Geoff Combs, CPA, MBA, Shareholder
Geoff grew up in Scottsdale, AZ and lived in Las Vegas for 15 years where he got his bachelor’s degree from UNLV in Hospitality Management. He worked for 20 years in management in the food service industry, both full service and casual service, including being a training manager at several different concepts and developing company-wide training materials. Geoff moved to Colorado in 2001, and then in 2006 started working for the Colorado Horse Park as Controller and Chief Financial Officer, gaining experience in equestrian business operations as well as the non-profit world. He became licensed as a CPA in 2008, at which time he started his own small business preparing individual and business tax returns. Following a change in ownership and reorganization of the Colorado Horse Park, Geoff joined Zaffore Ruane in June 2017 with his unique skill set and expertise, a quick smile and can-do attitude. He lives on acreage in Elbert County with his wife, rescue horses, llama, dogs, several chickens and a clowder of cats. Geoff is a huge Star Trek and Star Wars fan. He is certified as a rescue SCUBA diver and is working on his divemaster certification as time allows and enjoys trips to the Caribbean. As the Klingons would say, Qapla’!
Julie A Bechtel, CPA, MT, Shareholder
The daughter of a career Army Officer, Julie grew up an “Army Brat,” moving from Post to Post every couple of years. After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design from Kansas State University (there is a time and a place for all things “fun”,) she moved to the Denver area. She went on to complete a second Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting from the University of Phoenix and a Master’s of Taxation from the University Of Denver Sturm College Of Law. Her path to Zaffore Ruane (she joined us in 2015) began at PwC, spanned several contract positions in industry, includes multiple years in a local public accounting practice in the Longmont area, as well as a year with CliftonLarsonAllen. She is a member of the AICPA and the Colorado Society of CPA’s. Her focus at Zaffore Ruane is assisting closely held businesses as well as individuals with a variety of tax, payroll, accounting, and IRS issues. Julie strives with care to meet the needs of her clients, to find the best solutions. In addition to her work at the firm, she serves as a member on both the School and Parish finance councils at Ave Maria.
Kathleen Bell, CPA
A Denver native! Completed Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting from University of Colorado – Denver. Following a stint as assistant controller for two large companies, she “came to her senses” and entered public accounting. A Sage50 (aka Peachtree) Wizard — through the trials and tribulations of setting up and maintaining some challenging accounting environments. Also works with QuickBooks, Timeslips and Sherware, a software specific to the oil/gas industry. Enjoys the details of day to day bookkeeping all the way through to financial reporting and tax return preparation. Truly spoils her pampered group of clients. Lives on the west side of town for quick escapes to the mountains – loves a good hike and the views from tree line. Married with two adult children. An adventurous kitchen chef, she makes the best lemon bars anywhere. In the practice from, well, the beginning – 1994.
Alicia Huang, CPA
Alicia holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting from Rutgers University in New Jersey. She arrived at Zaffore Ruane in 2015 with solid experience in corporate financial accounting as well as tax, but she had a desire to use her talents in public accounting for its variety and fast pace. We are glad she did – Alicia has a quick smile and an even quicker mind, loving the challenge of problem solving for our clients. Originally from Taiwan, Alicia is also fluent in Chinese Mandarin. The US has been her home for the past 11 years, including three years in Colorado with her husband, three dogs, two cats and adorable (and busy) two-year-old son (and he is already an international traveler!). Alicia always looks forward to busy season because she loves tax and math! In her spare time, she snowboards (too bad winter ski season collides with tax season…) and enjoys constructing jigsaw puzzles. She has quite the collection!
Vicki Hager, Bookkeeper / Tax Tech / Computer Wiz
Another Denver native – well, Englewood. Wears many hats in our practice with good humor and a true desire to be helpful to all. Along with tax return preparation, Vicki works with many of our small business clients on payroll, sales tax and bookkeeping issues, cleans up clients’ computer files, installs software, troubleshoots problems and provides training on QuickBooks. Also serves as our resident IT department. Outside of work, manages a lively extended household that includes high school-aged kids and two young adults. There is almost no building project Vicki cannot do – she has even refloored her entire house. She has been a lifesaver at Zaffore Ruane since 1996.
Michelle Cox, Bookkeeper
Arrived in Colorado from Pennsylvania in 1987. Completed a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Sciences from Metro State University with an interest in land use after working as an accounting assistant for Lutheran Medical Center for five years. Met her husband while stationed as a contractor in Antarctica—you heard that right—Antarctica! She spent a year there as an administrative assistant and a summer season as a research scientist studying the continent’s water quality. Managed the bookkeeping and administration for a small, family-owned plumbing business for several years. Enjoys gardening, hiking and photography. Here at the office, takes on a wide-variety of bookkeeping duties for clients. She also serves as our firm’s Accounts Payable Specialist. Joined us in 2014.
Laurie Paganini, Accounts Receivable
Hailing from the state of South Dakota, Laurie has lived in Colorado since 1996 when she married her husband. After she earned her A.S. in Echocardiography, Laurie raised children and gained valuable knowledge from a wide variety of businesses and volunteer activities. Laurie discovered her true talent in life was organization and administration. She joined the Zaffore Ruane team in 2015 and has charmed us all with her big laugh and joyful personality. She capably stepped into the role of Accounts Receivable Manager along with a host of administrative responsibilities in our front office. Outside of the office, Laurie is her family’s Cheerleader in Chief for her son’s dramatic or singing roles on stage and her daughter’s feats on the soccer field with a traveling team. She volunteers to raise funds for the arts. With so much going on, it is amazing that she finds time for fun – scrapbooking! Goes to show what time management and organization can do for you.
Laura joined us in February 2018. She is married to a chef and has two grown children. She moved to Parker in 1995, and has also lived in New Mexico and Northern and Southern California. Laura has extensive work experience, having worked in Parker elementary schools on and off for 20 years, as an administrative assistant at an engineering firm, and in hotels when she was younger. Laura loves hiking and walks in our beautiful state and is an avid animal lover, including cats. Her hobbies include sewing, crafts and reading.
Carey Barta, CPA Assistant
Carey joined us in December 2019 as CPA Assistant. She is married and has a freshman in high school. After trying a few different colleges, she landed at the University of Denver (Go Pioneers!). Carey has a knack for organizing others and keeping calendars in check. She has experience in a variety of accounting functions including payroll, benefits, and was previously an Executive Assistant for a CPA firm. Life in the Barta household is never boring with school, traveling baseball, basketball and volunteer activities. She grew up in the Denver Metro area and loves trying new Mexican restaurants and loves to make her own green chili (Colorado style). Her bucket list includes scuba diving in Roatan and learning to play the drums. In her spare time, she enjoys taking educational courses in a variety of topics from QuickBooks online to new tax rules.