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Company History

A Firm Built on Trust

Our founder, Gerald J. Cavanaugh, CPA, earned his B.S. in accounting from Rider College in 1948. Post-graduation, he specialized in Audits, a field in which Cavanaugh & Co still excels to this day.

Gerald joined the New York State Society of CPA’s as well as the American Institute of CPA’s in 1955. While practicing in New York, he worked with clients including Xerox, several major New York Banks, multiple prominent hospitals, educational institutions, brewing companies and manufacturing corporations.

Throughout his illustrious career, Gerald Cavanaugh always made time to help others – a trait he passed to his team at Cavanaugh & Co – serving on the boards of a number of non-profit organizations. In 1963, his firm, Wilson, Schults & Company merged with Peat, Marwick, Mitchel & Company. Post-merger, Gerald became an audit partner. He and his wife Ruth relocated to Southwest Florida in 1969, where they planned to retire.

Our Firm’s Beginnings

In lieu of retirement, Gerald and Ruth Cavanaugh created a small accounting office, providing tax and consulting services to those in the Sarasota area. Four years later, the pair planned to purchase a local practice, but decided instead to found what is now known as Cavanaugh & Co, LLP.

Cavanaugh hired a partner, Michael R. Pender, in 1979. That same year, Cavanaugh & Co joined the Private Company Practice segment of the AICPA and moved into a new Sarasota location. They added another partner, Stephen Spangler, in 1980. Cavanaugh & Co continued to develop as a full service accounting firm with divisions for auditing, tax and small business services.

A New Industry Leader

Cavanaugh & Co quickly established itself as a leader in the audit industry, specializing in audits for condominium, homeowner’s associations and not-for-profit organizations.

While we are renowned for our audit department, our tax division is ultimately our firm’s foundation. This department focuses on individual, corporate, partnership, fiduciary and estate taxes – finding ways to simplify your tax stresses. Our small business division is just as important, providing services for all aspects of accounting and taxes needed by small businesses. We also provide personal accounting, retirement planning and wealth management for high net worth individuals.

A Growing Legacy

A merger in 2000 provided Cavanaugh & Co with a new location in Venice, Florida. As the company continued to grow, we relocated our Sarasota office to a brand-new space in 2001 – at the corner of Fruitville Road and Shade Avenue. Today, there are three partners at Cavanaugh & Co: Michael R. Pender, Jr., CPA; Stephen D. Spangler, CPA; and David J. Hochsprung, CPA.

In October of 2008, Cavanaugh & Co lost Ruth Cavanaugh. As the “mother” of the firm, she continued to be an active member of the staff until her passing. In December of 2009, we lost our founder and “father” Gerald J. Cavanaugh. We are grateful for the family they created at Cavanaugh & Co, and we continue to carry on that tradition with our clients today.