Readers Choice 2013: Business & Professional


When it comes to crunching numbers and comprehending complex tax forms, readers put these CPAs at the top of the list.

Michael D. Miller in San Francisco has been advising clients and doing their taxes for close to 50 years. The people-oriented CPA, who started out in the music business, attributes his success to listening to and helping clients make decisions based on their goals, rather than merely on the numbers — an important and often overlooked distinction in accounting. And, he says, “I know each of my clients personally.”

Jerry B. Spector, with the full-service accounting firm Burr Pilger Mayer in Palo Alto, says, “My specialty is helping clients with complex tax, trust and estate issues.” An author and lecturer on trust taxation with more than 40 years of experience dealing with tax issues, it’s no wonder readers look to this CPA for advice. BPM not only meets clients’ needs, he says, but “goes the extra mile by suggesting solutions to other issues they themselves may have not identified without our help.”

San Francisco

Michael Miller

(415) 495-5533


South Bay/Peninsula

Jerry Spector

Burr Pilger Mayer

Palo Alto

(866) 805-6312


Financial Services

A penny saved may be a penny earned, but if you want to do better than that, consider talking to these financial advisers.

Ira Fateman, CPA and partner in San Francisco’s SAS Financial Advisors, says his master’s degree in counseling gives him a set of skills that is sometimes more important than his financial planning abilities. He also points out that he offers reasonable fees with a higher service level than many other financial advisers out there. “If you feel you are paying too much … and not receiving what you expect, call.” Apparently plenty of readers have.

Financial adviser Guy Ben Ari with Edward Jones in Alameda says, “The personal, face-to-face relationship with clients is key to my business. … Clients prefer to do business with people they know and trust rather than over the telephone or through a call center. They choose to receive personal service from someone … who can understand their entire financial picture.” Ben Ari, originally from Israel, is a field trainer and mentor for new advisers.

With more than 40 years of experience between them, ELM Advisors’ Elana Lieberman says she and her husband, CFA and CFP Lorne Abramson, provide clients “with the best of both worlds — high caliber, institutional-quality expertise, plus the personal service and values of a family-owned financial advisory boutique.” ELM Advisors provides customized financial planning and portfolio management. Lieberman adds, “With all our clients, our goal is to free up their time and provide them peace of mind, so they can focus on enjoying their lives, doing what they love.”

San Francisco

Ira Fateman

SAS Financial Advisors

(415) 277-5955


East Bay

Guy Ben Ari

Edward Jones


(510) 522-2009


South Bay/Peninsula

ELM Advisors


(650) 697-3013



When it comes to legal matters, it’s important to seek out expertise. Readers who want the best service and advice call on these practitioners.

Barbara Moser is a founding partner of Kaye•Moser•Hierbaum LLP in San Francisco. The boutique family law and estate planning law firm has a reputation for performing high-quality legal work on complex cases. “We have a range of expertise which allows us to provide the very best service to our clients,” Moser says, “and we are committed to obtaining the best result for clients.”

Readers recommend Neil E. Taxy of Leland, Parachini, Steinberg, Matzger & Melnick in San Francisco for his acumen with real estate law and intellectual property. The attorney, who was a Wexner Heritage Fellow, also puts his professional skills to good use in the Bay Area Jewish community. “This year I am pleased to expand my professional legal practice to include mediation,” Taxy says, “and I serve on a number of mediation panels, including the Bar Association of San Francisco and the International Trademark Association.”

Oakland attorney Wayne A. Lampert is the principal of his firm, which offers legal representation for businesses, as well as estate planning and trust and probate administration services for families and individuals. His clients value his success in achieving their goals while maintaining high ethical standards and fair fees. “My clients learn from me, and I in turn almost always learn something from them.” That’s just one of the things that keeps Lampert motivated.

Paul H. Roskoph, whose practice is in Palo Alto, “is pleased to be recognized by the community.” The fact is this attorney, who specializes in estate and tax planning, is very involved in the community. In addition to guiding clients on their personal tax needs — which he’s been doing for 40 years — Roskoph has served and still serves on the boards of a number of Jewish organizations.

San Francisco

Barbara W. Moser

(415) 296-8868


Neil Taxy

(415) 957-1800 ext. 21


East Bay

Wayne Lampert


(510) 922-8780


South Bay/Peninsula

Paul Roskoph

Palo Alto

(650) 470-5301


Travel Agent

Need to get away from it all? Take the stress out of planning with these Readers’ Choice travel agents.

If you’re looking for a high-end vacation package to the Caribbean or an African safari, make sure a call to Ourisman Travel of Berkeley tops your list of things to do. David Ourisman says, “While luxury hotels are our specialty, we don’t ignore the importance of ‘sense of place.’ We travel the globe developing lasting relationships with our travel partners to identify the best destinations and the best services for our clients looking for an immersive cultural experience.”

Ladera Travel in Menlo Park is a full-service agency offering personalized attention to leisure and corporate travelers. The award-winning, customized service brings plenty of referrals from satisfied clients. Owners Nancy and Les Burger say, “The attention to detail on every facet of trip planning and execution sets our agency part. Our preferred-supplier status and personal relationships with hotels, tour operators and service providers worldwide provide value-added benefits for our travelers.”

Travel specialist Michal Ron Reihanian of Tamalpais Travel in Larkspur plans customized leisure vacations to any destination, but the Israeli native’s forte is travel to the Middle East and the Mediterranean, where she’s been sending visitors for 25 years. With her own tour operators in each country, she says, she is able to arrange first-class, custom tours at a lower cost than many other agencies.

East Bay

David Ourisman


(510) 647-8444


South Bay/Peninsula

Ladera Travel

Menlo Park

(650) 854-3222


North Bay

Michal Ron Reihanian


(415) 945-6219