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About Us

About Our Firm

Since 1959, our firm has been providing quality, personalized financial guidance to local individuals and businesses. Our expertise ranges from basic tax management and accounting services to more in-depth services such as audits, financial statements, and financial planning.

Our Mission

Leaf & Cole, LLP, established for over 50 years, is a full service accounting firm providing the highest quality tax, accounting, audit, and consulting engagements. Our mission is to create value and efficiencies for clients by providing professional, personalized attention through timely and accurate service.

Our Team

Steven W. Northcote, CPA, Managing Partner

swnorthcote@leaf-cole.com

Steve joined Leaf & Cole, LLP in 1977 and became a partner in 1983. Steve serves the firm as the head of the auditing practice and specializes in water districts, nonprofit entities and the affordable housing industry. In addition, he prepares individual, corporate and partnership income tax returns. He has served as managing partner of the firm since 1997.

Education:

  • B.S. in Accounting, San Diego State University, 1975
  • AICPA's Certificate of Education Achievement in Governmental Accounting and Auditing
  • AICPA's Certificate of Education Achievement in Nonprofit Accounting and Auditing

Professional Designation:

  • Certified Public Accountant in California


Areas of Professional Expertise:

  • Accounting and Auditing
  • California Special Districts
  • Nonprofit Entities
  • Affordable Housing

Professional and Civic Involvement:

  • Member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Member of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants
  • United Way of San Diego, Past Vice-Chairman of the Board and Chairman of the Finance Committee
  • Combined Health Agencies, Past Chairman of the Board and Board Member
  • Scripps Ranch Old Pros, Past President and Chairman of the Board
  • American Lung Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties, Past Officer and Board Member
  • Special District Board Management Institute, Instructor and Seminar Speaker

Michael S. Schreibman, CPA, Partner

mschreibman@leaf-cole.com

Michael joined Leaf & Cole in 1983 and has served as tax partner of the firm since 1989. Michael serves the Firm as the director of the tax practice and specializes in real estate and small business taxation. In addition, he prepares individual, corporate and partnership income tax returns.

Education:

  • University of Cincinnati, Master of Science in Taxation, 1981
  • The Ohio State University, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, 1979

Professional Designations:

  • Certified Public Accountant in California



Areas of Professional Expertise:

  • Real Estate Taxation
  • Estate and Financial Planning
  • Partnerships
  • S-Corporations
  • Corporations
  • Limited Liability Companies
  • Estates and Trusts
  • High Technology
  • Distributors including Domestic and Foreign, Entities
  • QuickBooks Professional Advisor

Professional and Civic Involvement:

  • Member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Member of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants

Michael J. Zizzi, CPA, Partner

mjzizzi@leaf-cole.com

Mike joined Leaf & Cole, LLP in 1989 and was admitted as partner in 1998. Mike serves the firm in the accounting and auditing practice and specializes in water districts, nonprofit entities, the affordable housing industry and small businesses. In addition, he prepares individual, corporate and partnership income tax returns.

Education:

  • BSBA, California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, 1986

Professional Designations:

  • Certified Public Accountant in California



Areas of Professional Expertise:

  • Accounting and Auditing
  • Individual and Small Business Taxation Consultant
  • Single Audit
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Water Districts
  • Affordable Housing Industry
  • Implementation of Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statements

Professional and Civic Involvement:

  • Member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Member of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants
  • Association of California Water Agencies, Associate Member

Nicholas M. Gines, CPA, Partner

ngines@leaf-cole.com

Nicholas began his accounting career at Leaf & Cole, LLP in 1997. He became a partner in 2005. Nicholas specializes in real estate taxation, including construction, development and syndicated partnerships. Based on his knowledge and experience, Nicholas has provided valuable advice to high-net-worth commercial and residential property owners.

He also lends his expertise in consulting and individual and corporate tax preparation (partnerships, S and C corporations, limited liability companies) to all-size businesses, ranging from professional services, technology and retail to manufacturing, health care and hospitality.


Education:

  • University of Arizona, Bachelor's of Science in Accounting and Finance, 1995

Professional Designations:

  • Certified Public Accountant in California

Areas of Professional Expertise:

  • Real Estate Taxation
  • Partnerships
  • C Corporations
  • S Corporations
  • Limited Liability Companies
  • QuickBooks

Professional and Civic Involvement:

  • Member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Member of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants

Julie A. Firl, CPA, Partner

jafirl@leaf-cole.com

Julie joined Leaf & Cole, LLP in 1993 and was admitted as a partner in 1998. Julie manages the firm’s auditing practice and specializes in nonprofit entities, the affordable housing industry, employee benefit plan audits and small businesses. In addition, she prepares nonprofit information returns, corporate and partnership income tax returns.

Education:

  • BSBA, University of Denver, Accounting, 1983
  • AICPA Certificate of Education Achievement Government Accounting and Auditing

Professional Designations:

  • Certified Public Accountant in California


Areas of Professional Expertise:

  • Accounting and Auditing
  • Single Audit (A-133)
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Affordable Housing Industry
  • Employee Benefit Plan Audits
  • Small Business

Professional and Civic Involvement:

  • Past Treasurer and Director of Combined Health Agencies
  • Member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Member of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants

Jennifer S. Kinnard, CPA, Partner

jkinnard@leaf-cole.com

Jennifer joined Leaf & Cole, LLP in 2002 and was admitted as partner in 2015. Jennifer is experienced in individual, and business tax services. Jennifer also specializes in nonprofit organizations and affordable housing tax services.

Education:

  • National University, Master of Business Administration with emphasis in Accounting, 1998
  • University of California, San Diego, Bachelor of Science in Psychology, 1994

Professional Designation:

  • Certified Public Accountant in California



Areas of Professional Expertise:

  • Affordable Housing Industry
  • S-corporations
  • Corporations
  • Limited Liability Companies
  • Partnerships
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • QuickBooks

Professional and Civic Involvement:

  • Member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Member of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants

Craig R. Slabaugh, CPA, Partner

cslabaugh@leaf-cole.com

Craig brought to Leaf & Cole over 30 years of experience upon joining the firm in 2013. In addition to having an experienced tax compliance and small business planning background across all entity types and extensive industries, he also specializes in non-profit organizations and audits of pension plans.

Education:

  • San Diego State University, Bachelor of Science in Accounting, 1980

Professional Designation:

  • Certified Public Accountant in California



Areas of Professional Expertise:

  • Small business start-ups, structuring, and strategic planning
  • Professional practices and service industries
  • S-corporation taxation
  • Corporate taxation
  • LLC and partnership taxation
  • Trusts and estate taxation
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Pension plan audits
  • IRS and FTB examinations
  • QuickBooks

Professional and Civic Involvement:

  • Member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Member of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants
  • Nonprofit organization board member and volunteer

Carole A. Schmerbauch, CPA, Partner

cschmerbauch@leaf-cole.com

Carole joined Leaf & Cole, LLP in 2004 and was admitted as partner in 2017. Carole is experienced in individual, and business tax services. Carole also specializes in estate, trust and multistate tax services.

Education:

  • San Diego State University, San Diego, Bachelor of Science in Accounting, 1997
  • National University, Master of Science emphasis in Taxation, 2008

Professional Designation:

  • Certified Public Accountant in California



Areas of Professional Expertise:

  • Real Estate
  • Estates and Trusts
  • Financial Planning
  • Multistate Taxation
  • S-corporations
  • Corporations
  • Limited Liability Companies
  • Partnerships
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • QuickBooks

Professional and Civic Involvement:

  • Member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Member of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants