Much has changed since Helmer Raphael founded Raphael and Raphael more than 70 years ago.
The business world has become more complex, and our clients have much more diverse needs than in the past. In order to meet those needs, we have evolved into a firm offering comprehensive tax services, auditing, consulting and personal financial planning services. By utilizing new techniques and technologies, we have been able to provide excellent services efficiently and affordably to our clients.
On December 1, Helmer M. Raphael, a CPA and lawyer, started his own CPA firm after 21 years at the Department of Internal Revenue. A company he worked on as an Internal Revenue agent became one of his first clients and is still with the firm over eighty years later.
Six days later, the attack on Pearl Harbor precipitated the United States’ involvement in World War II. To help pay for the war, the government raised taxes.
At the time, the maximum rate was about 90%, not including an excess profits tax on top of that. Returns were prepared in pencil, then typed onto forms that had carbon copies for the taxpayers.
After his own three-year stint with the Department of Internal Revenue, Gale L. Raphael joined his father Helmer’s firm—now named Raphael and Raphael—in December. Also a CPA and lawyer, they became the first father-son pair of CPA–lawyers in the state of Massachusetts.
In the late 1940s, adding machines became a more prevalent means of calculating taxes owed. While a time saver over doing it by hand, it was much more involved than current day calculators. For example, to multiply 15,432 by a 72% tax rate, you would input 1-5-4-3-2, pull the crank twice, put in a zero, pull the crank three times while holding the minus key, add another zero, then crank once.
On March 1, Theodore S. Raphael, Helmer’s second son, joined Raphael and Raphael. Continuing the family’s tradition, Ted was also both a CPA and practicing lawyer. The firm kept the name Raphael and Raphael because adding a third Raphael could have made it confusing.
All returns in this era were paper filed. After getting signed forms and checks back from clients, the staff at Raphael and Raphael would hand-deliver the returns to the IRS or MA Department of Revenue offices in Boston along with a receipt letter for them to stamp. Out-of-state returns were mailed to the relevant authority with a similar receipt letter to be stamped and returned in a self-addressed envelope.
The firm moved from Devonshire Street to Back Bay, first operating from the Park Square Building then later the Statler Office Building (adjacent to the Statler Hilton, known today as the Park Plaza Hotel).
Tax returns began to be prepared using computer software. Firms would fill out data sheets, then mail them to the software companies, who would then process and print the returns. To correct errors, additional forms would be sent to the processing center to request that the return be reprocessed and reprinted.
In September, Harry S. Raphael, Ted’s son, was the third generation of the Raphael family to join the firm. In December, the firm moved to its current home at 52 Church Street in Back Bay’s Bay Village.
Tax-processing software was brought in-house as firms set up computer systems in their offices and developed networks. Word processors became more prevalent, and financial statements were prepared on these computers rather than with typewriters. Clients’ accounting information was also summarized on firms’ computer systems.
In September, Jeff J. Simmons, Gale’s son-in-law, joined the firm after working at a national accounting and consulting firm.
Raphael and Raphael acquired and merged with Schaefer and Lydon, another Boston-based CPA firm consisting of two partners and three staff.
Harry’s son, Tyler Raphael, joined Raphael and Raphael as the first member of the fourth generation.
The firm established a satellite office in Burlington focused on high-net-worth individuals and international taxation. The satellite office later relocated to Lowell.