Accounting firm celebrates 20 years in business
With tax season well past, you might expect an accounting office to be quiet and empty on a sunny Tahoe afternoon. But that wasn’t the case at ITC Services on Wednesday, where lucky winners gathered to claim their prizes from a celebratory 20th anniversary raffle.
About 450 people entered the raffle, owner Iris Capa said. Active ITC clients and those who had recently referred new customers were eligible for entry.
Started by Capa in 1992, ITC Services has provided Lake Tahoe residents with all manner of financial, legal and clerical functions for 20 years.
Its owner is something of a jack-of-all-trades. A licensed CPA, a notary public, and a credentialed translator of official documents, Capa also holds a real estate broker license in both California and Nevada. Numerous framed degrees and licenses occupy her office wall, attributing to the breadth of her expertise.
Originally from Argentina, she worked as a CPA, real estate broker and court translator in Los Angeles before moving to South Lake Tahoe. She initially had no plans to return to a bookkeeping role here, intending instead to devote her time to real estate.
“I was burned out on accounting after 15 years in L.A.,” She said.
It wasn’t long before advice from acquaintances and recognition of a vital community need steered Capa back to accounting.
“People kept advising me to diversify,” She said. “Which is what you have to do in this town.”
But she also noted a discernible lack of reliable accountants among South Lake Tahoe’s Hispanic community upon her arrival, she said.
“When I moved here I saw the need for someone really professional in accounting.” She recalled. “We have some very good accountants in this town, but they don’t speak Spanish.”
Capa said that Spanish-speaking accountants available in town at the time often tended toward incompetence, or worse.
“A lot of times they would take advantage of people that didn’t know,” she said. “They would get their client to commit fraud, but they wouldn’t have signed any forms themselves. When the client found out, these people had disappeared.”
Capa decided to put her various skills at the disposal of the Hispanic population in town, helping people with taxes and notarizing or translating various government documents.
“The doors are always open here,” Capa said. “For any question – not always accounting or taxes, maybe divorce or immigration.”
She rapidly gained a reputation around town, and the business to go with it.
“I just helped a lot of people,” She said. “1992, ’93 and ’94 were really hectic, I got really well-known in the community.”
Capa’s assistant, Leticia Castillo, has lived in South Lake Tahoe for more than 20 years, and has worked at ITC for eight years, she said. She sees her boss’ integrity and availability as the key to the office’s success.
“Iris is just really honest with everybody, she does a lot of work and tries to help everybody she can,” Castillo said.
She cites that reputation for honesty as one reason that ITC has customers across the region.
“People from Kings Beach, Tahoe City, Carson City, all come to us because they know Iris always tells them the truth.” Castillo said.
One North Shore resident present at the raffle, Jaime Aguilar of King’s Beach, has been doing business with Capa since she first opened doors in 1992.
“She’s a person who explains what’s going on with people’s taxes,” Aguilar said. “She helped me with my home mortgages. It’s hard to find honest people like that.”
South Lake Tahoe resident Anthony Trader also arrived at the raffle to pick up the first prize, an Acer netbook. Capa has been handling his taxes for 10 years, he said.
“She’s thorough, friendly and professional.” Trader said. “We’ve been coming to Iris for years. The reason is that she knows what she’s doing.”