Staff Spotlight: Melissa Dambach

By Keiter CPAs

Staff Spotlight: Melissa Dambach

From California to Virginia: Accounting experience acquired across the country

Melissa Dambach, a tax senior manager at Keiter, has always excelled at working with numbers. She followed her passion and applied her abilities to make a positive impact on her work and the people around her. For the past 20 years she has made a career in accounting, working for various size firms across the US all while caring and growing her relationships with clients, coworkers, and family. In January, Melissa joined the Keiter team sharing her expertise on the Family, Executive, and Entrepreneur Advisory Services Tax team and the people we serve.

Beginning on the West Coast

Melissa grew up in California. She was drawn to numbers early in her life and continued through high school where she started exploring career options that leveraged her skillset. She attended Chico State University in Northern California where she studied business administration and received her undergraduate degree in accountancy. Shortly after, she attended San Diego State University and received her master’s in taxation.

Melissa spent her early career working in San Diego in the accounting industry as a staff accountant for a private company and as a staff auditor for a small public accounting firm. After a few years, she transitioned into tax after and became a tax manager in the Private Client Service department of a Big 4 Firm. While in this role, she found her niche of serving high net worth clients, a specialty area that she has carried throughout her career.

Exploring accounting opportunities

While gaining experience at the Big 4 firm, Melissa was offered the opportunity to work the peak of busy season at the firm’s office in India. While working in India, she delivered tax services and trained the newly hired accounting staff.

This work and travel opportunity turned out to be more impactful for Melissa than she imagined. Her trip to India was one of the first times she had an extended stay away from her home state. She found herself wanting to explore career opportunities beyond California. After her parents moved to the East Coast for her father’s career, Melissa looked for opportunities that would take her to the East Coast to be near her family. She accepted a role at a Top 10 Firm in Northern Virginia.

Finding Keiter through relationships

Melissa grew her career over the next 12 years and served in the Greater Washington. DC office of BDO as a Managing Director in the Private Client Services Tax Department. During those years, she made many professional connections, one of whom was Ginny Graef, Keiter tax partner. Before Ginny joined Keiter in 2017, she connected with Melissa on their shared love for pugs. In talking, they learned they both have pugs at home as part of their families. Over the years, they stayed in touch and Ginny often shared her work and firm culture experiences at Keiter.

In 2023, Melissa began seeking her next career opportunity and through the insight she had received, Keiter was one of the firms at the top of her list. After hearing about the firm’s positive culture and client service approach, she wanted to experience it for herself. In January of 2024, she made it official and joined the team as a Senior Tax Manager.

Building roots and looking ahead

Over the past few months, and with the completion of the first tax busy season, she is delighted to work at Keiter as she sees the firm working as a collaborative team for one collective purpose. Through the helpful and supportive culture, she can say she is excited to see what the future holds at Keiter. She hopes to expand the positive culture she has experienced and make sure all members of the firm feel that as well throughout the time she is here and beyond.

Melissa is a member of Keiter’s Family, Executive & Entrepreneur Advisory Services Tax team. Her expertise includes working with high net-worth individuals, who have estates and trusts. She is a Certified Financial Planner and holds a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst License. She is committed to building strong relationships with her clients and learning new ways to support their financial goals.

Learn more about the Family, Executive & Entrepreneur Advisory Services Team and the needs they serve around the Central Virginia area.

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About the Author

Keiter CPAs

Keiter CPAs

Keiter CPAs is a certified public accounting firm serving the audittax, accounting and consulting needs of businesses and their owners located in Richmond and across Virginia. We focus on serving emerging growth businesses and companies in the financial servicesconstructionreal estatemanufacturingretail & distribution industries and nonprofits. We also provide business valuations and forensic accounting servicesfamily office services, and inbound international services.

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The information contained within this article is provided for informational purposes only and is current as of the date published. Online readers are advised not to act upon this information without seeking the service of a professional accountant, as this article is not a substitute for obtaining accounting, tax, or financial advice from a professional accountant.


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