Late last month, he opened the Greencastle branch of Charles L. Strasbaugh, CPA at 119 S. Carlisle St., in rented space in an older, two-story brick house. The accounting office occupies two rooms on the first floor facing the street, which formerly housed a beauty parlor. The building also has apartments.
Strasbaugh, 50, a Waynesboro native, opened his Waynesboro office at 45 Walnut St. in 1990. It is staffed by Strasbaugh, five accountants and a secretary.
Strasbaugh graduated from Penn State in 1972 and earned his CPA certification in 1976. He worked for a Hagerstown accounting firm from 1973 to 1987 then as controller for a Hagerstown auto dealership before starting his own business.
Lori Benchoff, 37, of Hagerstown, worked in Waynesboro for Strasbaugh. A graduate of Shippensburg University, she worked for another accounting firm in Greencastle for 11 years before she accepted a position with Strasbaugh's office in Waynesboro. She and Strasbaugh planned the Greencastle move. Benchoff will manage the new office. "She is known in the Greencastle area," Strasbaugh said.
"It's a modest beginning," he said. "My challenge is to outgrow this space."
Strasbaugh said he likes accounting because he's basically a structured person. "Numbers make the world go around. We all have to balance our checkbooks. If we own a business we have to find out if we're making money and we all have to pay our part to the government. Numbers help us to keep the scores of our lives," he said.
Benchoff said she likes the profession because accounting is a field where women have equal opportunities alongside men. She said she has always been good in mathematics. "This is a way to expand on that," she said.
Both have seen technology change the way accounting firms do business.
"I used to have a library of 30 volumes on state and federal tax codes," Strasbaugh said. "We had boxes of forms from all 50 states and we prepared tax returns by hand. Today everything is on computer. We do our research by computer and all the forms and schedules we use are computerized. A single computer network will link both offices together," he said.