CLH, CPAs & Consultants is looking back proudly on its three-decade history as the company celebrates its 30th anniversary this summer. Over that time, the company has grown significantly and has impacted valued clients, businesses, and community organizations throughout Northwest Indiana.
CLH was originally founded in 1992 as Craighead and Company, P.C. Back then, only the founder John Craighead, his wife Pat Craighead, and his assistant filled the company’s ranks. Partners Robert (Bob) Lange, III, and Linda Hough joined the firm in 1993 and 1997, respectively, expanding the firm’s offerings with the formation of Craighead, Lange and Hough, P.C. in 1999.
For a number of years, John Craighead and Linda Hough oversaw business operations in the Michigan City headquarters and Bob Lange managed a CLH branch in South Holland, Illinois. Today, the firm has grown into a team of 35 individuals spread across two offices in Michigan City and Valparaiso, and looks forward to opening a third office in La Porte in the summer of 2022.
As CLH grew, its capabilities and service offerings expanded to include a full suite of professional services, including business consulting, valuations, support services, and financial reporting, among others. Today, 10 of CLH’s team members are licensed CPAs, the most the firm has ever had at one time, and several additional team members are actively pursuing their CPA licensure. The professional team’s talents and dedication have proven to be fundamental to the firm’s achievements.
CLH is preparing for future growth that will serve to strengthen the company’s pipeline of talented accounting professionals for generations to come.
How the Times Have Changed
It was a different world for business and accounting in the early 1990s when CLH first began. Technology has revolutionized the industry, and over the years CLH adopted a variety of new technologies to maximize their efficiencies and develop the firm into what it is today.
The firm’s early equipment consisted of a few computers, a single copier and dot matrix printer, and paper-and-pencil methods to get the job done. Today, CLH is almost an entirely paperless office utilizing a full suite of software to support business operations, client services, and remote work. As the nature of the accounting industry shifted away from traditional accountancy toward advisory services, the firm embraced new approaches and adapted accordingly.
The firm’s administrative team has also experienced remarkable growth. From a single personal assistant, CLH now employs a team of 11 individuals who fulfill a range of administrative responsibilities that didn’t exist when the firm first began, including human resources, information technology, communications, and a host of internal operations. CLH’s client services team is a vital component of the firm’s success.
One thing that hasn’t changed over the years is CLH’s commitment to establishing long-lasting relationships with clients. It is notable that several of CLH’s original clients have continued to remain clients of the firm since the company’s inception—30 years with the same trusted advisers. This is a testament to CLH’s unwavering dedication to delivering high-quality, creative solutions for their clients.
New Chapter, Renewed Commitment
In 2016, Tony Gillisse, CPA, joined the firm as a partner. The company’s name was updated to CLH, CPAs & Consultants as a lasting tribute to the three founding partners and a nod to the future as CLH transitioned toward advisory services and business consulting.
Along with this new chapter in the company’s history comes a renewed commitment to the communities in which the company operates. Since it was first established, CLH has been committed to investing in local community. John Craighead, Bob Lange, Linda Hough, and Tony Gillisse have all donated their time, technical prowess, and other talents to NWI community and business organizations, including the Portage Township YMCA, Intercollegiate Ministries, Michiana Resources (now part of Paladin, Inc.), the Regional Development Company, and Dunebrook, among many others. The firm is proud to see its current professional team continue in the same spirit by serving as board members and active volunteers with other well-known, local community organizations. This legacy of service to both clients and the surrounding community has become a deep component of CLH’s culture and will only grow with the forthcoming chapters of the firm’s future.