Knowledge and Insights
Mercadien Announces Executive Promotions; Names Ms. Raji Sathappan A Partner
The Mercadien Group is pleased to announce several promotions within the firm’s corporate leadership team. Ms. Raji Sathappan, CPA, MBA, CRCM, CAMS, a member of the Financial Institutions Services Group, is promoted to managing director of The Mercadien Group and principal in Mercadien, P.C., CPAs (the official titles of firm partners). Raji has been employed with Mercadien since 2014 and resides in Lawrence Township, NJ.
Three professionals were promoted to the level of director: Ms. Holly Sabo, CPA, PFS, MST, CGMA, a member of the Individual & Family Office and Tax Services Groups and resident of Hamilton, NJ; Ms. Bjondina Karpuzi, CPA, PSA, a member of the Private Company Services Group and resident of Marlton, NJ; and Mr. Jorge Olazagasti, MBA, a member of the Financial Institutions Services Group and resident of Reading, PA.
Four associates were promoted to manager: Mr. Matthew Daly, CPA, a member of the Government Services Group and resident of Doylestown, PA; Mr. Benjamin McDannell, CPA, a member of the Nonprofit & Human Services Group and resident of Lower Bucks County, PA; Mr. Raphael (RJ) Carletti, CPA, member of the Nonprofit & Human Services Group and resident of Burlington, NJ; and Mr. David Sullivan, CPA, a member of the Compliance Oversight Services Group and resident of Gloucester Township, NJ.
An additional 22 professionals in various practice areas of the firm also were promoted. Mr. Conrad L. Druker, CPA, CGMA, the managing principal of Mercadien, stated, “We congratulate our colleagues on their advancements in executive leadership position, which is in recognition of their skills, dedication, and contributions to the service of our clients. Their promotions also reflect our firm’s continued business growth and focus on the development of our people.” Mercadien, which marked its 55th anniversary in 2018, employs approximately 160 individuals and provides accounting, auditing, tax, consulting, technology, and wealth management services.
Profiles of the eight promoted executives follow:
Ms. Raji Sathappan, CPA, MBA, CRCM, CAMS, manages engagements for financial institution clients, primarily overseeing all aspects of internal audits, including operational audits in deposit, lending, accounting and finance, and branch and IT operations; compliance consulting; and the implementation of remediation activities. Raji has a broad base of industry and technical expertise in the areas of enterprise risk management, regulatory compliance, internal audit, Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) and FDICIA regulations, and the COSO 2013 framework, stemming from 20+ years of experience in international banking, corporate, reporting, project management, finance and accounting positions.
A sought-after expert, author and professional trainer on these topics, Raji has earned several important banking industry credentials, such as Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager and Certified Anti-Money-Laundering Specialist. She frequently presents to, and is a member of, numerous organizations, including: New Jersey, American and Pennsylvania Bankers Associations; Insured Financial Institutions, Association of International Bank Auditors; Central NJ Compliance Group; and various chapters of the Financial Managers Society and Institute of Internal Auditors.
A member of the American Institute of CPAs, Raji earned her Bachelor’s in Accounting from the Northern University of Malaysia and her Master’s in Business Administration from the Ashcroft International Business School, in Cambridge, England. She serves on the boards of directors and as treasurer of both the United Way of Greater Mercer County and the Lawrence Township Community Foundation and is fluent in four languages: Tamil, Malay, Indonesian and English.
Ms. Holly Sabo, CPA, PFS, MST, CGMA, works with individual and business clients, providing expert financial, tax and estate planning strategies customized to fit their needs. She has in-depth experience with individual and fiduciary income tax planning, federal and state tax compliance matters, as well as estate and gift transfer tax planning. She also specializes in private foundation management and compliance reporting and provides management consulting and accounting services for special projects.
A member of the American Institute and NJ Society of CPAs and Mercer County Estate Planning Council, Holly assists with in-house training and continuing professional education programs. She is a frequent presenter to groups and authors articles on tax laws and related topics. Holly is a Personal Financial Specialist and Chartered Global Management Accountant and earned a Master’s in Taxation from Philadelphia University and a Bachelor’s in Accounting from The College of New Jersey. She serves on the board of directors and as treasurer of The Learning Cooperatives of Princeton, Bucks and Raritan.
Ms. Bjondina Karpuzi, CPA, PSA, is responsible for planning and overseeing various corporate and nonprofit client engagements. This includes training and supervising teams of staff, as well as planning and completion of audit testing procedures. Bjondina focuses on performing financial statement audits, reviews and compilations for business entities, and specializes in reporting, disclosures and compliance issues of organizations subject to Uniform Guidance, New Jersey Department of Education, and state and local financial reporting requirements. Additionally, she assists in the areas of internal control structures, and audit program design and implementation for private companies in various industry sectors. She has led internal training programs that relate to accounting developments, tax return preparation, and industry trends.
Bjondina is a member of the American Institute and NJ Society of CPAs and earned a Bachelor’s in Accounting from Rutgers University. She is a member of the board of directors of Millhill Child & Family Development Center and the audit committee of the Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey.
Mr. Jorge Olazagasti, MBA, has more than 20 years of progressive banking industry experience in all areas of enterprise risk management, including credit, operational and strategic risk, as well as expertise in commercial, residential and consumer loan review and portfolio management, allowance for loan and lease losses (ALLL), asset and liability management, regulatory compliance, CAMELS Risk Assessment, and corporate policy. He is responsible for completing audit testing and agreed-upon procedures, performing audits, and overseeing risk assessment projects and related monitoring, portfolio analytics, capital stress testing, and reporting and compliance activities for commercial and community bank clients. Jorge also has experience in data analytics and profitability; credit policy development; management reporting, business development and retail branch management.
Mr. Olazagasti earned a Master’s in Business Administration in Finance from the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico and a Bachelor’s in Agribusiness Management from the University of Puerto Rico. Jorge completed the Executive Graduate Program in Retail and Consumer Banking Management at the Darden Graduate School of the University of Virginia and is fluent in both English and Spanish.
Matthew Daly, CPA, oversees staff engagement teams and planning and performs audits and agreed-upon procedures for state and local authorities, state agencies and municipalities. Mr. Daly is also responsible for the evaluation of bond compliance and the completion of audit testing procedures for government client engagements.
Mr. Daly also reviews the effectiveness of clients’ internal controls, as well as financial reporting, disclosure and compliance issues of entities subject to Uniform Guidance, OMB 15-08, Government Auditing Standards, and state, local and municipal reporting requirements. Matthew is an active member of the firm’s Associate Advisory Committee and the American Institute of CPAs, the Lymphoma Research Foundation and the Alumni Association of Lehigh University, where he earned a Bachelor’s in Accounting and Finance.
Benjamin McDannell, CPA, manages engagement teams in the performance of audits of nonprofit organizations, commercial entities and employee benefit plans. His nonprofit background spans a wide array of publicly-supported and private organizations, including those that are subject to compliance with Yellow Book requirements and Uniform Guidance, and he has worked closely with nonprofit clients to assist with mergers and affiliations and compliance with changes in regulations at the state level.
In the commercial sector, Ben has worked with clients in various industries, including technology, manufacturing, and capital management and leasing. He not only performs and reviews the various risk assessments associated with audit work, but also identifies areas of improvement for clients, based on their industry and the regulatory risks to which they may be exposed. He advises how they can strengthen their internal processes and control structures.
Mr. McDannell is a member of the American Institute and NJ Society of CPAs and serves as president of the board of directors of the Children’s House of Bucks County. He earned a Bachelor’s in Accounting with a minor in finance from Franklin Pierce University.
Raphael (RJ) Carletti, CPA, manages audit engagements for trade associations, private schools, and human services organizations. He also occasionally works with for-profit organizations, such as manufacturing and real estate development companies, minor league athletic teams, and employee 401(k) plans.
RJ plans audit projects and works with staff to ensure timely completion and with clients to ensure all expectations are met. His responsibilities also include finding solutions to engagement issues, performing engagement and tax reviews, and reviewing internal control risks.
Mr. Carletti also has experience in providing tax services to real estate associations, as well as audit and assurance services and compliance with GAAP to for-profit and not-for-profit clients. A member of the American Institute and NJ Society of CPAs, RJ earned a Bachelor’s in Accounting from The College of New Jersey. He serves on the board of directors of Meals on Wheels of Mercer County.
David Sullivan, CPA, specializes in audit and compliance engagements, performing agreed-upon procedures, performance audits and internal controls testing for various state and local authorities, state agencies and municipalities. He is responsible for managing and performing government compliance services on behalf of numerous state departments, boards, commissions and authorities, including many in New Jersey. Mr. Sullivan also has experience conducting general overhead rate audits, completed in accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation, for architectural and engineering firms. A member of the American Institute and NJ Society of CPAs, Dave earned a Bachelor’s in Accounting from the Rutgers University School of Business.
The Mercadien Group is a family of entities that provides a full spectrum of accounting and advisory services; including traditional audit and financial reporting, tax compliance and planning, compliance oversight, risk assessment, litigation support, management and board consulting; as well as technology solutions and wealth management. Founded in Princeton in 1963, the firm serves privately-owned companies of nearly every type and industry, as well as financial institutions, nonprofit organizations, government entities, and wealthy individuals and families. Mercadien provides forward-thinking, relationship-driven financial and strategic services that maximize wealth and profitability, minimize taxes and risk, evaluate systems and processes, and increase efficiencies for its many diverse and valued clients. Learn more at Mercadien.com.