Our History

The history of Weltman BernfieldOn January 1, 2008, two of Chicago’s oldest accounting firms merged to become Weltman Bernfield LLC. The new firm brings together some of the most talented, energetic people in public accounting today. Our CPAs have an expanded wealth of education and knowledge necessary to serve our clients in today’s complex economic environment. We are intent on helping our clients achieve both their personal and financial goals.

Our roots date back to the 1920s, yet our focus is on the present and the future…YOURS.

Three strong and dynamic individuals laid the foundation for the firms…

Our Founders

Paul Weltman (1915-2006) and
Evelyn Weltman (1916-2007)

In 1947, Paul and Evelyn Weltman started their CPA firm, Weltman and Company, and worked side by side as business partners for more than 50 years. Both Paul and Evelyn, who were husband and wife as well as business partners, became CPAs in the 1930s.

Evelyn, a pioneer feminist, civil rights activist and health care leader, overcame significant barriers to become one of the first female CPAs in Illinois. Early in her career, before she met Paul, Evelyn went on job interviews where companies offered her only secretarial positions. Little did they realize Evelyn was ambitious and talented and would soon become one of the first women to head her own public accounting firm.The Weltmans, both lifelong Southside Chicago residents, were staunch advocates not only for their clients, many of whom worked at the University of Chicago, but also for human rights.

The Weltmans devoted countless hours and donated numerous dollars to help the poor and underprivileged. Both were involved in several charities, among them the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs.

Many of Weltman Bernfield’s current clients are non-profit organizations and several are connected to the University of Chicago, a testament to Evelyn and Paul’s longstanding client relationships.

Harry Bernfield (1902-1996)

Harry Bernfield founded the firm of Harry B. Bernfield & Company in 1925 at the age of 23, shortly after receiving the 518th CPA certificate in the state of Illinois. He was bright, aggressive, and served his clients with zeal and integrity. He had a strong work ethic and believed in hard work for himself and all who associated with him. He soon brought in many clients, including the then infant Maybelline Company, which his firm represented for more than 40 years until its sale to a listed company. As the number of clients grew, so did the firm.

The firm was a sole proprietorship until 1960 when Harry brought in a young associate, Algar Wiseman. A few years later, they brought in another young associate, Burton Leader, and when the two new associates became partners, the firm name changed to Bernfield Wiseman and Leader. Harry Bernfield loved his work and enjoyed representing his clients until he retired at age 86. The firm continued in the tradition he had founded it upon as additional partners were brought in years later.

Although there have been changes over the years, the firm has continued the legacy of hard work, integrity, and outstanding service to clients. The value of establishing and maintaining close personal and working relationships with clients, employees, referral sources and friends has always been the firm’s top priority.

 

Today, Weltman Bernfield remains strongly tied to its founders’ ethics and philosophies while constantly striving to stay abreast of technological advances in our ever-changing world. This unique position sets Weltman Bernfield apart and above many other public accounting firms. We face the challenges presented to us by both our clients and our employees with great enthusiasm, commitment and understanding.

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