History

Founders Bob Silver, Sam Kessler and Ron Orlean.

The present day Kessler Orlean Silver & Company, P.C., has only a small resemblance to its beginnings. The firm transformed from its roots as a family bookkeeping operation to the strong audit, tax, and consulting firm that we are today.

In 1928, as a self-employed, non-certified accountant, Nathan C. Kessler began to serve small businesses. Nathan’s 14-year-old son Sam worked evenings to help his father and learn the trade, which he did until he earned an accounting degree from the University of Illinois in 1953.

After a stint in the army and one year working for a CPA, Sam Kessler teamed up with his father, cousin, and brother to start a formal accounting practice, taking care of small wholesale produce and retail business clients.

No formal office was needed, as clients were served at their own place of business. The practice was a “write-up practice”—no audits and no fancy work.

But in 1965, the firm took the giant leap toward modernization, enlisting a computer service bureau to save time and money.

The addition of Ronald Orlean in 1975 enabled the firm to offer another service: tax assistance. Two years later Alan Kalfen joined the firm. When Robert Silver came on board in 1979, he brought along his auditing experience.

The strength and reputation of the firm grew with the new services offered and the firm realized the need to develop a professional team, especially in auditing so KOS hired Sandy Alper in 1987.

In the course of business, several new partners have been admitted. Jeff Arnol came aboard in 1989. In 1999, Sam Kessler’s son, Steve Kessler, and Ben Darcy became partners. Both had been with the firm for many years prior to their promotion. In 2000, Sam retired and Jeff Arnol became managing partner. Geoff Harlow merged his practice in 2003 and Jeff Floom merged in 2005.

Wisdom and experience come with age and with almost 80 years of service, we’ve gathered quite a bit of both. Our exceptional staff is also a source of our success—many hold advanced degrees including juris doctorates, and additional certificates.

From our longest term client in the wholesale/produce industry, on board since the beginning, to those we now serve across many industries, KOS reflects customer loyalty. We honor the fact that our client relationships define who we were back then and who we still are today.


Our Founders

SAMUEL KESSLER, CPA

Sam is a co-founder and former principal in the firm. He stepped down as president and director on June 30, 1999 to his current semi-retired role.

He is a graduate of the University of Illinois in Champaign with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. Throughout his career, beginning in public accounting in 1955, Sam acquired a broad base of practical experience and expertise in a multitude of industries serving entrepreneurs and emerging closely-held business.

Included among his many professional affiliations were memberships in the American Institute of CPAs, the Illinois CPA Society, the National Society of Public Accountants and the Independent Accountants Association of Illinois. He has also served on the Illinois CPA Society’s Management of an Accounting Practice (MAP) Committee.

Community minded, he is a past president and past board member of Cook County School District #72, a past president and founding member of Congregation Kol Emeth, and was treasurer & board member of CAUSES, a children’s charitable organization.

Since his semi-retirement he has become a board member and treasurer of CASA, Lake County, a youth-oriented judicial service.

RONALD L. ORLEAN, CPA

A co-founder and principal in the firm, Ron has a rich background of practical experience. He served as president and director from 1999-2004.

Specializing in business and tax planning for closely-held businesses, Ron works a variety of clients including professional practices, real estate concerns, restaurants, and retail businesses.

Ron received his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from DePaul University in 1959. Upon graduation, before entering public accounting, he spent several years with the Internal Revenue Service as a revenue agent.

He is a member of the Illinois CPA Society and the North Shore Planners, and he is a past member of the Society’s Federal Tax Committee.

Ron has been involved in a number of other organizations including Variety Club Children’s Charities, the Latin American Chamber of Commerce and is a past officer and present board member of Congregation Kol Emeth.

A teacher and speaker, Ron taught accounting and tax and has been a speaker at various community groups.

ROBERT SILVER, CPA

Bob is a co-founder and former principal in the firm. He is still active in the firm and specializes in real estate, construction, and personal service businesses although he has acquired broad experience in a number of other industries over the years.

A graduate of DePaul University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting, he served in the public accounting profession for more than three decades.

He is a member of the Illinois CPA Society and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.