Elisabeth Cai, CPA, MST

Business Management

Think about what part you can have in making change happen.

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Meet Elisabeth

Elisabeth started her public accounting career in audit before becoming interested in tax. Now she uses her audit and tax experience to provide business management services to high-net-worth families. She specializes in family tax planning, multi-generational and succession planning, trusts and estates. She is passionate about the work she does and being a trusted advisor to her clients.

She obtained her undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business and her Master of Science degree in taxation from Golden Gate University. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the California Society of Certified Public Accountants.

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Professional History


  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • California Society of Certified Public Accountants


  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Golden Gate University


  • RBZ, LLP


  • Variety’s Business Managers Elite 2020, 2021


Q. What was it that drew you to Armanino?
The shared purpose and values. As I went through a process of questioning my own values and purpose in life, I realized that what I came up with personally was very much in line with Armanino’s values. That gave me confidence and comfort that I had made the right decision.
Q. What law or regulation in the accounting industry would you like to see changed?
I think laws are usually enacted with good intentions. What I’d like to see is more of a balance between application of the law and the benefit it yields. I’d like the law makers to put themselves in the tax professional or client’s shoes and really walk through how the law would be implemented. Sometimes taxpayers have to jump through hoops to get a benefit, which ultimately diminishes the benefit because of the complexity in getting there.
Q. Without naming names, tell us about your favorite client and why you enjoyed working with them.
What I really enjoy are the connections and relationships I build with my clients. Most of them have been with me for 10+ years. We really get to know each other. In business management, you need to understand all elements of a person’s life in order to bring them the ultimate value. They see me as a partner in helping them make important life decisions.
Q. What keeps you up at night?
I am a problem solver. Clients often come to us with complex issues and ask us to help them figure out a solution. I love a good puzzle and will stay up late at night to think of an answer.
Q. Who is (or was) the most influential person in your life
A lot of people who have inspired me throughout my career. At this moment, I am most inspired by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I recently read a book about her and learned that it is the slow and steady progress that makes the biggest change. That applies to people professionally and to society as a whole. You have to have a goal in mind and keep knocking at it slowly and steadily. People don’t deal well with sudden changes. It is the slow, progressive changes that achieve true, long-lasting change. RBG fought her whole life for equality for women. She didn’t let setbacks get her down and just kept at it.
Q. If you could pass on a nugget of wisdom to aspiring accountants or consultants, what would that be?
Have a long-term goal of where you want to be and always keep it in mind. Don’t let immediate setbacks keep you from achieving that goal. You may be unhappy with something in your firm, but don’t just leave without doing anything about it. Think about what part you can have in making change happen.
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