Meet Our Team
Debra A Franks CPA, CGMA, MBA, MSA
Debra Franks is a founding member of Fortitude CPA and has been practicing in public accounting since 2006; she’s a certified public accountant, a chartered global management accountant and a QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor. Her extensive practice in accounting and taxes for corporate, individual, trust, and non-profit sectors has enabled her to help many small business clients, in fields such as manufacturing, construction, real estate, restaurants, retail, and various types of professional services, including health based firms. She has proven results while acting as an interim CFO/controller for different companies on various occasions. Prior to moving to New England, she was the founder and general manager of a small IT firm.
Her dedication to her clients and her profession is to be noted, as she is a member of several professional associations, including the AICPA and MSCPA, and a member of the MSCPA Tax Committee, IT Committee and Management of an Accounting Practice committee. She holds an MSA with Tax Certification from Bentley University, and an MBA from the University of Arkansas.
Though her experience can and does apply greatly to any industry, her heart is with non-profits: acting as general manager, consultant, treasurer, and board member to several area entities. She’s also an avid music lover, playing flute and piccolo in orchestras, small ensembles, community bands, and theater productions – she even has her own trio!
Christine A Flanders CPA, MSA
Christine Flanders has been a member of the firm since inception and has been practicing in public accounting since 1998. She is a certified public accountant and a QuickBooks Certified Advanced ProAdvisor. Her professional expertise includes corporate, partnership, individual, and trust tax returns, in all areas of taxation.
As a trusted guide, Christine expertly assists her clients with various business needs, including accounting, business, and tax planning. She holds an MS and a BS, both in accounting, from Southern New Hampshire University. She’s also an active member of professional associations such as the AICPA and the MSCPA, and a MSCPA Women in Accounting committee member. She’s a hard-working individual with high ethics and a strong desire to be the best she can be, as well as helping others to succeed. She is passionate and knowledgeable about her field and will not take shortcuts to get the job done.
Christine loves exploring and traveling; her bucket list includes exploring the seven wonders of the world. One of her favorite quotes is: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."
Jennifer Arnaut, Bookkeeper and Administrative Assistant
Jen Arnaut came on board at the beginning of 2018 to fill a number of roles (affectionately nicknamed “jill-of-all-trades”); the duties of her position have been incredibly varied, but she continues to handle all of them with her unique combination of stellar creativity and get-it-done practicality. Known also as a creative problem-solver, she has collaborated effectively with people of various backgrounds and interests, often meeting a need before it’s known to a client that there is one.
Jen is a former tax preparer and financial consultant who now prefers to assist small- or mid-sized business clients with their daily/monthly transactions and books. She has over twenty years of experience in finance, accounting, and taxation: with CPA firms, entrepreneurs, and companies (both private and public) alike. She holds a BS in Business/Accounting from Southern New Hampshire University, as well as an MFA in Creative Writing. She also holds an AS in Business Computer Applications from Hesser College.
An eager, life-long learner, Jen is a “non-crazy” cat lady, with an affinity for words and books. In her spare time, she writes, edits manuscripts and videos, invents new recipes, does genealogy, and plays video games. She resides in New Hampshire with her amazing husband and two daughters.
Catherine Ricard, Receptionist and Tax Return Processor
Catherine Ricard joined the staff in February 2020 as our receptionist and office assistant. Since then, her willingness to expand her responsibilities led her to learn more about the tax preparation process, making her an even more valuable team member. She assists with document management, tax return packaging, and various special projects, all while maintaining the highest level of professionalism and confidentiality one should expect from a tax and accounting professional. Her warm personality shines through no matter who she works with, and her helpful attitude gives clients peace of mind.
Her career as an office and accounting professional spans over thirty years. She has studied marketing at Fitchburg State College and communications at Business Women’s Institute.
She likes skydiving and volunteering for various charities. She also plays the kazoo, because “everyone should play an instrument.”
Willow Mae, Chief Security Officer
Willow Mae, a beabull, is our CSO – Chief Security Officer! She expertly manages our various office security needs. Your information is safe through our strict online security and confidentiality policies. Any physical documents we receive in the office are safely guarded as well with her on duty; Willow won’t share with anyone. However, she is friendly and can’t wait to “meet” you!
Since she was born in 2020, she’s well adapted to working remotely, although social distancing remains a challenge. Her favorite things include naptime, snuggles, and food (she inhales it without chewing, earning her the nickname “Hoover”).