Five minutes with David Rosen, partner and director of tax services at Rosen, Sapperstein & Friedlander

The complex world of tax law might seem more appealing to a numbers whiz than a creative, but the latter is what David Rosen considers himself.

The 38-year-old partner and director of tax services at Rosen, Sapperstein & Friedlander, an accounting and business consulting firm in Owings Mills, insists doing taxes for some of the area’s biggest businesses and institutions isn’t the mind-numbing slog you might imagine.

“Trying to understand a person’s basic economic deal and translate that into an efficient tax structure that is not unduly complex requires creativity, a true understanding of the stakeholder’s goals and the ability to foresee potential pitfalls so that we can mitigate any negative outcomes,” he said.

“It requires the same level of creativity as when you think of creative disciplines such as the arts, media, fashion, whatever the case may be,” he added. “It’s not boring and it’s not really about numbers.”

Rosen grew up in Pikesville, graduated from McDonogh School in 1997 and the University of Maryland, College Park in 2001 and Emory School of Law in 2004.

He moved back to the Baltimore area the following year. In 2009, he joined the accounting firm, where he now lends his tax expertise to large institutions and companies, generally ranging from $10 million to $500 million in revenue.

“It runs the gamut of industries,” he said. “We have a significant concentration in real estate, homebuilder/construction space, manufacturing, distribution, retail, tech, health care, automotive, professional services and nonprofits.”

Rosen declined to identify his clients. They also include some of the area’s wealthiest families, he said.

Rosen said he’s enjoyed watching the recent developments rising around Baltimore, and he sees his role — helping business owners navigate the tax code thicket to set up various tax structures to suit their needs — as integral to that growth.

Rosen said he enjoys working with Baltimore-based companies, where “you get to deal with the decision-makers.”

“Besides the tax-law piece in the background, what I spend the rest of time doing with my clients is talking to them about their businesses and their families,” Rosen said. “When you get to understand and build a relationship with business owners and other stakeholders, it drives us every day to provide value, be part of a team, and help them achieve their goals.”

Helping those businesses build a development, identify potential customers, set up a succession plan, or close on a major transaction is what Rosen takes pride in — not the financial statements and tax returns.

“That’s not something people think of when they think of an accounting firm,” he said. “Those are the things that are frankly more valuable and important to a client.”

David Rosen

Title: Partner and director of tax services

Company: Rosen, Sapperstein & Friedlander

Age: 38

From: Pikesville

Resides: Mount Washington

Education: McDonogh School, 1997; University of Maryland, College Park bachelor’s degree in finance, 2001, Emory University School of Law, 2004

Family: Married to his wife, Monica, with two children, Benjamin, 3, and Noah, 2.

Hobbies: Reading and playing with his kids

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