About Us

Esther Phahla, CPA, CTS, MST
President | CEO

Esther Phahla is the Founder and President of Esther N. Phahla, CPA, A Professional Corporation. She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Tax Strategist (CTS) dedicated to helping small business owners and individuals design an optimal tax strategy through year-round proactive tax planning to help them keep more of what they earned because: It’s Not How Much You Make, It’s How Much You Keep $$$.

Esther is a frequent contributor of tax content to the Financial Section of The Valley Business Journal and a frequent speaker and trainer at seminars. She is the author of two tax planning books: “Why Didn’t My CPA Tell ME THAT” and “10 Most Expensive Tax Mistakes that Cost Business Owners THOUSANDS”. She has over 20 years experience working with small business owners and real estate investors on tax reduction strategies and business growth to help them focus on what they do best knowing that they have a Trusted Advisor throughout the year to keep them updated on tax law changes that affect them.

Esther lives in Temecula with her husband of 27 years and their daughter who is now a College Student. How time flies! Reflecting on why and when she started her business was to be able to have a lifestyle CPA firm, raising her daughter while maintaining her career. She understands the challenges facing small business owners because it takes one to understand one. When she is not working, she enjoys watching movies and travelling with her family and embracing her introvert self by cuddling on a sofa with a book.


  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA) – California Board of Accountancy
  • Masters of Science in Taxation – Golden Gate University
  • Certified Tax Strategist (CTS) – American Institute of Certified Tax Planners
  • Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor
  • LLB (Law) – University of South Africa
  • (BProc) Law – University of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa


  • 2021 Chairman’s Choice Award, Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • 2020 Top 50 Women In Accounting by PRACTICE Ignition
  • 2018 Penny Cole Achievement Award, Toastmasters District 12
  • 2016 Woman to Watch: Experienced Leader, CalCPA and AICPA
  • 2016 President’s Distinguished District Director, Toastmasters International District 12
  • 2016 Milestone Award, Toastmasters International Region 10
  • 2014 Lead By Example Firm Leadership Award, American Woman’s Society of Certified Public Accountants (AWSCPA)
  • 2014 Best Selling Co-Author, “Why Didn’t My CPA Tell me THAT”
  • 2014 Excellence in Marketing, Toastmasters International
  • 2014 Spirit Award, Toastmasters International Region 10
  • 2013 Sterling Business of the Year, Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • 2013 “40 Under Forty”, Murrieta Chamber of Commerce
  • 2013 One of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Public Accounting, CPA Practice Advisor
  • 2012 Division Governor of the Year, Toastmasters International District 12
  • 2012 Lydia Boyd Leadership Excellence Team, Toastmasters International District 12
  • 2011 Area Governor of the Year Runner-Up, Toastmasters International District 12
  • Taxation and Estate Planning Merit Award– University of Kwazulu Natal
  • First Degree Black Belt by the American Taekwondo Association.


  • Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce – Board of Directors (Executive Board – Second Vice Chairperson)
  • Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce – Board of Directors (Executive Board – Past Treasurer)
  • California Society of Certified Public Accountants (CalCPA) – Diversity Equity & Inclusion Commission (CDEIC)
  • CalState University San Marcos (CSUSM) – Foundation Board of Directors
  • President-Nominee – Rotary Club of Temecula
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
  • American Institute of Certified Tax Planners (AICTP)
  • Rotary Club of Temecula – Speech Contest Chair
  • Rotary Club of Temecula – Past International Service Director
  • Rotary Club of Temecula – Past Programs Chair
  • American Bar Association (ABA)
  • Toastmasters District 12 – New Club Extension Chair
  • Toastmasters District 12 – Toastmasters Leadership Institute Chair
  • Toastmasters District 12 – District New Club Mentor Chair/New Club Building
  • Toastmasters District 12 – Statistician
  • Toastmasters District 12 – 2022 Club Coach Mentor
  • Toastmasters District 12 – 2022 Spring Conference Chair
  • Professional Women Toastmasters – Founder, Past President and Treasurer
  • Twin Cities Business Leaders Toastmasters – Co-Founder, Past President and Treasurer
  • Toastmasters International District 12 – 2016-2017 Pathways Learning Experience Ambassador
  • Toastmasters International District 12 – 2015-2016 District Director
  • Toastmasters International District 12 – 2014-2015 Lieutenant Governor Education and Training
  • Toastmasters International District 12 – 2013-2014 Lieutenant Governor Marketing
  • Toastmasters International District 12 – 2011-2012 Division Governor
  • Toastmasters International District 12 – 2010-2011 – Area Governor
  • Susan G. Komen Inland Empire – Past Board of Directors (Treasurer)
  • Riverside Society of Parliamentarians
  • Oak Grove Center- Mighty Oaks Circle