Augusta accountant Lisa Mayo knows the UGA Small Business Development Center well. She frequently serves as a tax panelist and QuickBooks expert for SBDC StartSMART™ courses.

So, when Mayo, a CPA (certified public accountant) and CVA (certified valuation analyst), had the opportunity to buy an existing accounting firm, she turned to SBDC consultant Rick McMurtrey for a second opinion.

“I was approached by an accountant who had been in practice 38 years, and it was such a new idea, I didn’t see value in what I’d be getting,” Mayo said. “I called Rick at the Augusta office of the UGA SBDC and asked him to be my mentor. I needed him to look at the purchase of the practice. I needed someone I could trust.”

McMurtrey helped Mayo determine the value of the business using a valuation reference guide available through UGA. The findings were similar to what Mayo found with her own guides, and she bought the practice in 2016.

“Rick brought a lot of good insight and helped refresh the information I had,” Mayo said. “When I put together the projections, I had him review them. He put a lot of thought into this purchase.”

In 2017, she went back to the SBDC for help finding a new office space to accommodate her growing practice.

“Lisa did her search based on a heat map of where her client base was,” McMurtrey said. “She found a building in west Augusta for just under $400,000 and wanted my opinion on what the property was worth.”

They did a walk-through, researched the building’s assessed value on a tax map, and found the price was right. Mayo negotiated the purchase of the building and its furniture at a lower cost, and moved in during June 2018. The purchase gave Mayo & Associates room to expand, placed the practice closer to its client base, and Mayo lowered her costs by leasing out excess space.

Mayo & Associates added five new staff members and more than quadrupled her revenue.

“When I first met with Rick, and we looked at my numbers, I had been on my own for about eight months,” Mayo said. “He told me I was going to grow and increase my revenue in a year. He was absolutely right. We haven’t slowed down.”

Mayo has also attended SBDC GrowSMART™ training to focus on her marketing.

She continues to help the SBDC with training and refers her clients to the center.

“Ninety percent of the people who come to me end up at the SBDC,” she said. “When I send them there, I know Rick and the other consultants are going to take care of them.”