Augusta accountant Lisa Mayo is familiar with the variety of resources the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center has at its disposal, as she is one of those resources. She frequently serves as a tax panelist and QuickBooks expert for its SBDC StartSMART™ courses.

Mayo, a CPA and CVA, or certified valuation analyst, believes thorough research helps small business owners make well-informed decisions. So when, as a sole practitioner, she was approached by an accountant who proposed she purchase his firm, she turned to UGA SBDC consultant Rick McMurtrey for a second opinion.

“Lisa called one day and said, ‘I know that as a Sonic franchisee in the Augusta market for 20 years, you have a pretty deep background in accounting, business and development,’” said McMurtrey. “She had done her research on me and wanted another 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,” said Mayo. “I called Rick 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 gave Mayo guidance on pricing and valuing the business using a valuation reference guide available through UGA. The metrics were similar to what Mayo had found with her guides. They discussed their findings, and Mayo purchased the practice in 2016.

Lisa Mayo, owner of Mayo and Associates in Augusta, worked with the UGA SBDC to guide her through the successful purchase of an established accounting firm.

“Rick brought a lot of good insight and helped refresh the information I had,” she said. “When I put together the projections, I had him review them. He put a lot of thought into this purchase, which helped me realize I was excited about the buyout, but not fully thinking things through. It was very comforting knowing he was there for me.”

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

They did a walk-through and looked up the building’s assessed value on a tax map, learning it was priced where it should be. Mayo negotiated the purchase of the building and its furniture at a lower cost, and she moved in the last week of 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.

Since growing her practice to a full-service accounting firm, Mayo has expanded into the larger building, added five new staff members with plans to add two more before tax season, and has more than quadrupled her original six-figure revenues.

“When I first met with Rick, and we looked at my numbers, I had been on my own for about eight months,” said Mayo. “His words to me were that I was going to grow and do so much revenue in a year. I told him a year later that he was absolutely right. I bought the practice then doubled those numbers in a year. We haven’t slowed down.”

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

“As soon as I started that program, I went out and hired a marketing company,” she said. “That class helped me realize that to take the business to another level, I really needed to look into branding. Our marketing company has great ideas on how to get my brand out there.” Augustans may now be familiar with the new Fiat she purchased and wrapped with the Mayo & Associates brand.

Mayo continues to assist in UGA SBDC training, and she also refers her clients to the SBDC. “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.”

For More Information: University of Georgia SBDC | (706) 542-2762