Meet Nicole Davis, CPA, MBA, founder and CEO of Butler-Davis Tax & Accounting LLC. Nicole is an author for the Firm of the Future blog, and also regularly presents content for Intuit. In this success story for National Black Business Month, I sat down with Nicole to learn more about her firm, her focus on client advisory services, and why she likes to give back to the profession.
Scott Cytron: Tell me more about Butler-Davis.
Nicole Davis: Butler-Davis is a modern firm employing the best talent to fulfill our mission of helping entrepreneurs engineer their best lives by operating financially fit businesses. We’ve been in business since 2014, and are based out of Conyers, GA, with 11 local, one remote, and two offshore team members. The firm serves more than 300 clients in accounting, payroll, and tax.
SC: What do you consider your single most important business accomplishment?
ND: It has to be our acquisition of a local payroll company. We acquired it as part of our strategic growth plan to provide a holistic solution to our clients; this includes accounting, tax, payroll, and financial planning.
SC: That’s great to hear that you’re promoting your firm as a turn-key solution. So what kind of Intuit accounting and tax software do you use?
SC: Why do you think your clients like working with you?
ND: My clients like working with me because I add value to their lives. I’m also their financial genie. They don’t get three wishes, but I strive to help them achieve financial wholeness to live how they wish or desire. In my firm, we live by our 3E philosophy of Execute Excellence Everyday.
SC: I love that! What about any firm niches or specializations?
ND: We primarily work with independent pharmacies, construction companies, and service-based businesses.
SC: I know you do IRS resolution for your clients. Can you give me an example of one of your more-interesting negotiations?
ND: One of my most interesting tax resolution cases actually involved a CPA. This particular client had a significant amount of back taxes and an accumulated debt based on a massive failure to pay the penalties. He hired me to be his new tax professional to assist his tax attorney with resolution for the back taxes. We developed a plan to address that and keep him compliant going forward. I wrote the narratives for the penalty abatement based on the facts and circumstances. When I do this, I try to write compelling, but true stories. Through our efforts, more than $300,000 in penalties were abated across multiple years. The attorney was just as shocked as the client when the penalties were abated. I wasn’t; that’s my flex.
SC: That’s a great story and one I’m sure your peers and colleagues can relate to. You also have “Strategic Business Planning” on your site as one of your services. Do you think this is the same thing as Client Advisory Services (CAS), or is it different?
ND: That’s a great question. In my firm, Strategic Business Planning is also known as Business Advisory Services (BAS), but we should distinguish BAS from CAS. CAS means Client Accounting Services in my firm. We do CAS every day.
SC: How about an example of how you helped a client with a BAS issue?
ND: Business advisory services can be project-based or part of a client’s service package. For example, we helped one of our pharmacy chains prepare to go public. This was a lengthy process, but as their most trusted advisor, we played a pivotal role in their audit preparedness. That is an example of BAS in my firm.
SC: You participate in a lot of activities related to Intuit and you’re one of our authors. What kind of satisfaction do you get out of “giving back” to the profession?
ND: Giving back is a privilege. I enjoy lending my voice and writing about my experience as a firm owner.
SC: Where does your confidence come from?
ND: When I started my firm, I was intimidated by the number of other firm owners in our space. I asked myself, “How do I compete?” Then I read a quote by Oprah Winfrey: “Every season somebody else was coming out … one talk show, two talk shows, three talk shows … there have been over 100 talk shows since we started, but every time I would feel like, alright, we’ve got to step up our game. The way you step up your game is not to worry about the other guy.”
I started focusing on building my firm my way. It didn’t matter what anyone else was doing; I was and still am my most respected competitor. I created and managed a firm that I was proud of.
SC: Thanks Nicole!