Why did I start SD Mayer & Associates (SDM) after spending the last 25 years at Burr Pilger Mayer (BPM)?

The answer is basically the same one that prompted me to leave Coopers & Lybrand to start BPM: although I am an accountant, I have always thought of myself more as an entrepreneur.

I like to try new things, challenge the status quo, create new lines of business and grow an organization with a focus on top-line revenue. I also want to provide my clients with valuable business advice that focuses on the future, as opposed to focusing on historical numbers.

As BPM grew, my focus, time and energy changed from servicing clients to managing the firm. This was a wonderful and rewarding experience. There are not many CPAs who built a $70 million business with an outstanding reputation for client service, commitment to the community and having fun. Those core values were my focus for the last 25 years. However, nothing is forever and sometimes you have to move forward and take on new challenges and opportunities.

For quite some time I have been thinking about what type of firm I would create and how I would shape its foundation if I could reinvent the accounting business. With that in mind, I launched SD Mayer & Associates to change the accounting industry status quo, based on eight simple principles.  To me, the eight principals are a metaphor of the “BIG EIGHT”, which was the number of large accounting firms in the world when I started my career in 1976:

1. Caring. Our employees care. We care about each other. We care about our clients. We care about our community. We care about our company.

2. Financial Security. For our individual clients, we want to focus on helping them achieve financial security with a focus on financial, estate, investment, insurance and tax planning.

3. Trusted Advisor. For our business clients, we want to be a trusted advisor and help guide them to future success.

4. Technology. We want to create a technology engine where all information and data is interconnected, to give us the ability to be proactive and deploy the right resources at the right time for a specific client need.

5. Engaged Employees. We want to attract employees that are incredibly excited about being part of our company, love their job, have respect for each other and function as a team.

6. Proactive Value-Added Service. For our clients, we want to anticipate their needs, be proactive and have contact with each of them at least four times a year, regardless of their size.

7. Client relationships. Clients who respect us as trusted advisors, who place value in our relationship and want to work with us for the long term.

8. Three Things Clients Want. We want systems that can accurately tell any client three basic things: who is doing their work, when it will be done, and how much will it cost.

We launched SD Mayer & Associates with a small group of dedicated employees and core group of clients, and I know that we will build and grow our firm using these eight simple concepts as our foundation. To paraphrase Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, employees can change the accounting industry. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

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