Rob Davis and Jonathan Colwell of the Davis Group, PC, come from completely different backgrounds. They have formed an accounting firm with a passion to help our community, especially when it comes to the stresses of tax season.
I first met Rob when I was taking a class at the Center for Lifelong Learning that was geared for small business owners who had “taken the entrepreneurial plunge” but who had no formal business training. What I appreciated about him was that he made the financial topics at hand understandable and accessible, as well as the fact that he was certified to teach the Financial Peace University program developed by Dave Ramsey.
Rob lived in Nairobi, Kenya, from 1989 until 1995, working for Compassion International, a Christian child development organization headquartered in Colorado Springs. He then worked at Compassion’s headquarters from 1995 until 2004. He served as the International Operations Director in which he was responsible for liaising with and implementing the corporate, Finance Auditing, Human Resources, and IT initiatives in the 30+ field offices. However, what “floated his boat” was when he was in Kenya and serving as Compassion’s East Africa Operations Director, and being in charge of all the auditing and organizing that is necessary to keep track of all the funding that makes the development of children possible. He especially loved it when sponsors would come to Africa to meet “their” kids.
He has also served as a CFO and Shared Financial Services Director at Vision Quest Alliance and was a DOD contractor in Iraq at an Air Force base in Kirkuk. It was the contracting job that brought him to Huntsville.
By contrast, Jonathan Colwell is an Alabama guy who was born and raised in Clanton. His wife, Nikki, is from Athens, and they have 3 children. Rob broke in and said, “He’s an excellent father.” Jonathan got his degree from the University of Montevallo, and changed his major to become a CPA because he “saw it as a way to help people.” After graduating, he worked at a local CPA firm, as well as at Steelcase, and he and Rob met at Friendship Church in 2012. They found they had much in common—a heart to serve others, to teach the principles of financial responsibility, and they both love to be involved in the community. Roan Bradley’s CPA firm became available for sale, and the Davis Group was born.
I asked them both about their personal strengths, the strength of the firm, and why I should come to them. Jonathan went first:
“I feel that I have a heart of a teacher, which is why I love the Dave Ramsey program. People need to understand what makes money work, and why. I take time to listen to our clients, which is not something CPAs are known for. I ask questions, such as ‘What worries you?’ ‘What are your hopes?’ ‘What are your plans?’” Then he told me essentially how he helps clients begin to dream responsibly, so they can plan for the long term. “I ask them, ‘If money were no option….’” That way, he finds out what is genuinely important to them first, rather than just put them on some pre-determined financial track.
As a younger family man, he especially enjoys serving families that are just starting out, and helping them to plan for the long term. He also explained that the Davis Group bills based on the value of the service, not by hourly billing. They do this so clients can feel free to contact their office without feeling liking we are "hitting the clock." The initial consultation with Rob or Jonathan is provided at no charge.
Rob then spoke:
“I love this community, and I love being out in it. I love to help small businesses to be successful, and building a relationship with my clients is important to me. I have a passion to help. I have lots of management experience, and can understand what business owners go through because I’ve been there, too. I also have a heavy amount of experience with not-for-profit organizations.” I might add, as someone who has lived and served on the foreign mission field, that encountering foreign financial concepts and systems has its own set of challenges, and dealing with it well is a transferable skill that can of great service to the people of Athens-Limestone County
They both had the following to say about the rest of their crew:
“We have a great team at the Davis group with Lisa Garlen and Misti Fillingame. Lisa, our lead accountant, has been with the firm for over 10 years and is a quickbooks pro advisor. Misti has recently been hired as our client service specialist and comes with many years’ experience in customer service and marketing. We are grateful to have both on our team.”
We all know that during tax season, things are hopping at any CPA firm. However, when I asked about some of their other plans, Rob said, “I really want to help with work force development, to help create a stable work force who knows what they are doing financially.” They are also partnering with the Chamber to develop some classes for business development, and to bring more Dave Ramsey materials to the community. If you are looking for financial management help from people who will listen to you, then call the Davis Group to schedule your free consultation today.
The Davis Group CPAs
605 Hwy 31 S, Suite B
Athens, AL 35611
Hours: Mon-Fri 8-5
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner