Most entrepreneurs know well in advance that being a business owner is the career path they want to take. But not this one. She made the decision to become a business owner after many, many people begged her to do it. They said there was no one else available to meet their needs. Talk about supply and demand!
Grace Lopez Williams opened her own accounting and consulting management firm in 1998 after members of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce encouraged her to do so over and over again.
A native of Puerto Rico, Williams moved to the Atlanta area in 1994 and immediately got involved with the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce through her then employer, 3D Image Technology. To help fellow Chamber members and the Hispanic community in general, Williams began offering free accounting seminars # in Spanish # to those who needed assistance in handling income taxes, business accounting and more. But along with her daily 9 to 5 work and her free seminars, Williams would open her home until about 11 p.m. to meet with Spanish-speaking individuals who just needed some accounting assistance and couldn#t find anyone to speak their language.
Hose Barreto, a fellow chamber member and colleague told Williams, #You need to open your own office,# and according to Williams, he eventually said it so much that she finally agreed.
#He asked me how much money would I need to get started, and he gave me what I needed to open the business,# said Williams. #I#m so appreciative to him because he pushed me to do something I didn#t know I was able to do, and now I am able to give something back to my community through my profession.#
Williams says that what sets her company apart from other accounting firms servicing the Hispanic community is the whole service package her company offers. Tax assistance, bookkeeping, corporation consulting and system (software) implementation are all offered to clients # particularly the business clients.
However, her firm#s communication abilities are also unique to the business. #Some other accounting firms do offer bilingual accountants for clients. However, the receptionist may not speak Spanish, or someone else they#re referred to in the firm may not speak Spanish, so they are only able to communicate with that one person,# she said. #Here, our entire staff is bilingual, so no matter whom you#re talking with, they can help you.#
And while the Hispanic population is probably the majority of her client base, Williams serves people of all nationalities and races. With such a strong business presence in the local community and at the state level, Williams says she considers herself #a role model not only for the Latino community, but women in general.#