“It’s been exciting to see the growth,” says Worley. “When I came back from college and first started my CPA firm, it was desolate after 5 o’clock. There were no places to eat in the evening. After business hours the town just folded up.”
Thanks to the development of Lexington Avenue, along with the public support of arts institutions such as the Asheville Art Museum and Diana Wortham Theatre, Worley says the energy downtown has transformed. WWCPA, a lifelong advocate for Asheville development, has helped move the needle forward with civic leadership, consistently supporting arts organizations across Asheville, along with other vital elements of the community.
“We want to be on the cutting edge,” he says. “To me, that’s the most interesting and exciting way to operate. Being out in the community and having a finger on the pulse of what’s happening.”
Currently, Worley serves as the Board President of the Diana Wortham Theatre and sits on the board for the Center for Craft. He’s also worked on a task force for the City of Asheville’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. On an annual basis, WWCPA hosts a community-wide celebration to not only honor its clients but also highlight an area nonprofit. Over the years, Worley says, the firm has provided support for 30-40 nonprofits. The firm also makes a point to give advice and provide services for area artists and entrepreneurs who are starting out or trying to build their businesses.
“The culture here tends to be different than most CPA firms,” says Rhonda Woodbery, who has been Worley’s partner at the firm since 2012. “We take on clients and work with them from the ground up and helped them grow financially into businesses that will and have made a huge impact on our community. Our passion is to help other people grow and establish and become successful.”
A huge community part of that growth, Woodbery maintains, is by changing the way we do business. A single mother who earned her CPA in her 40’s after five years of night school, Woodbery champions women’s rights and prioritizes ways to empower women in the workplace. Both Woodbery and Worley are huge supporters of the Chamber’s WomanUP programming and have attended nearly every single one since its 2017 inception.
Over the last five years WWCPA has expanded its focus beyond traditional accounting services to include integrated business consulting, human resource and bookkeeping resources and other forms of back-office support. These added services help business owners focus on what they love, instead of time-intensive paperwork or administrative work.
“The world of CPA firms is changing,” says Worley. “Our belief is that education and planning are bulwarks of what we ought to be doing. It allows us to provide better benefit to our clients. Rhonda and I have built the firm around concept that ‘we don’t just plan, we care’. We try to find ways to help clients in whatever way they might need.”