Published on March 5th, 2019 | by Millennium Magazine Staff1
Kadenia Williams-Javis: Grounded in Gratitude and Joy after 20 years
Pictured Women’s History Month Honoree Kadenia Williams-Javis of Javis Financial Services, LLC.
Though it might seem hard to believe, this year marks the twenty-first anniversary of the Columbia native Kadenia Williams-Javis serving as CFO/Accountant to clients in as many as 22 states! “ It’s really exciting to say not only that she has been in a business for 21 years, (11 years full time), but also that she still loves it and loves learning tax laws everyday.” In the last decade, Javis 43, has employed over over 35 employees and interns.
Raised in North Columbia, and graduated from Richland School District #1(W.J. Keenan High School) in 1994, Kadenia always had a niche for numbers. As a product of a divorced family she had a lot of responsibility placed upon her as her mother would work long hours at Providence Hospital to care for her and her younger brother. At age 13. She started assisting her mother with budgeting and paying bills because every dollar had to be accounted for in their household.
Kadenia’s belief is “If you can dream it, you can achieve it!” Never in a million years did she believe she would be a full time Entrepreneur and able to employ a team to provide for their families. She gives a lot of credit to her very supportive husband of 24 years Christopher who is also self-employed and Owner of Kings & Queens Barber & Beauty where he is a Barber Instructor. The persons on Team Javis are phenomenal and our community service would not be effective without them.
Outlined below is a snippet of the journey traveled:
1998- Mentored by Thelma Mosely of T&T Tax Services, as she was a client of hers also. Kadenia was an Accounting student and Income Tax Accounting was her favorite class by instructor Clay Miller at Midlands Technical College-Airport Campus. Services were rendered out of her home 1921 Cunningham Rd. in the Kingswood /Pine Valley Subdivision until 2003. At this time, Kadenia was only doing close family and few friends simple tax returns.
2003- Kadenia graduates from Limestone College in Gaffney, SC. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree with a concentration in Accounting. This was the year her husband received a promotion and moved the family to Easley, SC in Upstate SC. While living there, Kadenia was a homemaker for a little while also doing taxes to supplement her income. After their second child was old enough to go to daycare, she started job seeking and thankfully got a job in Financial Aid at Strayer University-Greenville Campus. Chris had also introduced her to some of his co-workers and she started preparing people’s taxes in Liberty, Clemson, Anderson, Greenville, and Seneca, SC. This is where the Upstate clientele grew by word of mouth. Kadenia started graduate school at Strayer while employed and graduated Magna Cum Laude with her MBA degree.
2005- The Javis family relocates back to their home town of Columbia. Christopher’s leadership and management experience kept him marketable. Kadenia’s clients were not so happy about the move so she would visit clients at Applebee’s on Heyward Rd. annually and pick up their taxes once a year and mail them back their packages. They understood that both she and her husband had retired parents whose health was declining and they needed to be close. That didn’t last too long, the postage was steadily increasing so Kadenia would rent a conference room at the Hilton on Heyward Rd. Kadenia got a job at the University of SC and started building relationships there that still exists today. Today, since 2005 Javis Tax Service currently operates at an office space at 1200 Woodruff Road, Greenville, SC. during tax season.
2006- Well no website, no business cards, but Kadenia was serving about 300 clients from word of mouth only. Chris tells Kadenia it’s time to find an office because too many people were coming to the house! Lol! So, the hunt began and we met Zack Ross the owner of the Executive Suites on 3031 Scotsman Dr. in 2006. The office that was affordable, about 250 sq. ft., but that’s all that was needed since Kadenia was only there after work in the evenings and Saturday during the tax season. Over the span of two years, God continued to bless clients to hear about the “Affordable Alternative!” A small business owner next door to Kadenia noticed the late nights, and the drop-offs that was received daily. Her name was Crystal Hampton. Crystal owned her own business named Crystal’s Creative Connections. She was doing resumes, document prep, typesetting, etc. She also had experience from Jackson Hewitt, so she offered to do the data entry, during the day when she wasn’t busy and prep them for me when I came in. Javis Tax Service had its first employee, well contract employee. The partnership worked out great. This is also the year that some of my “Mothers” were telling me it’s time to quit your job and you can do this. I wasn’t quite ready yet with fear of course of losing a paycheck every two weeks. Those matriarchs are Christine Burton, Melinda Anderson, Mable Pratt, Glenda Wilder, and Shirley Williams.
2008- After substantial growth came from moving out of the home-based business, now we had outgrown our 250 sq. ft. office and the shared lobby. At this time, our realtor Charles Gary of Gary Realty let us lease office space at 4949 Two Notch Rd. We had a bigger office and much more lobby space! Still operating off of word of mouth seemed like my part-time hours were becoming almost full time. We only stayed at this location for two seasons. Mr. Gary was moving his office closer to Benedict further down Two Notch Rd. We also were looking to move because that office was upstairs and some of my clients needed an elevator or a ramp. This year was a very important year because the Javis’ were blessed with a set of twins! So Kadenia was employed by the IRS, but due to the fact of the stipulation that you can’t do taxes on your own her stay there was short-lived, and she got a transfer to the Department of Defense- SC National Guard so she could continue to service her clients which at this time it was about 450.
2009- One Sunday morning after church service I was talking to a woman who was also a “mother” to me Janice Wilson Gore. She and her sister Dorothy Johnson owned D&J Flowers and Event Planning and worked out of their family house at 1942 Cushman Dr. Due to the death of Dorothy Wilson Johnson, the death of her husband Robert Gore, and now Momma Janice’s health started declining they closed the shop. She told me “Dena you can run your own business down at the flower shop!” I was like OMG really Ma! She didn’t even charge me rent, talk about favor, mercy, and blessings! God’s divine obedience told me to always bless those that bless me. We went in and cleaned up her flowers and set up shop. We had 3 offices with 2 tax advisors and 1 intern. LaToya Shuler was my first high school (WJ Keenan), intern. I am so proud of her accomplishments as she wed Ryan Belton on October 13, 2018. Also, our next intern hired was Valeea James (Irmo High School). Valeea is a Nurse Practitioner who is now Mrs. Valeea (Jason) Sutton! We stay in touch with all our interns because I want to make sure they are using the skills learned in their everyday lives to leave a legacy for their children’s children.
2010- 2/10/10 a major decision to resign from the United States Property & Fiscal Office (USPFO). Kadenia had clients on the job and clients that would drop-off paperwork to her on her lunch hour. Life was getting so chaotic, missing documents, phone calls, emails, files not being done in a timely manner, so this was the year that is time to make the shift. The evaluation was made, the salary Kadenia made annually was real close to the income received from those 450 clients so her husband insisted that the long hours of going into the office after work had to cease. He believed in me and that I could be of more service to my clients if I were available. Confirmation also came when it was discovered that their twin baby boy needed additional resources and early intervention as he was diagnosed with a Gross Motor Delay. He had occupational, physical, speech, and hearing therapies every day of the week. Kadenia’s mother and mother in law were retired but with their health conditions sometimes they would be unable to care for their grandson. Kadenia needed a flexible schedule where she could care for her son and be at home when BabyNet & Bright Start came to the house to work with him. I truly believe that my 19 years as an employee (15 corporate) paved the steps to Entrepreneurship. I was blessed to attain employment on the City, State, and Federal levels, as well as private industry jobs. These jobs taught me discipline and how to implement policies and procedures. This year was exponential growth; I didn’t have to turn clients away. A childhood friend was without employment so I asked her to join me even though Charlene Moultrie had over 10 years experience at BCBS where we had also worked together I would teach her everything I knew. We would also go to continuing education classes to expand our knowledge together. So now it’s Charlene, Crystal, Latoya, and I managing 600 clients. The word got out that Kadenia was in the office full time so they kept referring clients and more clients!
2011- The acclamation period was strange and weary. Kadenia was studying business models, going to workshops: from the City of Columbia Office of Business Opportunities, SBA workshops, and DBE classes trying to fine tune this thing called “Self-Employment”. Growth happened we had to change some things and hire new personnel. In 2011, we hired April Harris as my Executive Assistant who managed the office and workflow. Another employee Martin McDuffie was referred by his mother who was my twin’s teacher at V.V. Reid. She said he had worked for Liberty Tax Service but wanted a change. We decided that we would purchase the QuickBooks software and start doing bookkeeping and catering to small businesses. We saw a lot of clients needed to get business loans but had no financial records, had no business checking accounts, Articles of Incorporation, Employee Identification Number, etc. It seemed perfect for us to deliver the knowledge and services they needed to be compliant with the DOT (Department of Transportation) so they could get DBE (Disadvantaged Black Enterprise) approved for government contracts. Switching gears, a little bit, April was a caterer and we had no income coming in during the noon peak season. I had no income to pay the team, but they saw my vision that now that I wasn’t working full time, I was committed to having a full-time accounting firm that serviced clients after April 15. So, April would cook, and we would sell dinners to pay the light bill at our 1942 Cushman Dr. location. We did not have a phone line, we had a magic jack number. Whatever was left we divided it between us. We would take orders and deliver to clients for lunch and they would tell their co-workers. This journey had a lot of support and sweat equity put into it. A lot went on behind the scenes to get us where we are today.
The Lobby and Front Room couldn’t handle the clientele at our little pink house on Cushman Drive, so I had a discussion with my sister-in-law Tiniece Pinkney Javis about moving. She kept saying you need a business storefront. She was right because we couldn’t put a sign up on the house on Cushman Drive because it was a residential neighborhood. Zoning came by and told me to take the sign down. Well, when I had Realtors look for us somewhere the cost of commercial rental was ridiculous. But with much prayer and support, we signed a 3-year lease at 9557 Two Notch Rd. Ste I. Rent was 10x more than we had ever paid but again the move and presence on Two Notch Rd. bought a 50% increase in sales!
Fast forward to 2018 we purchased our first commercial property that was a former bank at 7171 Two Notch Road that we are elated and cannot wait to move in by May 1, 2019.
I share my story to not only let entrepreneurs know that with patience, prayer and position success will follow. Also, have a plan because a failure to plan is planning to fail. Please visit us at one of our current locations 7130 Broad River Road, Irmo SC or 9557 Two Notch Road, Columbia SC. Visit our website www.javistax.com or phone 803-419-1001