When many people think of small businesses they tend to focus on restaurants and retail, the ones that can drive tourism and host events. However, the businesses that have the most impact on a community aren’t the ones with holiday sales, but rather the ones that help people live their life to the fullest.  


Michael J. Davis, CPA has been one of those businesses in Downtown Frostburg for nearly 25 years. Mike started the company in 1997 and retired at the end of 2021; passing his business over to long time employee, Julie M. Baker. Both Allegany County born and raised, Mike and Julie have a dedication to the community they live and work in and Julie is looking forward to continuing to see it prosper. 


Years before the business began, Mike was a health and physical education major at Frostburg State University and became a coach for nearly a decade following college before returning to FSU to take accounting classes. He then worked at a firm in Cumberland for about six years and then at ABL as a financial manager before deciding, as Mike stated, “I am working for myself for the rest of my life.” 


It was 1997 when Mike made the decision to buy a building and start what would become a business Frostburg depends on. Mike recalled, “I wanted a place on Main Street in Frostburg {where I live} and I want to be able to go home for lunch if I want to,” but noted that the rent for many of the storefronts at the time would be the same as a house payment, so he bought his building. Starting out with zero clients and only himself as an employee. 


25 years later, the firm has over 700 tax clients, handles nearly 35-40 million dollars in investment monies, and has maintained three full-time employees (Mike himself, Julie, and Patrick), plus hires a few temporary employees during tax season. 


Julie was the first full-timer, starting in 2003. Mike had branched out the accounting firm to also handle investments in 1999 and needed someone who could work with the clients and on both fronts. Julie had graduated from FSU with a business degree and was investment licensed since 1992. She worked in Cumberland for a few years before starting to work for Mike. 


Mike and Julie had reversed educational experience as Mike was an accountant first then had to go test for his investment license at age 50, Julie was the opposite. Mike said “I told her if she goes to frostburg I’ll pay her full time 40 hours a week and just leave when you have a class.” Julie officially had two degrees from FSU and passed all four parts of the CPA on the first try by 2006. 


Now they have clients in 25 states, do business returns, have several businesses that they handle payroll and w2s for, including FrostburgFirst! The business has spread across the nation as clients start local, move, but “everything always goes so smoothly so they never switch.” around 85% of the clients and businesses are still local. 


When Mike decided that this would be the last year of his work career they called all the major clients to inform them and tell them that Julie would be taking over. Mike said he “felt like I wasn’t going to be missed in the best way.” 


Julie added, “I have been here so long and know the clients whether they are tax, investment, or bookkeeping clients so I am a familiar face,” plus “[I plan] to keep it the same as to how Mike did business as I can.” She will also rent the building from Mike to maintain the same location


Mike is excited to be leaving a well known and trusted long time employee with his business as he stated that being self-employed is always a unique experience and “people start relying on you,” and when you retire you don’t want to leave them needing to find somewhere else to go or leave their finances in a stranger’s hands. 


Julie added, “Mike has been a mentor for many years, I learned from the best, I couldn’t have gotten better training than he has given me.” The business has been unaffected by the pandemic as “everyone has to file taxes,” and the firm will move forward still supporting local events and groups when they can. 


Owning your own business and reaching retirement with so many community members dependent on you can be daunting. Luckily the office of Michael J. Davis will continue to thrive and support the local community under the direction of longtime employee Julie M. Baker. We wish Mike the best in his retirement and Julie success moving forward! 




Dana Bridges

Events & Promotions Coordinator

January 2022