It seems straight out of a Hollywood film—boy meets girl at summer camp. Girl has first dance ever with boy. Boy and girl reconnect at same summer camp over the years until, one summer, love blossoms and the relationship blooms into a lifelong partnership—in life and business.
But this isn’t Hollywood. It’s the true story of AnneMarie (Annie) ’09 BSBA and Cooper ’10 BSBA McGeorge: partners, co-owners of McGeorge CPAsand Eller alumni.
“We have a unique dynamic because we live and work together,” Annie says. “A lot of entrepreneurs don’t have a sounding board to continually talk with about their needs, but we can be at our kids’ T-ball games talking about current tax reform changes.”
Their commitment to work—and particularly to their clients—is evident in the couple’s business approach, which blends friendship with full-service accounting, including payroll, consulting and tax preparation. One of their main selling points, Cooper is quick to note, is their “solid vision for small businesses and contractors.”
“Cooper engages with every single small business client we have,” Annie says. “He created the foundation for what this business was going to be, and created a culture and atmosphere of going a little bit beyond a typical accountant. We find a lot of our clients end up becoming lifelong friends.”
The education they provide clients also adds to their appeal. They not only coach the businesses they serve about all things accounting-related, but also engage in speaking opportunities at title companies and real estate brokerages throughout the Valley.
“We want to teach others and provide free education to our clients,” Annie says. “We’re constantly rooting for their success.”
McGeorge CPAs, which was founded by Cooper in 2011 and is based in Phoenix, currently serves more than 800 clients—many of them referrals.
Annie and Cooper are the only CPAs in the firm, and they both agree their time at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management helped to prepare them for managing their sometimes intense workload.
“I learned how to juggle a lot and deal with deadlines at the Eller College,” says Cooper, who estimates the pair puts in anywhere from 70 to 85 hours a week. “The education I got there really was the bridge to my professional career.”
“I was always really book smart in school,” she says, “but by doing the accounting program, I learned a specific skill that I could transfer to the workplace right away. That gave me a lot of confidence.”
The couple also agrees participating in the Eller College’s former Accounting Student Association (ASA), which merged in 2018 with honorary Beta Alpha Psi, helped to solidify their choices in major and eventual profession. To this day, they can sometimes be caught sipping their coffee from an ASA mug.
“Being a member of that club was like that next proactive step to say, ‘Yes, this is what I want to do for my career,’” Cooper says. “It opens your eyes to what’s beyond.”
Looking beyond is a trademark of Cooper’s entrepreneurial style, something Annie recognizes and appreciates in her business partner husband.
In fact, both Annie and Cooper are quick to compliment each other’s skills, which truly are complementary. Cooper calls Annie the “debit and credit queen,” and Annie says Cooper’s entrepreneurial skills are second-to-none.
“Cooper is very ambitious,” Annie says. “He’s always working to better the environment around him. I thrive when I’m given some direction and then I can go 150 miles per hour. We really are that yin and yang where he’s always looking forward to the future, and I’m on the ground for what’s happening today.”
Adds Cooper: “From an accounting perspective, I’ll take Annie against any other accountant in the state.”
Header photo courtesy AnneMarie Cooper.