The right tech stack can really alleviate stress, save time, and maximize your firm’s throughput, but only if you have a clear vision for each solution you are using. There’s a buffet of options out there, that’s for sure, and they all cost either time to implement or money to buy (or both) so it can be stressful to even think about which solutions to use. I get it and I want to help, that’s why I am sharing my softball strategy to help you build a tech stack that works with your firm not against it!

Imagine if hitting a home run when it comes to the profitability of your practice was as easy as watching a ball game. To me, it really is—running a profitable and highly efficient accounting, bookkeeping or tax practice is no different than coaching a softball (or baseball) team. Here’s a brief overview of how you can use softball strategy to knock it out of the park when it comes to your practice productivity and profitability, too. 

You see, in softball, you have positions on your team that you have to fill. In addition, you have players that you need to recruit to fill those positions.  Let’s stick with the defensive side of the game.  You have a pitcher, catcher, first baseman, second baseman, etc. Imagine if hitting a home run when it comes to the profitability of your practice was as easy as watching a ball game. To me, it really is—running a profitable and highly efficient accounting, bookkeeping or tax practice is no different than coaching a softball (or baseball) team. Here’s a brief overview of how you can use softball strategy to knock it out of the park when it comes to your practice productivity and profitability, too. nd baseman, third baseman, shortstop, left fielder, center fielder, and right fielder.

As a coach, you need to know what the positions are and you need to seek the most talented players to fill those positions.  From an accounting, bookkeeping, or tax  practice perspective the game really is no different. You have certain positions to fill in order to run your firm, to create an amazing client experience, and to complete client work.  

Every accounting firm has some positions that are necessary no matter what you provide for services. Then there are the tools you need that are specific to the services you provide. In other words, in order to pick the right software, you need to also accept that no one piece of software is going to solve everything.

Here are the solutions that I have chosen (Click on the name of each one below to get the overview of benefits):

ADP

Bookkeep

Canopy

Fishbowl

Jirav

Liscio

Smartvault

Swizznet

Truly Financial

Veem

However, you really need to choose your own based on your needs and by looking at the solutions and how they align with the problems you are trying to solve. Start by downloading the Team Brolin Starting Lineup Playbook here.

After you complete an After Action Review for your firm post busy season, it’s time to really figure out which of your processes work and which ones might need to be reviewed and improved. 

Below I have broken down all of the key action items you may have once you have completed your AAR and how to prioritize, plan, and progress through each one.  Once you identify and prioritize each item that needs to be worked on, then you need to assign a leader to each task. The best way to get something done, is to make it someone’s job, after all!

Step 1. Assign staff to each area that needs to be improved, and then have them take a deep dive into this specific area of your process, suggesting improvements along the way. Once a new process has been discussed and vetted, it is important to share this with the whole team. When you share this, it’s a good idea to do a dry run before the next busy season hits!

Completing this process right after your busy season (like tax season) is critical. This way, we capture everything when it’s fresh in everyone’s minds and we do something about it before 

We get stuck in a cycle of facing the same problems, challenges and frustrations each year.

Step 2. Identify the topics you want to address. This part of your process often takes the longest. Maybe you have missing documents? Or poor communication between client and firm? Or maybe there are too many places that you have to go to find all your information.

One of the more common things that can lead to late nights and stress is that you get to January 1st and you realize you don’t have the information you need, in order to do the 1099s. If you don’t have all your ducks in a row, it is a hectic scramble and that’s when mistakes are made. Now is the time to determine how you will avoid this!

Another thing that firms are often wrestling with, especially now that we are (mostly) all working remotely, is that data exists in silos.  This happens when data is coming in too many ways.  Plus, if you have data silos, staff have to check too many places for all the relevant information they might need. This causes lots of stress, and lots of wasted time.

All throughout this process, everything needs to be documented to make sure all the new procedures are easy to follow consistently and you can onboard new staff easily when needed.

And of course, the underlying theme with all of this is security – anything you roll out, change, or do in your firm must be secure. So emailing your clients, asking for their W9s won’t fly anymore.

 

Step 3. Look at best practices to solve for the issues you have identified. If you are struggling to solve an issue, it’s a good idea to expand your potential pool of solutions by seeking help from a peer (like me) or a reputable source such as a solution provider.

The first problem we used as a common example is one I can help you solve: your missing W9s. The easy response is to update your year end files as you go. Create a centralized, secure place for all your digital files, this way everything can be easily located while staying safe. I like to use SmartVault for this! Each month, make sure you receive your W9s from each client – Liscio templates make these requests fast and easy as well as giving clients a secure way to send them. Using the QuickBooks Online AP lists as a guide, you can ensure that you have a complete set of documents from each of your clients.

Another issue many firms find themselves wasting time on is getting their clients to communicate effectively. Most firms request documents are sent via email. Not only has email become a serious bottleneck in many firms, it’s also super unsafe!  

Here’s what I suggest instead: Think about the client’s day to understand why they don’t respond instantly. Many times, your client will receive your email via their smartphone. They don’t have access to the documents they need or a scanner and they definitely don’t want to try logging into your online portal using their smartphone. 

If they don’t receive your email while they are on the go, then they get it when they are at work. Good right? Wrong. They have their own clients in and out the door and on the phone all day. Their priority is on making money and serving their clients. Your email will sit in their inbox until the link to the portal has expired and they have to ask for help to log in. This stalls all your work on this client.

So how can we solve this? Think like the client thinks! If they are texting you, it means that they are more likely to do business with you via their phone. Many millennials ignore emails and don’t own scanners or printers. Your solution is to match their mobile lives.

Set yourself up for success by adopting some or all of the policies I have shared with you, and make dumping email a very high priority. 

There are a few easy solutions to some big problems your firm may be experiencing. Schedule a demo with Liscio so you can see how much faster your firm can move when you are working with your client’s needs. Get your documents sent in on time.

Now it’s time to put your AAR learning into action…

Repeating these steps with all of the areas you want to improve based on your After Action Review will help your firm become more efficient for next tax season and ensure your clients feel cared for and can provide what you need quickly and easily. That’s a win for everyone and another reason to do your AAR now.

Do you still have clients using cash or checks to make purchases? Or maybe you do? If so, you know there has to be a better way! Your clients (and your firm) should be using a corporate card. 

In fact, I have saved you the legwork of looking for the perfect alternative with my Starting Lineup partner Truly Financial. With my Truly Financial corporate card, I am able to grow my business without accumulating debt and my clients can do the same!

What makes Truly Financial different is that they don’t limit the number of options offered to small businesses for corporate credit cards. Most small businesses don’t even qualify for a corporate card because they don’t reach the minimum average daily spending. This severely limits businesses to using debit cards or accumulating debt with credit cards. Or even worse, using their personal credit card for business expenses. 

As you and I know, co-mingling personal and business expenses is bad news, even though racking up those rewards points seems like a great idea at first. Truly Financial offers corporate Visa cards to all small businesses. And when I say all, I mean it! And don’t worry about those minimum daily expenditures, Truly wants to make sure you and your clients are able to grow your business at your own pace. There’s no need to rack up those unwanted charges just to meet a minimum.

The Truly Financial corporate card also pays up to 2.5% cash back rewards for every purchase you make (plus they have an amazing partner program for businesses, too).

Do you or your clients have employees overseas? Truly has you covered with unlimited virtual Visa cards for all U.S. and international employees. Empowering my team has never been easier. Assign spending limits to each employee, get notified whenever the card is used and block or unblock cards at any time. 

There’s no need to worry, either, if the cards are lost or stolen. Cards can be managed all from an app, making business easy on the go! Truly Financial works hard for me because I work hard for my firm and my clients, and they will work hard for you too. Don’t let traditional banks hold you or your clients back from growing into your potential!

Visit Truly Financial today to learn more!

Multiple banks, multiple accounts, and so many credit cards! For many of us (and our clients) it’s difficult to keep track of corporate and personal accounts. That’s why I am so thrilled to have Truly Financial on my team, because they are simplifying banking while totally transforming it at the same time! 

I have included Truly Financial as a Team Brolin Starting Lineup member because it makes the banking process so much simpler for accountants and their clients. Seriously! Truly Financial allows you to have an all-in-one bank account that handles everything from your everyday banking to corporate cards and also enables you to send and receive payments in the United States and anywhere else in the world you choose!

Next up? The Digital Banking Revolution, Led by Truly Financial!

There are so many businesses nowadays that are growing, not just domestically, but internationally as well. There was a need for companies to send and receive payments from anywhere in the world, hassle free and Truly Financial found a solution! You can pay anywhere in the world in your vendor’s currency or in yours as well as get paid easily. 

Truly Financial offers a bank account that pays you cash back for everyday purchases, gives you insight and control over your team’s spending, allows you to send payments without worrying about bank fees, makes international payments feel as easy as domestic ones, and allows you to hold and exchange foreign currencies in your account.

You can choose from several account types that will help you feel like a local business, even when you are operating your business globally. Through their U.S. checking account, companies can receive Automated Clearing House (ACH) and Fedwire payments. You can also send payments to anyone in the U.S. or abroad. The second type of account are Euro and GBP accounts. These can receive and hold funds via SEPA and local clearing. The final kind of account is the Multi-currency account. This account allows users to receive or send wires in 32 different currencies.

Truly Financial Makes the World of International Banking More Friendly While Moving Faster

International transactions can take a long time to process, up to two weeks. In the meantime, there is no transparency on what is happening, goods are being held up, and there is a lot of back and forth to feel comfortable. Truly Financial makes sure you know where you are, every step of the way during a transaction. 

It’s no secret that international transactions can be complicated and expensive. You can sometimes lose as much as 5% of the transaction in currency exchange and processing fees. Currency exchange is forced at the time of transaction, not when it is convenient for you. With Truly Financial, you can send one-day payments to any of the 40+ countries in their Express network, send wire transfers to almost any country in USD or 32 supported currencies. If your supplier also uses Truly Financial, they can receive your payment instantly!

Purchasing Power is in Your Hands with Truly Financial, Too!

Purchasing has never been easier with Truly Financial’s corporate Visa cards with inbuilt spend controls. It is easy to assign spending limits for each employee and be notified whenever the card is used. Expense cards are safe and secure because they can be blocked or unblocked at any time, there is no need to worry if they get lost or stolen. Separate virtual Visa cards can be used for each vendor or subscription payments so you never have to deal with unexpected charges again.

The Truly Financial corporate Visa card give your business cash back on every single purchase, thus reducing your cost of purchases and helping you put money back into the business.

To sum it up? Truly Financial is perfect for any small business, and any accounting firm. Plus their partner program is second to none! Truly Financial was developed to give small businesses access to banking services that have traditionally been available only to larger enterprises. To learn more about Truly Financial, visit them on the web at trulyfinancial.com, or get started as a partner right away by signing up here.

Veem Make Every Day National Privacy Day for Online Payments

January 24, 2022

Did you know? This Friday, January 28, is National Privacy Day! Seeing as this international celebration is dedicated to the education and promotion of privacy and data protection best practices, I figured we could celebrate by looking at one of the safest platforms in the payments industry. 

When it comes to online transactions (even international ones), Veem makes them safer, more affordable, and faster than sending traditional banking transactions. It’s all backed by Veem’s six layers of security, check these out if you are looking for the best security possible for online payments for you and your clients (and we all are, right?):

Veem uses Two-Factor-Authentication (2FA)

2FA adds an extra layer of protection to your account by making you authorize your login from an email or another device. This adds assurance that no one is able to hack into accounts, and if they try, you or your client are notified of an attempted login.

Veem is SOC 2 Certified

Now you might be thinking, what the heck is SOC 2? It stands for Service Organization Control 2, which is an internal controls report, capturing how a company will safeguard data and the status on how well those controls are operating. SOC 2 requires Veem to establish and follow strict information security policies and procedures, encompassing the security, availability, processing, integrity, and confidentiality of customer data.

Veem has a Secure Website

Veem is DigiCert certified. This means that Veem’s website offers the strongest encryption and highest authentication available. All information that is stored, shared, or uploaded on the platform will be encrypted with the highest, most advanced tools available.

Transactions are Monitored

All transactions on the platform are monitored for suspicious behavior. If our DigiCert, 2FA and SOC 2 certifications aren’t enough to make you feel comfortable running transactions, this will. Veem is fully compliant with The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. This provides the highest level of Anti Money Laundering assurance in the industry.

Veem is Globally Regulated

Whether you are sending a payment across town or across the world, they will make sure it makes it safely. Registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and the US Department of Treasury, Veem is a certified Money Transmitter regulated to send payments in every country it serves.

Identity Verification

Veem has strict identity verification measures for customers. So when you are using any type of card, Veem minimizes risks and ensures that payments are secure and authorized.

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate National Security Day than to share how my Starting Lineup partner, Veem, is keeping online payments secure…no matter where you or your clients do business. Be sure to check out Veem for yourself and talk to their team about how you can better serve your clients by using their streamlined, secure payment solution.

Have a very happy National Privacy Day everyone!

Need a solid success strategy for business clients? QuickBooks Enterprise is the smart solution!

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