The inaugural #AppyHour Camp came to a close a few days ago and I have to tell you, the experience was epic! A huge shout out to Liz Scott and Heather Satterley for having the vision to bring so many top-tier accounting profession educators, upcoming rockstars, and dedicated solution providers together.
It was an honor to be the MC for Appy Hour Camp and as The Designated Motivator, it was truly inspiring to see a whole new level of peer-to-peer motivation be ignited. I brought along my Starting Lineup of technology solution providers, too, in the form of these cool new #DesignatedMotivator blackout t-shirts. You can bet that Appy Camp is just the beginning of where you’ll see these!
As I mentioned prior to my departure for Appy Camp, I knew there would be some amazing takeaways from the talks given and the time spent unplugged for the most part, really connecting in the most human and creative sense with my peers. It was an amazing experience and I came back primed to do even more to support all of you and to help others in this profession do the same.
I know that there are so many #DesignatedMotivators in our midst, each day we have the opportunity to take on this role and lift each other up whether that is on stage, in our firms, or in other organizations we belong to (family systems included!). As we head into busy season I see it as my role to keep being #TheDesignatedMotivator and this includes working with my Starting Lineup of apps and technology solutions to share how they support a better quality of client experience, workflow, and overall firm management capabilities.
I truly believe that my partners including ADP®, Bookkeep, Canopy, Fishbowl, Jirav, Liscio, Smartvault, Swizznet, Corpay, RCReports, and Truly Financial are not only technology providers but motivators for us all, too, to keep us accomplishing more with less effort and enabling more balance on all fronts.
Let’s tackle the next quarter of the year like it is the last of 2022, because it is! And because with all of us in the accounting profession participating in the #MotivationMovement we can keep nurturing the spirit of collaboration that we started at events such as Appy Camp so they continue through #QBConnect and all of the other places we go in the next few months.
For those of us running public accounting and bookkeeping practices, we are continually called on to be a trusted advisor to our business clients, a credible conduit between the government and the rest of society when it comes to communicating and interpreting the tax code, plus a dedicated “doer” of the work. Oh, and that’s all before breakfast! Some days it seems that way, doesn’t it?
Here is what I know: this feeling of being overwhelmed and out to sea has become our new normal, and to me, that’s not the way anyone should live because life is too short. I’ve been there and done that, it’s stressful and soul-sucking.I know I am not alone in this view, but for too many other peer professionals, burnout is inevitable. Or is it?
If you are feeling like your options are to 1)keep doing what you are doing and burnout or 2) abandon the ship of an old-school firm I want to introduce youtube a different mindset. Engaging in a community of peers.
Does this seem too simple to work as a strategy for beating burnout? The truth is, we all need to have other people and perspectives to help us cope. Whether it’s professional or personal, or a mixture of both, having others to bounce ideas off and collaborate with can be life-changing. It’s not just a theory, either. A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information shows that the more we connect with others who have similar experiences in a supportive way, the happier, less stressed, and prone to burnout we will be.
In fact, this week as I am surrounded by other accounting professionals with similar goals and mindsets as mine at Appy Camp, hosted by two of my favorite peers, Heather Satterley and Liz Scott, I am reminded of this fact. I hope you’ll make a mission of finding yourself a supportive peer group this week, too.
Here are a few accounting communities to consider:
Ecomm As You Are, The Designated Motivator Community, the Woodard Membership Community, and of course, attending events online, connecting on social media and, if you can, going to conferences in person is another great way to meet new supportive peer professionals.
It’s so important for accounting professionals to remember that you are not alone. It may feel that way when you get mired down with work, clients, deadlines, and then the life you have to manage outside of your firm. However, you can make a choice to think differently and see connecting and taking the time to nurture relationships as a critical part of keeping your productivity high and purpose for doing what you do front and center. Both of these benefits of engaging in community will ensure that you beat burnout and achieve the goals you have for yourself and your business.
There are so many people who shine bright in this profession who are ready and willing to help you. This is why I fundamentally believe that the more connected we are as people in this profession the greater the opportunities are for each of us. So don’t wait on the sidelines. Reach out to someone, be human, be humble, ask for help if you need it. And always remember, together we rise.
I am super excited for Appy Hour Camp coming up September 19 to 21! Who wouldn’t be? It’s going to be a fun adult camping experience hosted by Heather Satterley and Liz Scott, and me, The Designated Motivator, as the M.C. Let me assure you, however, this isn’t going to be all s’mores and camp fire songs! In fact, what I am most excited for (beyond the fact that we are going to be staying at the same place Dirty Dancing was filmed!) is that it’s going to be a truly educational experience.
Liz and Heather invited many thought leaders and educators in the accounting space to support us as intentional educators and to serve as an incubator for the next round of aspiring educators in the accounting space. I know with the lineup of speakers and contributors this is going to be an awesome camp!
According to Appy Camp headquarters, “the entire educational, inspirational and entertaining retreat will be a co-mingling of established accounting industry educators, up-and-coming educators, and app developers. All camp attendees will be immersed in the sessions and activities together in a shared space to facilitate community and collective innovation.”
In other words, we are going to get some of the most brilliant minds in the profession together and learn from each other about new ways to engage and expand the knowledge base for all of us. From talk to technology, I am planning to come home with some really inspiring action items that I can share with all of you.
I know whenever I get together with peers like entrepreneur wizard Melinda Emerson, Ted Callahan from Intuit, Misty Megia (can’t wait to hear her speak!), Virginia Lacayo, a business coach for thought leaders, Dan Gertudes from GrowthLabs, Ian Vacin from Karbon, and Mariette Martinez, Accounting Strategist the learning opportunities will be immense!
I am so looking forward to packing up my camping gear and heading to Appy Camp in just a couple of weeks. I don’t travel light to camp, either! I will be bringing along my entire Starting Lineup of apps and technology solutions to share with everyone including ADP®, Bookkeep, Canopy, Corpay One, Fishbowl, Jirav, Liscio, Smartvault, Swizznet, and Truly Financial. These are literally the solutions that have allowed me to create a cloud-based firm that is so efficient I can actually take four days to go to Appy Camp and not feel stressed about it, knowing that my team can use the system we have created to manage the workflow and my clients are still completely taken care of.
While I’m away, I’ll be posting on my social channels so please follow me so you can be part of the whole camp experience, too!
Heather Sperduto, VP, Accounting Channel, ADP , Talks About the Power of Partnership on The DM Disruption
Heather Sperduto, VP, Channel Sales, ADP, joins Dawn Brolin, CPA, CFE, to talk about motivation, her family’s deep roots in the accounting profession, and how ADP, Team Brolin Starting Line Up Member #5, continues to strive to be the profession’s premiere payroll provider as the landscape for client services evolves.
Heather and Dawn begin their conversation by discussing the importance of finding a partner to assist in payroll, and bring up key pain points that can be solved with proper allocation of payroll.
“We need a partner in payroll, doing your own payroll is almost virtually impossible,” says Dawn. Heather agrees and acknowledges how the landscape of accounting has changed. She also discusses pain points that both clients and tax professionals have been trying to work through, and how ADP can assist in easing stress.
Making Data Meaningful to the Client and Guidance
“The data is out there, but for the accounting professionals, it’s how they make sense of the data, and how they make it meaningful to the client,” says Heather. She specifies that ADP’s goal is to serve their clients data in a way that is actionable.
She then begins to talk about how not only can ADP assist their clients with payroll, but in other areas such as compensation; because they have access to a wide network of data, they are able to provide their clients with a variety of answers to issues many businesses are facing.
How ADP Benefits Accounting Professionals
“One of the really great tools that just came on board was the ability for us to go ahead and get our clients started with payroll” says Dawn. “I love that tool because we as the practitioners want to be able to be proactive.”
Heather agrees and talks about how ADP allows you to mold the way in which your representative assists you. “[You can design] the way you want to interact with a partner, and have the flexibility that suits your needs in the moment…you [also] have the flexibility to really design your interaction that’s in your best interest, and the client’s best interest.
What Motivates Heather
Heather talks about her father’s career as a CPA, and speaks fondly about her experience watching him win the “Educator of the Year award” at the New Jersey CPA Society.
“I’ve always admired his passion to make people better, and it’s just ironic that I happen to do the same thing,” says Heather.
She also says she finds her motivation in all of her family members, including her siblings.
How ADP Benefits Dawn
“I need their support. I need to know that when something comes up [they are right there,]…it’s like I have a teammate, it’s more than just a referral relationship, it’s really something where without ADP support, I don’t think I could do things that I’m doing now,” says Dawn. She credits ADP for allowing her to gain back valuable time to work on her passions and to achieve important goals for her business.
How Peer to Peer Recommendations and Partnerships Are Changing the Game
“We are seeing more peer to peer recommendations…[and] we are seeing more and more accountants join forces,” says Heather. She says this allows all accounting professionals to gain a wider scope of knowledge from each other, which in turn allows them all to better assist their clients.
Heather also says, “We are seeing firms that are moving massive amounts of clients over to an ADP.” She discusses how moving payroll over to ADP allows accounting professionals to service their clients faster and be more productive.
Only Providing Payroll is Not Giving Value
“You as a practitioner need to take control over your practice; what you offer and how you guide your clients…[just] providing payroll is not giving value,” says Dawn. She specifies how adding value to your clients is in your ability to analyze them and their situations, and to provide them with the best resources and solutions, even for problems they may not have been aware of.
Don’t Underestimate Your Value as an Accountant
“Don’t underestimate your value,” says Heather. “You all have truly earned that title of the most trusted advisor, now so more than ever before.” Heather finishes her thoughts by discussing how it’s important to always be thinking ahead, and to always strive to help businesses reimagine, and take their goals to the next level.
Dawn recently celebrated the success she’s had with ADP as a result of her participation in the ADP Accountant Revenue Share Incentive Program with her local representatives, too.
As Dawn says, “This personal relationship means so much to me as an accounting practitioner because ADP is more than just my payroll provider—I decided years ago that doing in-house payroll was not the best way to serve my clients—but outsourcing it to a trusted company is. The people I work with at ADP are invested in the success of my practice. They bring me new ideas and solutions to help my business keep growing and to ensure the success of my payroll clients. It truly is a win-win relationship.”
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Dawn Brolin 0:01
Hello everyone and welcome to the DM Disruption. I’m the host Dawn Brolin. I’m a certified public accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, and the author of the designated motivator. We’re here to help motivate you to take your practice to the next level. Have you considered outsourcing your clients payroll? Well, I did and I went with ADP. The resources they provide, along with their partner program become the premier outsourcing Payroll solution. We as practitioners already deal with a ton of compliance. Keeping Up With payroll isn’t a value added solution that I should be focused on. If you’ve considered outsourcing before, reconsider it today. Choose ADP to be part of your starting lineup.
Well, hello, everybody, and welcome again to the DM disruption. I’m super excited to have a great friend of mine, who works with ADP, but really more than anything, just a great person, and somebody who I think is a motivator in our industry, when it comes to working with professionals like myself, and she’s done so much for us. So Heather, introduce yourself, let’s let’s talk about, you know, what’s your role at ADP and what you’re kind of seeing out there in the industry. And, you know, we’re gonna rock some worlds here today.
Heather Sperduto 1:19
All right, here we go. So I run point on the design and execution from a sales operation perspective, and I have the fun job of all of the energy that I use up is spent towards the accountant community. So how it is that we help accountants better serve their clients. And it’s been a cool ride for me because I’ve been here since literally even before I graduated college, I was an intern at ADP. And I spend more than two decades really trying to go after this market, and just give like the best support we can to the accountant community.
Dawn Brolin 1:54
Well, it sounds like you started when you were 10? Yes, you’ve been working for two decades with in this area in the space, but so you know, payroll is payrolls payroll, people think but I think it’s just so much more than that. I think that we as the trusted advisor, making sure that we’re recommending the right Payroll solution for our clients is critical. And with the landscape of accounting, and payroll, and labor, and, you know, the last year and a half of the pandemic, the landscape has totally changed. And I think that, you know, I don’t find, at least for myself, in my industry, as far as you know, how payroll works, is that we need a partner in payroll, doing yourself doing your own payroll these days is almost virtually impossible, because of the filing requirements and the different credits that you can have. And so what are you seeing, as far as pain points in the industry, with practitioners like myself, or like trying to maneuver things? And there’s just so much and so overwhelming? What are you seeing?
Heather Sperduto 2:51
I think it starts with just the overall complexity, like you mentioned, the landscape from a compliance perspective, has skyrocketed, and of course, there’s no good time to make changes. But unfortunately, when the world started to unfold at a feverish pace, was a heart attack season, right? So the accountants, and they pivoted on a dime, and they went from cranking out tax returns to how do I help? Right? Like, how can I be that calming effect that works with my clients? To let them know that it’s going to be okay, right? And how could How could I sift through some of that complexity and make it simple, so that their clients truly understood? Am I a physician that I need to close my doors? Am I going to reimagine how it is that I work with my customer, my clients today, and even for the firm’s themselves. So you know that complexity was probably something that accountants haven’t seen throughout their entire career. And hopefully, you know, we don’t see anything like that going forward. But just the pace. And the area of expertise that was sought out from the accountants was, has been in my horrible it’s been truly truly admirable.
Dawn Brolin 4:07
Yeah, and I see certainly, you know, what ADP has done, because of the landscape and the way things have changed, to allow us to obtain information that maybe historically we weren’t really looking for, or weren’t really relying upon. And having that ability to, I mean, the resources with accounting connect, we were even just to start there. And again, this is what we what I want to deliver in this pot in this episode of this podcast is how can we help my fellow practitioners and people to make the right decision when it comes to payroll because payroll was payrolls payroll, like I said before, but with the landscape now in the in the reporting requirements and the compliance requirements are so overwhelming, that like for myself, I can add value by a by providing a great service through ATP, but also the resources of You know, I always say there’s a notice as the old notices are coming no matter who’s preparing payroll, it’s irrelevant. The IRS states, the states are so far behind right now we’re seeing notices coming in. But being able to, let’s just take, for instance, the pain point of notices being able to upload those as service requests through accountant connect and follow the the results of that notice by the staff at ADP by the by the representatives who are solving those problems. So if we think about it, yes, that the accounting industry, Heather, like you were saying, it’s just been like, whoa, what has happened? And so many practitioners are like, do I want to keep doing this? And so one of my biggest recommendations is, hey, take a look at what you are providing for services today that maybe you don’t want to be providing tomorrow. And so are you being tied down by that compliance work through payroll? And if so, account Connect is a great is an absolutely phenomenal solution for professionals. So those types of pain points are what you guys are looking to solve for, you know, the running of payroll is what it is, but it’s the other resources, like managing notices, or having the access to business valuation tools, which you guys have just launched here recently. Right? So that’s what you guys are looking to do at the end of the day?
Heather Sperduto 6:17
You know, don’t it starts with the data, right? Like, the data is out there. But for the accounting professionals, it’s how they make sense of the data and how they make it meaningful to the client. So yeah, like Dave is our middle name at ADP. But I think what we have been trying to do is serve up that data in a fashion that’s actionable. You know, so we were talking a little earlier about one of the, the issues out there with business owners today is how do I get really great people? Like, how do I get them in the door? And when I get them, how do I keep them? Right? So what we’re trying to do is say, okay, like, like, let’s start with the clients, the mutual clients that we share. And when they hire people, or when they terminate people, like, let’s put that data front and center, so that as an accountant, you can see that and have conversations with your clients, that if they’re struggling to get talent, what are some of the tools and resources that could be tapped into, like, as an example, analyzing compensation, you know, like we provide and look at 30 million records, spending 90,000 organizations, and if I’m an account, and I can look at a map of the country and say, okay, you know, I have this restaurant, you know, I’m here in Cape May, New Jersey, on vacation with my family right now. And the restaurants are struggling and I walk in, and there’s tables open, but they won’t see this, and it’s a half hour away, because they don’t have the staff. Right. So I could go in to that map of the country, I could pick New Jersey, I could I could pick down to a certain county level, and say, Okay, what does good compensation look like in the restaurant industry, for cook for a manager for server and give that guidance? I mean, compensation is not the end all be all. And that’s a whole nother conversation when you look at why employees are attracted to the organizations that they work for. But it’s a given, right? Gotta pay your people? Well, if you want to be competitive in the market, and you want to keep them talent. So I think it’s about how do you make the data meaningful? And then what are those tools or resources that will allow you to expedite the conversations and help dream build and forward thing with clients?
Dawn Brolin 8:29
Yeah, absolutely. And I think, you know, again, when we’re talking kind of about pain points that are both from an accounting professionals perspective, but the clients of course, most importantly, that’s who we’re all serving ADP, you know, and all the accounting practitioners. But you’re right, and I think I just actually was on a call for a couple hours this morning with with a great client from Pittsburgh and, and we’re sitting there trying to figure out, she can’t get staff, she can’t get people, she’s got an 8000 square foot restaurant, she’s probably utilizing 2000 square feet, because she doesn’t have the people, enough people to do the serving and the cooking and all the rest of it. And that’s a really big problem across the country. Right now is everyone very well knows this is not a secret. You know, there are various opinions on you know, how, how can we make this change when we don’t pay more? Okay, well, that’s great, you’re gonna pay more for your meal. Like, you know, at the end of the day, the restaurants have already suffered enough. You wanted to suffer more by paying more I get that. We do see how they’re which I think is great. We do see the people going out to these restaurants tipping more than they’ve ever tipped before, which I think is, you know, if you want to look at the citizens of the United States, I can say for myself for somebody as a client in a restaurant. Thank you. Right. Thank you for understanding that these servers. We’ve got to supplement the servers pay because the restaurants just aren’t just can’t afford to pay 14 $15 An hour plus tips. And so we’re definitely seeing that. So ADP what what are the things as far as ADP is motivation to the accounting professionals. Listen, we’re here, we provide a great payroll service cool, right? payroll service, payroll service. But what you guys are doing for the pain points in the accounting industry is, as you’re handling the design and the delivery of, of how we interact with ADP is that you’re providing us with that benchmarking, right. So that’s, you know, making sure that we have real a real realistic salaries and things like that reasonable salary calculations that S corporations have to perform, you got to make sure you’re paying yourself a decent amount, an amount that the IRS would accept to allow you to continue being an S corp. And I think one of the really great tools that just came on board was the ability for us to go ahead and get our get our client started with payroll, without needing to use our direct rep who believe me, I got the best in the country, I’ve got page, so sorry to everybody else, but I do have the best rep. And so I love that tool. Because we as the practice, you want to be able to be proactive. And I think that that’s another piece that I’m sure that you found that we were all asking for, hey, let us get this started. Yet, you’re still going to kind of monitor at the end, you know, the end game, right.
Heather Sperduto 11:08
But I think it’s about designing the way that you want to interact with a partner, right? And having that flexibility that suits your needs in the moment, right, like you mentioned, Paige, dedicated associate, like, she’s amazing. And very often, you probably want to interact with Paige. But there are other times when you’re like, hey, you know what, this is probably easy enough that I could figure it out on my own. And I could get the proper authorization and get the client up and running. So you have that, that flexibility to really design your interaction that’s in your best interest. And the clients best interest. And I think innovation and technology has allowed us to accelerate the pace in which we offer that flexibility, right? Like that wasn’t always the case. I mean, when I was running around, selling payroll, and working with accountants, if you open my trunk, like, massive amount of files, and getting everything ready and organized, and you know, now just the way of the world and just technology, it allows us to work differently.
Dawn Brolin 12:11
Yeah, definitely, I think, you know, as, as I go through as a practitioner, and I want to say we’re gonna take a sideways move here in a second, because I want to hear a couple things about Heather’s produto, personally, and how Heather, what is Heather’s big motivation to do you know, everybody wants to service their clients, we’re all people pleaser, we’re gonna get to that in a second. But I definitely find that one of the most important things is integration, okay, and having a Payroll solution that can integrate with other applications. And so if you, if you go to dawn brolin.com, you’ll see our starting lineup, and you’ll see, there’s a map of exactly how our technologies all integrate with each other. And I think that that’s something that we again, in the accounting profession need to really analyze, because having that integration removes the manual and journal entry. So if you’re listening to this, and you’re still manually entering journal entries for payroll, stop, go to ADP get get, start moving your clients over there for the automatic sync and integration between not just cubio or zero, or the online solutions, which are great, but it still has also as if transactions for those that are in QuickBooks Enterprise, or QuickBooks Pro Premier or a desktop solution. So that integration is so important. And so you know, I think I just want to make that point. Because I think sometimes we miss the end game, the end game is to have good payroll, compliance, everything under compliance, but then having that ability to get the reporting out of ADP and into the accounting software seamlessly, without manual entry, and my restaurants a great example, we have it all mapped where the back of the house versus front of the house versus managers versus officers. And we have the all of that payroll mapping in so we do weekly budgets with them. And so we are able to say, Okay, what happened with labor. And of course, it’s typically the front of the house back of the house that ends up being either up or down, depending on what happened. And so we can analyze it so much better. So I just want to make sure that people are listening, if you are doing anything with payroll manually, shame on you stop it, stop it right now, and do something different. And get that going now, so that next tax season things are running seamlessly and smoothly, you’ve got to make the transition, it’s going to take some time, you’ll have a dedicated rep, it’ll be awesome. But I want to shift over to the Heather’s Sperduto of the world. And I want to know a little I want to get under your hood of your car which is the Heather’s Sperduto kick butt mobile vehicle. And I want you to tell me a little bit about like what is motivated you to you know to be me are amazing at paid well, you have a reach you I don’t know if you sleep ever, but what is your motivation? There’s in your life in general, tell me about you.
Heather Sperduto 14:52
Listen, I don’t think you could stay with the same company as long as I have if you weren’t motivated on a regular basis. And for me, I always say if hey, if I wasn’t inspired, and continuing to learn every day, like I would have jumped ship a long time ago, right? But if so I have that professionally within the culture and embracing like our newest associates. So that would be like on the professional side, but on the personal side, my dad is a CPA, right? Like he’s an accountant. And one of my proudest moments of my life was, we went to the New Jersey CPA society, and he was given an award as the Educator of the Year. And he’s a chairman in the accounting department for years at a college here in New Jersey, he teaches review class for the CPA exam, I swear all the tax returns he does are complimentary to friends and family, right. Um, but he gets this award and he says, imagine giant stadium and every single seat filled. That’s how many students I’ve taught in my career. And for me, I’ve always like, just admired his passion to make people better. And it’s just ironic that I happen to do the same thing. I might not necessarily be the CPA, but I’ve embraced the CPA, Accountant channel, bookkeeper lane, at ADP, so there’s some synergy and consistency there. So that’s really been a motivating factor. And then just like family in general, like my two brothers, they were collegiate athletes. My older brother took that passion. And he was a big track runner, and now he owns running stores. But his passion is coaching. So he coaches high school and every year his his kids go to the state finals and championships and he sends a few of them to Ivy League. But then on my younger brother side, he and his wife are professional triathletes. And that is their passion, and they travel and they compete in the Ironman, and my sister in law is so good. She’s ranked one of the top 10 in the world right now at 40 years old. So when I see them on a Saturday morning, I’m getting ready to watch TV and put my feet up. And they’re going for a run for like three hours. So that dedication and motivation, hey, just surrounds my world, I happen to apply that energy to what I do in the corporate world. But I see how my family has done it in their respective outlets that complements their style and where their passions are.
Dawn Brolin 17:23
Well, that’s just amazing. And I feel like I should go running right now I’m not going to but I feel like I should. Right? And I guess and you can see, you know, I do relate a lot of things. And not everybody’s an athlete. And you know, some don’t even realize that they are athletes in whatever way they are. But definitely in athletics that that team philosophy, having the ability to like for you selling your family is a really great big, wonderful team where you’re all obviously supporting each other, and things like that. I think, you know, right now in the accounting profession, as we’re working on the book, right now, the the designated motivator for accounting professionals, looking at that ability for us to reach out and pick each other up is more critical now than ever. And I think that’s part of why my relationship with ADP is so important to me, because I need their support, I need to know that when something comes up, I can reach out and go, Hey, Paige, something’s happening with this, and I don’t know what to do about it. And what do you think and it’s like, I have a teammate. And it’s not, you know, it’s more than just a referral relationship. It’s, it’s really something where, without ATP support, I don’t think I could do the things that I’m doing now. Right. So I’m, whether I’m writing a book, or I’m doing tax returns, or I’m doing whatever I’ve taken that. I mean, it was, I would call it painful payroll, it just, you know, four months of the year, I’m tied down, I’ve got to deal with all this regulation changes in the reporting and with the PPP loan, the PPP loans in and of themselves. And what ADP was able to do to support the practitioner was critical for me. So I want to make sure when I choose my solutions, and the people on my team, the players on my team, you know, everybody has a positions ever, you know, you got to have a workflow management, you’ve got to have this and that you’ve got to have a Payroll solution that you can rely upon. That takes that four months of compliance work out of your factor, you know, I don’t value add for me is not payroll is not a value add for me to get paid. But but with the accountant with accountant connect, and with the ability to have the accountant referral program where there are Commission’s being paid out, that supplements the pain that I have to when if I get a notice from a client, I’m like, oh, I want to deal with this. And I’m like, Oh, that’s right. ADP pays me a portion of their fee to take that to take that form, scan it, uploaded it to the service center and do a service request. Now it makes sense to me. And there’s not a lot of other solutions that are providing that type of support. And I think that that’s, you know, to me, one of most important things but I do love that story about your family and how they’re, you know, cheesy motivate, that motivates me just hearing that…
Heather Sperduto 19:56
You know Dawn, I would give you an observation too because so much of what I do is I’m and out of accounting firms, right on a regular basis throughout the course of the day, I could meet with a firm in Chicago, California, Florida, you know that. I mean, I used to be on the road every single week, right? We’d be at the shows and whatnot. But an observation is we are seeing more peer to peer recommendation. So like you talk about the team, right? Yeah, yeah, we have our sales and marketing efforts. But we are entering into relationships, because Dawn is sharing her story with Jill somebody in her network or down the road there locally in the community. And we’re seeing more accountants like really joining forces to just have dialogue and understand what is best in class, what is everybody doing, whether it’s through their state society or local organizations that they work with, and we’re seeing people go all in. So you know, as an example, like, oftentimes, not so much on the accounting software side, like a firm, if they’re all in in Xero, or QuickBooks or whatever that looks like when they gain a new client, you know, they say, Okay, this is the accounting package that we use at our firm. And here’s what you’re going to do. Traditionally, we hadn’t really seen that on the payroll side, it was almost as if firms would leave it up to the client, if they were using a software package, and it was working, okay, if it’s not broke, we’re not going to fix it, right. But in recent, you know, years, that next gen firm, they are going all in on their tech stack recommendations. And we’re seeing firms that are moving, like massive amounts of clients, right now over to an ADP for all the reasons that you said, right? They they’re embracing the award winning accountant connect the access to the report, but it’s making them more productive. So when they master their accounting software, and they master whatever’s going to be their engine for payroll, right. Mm hmm. It allows them to service the the clients faster. And when we look in the dashboard, we keep doing this analysis that says, Okay, let’s talk about your book of business. We know that we share 23 mutual clients, what’s going on in your world with the rest of them? And we’re uncovering like, Okay, well, I still have a handful of them that I do in house, is that really the best answer? Or I’m using a couple local companies and other national provider, but we’re seeing more and more firms that are really taking the time to analyze their entire book of business, and make decisions that are putting them in lanes with the best technology and service, right? Because you need both. You have a technology, but you need the people on occasion, you got to ask a question. So you need the people that are going to have the answers for you, to put you in that position to win.
Dawn Brolin 22:46
Yeah, and that’s definitely just again, for food for thought for those that are listening is is to those decisions have to be made. And we and we were historically like that, Oh, okay. You’re on gusto, okay, oh, you’re on this, you’re on Intuit. Okay? You’re on this, okay? And now it’s just like you said, if you’re going to be in QuickBooks, number one, if you’re at let’s say, a desktop, you’re going to be on a hosting solution, you’re not going to have the QuickBooks file, local. That’s how we operate. That’s how we work. There’s no sense in sending data files back and forth. And so I think it’s, this is probably the biggest point of this whole episode, right? You as the practitioner should need to take control over your practice, what you offer, and how you guide your clients. And I liked what you said, as far as you know, I can go in to my client base and see who has 401k People have workers comp pay as you go, or do I have a contractor on ADP payroll? Who’s paying that $10,000, worker’s comp payment up front? You know, what are the things that I’m able to advise better. So when you have that, I will call it consolidation into one platform where you can see everything in one place, the analytics that you can come up with, and the way that you can have different conversations with your clients that give that value that we’re all talking about. Everyone’s talking about giving value. Well, providing payroll is not giving value people, okay, actually punching the numbers and issuing checks and doing all that stuff. That’s not a value add. What’s a value add is when you can analyze your clients and say, Hey, I noticed you’re on workers comp pay as you go. What I you know, because I don’t necessarily know what my clients do for workers comp, that’s not necessarily something I asked them all the time. But now I do know, right? Are you one of those guys who pay up front, and then you have your audit, and then maybe you get some money back? And maybe you don’t like, now I’m giving value to that client to manage their cash flow in a way that they weren’t doing before? And I think that that’s the whole point of what this conversation has been on the motivation side of Listen, gain control of your clients, and you’re not going to lose people that you know, you’re the trusted advisor, they’re going to believe in what you’re saying. And I think that that’s what the message that Heather and I are trying to give you is find a solution that’s going to give you more than just payroll prep, and tax filings because that’s just Anybody can do that. But when you can bring in a whole new conversation of 401k and workers comp, and, you know, hey, listen, you’re like you said a restaurant Pittsburgh, you know, let’s see what the average pay is we’re having we’re struggling hiring people. Okay, well, then maybe we want to pay people more than all the other restaurants, maybe we’ll gain some, some people from that whatever, whatever your analysis and your consultation with your client is, I think that’s what we have. So Heather, why don’t you wrap it up? And give me your final thoughts on where, you know, as far as your recommendations to the accounting industry in the in the thought process of a really managing those clients well.
Heather Sperduto 25:33
I would say to accounts, probably already know this, but don’t underestimate your value, you know, you tell your clients to jump in, they say how high and you know, you have all truly earned that title of the most trusted advisor now, so than ever before. So, you know, I think everyone is truly looking to the CPAs, the accountants and bookkeepers, and I mentioned it earlier, which is a level of admiration and respect. But I think it’s that forward thinking lens, that has to be apparent, right, it’s one thing, it’s one thing that, you know, everybody gets situated here, but it’s another thing to help businesses reimagine and take their business to the next level, right, because there have businesses that have struggled, and there have businesses that have thrived. And there’s, there’s a market for those thriving businesses. And I think we all just need to think differently, right about the services, we offer the product line. And that holds true not just for our clients, but for ourselves as well. Because if we’re not thinking differently, then the firm down the road is probably going to think differently and offer something that maybe hadn’t been brought to the table. And businesses are all in and trying to self reflect and figure out where they go next. And the accountants are really the ones that should help them dry that scenario of where they take their business and the not so distant future.
Dawn Brolin 27:05
Yeah, and that’s a great, that’s a great final thought, because that’s true, like the clients are going to shift. If you’re not shifting, they’re going to shift this way. And you’re gonna be shifting that way. And you’re gonna be going in total opposite directions. And so we’ve got to be those forward thinkers, we’ve got to be in front and ahead of the curve, and not just trying to catch up. And so now’s the time to do that, because you never know what tomorrow is gonna bring. So it’s just time right now. And you know, that’s what we’re here to encourage you to do. Make some changes in your firm, make your work life balance a lot better, and now’s the time to do it. So, Heather, thank you so much. Heather’s produto with ADP, an amazing woman. If you ever see her at a conference, you got to get around her discuss so much knowledge is so great. And now we’re going back in person a little bit more. That’s wonderful too. But again, thank you, Heather, for joining me here on the DM disruption. And thank everybody for listening. And we’ll talk to all of you soon enough. I hope you enjoy this podcast. Feel free to visit DawnBrolin.com in order to motivate you to improve your practice. Wishing you all the best. Have a great day.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai