How many times have you looked up a local business on Google or Facebook and went straight to their customer reviews? If you are like the majority of people, you have. This includes your clients and prospective new clients! So why not harness the power of positive reviews for your firm?
After all, if someone else like you gives honest feedback on a business based on a personal experience, you’ll probably listen to what they have to say, right? Don’t just take my word for it, the statistics from NiceJob (the app that I use to automate the process of getting valuable reviews from my clients and the attendees at my speaking engagements) show this is true: reviews influence 90% of potential customers better than a sales pitch.
Another vital fact about using client reviews for growing your accounting firm is that prospective clients will trust you more because having objective, third-party reviews will provide social proof and unbiased opinions that are more trustworthy than what you would say yourself about your firm (this is because you are perceived to have a natural bias as the owner of the firm).
I know this first-hand because I have been using NiceJob to get reviews after my speaking engagements, the app makes it super simple, and I even added a QR code on my book, The Designated Motivator, so NiceJob can help me get reviews from readers, too! Next up: using NiceJob for my accounting firm, Powerful Accounting, Inc.
Reaping the rewards of client reviews comes down to the right numbers
According to NiceJob, potential customers read an average of ten reviews before committing to a service provider such as an accountant. Yes, that is ten reviews! If that feels like an overwhelming lift, then it’s time to think about automating the process. That’s what I did when I started using NiceJob. The software solicits reviews from your clients and follows up for two weeks after the initial request to secure those revenue-boosting reviews!
The reason why this number is so important is that reviews are likely to engage more serious potential prospects, and they want to do their due diligence before reaching out. Since they are investing time in doing due diligence rather than breezing by your website online, it’s important to have a review strategy in place so you have a constant stream of new reviews that are relevant and recent.
NiceJob makes getting more reviews easy through an automated process.
While reviews are no doubt critical, they can also be time-consuming to solicit. The beauty of using NiceJob is that it takes care of time-consuming tasks so you can spend more time focusing on your existing customers. In fact, NiceJob does all the work (and follow-up for you with automated campaigns.
Remember, customer reviews can be done on multiple platforms such as on your Google Business Profile, their Facebook Page, and your website to gain a competitive edge and reap the benefits of both social proof and search engine optimization. Google loves reviews!
Reviews actually can, and do, impact the bottom line of a business because they bring in new leads like no other source! Think about the number of times you have read a review that resonates with you and then made a move to purchase that service or product. Your potential clients are doing this, too. You can also include them in your marketing collateral, use them on social media, and include them on your website which are all powerful ways to move the needle and move prospective clients into the buying phase of your service.
Another benefit of reviews? If you take time to read them, you can also learn a lot about what your existing clients think! Take time to consider the positive (or negative) review of your firm and what action you can take to celebrate what you are doing right and what needs work.
If you are nervous about a negative review, remember that the best way to handle those is to respond with compassion and empathy and then do what you can (offline of course) to help rectify the situation. If you do this, you’ll likely strengthen the relationship considerably and win a nice new positive review in the process!
Get ready to rev up your referral stream with reviews!
If you want to grow your firm, leveraging a tool such as NiceJob can be a game changer! You can sign up for NiceJob here and learn more about how to spread the word about all of the amazing things you do for your clients!
Change is the name of the game when it comes to the accounting profession, we all know this is true. However, I think many of us will agree that change is challenging, especially when it affects our tried and true habits and processes. In our firms, this also applies to our tech stacks and especially to our core accounting systems.
These types of changes are necessary if we want our firms to succeed. This is because we need to look honestly at what we are doing now and be willing to make changes that will benefit us and our clients in the long run. This is what I did several years ago when I realized that by continuing to keep my clients on Quickbooks Desktop (QBDT) instead of transitioning them to Quickbooks Online (QBO) I was actually holding us all back.
One of the fundamental benefits of QBO (other than it being the most comprehensive and widely adopted accounting system in the world) is that it offers immense flexibility and functionality with its open-API platform.
On a practical level, what this means is that QBO allows other companies to create and connect applications that extend their power. You can see hundreds of apps to exponentially expand the services and increase the efficiency of your accounting services, team, and revenue possibilities in the QBO marketplace. Being able to tap into these tools is a game changer for the services you can provide and the level of support and insight your clients receive from you.
After all, who wants to be pigeonholed in a constraining system at the price of their productivity and profitability? Not me! That was the decision point for me when it came to my evolution from QBDT to QBO. In fact, making this transition from QBDT to QBO may be the most impactful efficiency and firm-expanding hack I can offer to you, ever.
If you feel hesitant, or like it’s going to be too much of a heavy lift, I hear you. After all, QuickBooks is a huge part of how my firm serves clients, QBDT Enterprise edition was the backbone of my accounting practice for decades. Yet, I realized that if I didn’t transition to QBO, I wasn’t going to be able to be successful in the future in terms of being able to keep up with the expectations of my clients and the workflow that is also ever-evolving.
My clients wanted more advisory-level services from me, and by leveraging the QBO automation and apps available, I was able to free up my time and get everyone in the cloud on QBO. My clients have not only been receptive to this change, they have embraced it!
Let me give you a few examples of some of the key QBO apps and integrations I leverage (none of which are available in QBD) for my firm and my clients, too:
ADP – Leverage ADP’s powerful payroll and sync it seamlessly with QBO.
Bookkeep – This amazing app eliminates the manual revenue reconciliation process by syncing ecommerce and payment app data into QBO.
Corpay One – direct integration with QBO so all of my payments are automatically entered and reconciled.
Financial Cents – my practice management platform with all of our QBO transactions
Ignition – Ignition integrates with QuickBooks to automatically create and push invoices according to the billing information specified in our proposals.
Jirav – Another powerful integration that enables all Quickbooks data to be leveraged within Jirav to take your FP&A to the next level.
Liscio – The QBO integration here allows you to bill clients directly through Liscio. Simply create the invoice in Liscio or select an existing invoice in QBO using the new Invoice Task type.
Swizznet – Managed IT and cloud hosting all designed specifically for QBO so you know every level of your firm and client data is locked down and protected from cybercrimes and internal data theft.
As you can see, just from my shortlist alone, making the move from QBDT to QBO opens the “vault” so to speak of a new frontier of apps and opportunities to enhance our businesses and those of our clients. Here’s where we can actually create exponential gains in productivity, efficiency, and productivity. This all translates into more benefits for our firm and my clients.
The most important takeaways here are simple: Moving from QBDT to QBO provides greater flexibility and freedom for our firm which translates into maximum workflow efficiency plus more powerful tools for our clients.
Plus QuickBooks-protected cloud access lets clients collaborate and boost productivity because they can use it anywhere, using any device it’s made to manage any business – and every one of them can make it their own.
A lot has changed since I started my accounting practice 23 years ago, and so has the business landscape. My clients’ needs are always evolving, just like their businesses. I am sure you can say the same for your firm, this is why it’s so imperative to make sure you evolve your tech and the systems that support your service offering, too. Put your transition to QBO on the calendar now before year end so you maximize this major productivity and profitability hack pronto!
To get information on how to migrate, you can check out this resource.
This is a paid partnership with Intuit.
I started my practice over twenty-five years ago, I chose QuickBooks. Today it’s still the backbone of my accounting system, throughout the years (decades!) Intuit has kept innovating based on the insights of their users and the needs of the clients that we as practitioners serve.
One of the most pivotal strategic moves that Intuit made in the QB ecosystem was the decision to keep their API open, that means, allowing other apps the capability to build products that integrate directly with QuickBooks. This allowed what we know today as the QuickBooks marketplace to not only exist, but to empower us as practitioners to keep pace with our clients’ needs to drive maximum efficiency within our own practice.
I credit David Leary, co-host of the Cloud Accounting Podcast and QuickBooks technologist, with helping Intuit see the future of the accounting profession and the need to allow accountants to have the freedom and flexibility to add other applications to their accounting software. I vividly recall The Intuit Hackathons,
is where the QuickBooks open API really started.
As we know, businesses don’t grow in a box, and if your accounting management software is inflexible, you’ll never be able to scale or serve larger clients because you will be completely limited in the tools you have available. Not to mention, your practice will be a patchwork of unproductive apps that don’t play together…that is a revenue killer right there. The integrated technology ecosystem that I have built using QuickBooks’ open API and third-party apps is the lifeblood of my firm’s efficiency, productivity and increased profitability.
The QuickBooks Open API levels the playing field for practices of every size
Depending on your sweet spot and growth plans, the QuickBooks an open API allows you to serve mid-market clients (10 to 99 employees).Though my practice is relatively small in terms of number of employees, I am confident in competing for business with larger firms because I know that with QuickBooks and Intuit as my tax system, I can meet the needs of any small or big client because my tool box is almost limitless.
Intuit has leveled the playing field for all firms with their open API system. If you look at the QuickBooks marketplace, you will find literally thousands of apps that you can integrate with to create a highly functional and financially viable tech ecosystem. In my Team Brolin Playing Field, QuickBooks and Lacerte are the hubs of my workflow. They are the powerhouses around which I have built a highly efficient and completely integrated system. For example, I utilize the following apps which integrate seamlessly with QuickBooks:
Bookkeep – This is an amazing automated e-commerce reconciliation direct to QuickBooks. It really could not be simpler, and the automation actually does what it says it does, so I trust it completely to sync all e-commerce transactions with my clients’ QuickBooks!
FinancialCents -for practice management Financial Cents has accounting practices covered, and it also integrates with QBO so you can sync contacts, service items, invoices and payments — all in one place.
Corpay One – I use Corpay One for payments and the integration for QuickBooks Online makes the whole process seamless. Corpay One automatically syncs document data to QuickBooks Online, including vendor invoices and payments. This is a massive timesaver!
Jirav – Provides the tools for financial planning and analysis, working seamlessly with QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Desktop. It pulls in your chart of accounts and account balances to drive your dashboard, reports and forecasts automatically. Jirav’s automatic and ongoing synchronization with QuickBooks allows you to build your forecast in the same way a business operates.
Liscio – This is my go-to app for client communications, but you can also create and send QBO invoices right from Liscio. Once paid, the QBO receivable is satisfied and QBO records can also sync with Liscio so your contacts are always up to date.
Smartvault is my secure document management go-to with seamless integration with QuickBooks to attach source files to entries in QuickBooks or QuickBooks Online.
Together, these two applications allow you to go paperless and stay audit ready because you can attach source files to entries in QuickBooks Online, including: bills, invoices, vendors, customer records – even transactions and list items! Once stored in SmartVault, files are available from QuickBooks or right from your browser or mobile device.
QuickBooks’ open API: Build the tech stack and the firm that works for YOU.
I can truly say my practice would not be where it is today without QuickBooks and Intuit. From the first day I came home with the iconic green box of QuickBooks and triumphantly declared to my husband I was going to hit a grand slam with my bookkeeping business to now serving clients across the country and beyond, the QuickBooks ecosystem has both empowered and enabled me to achieve so much in my business while still creating exponential efficiencies which means I have a life, too!
If you aren’t already in the cloud and leveraging QuickBooks open API, let’s change that. Check out the QuickBooks marketplace and consider the problem or pain point you want to eliminate based on the apps you are already using. I bet there are many that can integrate with QuickBooks to help you gain more efficiency, productivity and allow you to make more money by eliminating manual or inefficient processes as well as by freeing you up to serve your clients with comprehensive, advisory-focused services.
This is a paid partnership with Intuit.
Be a Bookkeep BOSS: Get Certified, Get Your Partner Pin at Scaling New Heights
Conference season is here once again and with it comes so many opportunities for learning, including getting certified in technology solutions you may be using in your practice. One of the new certifications I am getting before I head to Scaling New Heights in St. Louis in a few weeks is for one of my favorite apps ever, Bookkeep.
I have been using Bookkeep for years to automatically reconcile revenue for my e-commerce clients. It really is smarter accounting automation. It’s also a complete game-changer for your practice in terms of wiping out time wasted reconciling transactions from e-commerce payment gateways, electronic payments, and POS applications.
I am doing my Bookkeep certification before Scaling New Heights because I want to get my “Certified Bookkeep Partner” enamel pin straight from the amazing Bookkeep team while I am at the conference. You can get certified through Woodard or through the Bookkeep app.
Here are the cool perks that we’ll get for being Certified Bookkeeper Partners:
Are you in? Let’s get certified with Bookkeep now!
Even if you currently have just a few e-commerce clients, it is very likely that you will have more in the future because most businesses are utilizing online payments in some form.
Knowing that your revenue reconciliation books are being handled correctly allows you to free up hours of billable time. Choosing, implementing, and training your team to utilize the right automated bookkeeping solution is essential. This is what you can expect when you use Bookkeep to easily automate your daily sales reconciliations with seamless integrations from one to multi-channel platforms, all while bringing sales data into QuickBooks Online.
Once you get certified with Bookkeep, you will be expertlyly equipped to optimize your e-commerce bookkeeping efficiency. Learn how by reading the post where I recently detailed 6 ways to leverage automated revenue reconciliation for exponential profitability gains.
Bookkeep seamlessly integrates with Clover, GrubHub, Shopify, Square,Toast, Woocommerce and more as well as with QuickBooks and other accounting systems. It also helps us advise clients to better manage their e-commerce and other business transactions with the help of financial analytics.
Become certified in Bookkeep for free to have a solid foundation in revenue automation bookkeeping as well as the Bookkeep software so you can help your clients by covering these concepts:
Enroll in Bookkeep’s free certification course here to maximize your profit potential with smarter automation and pick up your pin while you are at Scaling New Heights in St. Louis, Missouri, or if you aren’t heading there (We’ll miss you!), get certified online and your pin and badges will be sent to you.
Now that tax season is officially over (any extensions you have to file aside), now is the perfect time to shift into tax planning mode for your SMB (small-to-medium business) clients. Why tax planning? To me, it’s the ultimate, easy way to engage clients into a deeper advisory relationship. Plus, it’s a fundamental strategy to support the future viability of your firm and your clients!
However, I like to keep things simple and streamlined, and in my mind having a process that I can follow with each of my Schedule C and S-Corp clients makes everything easier and less taxing (pun intended)! That’s where the following simplified SMB tax planning checklist comes in. I use it with my own clients at Powerful Accounting, and I am sharing it here so you can use it, too.
1. Identify your Schedule C clients who based on estimated tax payments should consider moving to an S-Corp. These are the clients where you can have a conversation about changing entity type to save them payroll taxes.
2. Entity selection planning comes next. This refers to choosing the appropriate entity type for your clients’ business based on their ownership structure, performance, and goals. If you are not doing this already, you are missing out on a lucrative new revenue stream as well as immediate value that you can add. This also starts a natural conversation about the overall health of your clients’ business which is a great segue into other areas of assistance you can provide including reasonable compensation.
3. Once you have the entity planning conversation, you can leverage reasonable compensation analysis as an entry point to create enhanced revenue opportunities while keeping your clients in full tax compliance as well. I love RCReports for this purpose.
Special note here: You do not want to use spreadsheets to calculate reasonable compensation or skip this! If you have not been doing reasonable compensation analysis, then you definitely need to check out RCReports because it’s the law and you and your client could be the subject of an investigation by the IRS if it isn’t done or done improperly.
4. Next, you can start looking at the tax return for some additional opportunities to help your clients. This could be with estimated taxes for business owners as well as payroll tax planning for S-corps and self-employment tax strategies for Schedule-C clients. When you have a truly accurate reasonable compensation number (see previous point) you will then have real numbers to work with!
5. Once you have the fundamentals above completed, you can use a tax planning tool to look more closely at your client’s return. This could open up opportunities for more advanced tax strategies depending on your clients sophistication and the complexity of their situation.
6. Retirement tax planning is also important to consider for SMBs and something to look at with every client. Not only will it set the stage for reducing their current tax bill, but it can also lead to other advisory service conversations if you also offer investments, insurance or retirement benefits (or partner with someone else who does).
Now that you have these six simple and easy-to-follow steps for SMB tax planning, it’s time to think back to all of your tax season clients and identify which Schedule C clients and S-corp clients you can serve, starting with the critical entity selection and reasonable compensation calculations. By starting with a solid foundation like this, you’ll have the confidence and clarity that will ensure you have all your bases covered from a compliance standpoint which is the cornerstone for effective tax planning for your clients.
Want to learn more about RC Reports? Check out the recent podcast we did together!
Do you have clients using electronic payment, e-commerce gateways, and point-of-sale applications? Maximize your profit potential with smarter automation. When it comes to bookkeeping, you want to know your books are being handled correctly, while eliminating as much data entry as possible, to free up your billable time. Choosing, implementing, and training your team to utilize the right automated bookkeeping solution is essential.
Bookkeep seamlessly integrates with Clover, GrubHub, Shopify, Square,Toast, Woocommerce and more as well as with QuickBooks and other accounting systems. One other thing I really love are the financial analytics which help us advise clients on how to better manage their ecommerce and other business transactions.
These are the top six benefits of Bookkeep that I am leveraging in my practice to eliminate manual entry using automated ecommerce reconciliations that actually work!
The truth is, automation is only useful if an app actually does what it is supposed to do and Bookkeep really means business! For my practice, it’s a best of breed solution for automated accounting and reconciliation with real bottom line benefits, Bookkeep literally eliminates hours of manual entry.
Tax Representation Network (TRN) and Team Brolin are excited to announce they are presenting The Practitioner’s Advisory Summit Virtual Conference on June 14, 2023. The conference is co-hosted by Eric Green, attorney and founder of Tax Rep Network and Dawn Brolin, CPA, CFE, CEO of Powerful Accounting, LLC. The conference is exclusively sponsored by Intuit with an agenda that provides a practical roadmap for accountants, tax professionals, and bookkeepers to establish and create a successful advisory practice.
“Advisory services is a buzzword in the accounting profession, but for many practitioner’s being able to implement these types of services remains an elusive goal,” said Eric Green. “Attendees of the Summit will learn how to define and design advisory services that align with their goals and how to add these services to an existing practice or use them to launch an entirely new practice.”
The free Summit agenda features key thought leaders discussing all aspects of advisory services including reviewing the current state of advisory services, discussing how practitioners can create a concrete plan to add advisory services to their practices, increasing fees, boosting revenue and improving quality of life while providing clients with in-demand business insights.
The Practitioner’s Advisory Summit Virtual Conference, June 14, 2023
The Summit’s agenda is as follows and will run on Eastern Standard Time:
10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Registration and Sign In
11:00 a.m. – 11:05 a.m. Welcome Remarks
11:05 a.m. – 12:15 a.m. What are “Tax Advisory” and “Business Advisory” services?
Moderator: Eric L. Green, Esq., Tax Rep Network
Panelists: Diana Crawford, Al-Nesha Jones, CPA, MBA, ASE Group
Dawn W. Brolin, CPA, CFE, MST, Powerful Accounting LLC
12:15 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. Worst Tax Season EVER: Maintaining Your Mental Health
Panelists: Dawn W. Brolin, CPA, CFE, MST, Powerful Accounting LLC
Randy Crabtree, CPA, Tri-Merit
12:45 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Leveraging Technology: The Tech Tools to Use
Panelists: Dawn W. Brolin, CPA, CFE, MST, Powerful Accounting LLC
1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Lunch Break
2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Action Steps: Where to Begin
Panelists: Eric L. Green, Esq., Tax Rep Network
Dawn W. Brolin, CPA, CFE, MST, Powerful Accounting LLC
2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Break
3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. Pricing: How to go from hourly/product billing to “relationship pricing”
Moderator: Dawn W. Brolin, CPA, CFE, MST, Powerful Accounting LLC
Panelists: Diana Crawford, Al-Nesha Jones, CPA, MBA, ASE Group
3:45 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Converting Existing Clients and Attracting New Clients
Panelists: Eric L. Green, Esq., Tax Rep Network
Gaynor Meilke, MS, CBC, CTRC, Charisma Ink
More information and registration for The Practitioner’s Advisory Summit Virtual Conference can be found on the Tax Rep Network website and at DawnBrolin.com. Tax Rep Network and the Summit presenters thank Intuit for sponsoring the conference and supporting the advancement of advisory education in the accounting profession.
The Accounting Cornerstone Foundation (ACF) is thrilled to announce the launch of their scholarship application, which provides aspiring accountants and bookkeepers with the opportunity to attend their first professional accounting conference and have life-changing experiences in the accounting and bookkeeping community.
The ACF is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting individuals with in-person education to provide personal growth and opportunities in the accounting and bookkeeping industry. The foundation’s mission is to empower individuals who are accounting and bookkeeping professionals to achieve their professional dreams and reach their full potential.
The scholarship application is open to anyone in the accounting and bookkeeping profession who have not been able to attend an in-person conference. The application process is straightforward and easy to navigate, with detailed instructions provided on the Accounting Cornerstone Foundation’s website.
The scholarship will cover the ticket cost of attendance to an industry conference, airfare, and hotel. Chosen recipients will have the opportunity to learn from industry experts, network with peers, and gain valuable insights into the world of accounting and bookkeeping.
“There is nothing else like these in-person learning opportunities at conferences. The creation of lifelong personal bonds is amazing,” said Dawn Brolin, President of the Accounting Cornerstone Foundation. “Our hope is that this scholarship will provide recipients with a life-changing experience that will inspire them to continue pursuing their dreams and making a positive impact in the accounting and bookkeeping community.”
The Accounting Cornerstone Foundation is now collecting applications for the 2023 conference season. Donations to support the foundation are also accepted on their website. Donations will support the mission of the organization to provide assistance for the scholarship recipients.
For more information on the Accounting Cornerstone Foundation, apply for the scholarship, or to make a donation, please visit https://accountingcornerstone.
About the Accounting Cornerstone Foundation Inc.
Founded in 2023 after a ‘what if’ sticky note at an industry leader retreat known as “Appy Camp” in September of 2022, the Accounting Cornerstone Foundation, is a recognized non-profit 501(c)(3) organization was established with only one goal in mind: to share the opportunity to attend continuing education conferences and support the growth of accounting and bookkeeping professionals around the globe. Recipients of the scholarship will be provided a conference ticket, airfare, and hotel accommodations for the chosen conference.
I am super pumped to announce the official opening of Dawn’s Dugout where I am going to be hosting live Q & A sessions on the first Monday of the month. Join me for the inaugural event on May 1 from 2 to 3 p.m. or from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
From technology suggestions to talk about avoiding burnout and playing as a team, let’s get into what’s on your mind!
Register here and submit any questions you have, so we can discuss them.
Yes! We are in the thick of tax season…how are YOU feeling?
I partnered with ADP to bring you these helpful hints that will not only help you maximize your time but will also show you a clear path to make your busiest days your most productive ones, while still taking time for your most important client: you!
Check out the full video series on YouTube: ADP Accountant Connect