This episode is sponsored by Bookkeep. Learn more at https://www.bookkeep.com/
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Matthew Cohen, Founder of Nine Toe Five, joins Dawn! In this episode, Matthew shares his difficult beginnings as an entrepreneur, how he built his sock business to inspire others, and how he plans to use this success to build a platform that motivates his community.
Listen now to learn how Matthew plans to grow his business, and what advice he would give to prospective entrepreneurs!
Matthew starts his conversation with Dawn by sharing how he got his start in business. Matt says that he began in college as an engineering major, but quickly learned it wasn’t for him. He graduated in 2017 with a business degree, and knew he wanted to start his own business, but wasn’t quite sure how to start. Having started a few businesses prior, Matt knew the basics of what he needed to get started but wanted to create something that would inspire people and help them achieve things they thought were impossible.
How Matthew Got His Start
Matthew talks about a few of his other businesses and how he worked in software engineering and real estate before he started Nine Toe Five. He says he began to read books that helped influence his career path and started to make a change in his life after reading the Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. He was fascinated by the idea of being able to work from anywhere, and he said he did not want to follow the traditional 40-hour workweek.
What’s in Store for Nine Toe Five
Matthew says that all of the designs for the socks are drawn by his friend from junior high school. Matthew says that they plan on scaling the retail side of their business, but also shares that he wants to take his business in a different direction. He would like also to become a motivational speaker to help people achieve their dreams. He also would like to develop a community where people can connect and receive help from one another.
Matthew also shared that he would like to expand his business to offer custom jackets, t-shirts, and more additional apparel.
How Matthew Finds His Motivation
Matthew shares that he has an amazing group of friends and family who encourage and support him. He says he does not find motivation in one person, but rather in everyone around him. He also highlights how his wife, Sara, is a huge supporter of his business and has helped him achieve great success.
Matthew also adds that new business owners should seek out a mentor. This can be a tremendous help to your business and can save you from making small mistakes that could cost you time and money in the long run.
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Hi everyone, my name is Dawn Brolin, I’m a certified public accountant, a Certified Fraud Examiner, the President of Powerful Accounting, Inc, and the author of the designated motivator for accounting professionals. And I’m here to tell you, if you are not searching for applications that eliminate data entry, you are missing the mark. Now I found an app, it is called Bookkeep. Bookkeep solves for integrations between apps such as PayPal, or actually, really payment methods or ordering systems like GrubHub, things like that Shopify WooCommerce, the list is never ending, and they’re always adding on more applications. what is awesome about bookkeeping is that you simply connect your data file, whatever it may be, to bookkeeping, and it syncs just use GrubHub, for instance, it puts in GrubHub income at the gross amount, then it has expense accounts for GrubHub fees, and so on. And so it allows you to not be data entering or hand keying journal entries for these types of systems. And it doesn’t correct every single time when I found that application. This is a conversation that I’ve had with my, with my staff for years and years, we don’t want to enter data. When I found bookkeeper, we implemented it immediately for every client who has either PayPal, or Shopify, or GrubHub, or whatever it may be, so that those transactions can go in on a daily basis, magically while you’re sleeping. And you have accounting that is accurate, so you can make decisions. Are you selling enough GrubHuh? How are the fees worth it? How much are you paying? And so many people were using these applications have no idea what it really costs them to run through those systems. And so bookkeepers solve for that as accounting as an accounting professional, I always tell my staff, I want books to be correct. And I don’t do not want you handke a journal entry. If you find yourself hand keying and transaction, then you need to stop and find the solution. And I can tell you right now, bookkeepers, solving that for all of our GrubHub Pay Pal, again, Shopify, there’s many different apps that they sync with. It’s awesome. I recommend that you go take a demo today, because it’s so easy, and it’s super affordable. So go get him your designated motivator here. Go check out Bookkeep, thank you so much for listening.
Hey, everybody, and welcome back to the the designated motivator, the DM disruption podcast. And this is I think, going to be the best episode of the year personally, and we’re wrapping up 2023. And I had an wonderful experience actually wore my ADP jacket today because I am speaking with Matthew Cowen today who is the founder of nine to five, get it, socks! It took me a minute. And it’s just a wild story, how I met you and I met you through your wife. And so Matt’s wife Sarah works for ADP. She works with accountants and works, works to you know, get take care of the accountants and all the rest of this stuff. And I met her at ADP. I think it’s been about three weeks now three or four weeks, and I went to speak to about 130 of their sales associates. All young, I was wild. I’m like, Wow, I’m gonna be all of these people’s mother. Like it was just so great. I could be their mom. And so I got to speak with them. I’m so honored that ADP had me go in there, but I met Sarah and Sarah was like, Brolin that was so fun. That was great. I’m so motivated, I’m ready to go out there and kick butt and sell stuff and do the best I can do. And she goes you know what, my husband has a small business and he manufactures I’ll say manufacture for like, you’ll get a better description Matt, when it’s your turn. But it was it was just as funny thing and I’m like, oh, okay, well let me let me take your cell phone anyway let’s you know if you ever need to be fired up, let me know. And she sent me they sent me two pairs of nine to five socks this pair which I think is amazing. The other pair went to Nicole she stole them she took the Halloween ones she loved them and so this pair of socks is here for a reason because the back of this socks as conquer your world. And the reason why I wanted to have Matt on was not just because of Sox are freaking awesome. But he sent me this text that said to me, I want to build this business. I want to help people learn that they can conquer their fears and dreams and conquer their fears and have their dreams and go for it. And that blew me away, Matt. So I want you to just introduce yourself, tell us about yourself. Like, because this is this is a story for the books, man. So talk to me, tell me what’s up.
Thank you, Dawn, for having me. First of all, first podcast. So definitely getting comfortable getting uncomfortable going through this right now. But yeah, so. So I graduated college in 2017. I originally went to school for electrical engineering, and I was like, I failed out, I couldn’t do it. I was like, I’m never gonna go anywhere. I graduated a business degree. And I was like that, what am I gonna do with the rest of my life. So I always knew I wanted to have my own business. So this is actually my third business. So I wanted to, after all the failures, I needed something to kind of bring myself up, and then eventually want to bring others up, I want to essentially help people achieve what they would deem impossible. So that’s why I created Nine Toe Five. The vison is, as you’re getting ready in the morning, and you read our stuff, you go from looking down to looking up.
Wow, that’s awesome. Okay, I like that. Yup. Nine to five we I like that. And so, so you’re so what were the fear? What was the fear factor? You were you mentioned what you said you had three you’ve had this is your third business. What were the first two.
So first two, I was. So I have a background in software engineering. I’m self taught. I started with as like an intern with no experience and then gradually over time to classes. So the first business we were developing an app, it was me and three other co founders. After a year, it wasn’t really working. I ended up leaving before I left actually quit my full time job. So I was part time. So I was like, Alright, so now I have a part time job and no business. So what am I gonna do? So I took that time to really like, hunker down and like focus on just like me and my skills. It’s kinda nice not to worry about, like having to work for somebody else’s goals. I was like, Alright, I have this time. I’m young. Still under my parents health insurance, I was like, What am I gonna do? I took a lot of different classes. And like Udemy, I watched a ton of YouTube videos, I started reading like a lot of books by like Robert Kiyosaki, Grant Cardone, and a lot of people that influenced me and like my, my business career. So and from that I wanted to invest in real estate. So right before COVID, hit, interest rates are super low, there was a lot of supply of houses. So my business partner and I, we both lived on Long Island. So we started looking for homes. There, we were strictly looking for houses on market because we didn’t have the time to do it ourselves. But looking for an on market home, you’re getting beat up by 50 100k over asking. So it just wasn’t working out for us. And we just have didn’t have the time. So we took a step back from that. And now I have my sauce business. So this one actually got inspired by Tim Ferriss Four Hour Workweek, being able to work from anywhere while just meeting your computer, and how to build systems and properties to be able to achieve what you want without having to work 4080 hours a week.
That is awesome. And yes. And so that you’re right, why No, first of all, whoever created the 40 hour workweek used to get their butt kicked. That’s, you know, you’re gonna do the Monday through Friday, who said that that had to be a thing, right? So yeah, you know, your vision of what you want for your life. And I love what you said about not wanting to work for someone else. I want to have my why am I building wealth for someone else when I could build it for myself? Exactly. And that’s a big boy statement right there. Right? So fresh out of college five years ago, right? And, you know, taking a look at that. And, you know, I’m sure that there’s visions that you have, and, and so with, and I love this conquer your mountain because that’s really, and it does say on here for those I put it here because the only way a camera’s gonna pick it up as I my background blurred. But if you look at this nine to five, and it says on here, Mo Toe Vational socks so mo T O E like I like I feel like you’ve got this thing figured out, man and it’s fun because we found in the accounting industry, our vendors seem to be bringing socks into the play. Jirav being one of them T shirts had them at one point. I’m not sure who else out there is giving away socks, but I will say Matt so once I met Matt and he sent me these socks, and I’m like, these are phenomenal socks. I said, You know what? We need the designated motivator socks. We need those. And so Matt and I were texting back and forth and and so his team designed the designated motivator socks and those socks will be present at QuickBooks connect with and I forget what you call this the band. What is this thing called?
The belly band?
The belly band? Like I probably need one of those but not for my sock. And I was like of course you would ask me You said do you want me to put the belly band on or not? And I’m like, I want 100% want to promote your company. I want people Well who want good socks, good quality and fun socks to reach out to you. And I was I was stunned by how affordable they were. So we’ll have to talk about pricing at another time. We won’t talk about that today. But I was like, That’s it. Okay, order me some socks. And, and for me, it’s like, we always talk about like, this weekend coming up, as you know, Thanksgiving this week, and this weekend is all about the Small Business Saturday, and things like that. So we want to certainly promote that and promote nine to five with socks and bring you more business than you ever imagined you were gonna get. That’s my goal, right Christmas. And now that it’s perfect timing, man, I still believe all things happen for a reason. And the fact that I met your wife, and that your wife had the, I don’t know, awareness to be like, Hey, I just want to send you some socks. And I’m like, okay, and well, my husband owns this business. Well, this is getting more interesting. And then just how it all evolved was so awesome. And for you, because you’ve texted me that and you said, you know, it’s about overcoming your fears and so on. It was just immediately inspirational to me. And I think, you know, your goal. You’re right. So tell me, tell me what that vision looks like for you. Like, what is what does Matt and nine toe five one a dude, we want to take over the market? Like, what are we looking for here?
Yeah, so right now, because every business you need to figure out you have to it has to be funded by something, right. So right now we have like, the socks portion of it, where they’re actually hand drawn. So one of my boys from a junior high, he draws all the designs on an iPad. And then we have a team that takes the drawings and creates the socks for us. So it was him. And then we had an intern who helped draw the the motivational socks that are on Amazon and the gift box that comes with. So they both actually like hand you everything. So the vision is where we were going to use like the retail side of it to kind of build the brand, kind of get our name out there. And the kind of while we’re not in like everyone’s like, we don’t have a Facebook group, we don’t have a community yet like that people are gonna read our socks, they’re gonna think about it. So that’s like our first like way to like penetrate the market. In the long run, like the overall vision is I want to be able to like, be like a motivational speaker, like yourself, go to conferences, have a community where people can like, talk to each other, like, hey, like I’m having this problem, how did you solve it? Or like, it’s everyone has loads in there, like I want, everyone has a business, like not everything is going to be like, super sunny day, when you get up every day and work. So like you just want me to talk to you like, hey, like, this is what I’m going through, I need help a like, I’m having issues like what what works for you like that. And so like the overall vision is just to like, kind of build a strong community where like we can achieve, essentially the impossible together. You don’t need to necessarily go to school to do what, what you like what you went to school for, right? I think there’s a big misconception, like, Hey, I went to school for engineering, I have to be an engineer. But like, if you don’t enjoy doing that, then don’t do that. Just because someone’s telling you to do it doesn’t mean you need to do it. And I think that that was one of the biggest takeaways that I got from doing this business. I quit my job, I went part time, I had bosses tell me that like, Hey, you weren’t good enough to be on my team. And I didn’t let them get in my way. I didn’t let anyone tell me like, Hey, you’re wasting my money, like you didn’t do this. Like, I knew what I wanted, like, I want to go grab it. So like that’s the message I’m trying to give to my audience and give to my community in the long run.
That is awesome, Matt. And that’s, you know, I always I still always also believe that, to whom much is given much as expected. And I also believe that people come paths in your life for reasons that were the weirdest time that you’d never imagine. And so, you know, like you were so that was really inspirational to me, what when you had text me that and I thought like, Matt, we need to get Matt’s voice out there. And we need we need for other people to see that. Yeah, this life that we have, is can be determined by the way we want it to go. Right. So thinking about the four day work week, and those kinds of things, and setting our own parameters. And being more present, I feel like part of it, too, is having the ability in the time to be present with each other. And it isn’t about how much money you make at the end of the day. It’s about the lives that you can affect and so that’s something that you’re doing. And yeah, we all hate man, we got to feed we got to we got to eat right, we got to put a roof over our head and for our family and whatever that may look like, right? So I just look at it that what you’re doing and the community you want to build is literally waiting for you and they need to hear from you. And I think that that’s awesome. And so, so right now let’s talk about so you got these socks, right? And so you’re on Amazon, which is super cool. And we’ll put all the links to everything in the show notes so people can click and and come by from your company and make their own custom socks and or just order socks. They don’t even have to make custom ones. They can just order the one the cool ones you have online, right? Is that part? Is that what it is?
Yeah. So I have the retail side where you buy individual pairs of socks. I’d like some bundles. Or if you’re looking to do like a custom order I work with you. We’d be over minimums be do the designs for you. We can ship it to you or whoever wherever you need them to go.
Okay, yeah, and you guys seem to have a pretty decent turnaround. Yeah. For custom work, man, that’s, that’s awesome. And we had talked a little bit about how you said, Hey, I was I like to get into maybe T shirts and maybe jet maybe jackets or sweatshirts or whatever it may be. Is that something that’s in your vision?
Absolutely. So right now, my team can handle all that. I did socks just because basing based with like, my background, and like date algorithms and stuff, like I know that I have a better chance of selling socks in my niche. I didn’t want to go too broad. And then I’m competing, competing with all the different brands out there. So I started with socks, because I know I can make the impact the fastest without dumping a lot of money into it. But I absolutely can do like hats, T shirts, and all that.
Awesome. So that’s, that’s important to know. So we sell on Amazon, do you have you also have a website? Right? Is it nine to five.com? Correct. Okay, so people could go there, can they buy right from your website? Or is it only through Amazon that you that you sell?
Yeah, so you can buy through my website, I’m on Etsy. Amazon right now only has one listing. Eventually, I’m trying to move everything to Amazon. Because right now Amazon handles all my shipping for me. So it started in my basement. So everything I was like, I was packaging, I was printing out the thank you notes. I was doing that all myself for like six months. And I was like, I gotta pull myself out of the day to day, I need to focus on like, the greater vision. So I had to, I worked with Amazon to to now I’m in 11 different warehouses across the United States. And I’m currently now kind of shipping from ideation, but not as much as I was before. So we’re definitely moving in the right direction.
That’s awesome. And so are you imagining that at some point? Well, first of all, like you said, you want to be a motivational speaker, you want to be able to encourage other people it sounds like you have a lot to give and your heart and your soul to give to other people. Who is a person is there someone in your life I’m gonna, I’m gonna say talk a little bit. So you can think about it. Is there someone in your life that was like this, this is a person who always was there for me, picked me up, when I was down or, you know, encouraged you to have this feeling of I can do whatever I want to do is there anyone in particular that that you could call out?
It’s really hard to like single out one person because I think everyone that like I’m closely related to, they all have like their own, like extra teeth. And like, there’s different topics that we talked to one person forward, there’s another person, I got to talk to another one. I have a lot of my friends locally, have their own businesses. So like it was just nice to be able to connect with them. We support each other when we do like sponsor sponsorships, you would help each other out. Definitely, Sara Sara has been a huge influence. She’s the one who brought me in New together. And so I’m incredibly grateful for her. Definitely my number one supporter, and just all my all my close friends that have businesses that have like seen me grow for the last five years. So it’s really hard just to say one person,
Yeah, sometimes it may not be maybe it’s just a community, like you said, the people around you, which I tried. So I have two daughters, and I try to tell them, you become who you hang out with. So it sounds to me like you have a great support group of other business owners that are like minded, and you know, have that ability to pick each other up. And I I was trying to tell like my especially my kids, it’s like, if you’re if you’re hanging out with people who are negative knocking you down, or you know, and that and that, unfortunately, there’s a couple of reasons I think people do what I’d love to hear what you think about it is sometimes I feel like they’re knocking you down to pick themselves up that there are definitely people like that. So they want to be they don’t want, they want to keep you down. They don’t want you rising up because then you know what if you’re better than them, which is not a thing, but that’s what they think. So you have that group of people who are doing that. And then you have these, this group of people who are like, lifting you up and supporting you, and whatever you’re doing. And it sounds like you have a really great group of people like that. And I always tell it, listen, if you have those negative Nellies those in your life, you got to get them out of there because that all they’re doing is bringing you down, they’re sucking out your positive energy and replacing it with negative energy. And I think it’s awesome that you have this group of friends and mean, is that what you’re experiencing with them? Because it sounds like you’re all like minded?
Yeah, absolutely. And I do think one of the things about when people will think about motivation, they always think there has to be like business related educational tool related. You can you can get motivation for anything to pick up a book and read like, it could be a fiction book, to play sports to, like pick up a new hobby. So motivation can be very broad. So I think when people hear like motivation, because like I’ve had people events they are what do I need motivation for and I just looked at them like, like, there has to be something you enjoy in life, like whether it’s just like going on a hike, like, make, like set a goal to go on a hike, like once a week, I think like motivation is it’s very important. And I think it covers like all aspects of life. I know like we’re talking here from like a business sense, but like it doesn’t have to be business related. I think that’s like what a lot of people need to realize because they hear motivation. I think it stresses them out. But like, it doesn’t mean like making more money or it doesn’t mean like starting a business. It doesn’t have to be like complicated.
Absolutely. And that’s you know, a lot of my audience knows this but from, you know, my ability to to focus my business in a way that I can be out of the office and go coach softball, college softball, which is my passion, and I volunteer for that has nothing to do with any kind of financial, anything. It’s what I love to do to infuse that positive energy into these young ladies who are gonna go out into the world and hopefully help them with their experiences helpful. Some might not be, but that’s, I always say, Listen, it’s up to you to buy in, like you’re either in or you’re not. But that’s not up to me. I’m here to try to help you motivate you create a positive experience with as much as I can. But if you don’t, if you don’t grab a hold of that and take it, then that’s, you got to look at yourself in the mirror and say that’s on you. You can’t you can’t put that on someone else. If, if you’re not buying into the philosophy, or into that motivation, that positive experience. So I’m gonna ask you this. If you could do something outside of your work today, let’s say I said to you, okay, as of next week, you can carve out two hours a day to do this that you love to do. Do you know what that is? You got three hours to do whatever you want to do, and you were passionate about outside of work.
I think right now just like getting outside more, I go to the gym. But I think I’m in such a tight deadline, I do my nine to five jobs, I get out of work, I have dinner, I rushed the gym and get a 30 to one hour workout in and then I say I eat another dinner. And then I just work on my business. So like, if I just have like two hours free time, like I would just spend it outside enjoy life. So like I just am on the computer way too much. And I just need to take a step back sometimes. So just like going and getting out of like Long Island go travel, just to see something like there’s so much more to see. But like I think sometimes when you’re building something, and you know, like you’re seeing your vision, you’re like, I have a goal and like ahead of me that I need to achieve. You kind of forget to like, take a step back and really like be aware of what else is out there to offer.
Yeah, absolutely. And so if you were so let’s just think about whoever may be listening to the podcast, and they’ve like, you know, they love it. That’s great. We love it. What would you what was something that you would want a message you would want them to hear? As your last thought? Not like last thought like you’re dying? That’s not what I mean, just on this podcast?
Yeah. Um, so last fall would be look for a mentor. Um, you mentioned in the near second podcast episode, that everyone needs a designated motivator. I think that everyone needs that because they can kind of like pave the way for you. I know, when I did my third business, the first two businesses, I didn’t have any mentors, I didn’t have anyone kind of like paving the way telling me what to do. We spent a lot of money making bad decisions we spent wasted a lot of time making bad decisions. But those decisions definitely helped me learn and grow. But with my Amazon business, I said, All right, I went on Etsy, I was doing all right. But I couldn’t be doing better. My Shopify website could be doing better. I was like, Alright, now I need to like focus. So I actually hired a mentor for my Amazon business. So what would have taken me years to learn and perfect, they were able to shrink it down into three months. So that was a It allowed me to scale my business. So I think the biggest takeaway is, don’t be afraid to ask for help. And make sure you’re getting advice from the right people. There’s people that take advice from like, their friends and family that may have not necessarily done what you’re looking to do. So like they may have like, just heard it, but they never actually practiced it. So like, I usually take advice with a grain of salt. But like, if I hear it coming from someone that is like a professional and like that field, then I would absolutely, like lean more towards accepting their advice, versus someone that may have just heard it through like hearsay.
Yeah, I love that. That’s a, that’s a great last thought. Because at the end of the day, which is part of what the whole resume motivator for accounting professional theory is, is I’ve been in the dark, no lights on stubbing my toes all over the place, I know, I now I now know where the ends of the beds are the bed is I know not to kick that one anymore. And I know, don’t go over here because you’re gonna kick the fan, or you’re gonna kick the end table or whatever it may be. And so let other people help you see that before. You mean, there’s so many resources out there. And I love what you said, Be careful on whoever you’re listening to, like, make sure you’re vetting them that you’re getting good advice. And yeah, everybody needs a designated motivator in their life. And that and there’s so so much to be thankful for if you find one, because those are the people that are gonna help lift you up. And it sounds like between the mentor you hired for Amazon to get you information that you needed to help you with that. But you also have your designated motivator, fellow colleague, friends, business owners that are keeping you motivated every day. And I think that that support in and of itself is really, really critical. And it doesn’t matter like you said whether its business, its family, its friends. Like I think there’s enough negative in the world that to seek out the positive people that the people that like when they call you, you’re like, oh, it’s mad, or you know, are they going oh, it’s Matt, like, you know who those people are in your life and you’re just like, oh, man, maybe that’s not the best person to help you move forward. But I really appreciate that comment because I think that that’s really really key. As we all move forward and I want you just for me personally, I wish you the absolute best we will stay in touch, there’s no doubt about it, because I want to see you skyrocket and we’re going to promote nine to five to anyone and everyone who will listen to get these socks. Go ahead and purchase the ones that are already made but if you have a company or you have a sports team or you have it doesn’t matter imagine family to put get family socks for Christmas, right? And so um, but checkout nine toe to e five.com. Check out nine to five on Amazon and get out there order small businesses let’s support them let’s help Matt get to his goal to help enough people in his life that he feels satisfied as motivated and and Matt were this community of accountants are gonna back you up in whatever way we can and do it and I want to thank ADP for the connection that I was able to meet Sarah and I think, like I said things happen for a reason. And you did great. I know you were a little nervous. So you conquered another fear today because you got on a podcast which their hearts. Just we’re just chatting, man. It’s all good. So thank you for your time. I’m so glad that I got to I got to finally see you. I know who you are. And thank you to ADP for that connection with Sarah and everybody who listens. Thank you so much to come to the DM disruption podcast that isn’t a motivator here to hopefully help you even just one person feel better about themselves and what they’re doing and trying to accomplish. So Matt, thank you for coming on. And we’ll see you see everybody next time, everybody take care.
Thanks for having me.
This episode is sponsored by Canopy. Learn more at https://www.getcanopy.com/
Paul Hamann, the founder of RC Reports, joins Dawn to talk in-depth about reasonable compensation and how his business can help firms present accurate reasonable compensation figures to their clients.
Listen now to learn why Paul started RC Reports, the consequences of incorrect reporting, and how RC Reports can be an educational resource for you and your firm!
RC Reports and their “Entity Planner”
Paul Hamann is the founder of RC Reports, a service that allows firms to give their clients reasonable compensation figures. Paul shares that he developed RC Reports because he struggled to find an efficient and accurate way to determine reasonable compensation, and wanted to solve the pain point for himself. Paul then sought to develop a solution for this problem and launched RC Reports in 2012
Dawn and Paul talk about RC Reports and their “entity planner”; a tool that practitioners can use to offer trusted advisor services. Dawn shares that she recently used this tool to discern whether or not one of her clients should classify their business as an S-Corp.
Consequences for Ignoring Reasonable Compensation
Paul also shares that when businesses get audited, they may be asked to prove how they achieved their reasonable compensation figures, especially if the IRS has flagged the amount you reported as above or below average. Paul also shared that the IRS just introduced the Compliance Initiative Project, which was formed specifically to check S-Corps and their reasonable compensation.
It’s also important for the practitioners to remain compliant, and Paul talks about the penalties firms can receive if they don’t. Paul shares a frightening story about a practitioner who was fined $130,000 in paid preparer penalties due to reasonable compensation errors.
Paul reiterates how important it is to properly determine reasonable compensation, and if your number was pulled out of thin air, it makes it much more difficult to prove and fight for.
Education Offerings from RC Reports
Paul also shares that RC Reports offers a wide range of education to help firms and practitioners understand reasonable compensation better. He shares that their core class is a two-hour deep dive into the basics of reasonable compensation, and helps to resolve many of the main points practitioners are struggling with.
He also shares that they dive into fact vs myth, and that many practitioners believe incorrect information that could be hurting them and their clients.
What Next Steps Should Firms Take?
Paul says that reasonable compensation should be revisited once a year. If an audit comes your way, you will be able to give the IRS a recent and accurate report of how you determined reasonable compensation for your client.
Learn more about RC Reports!
Visit their website: https://rcreports.com/
Check out their classes: https://rcreports.com/classes/
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Hi, everyone, my name is Dawn Brolin. I’m a certified public accountant Certified Fraud Examiner, the president of powerful accounting Inc, and the author of the designated motivator for accounting professionals. I’m here today to talk to you about canopy canopy is an awesome tool. If you’re doing tax returns or tax representation either way, what it allows you to do is pull transcripts from the IRS, they have an integration certified by the IRS to pull transcripts, what I love about it is I log in one time, I connect my E services account, and I can go into canopy and pull transcripts, I don’t have to continue to log into the E services, put in my password, get my code and get in. And finally just get through E services. It’s so cumbersome. So I use canopy it’s a one time connection. Let me give you a couple of tips. Number one, I like to pull transcripts for some of my clients who make estimated tax payments, maybe they don’t provide me a copy of the estimated tax payment. I want to make sure I know the correct dates of those estimated payments, okay, so I will go into canopy pulled an account transcript for my client and be able to see what dates they made their estimated payments just solves for a lot of problems. There’s no notices maybe I thought they did four or $5,000 estimated payments, when really, they only did three, they told me they did four, they only did three. And notice comes in because they didn’t pay enough in tax. And now they’re saying you do the tax return wrong. That happens all the time. So to eliminate that pain of that process, and that, you know, customer integration or customer experience, right? We want to eliminate notices and all costs. So that’s one really key thing. The second one is when you’re not sure, if the client is giving you all of their documents, maybe there’s a 1099 R that they had from the year before. And for whatever reason, they don’t think they can find it, I can pull a trace a wage and income transcript, pull down all that information. So at least I had the federal information on that 1099 If it’s applicable if they received one for that year. And it eliminates again, the whole concept of notices. So I find it really important as I’m preparing tax returns to have this tool in place. And so I love using it. So as a tax preparer, those are a couple of tips how you can use canopy in your practice. Thanks for listening.
Well, hello, everybody. And welcome back to another episode of the DM Disruption with myself Dawn Brolin and I am joined by a new best friend, Paul Hamann with RC reports and this episode. I’m so excited about Paul say hello, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Thank you Dawn. As Dawn mentioned, my name is Paul Hamann. I’m a founder of a company called RC reports. And our software determines reasonable compensation for closely held business owners.
Very exciting. And it’s something that I think at least for myself, as a practitioner haven’t really put it in the forefront of my mind. I feel like there’s so many other balls I have to keep in the air. This is one I would have dropped. This is one I would have dropped in thankfully, I found Abby again. And so Abby Dever, that that is amazing marketing human being who is with you guys. And I’ve worked with her for years with SmartVault. And so when I ever she ever reached out, I was like, Whoa, we mean, what is this reasonable cop? Now I’ve seen it, you know, you will look on Facebook and you see it or you look on various avenues, but you’re like, oh, reasonable calm. Yeah, I don’t have time for that. And then when you realize the implications, you go, Oh, no, I better learn about this. So tell us about the evolution of RC Reports. Obviously, we know major compliance issue that people really may not be paying attention to.
Yeah, absolutely. So you’re spot on when you said you know, it’s out there. But people don’t really necessarily understand how many parts of their business it touches and it touches all the way from the very beginning. should I even be an S-Corp to Hey, I am selling my business. I need to normalize my comp before this business goes on the market. And all all places in between retirement planning, family planning. Sometimes it comes up in divorce is different places. So it is sprinkled out throughout the lifespan of a company. But I ended up in this space because I was I was in compensation prior to getting into even more specifically into reasonable compensation. Most of my career, but it was in the late 2000s That I was pulled directly into reasonable comp because there was a spike in compliance. And so practitioners reached out to me saying, Hey, Paul, my clients getting audited, and we have no idea how to come up with this number, right? And so I got pulled into that space. And I gotta tell you, I was looking for us. Seriously, I’m like, I need to find us out there because I need to figure this out quickly and affordably. And there wasn’t anybody doing it. So I was doing these one off studies that took me about two days to do, they were two to 3000 bucks apiece, I don’t think your clients would be all that excited to pay $2,500 for, for report, and I gotta tell you, I was nervous about defending them, because some of the data wasn’t that great. Quick, fast forward through through a couple of years. But I got together with some folks that are way smarter than I am. That’s always a good idea, by the way, oh, my gosh, and it’s so easy to find, too. In programming in statistics and wages, and we sat down, and we started brainstorming, and what we came up with is RC reports. And we launched in 2012. So we’re 10 years now, this is our this is our big decadeanniversary.
That’s awesome. Congratulations. That’s that’s, you know, there’s always no, those milestones are always awesome. Like, Hey, I’ve been in business now for 10 years. And, and I think that it’s interesting how a lot of times how people develop either a new software, or they develop some new platform or whatever. It’s around a pain point they had, that they’re like, Oh, I sat there, no one else is solving for this. Let’s figure it out. And, and it’s easy to go on Google, the call the Google, you go on the Google, and you’re like I need reasonable compensation for it, blah, blah, blah. And it’s like, no, that’s not gonna fly. And that’s something that I have done that before I’m googling reasonable comp or whatever. And I’m like, I just need something. And then I’m like, oh, shiny, shiny coin or something. Okay, I’m going over here. Now I’m gonna go do something, forget that. I’m gonna go move on to this over here, because that looks like it’s too complicated. And I don’t have a resource. So RC reports is doing that. So tell us about because obviously, reasonable comp for the closely held the s corps, the C Corp, things like that. And that’s really important. We could talk a little bit more in depth. But there’s a couple other tools. And you mentioned one about the valuation and normalizing the payroll, there’s also a quick report. So let’s talk a little bit more about a couple of those other pieces.
Sure. So reasonable compensation for most closely held business owners revolves around compliance, and that’s going to be s corpse. But there are other there are other reasons you may want to run it, such as your C corps, or if you need to normalize it for evaluation. But taking that number, and then also figuring out how it applies to your company. We have some different tools around that as well. And one is our entity planner, I think that’s where you’re headed.
Yes. Yep. Exactly.
So business owners are great about networking with one another, and then hearing that, hey, I should become an s corp because you’re absolutely gonna save money on taxes. Right? I will absolutely is one of those words I tend to stray away from you may see, probably, maybe let’s take a look. It depends. And that’s where they need to contact Dawn, right? They need to talk to you and say, Hey, Dawn, I’m either starting a business I’ve been in business for a while, I’ve heard I can save money. If I become a S Corp. Is that true? Right? Easy enough to do. But you do need to know what your reasonable comp is. Because that is one of the key components that plays into that piece. And so we do have a tool, our entity planning tool that you can plug that number into, along with some other pieces of information. And it’ll produce a nice one page layout, you can hand to your client that says, hey, look, you know what, it’s not quite time at least from a payroll tax standpoint, right. There’s other considerations, and we don’t want to get into the legal ones today. But from a strictly dollar standpoint, it’ll give you a very clear indication as to whether that makes sense.
So that tool for me, has been very exciting. And the reason for that is people do they’ll call and they’ll say, and I had a call with somebody just a few weeks ago, and he was like, hey, so should I move to an S corp? And historically, my answer would have been? Oh, well, we usually recommend that once you get to the 90 to $100,000 in profit. Now we can, you know, let’s just say we paid you like 65 or 70,000, we can save you X number of dollars on self employment tax, right. That’s been the the general answer we give people because we didn’t have a tool. But now with a tool. Having that conversation with him was very different. It was like, listen, it’s not my opinion anymore, necessarily. It’s now I’ve got some factual data to show you where we’re at with that process. And I think that having that tool gives us a better ability to even if it’s, even if it’s a not, hey, it’s time for you to move to an S corp. Even if you did that analysis and said, Hey, but I think maybe next year, what are we looking at what are our projections and we’re starting to have that conversation to say, remember, we have January till March 15 To make that election, we know what’s happened so far this year, it wouldn’t have made sense for 22 or 23, whatever. Now, it’s a conversation to say, Hey, this is something we might want to think about, what do you think? What do we look at the first couple of months and then decide, like last minute, like be prepared. So those are helping us with factual information to have these conversations, which is so different.
Absolutely. And having that conversation with an S corp and saying, or a potential S corp and saying, You know what, you’re not quite there yet. We can certainly go that direction if you want. But it’s not going to save you the taxes that you may have heard about or or seen on, as you call it, when you consult the Google,
The Google or I love this one. Hey, I talked to a friend. And I’m like, punch your friend in the face for giving you bad advice. Like, you know, it’s so funny that you say that, because this is one of the things I don’t know how many times I’ve said this before, but so I tell my husband, he’ll say to me, Oh, the car’s broken, I think it’s going to cost five grand. So we should just go buy a new car, which we know that’s a ridiculous statement in and of itself.
Yeah. But if you want a new car, it’s not. Well, that’s true.
If you’re fighting, if you’re trying to negotiate for a new car, I get it. And I’m like, have, I didn’t realize we’ve been married for 25 years, I didn’t realize you own a mechanic store, whether you work there because I’ve never seen you go to the shop. And he’s like, What are you talking about? And I’m like, so you’re telling me that you’re you as the mechanic is assuming there’s gonna be five grand? How about you go down and get an estimate on paper and bring that back to me. So we can actually have some facts to talk about. It’s the same thing. It’s no different. And so having those facts is so critical. And then obviously, and this is important that we talked about this, let’s talk about reasonable compensation, and the consequences for ignoring it, or not addressing it.
Yeah, so we’re all familiar with examinations and audits. Reasonable comp, can get challenged in a number of different ways. Traditionally, most people think of it through just your general S-corp audit where it comes up. And as part of the audit of the entire S-Corp, the examiner may say, Hey, by the way, how did you come up with your reasonable comp figure? Right? Or this looks high or low to me, we would not typically talk about high. It has come up more now that we have 199 Cafe. And that’s probably more detailed discussion where we want to have today but we have seen it go both directions. Okay. We both know Eric Green real well, he’s the three bears guy, right? Not too high. Not too low. Just right. Yep. So when those audits come, they can come traditionally, they can also come through the employment tax compliance program. If you’re familiar with that. That’s the one nine, that’s the that I pay my people correctly. 1099 or w two, specialty workstream in there. If it’s an S-Corp they’ll challenge it. Okay. So that’s another way you could see that coming with that you may not see that coming. And all of a sudden, it’s like, Wait, we were looking at, I paid myself wt, why are you looking at my salary? Right, because within that they built a specialty workstream. And then last, they did put a new CIP in place last year compliance initiative project just to go after reasonable competence S-Corps. So it’s heading, it can it can hit an S corp owner from those three different directions, and you just need to be prepared.
And so on top of that, thinking about, obviously, our small business owners, we want to protect them from any kind of compliance, you know, penalties and all this stuff. But what I don’t think people may know is that the practitioner is subject to penalties as well, is that correct?
That is correct. So two places, I’ve heard this happened now. So one is that specialty work stream that I just described. They were instructed if they make a change to reasonable comp, to assess a pay prepare a penalty, and they’re right around $5,000. And we’ve talked to a couple of practitioners that had that happen. But Eric Green, just shared a situation he’s working through currently, where this happened to a practitioner has been doing this. You can please tell me if you haven’t heard this, but I know you have. I’ve been doing this for 35 years. It’s never been a problem. I’ve always done it this way. So it must be right. Well, it wasn’t right. And he had a number of clients who weren’t taking reasonable comp or enough reasonable comp and he had one of his clients, challenged, they re characterize they hit him with a $5,000 preparer penalty. And then they worked through his other s corpse. And I want to say like something like maybe 10 or 15 of them, but then they hit them for two years. So long story short, he ended up with a $5,000 preparer penalty on each of those clients twice. Wow. And so he ended up with $130,000 in paid preparer penalties that Eric’s helping him with. So yeah, and plus he has a whole book of business. That’s mad at him, right?
Yeah, people are not happy because they’ve got penalized as well. So…
Oh, absolutely. And that’s about two and a half times the original tax, that would be Oh, just from a payroll tax standpoint. So if you would have owed $10,000, in taxes, you’re probably going to owe about $25,000 total, by the time you pay your taxes, penalty and interest.
That if that is not frightening enough for anyone who’s listening, I don’t know what is, you know, it’s funny, because you say a lot of times, we as practitioners are like, I definitely feel this way, like I worked so hard for my three letters of the end of my name, I am not willing to do anything to jeopardize those. But sometimes we don’t think of it even at a softer level like that’s, that’s like, you really have to do something bad to lose your letters. But even even that point of the reputation that you have, that this has happened, is is way bigger than $130,000. Right? So now you’ve got reputation issues, you’ve got clients that are going away revenue, got lost revenue, and now acquiring new clients, hoping they didn’t hear about what you didn’t do, not what you did what you didn’t do. That fear of the unknown has to be i It’s part of my soul. I was up at five o’clock this morning worried about all kinds of stuff, you know?
Absolutely. Yeah. Well, as you said, the three letters at the end of your name. And so let’s see if I sometimes I forget the exact name of the offices is that OPR? Yep. So when you get that prepare penalty, guess where you get referred to? Yeah. And so there’s, there’s, that’s happening, too. Now you’re distracted from How to know how many different directions, including losing those three letters at the end of your name. So it’s a it’s a big deal. And we have a saying around RC reports, the first with a fact based figure wins. So if you aren’t showing up with a number pulled out of thin air, which a lot of folks are, it makes it so much easier for the other side to say, No, this is what we think the numbers should be. And then the fight begins.
So now let me ask you this question. So obviously, like for me, this is a big part of November in December for my for my firm, we’re doing reasonable comp analysis, so we can make sure people are paid by the end of the year bonuses if necessary, whatever it may be. So I’m just thinking as we’re going through this process, are you are you seeing that people are starting to pay attention more? Are they are they starting to become more aware? You know, as far as like, because I think the the problem is, and I think that’s why this is really great that we’re doing a podcast, we’ve got webinars, and we’ll talk about where they can go for that. But we’ve got to get this into the forefront of the of the people who it is an unknown right now. And how can we get to them this information so quickly, and that’s what RC reports has been doing. You’ve been out there, you’re educating. And I know you have like a two hour webinar that really digs into the details. So can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Yes, so our one of our we do a lot of education, we’re very education forward. But our core class is a two hour deep dive on reasonable compensation. And we start off with the basics. But we go into some very detailed areas, we also go into areas that give a lot of practitioners, headaches and questions and we resolve help you resolve those questions and issues. We also go into the facts versus myths. There’s so many myths about reasonable compensation, they’ve been out there for so long. A lot of practitioners like the one Eric Green was working at working with, they’ve adopted those as facts they believe them to be true, right. And so finding out that they’re not is a wake up call, and this is the perfect time to talk to your client. At a I have a great friend who’s a CPA, he says I have this entire toolkit that I get to use up until December 31 to help you and on January 1, I have a screwdriver. So let’s talk.
Exactly and so when you’re like so your your CPA friend, or even just me as you’re saying, Okay, listen, like right now I’m so pumped, I’m jazzed about this. And because I’m I found another way to protect myself. That’s the way I look at it. It’s another way one that I can protect myself from doing things incorrectly, because you don’t know what you don’t know, which is the fear. But you also are helping protect your client, which is also super important. So I’m here I’m doing my analysis November in December, I’m working through my clients. When is the next time I should be doing another analysis because obviously wages change, inflation, deflation, whatever it may be. So what does RC reports just recommend? Obviously, this is not legal advice. But disclaimer.
Yeah. So once a year is what is minimum because you throw that in your file. And if an audit comes your way, you’re flipping from defense to offense. Your IRS is like, hey, we don’t like that number or how did you get that number here. This is how I did it. Yep. Right. And now the tables are turned in. And the IRS is like, Oh, do we really want to fight this? Right? They actually know, they actually have an answer to this. Nobody usually does, right. But this time of year is perfect. Reconcile the year, did we pay enough do we overpay, we have some time to make those adjustments before year end. Right. Plus, it gives us a starting number for next year. So we get into next year, we know what we’re going to be doing through the first three or four months. We all take our two weeks after April 15, we get our sanity back. And in May in June, we start doing our consulting or reaching out to our clients to see where they are, sometime in that timeframe, say has anything significantly changed in what you do how you’re spending your time, maybe you want to do it, make another adjustment there, maybe everything’s going fine. So at least one once a year, but if something major changes, and you want to make those adjustments and payroll, run another one, right, run as many as you need to.
Yeah, and I love that becausethinking about, you just put something in my head that I don’t think I thought about before was the fact that their roles may change. Like I don’t even I never even like let that cross my mind till this moment. You know, again, you don’t know what you don’t know. But I was more thinking of okay, I need to make sure that w two is right at the end of the year. And I need to make sure when I’m doing a tax return, this is another little tip for people as you’re planning for your next tax season. And you’re just maybe hearing this as maybe you didn’t have a chance to do this in 2022. And now you’re in already in 2023. It’s not too late to start implementing the system and 2023. Right. And so thinking about not just what the inflation, deflation, whatever the market is bearing for salaries at this point, or whatever is determined, but rather what they’re doing, which is so true. Because I just went through this with a client a couple of weeks ago, we sat down, we went through all that. What do you do? What do you do this partner that partner? So we got to figure out exactly what everyone’s doing. And then what’s that reasonable comp look like? When six months from now, my I have a guy who they own an oil company that they deliver oil and one that they do cold cooling and heating? Well, this partner has kind of been the one doing all the oil stuff, but also doing this but what if he’s now 100% oil, very different being an oil delivery guy and running an oil company that it is heating and cooling. So that is so interesting, it’s like okay, as their roles are changing in their job descriptions, if you will, are changing responsibilities. That’s a great time to then hey, let’s recalculate this. And it’s not complicated. It’s a matter of having that discussion. And I think that that is so important. As we are moving to this advisory conversation. That’s what this is, this is advisory, and being able to say and tax planning, and kind of a little bit of everything, but being able to say to them, Listen, this is something that we need to do regularly as listen, if you start doing you feel like you’re doing things differently, as your role in the business, we can talk. But us being more proactive towards them, I think is what’s the important message here. We need to be the proactive professional that says, hey, this is important. We need to do it. Now. I don’t know if the people who are listening with their clients do but typically obrolan is calling you and telling you need to do something you better do it like it’s it’s like a parent child relationship when when you’re in charge that right?
Oh, absolutely. And I think businesses that, in my opinion, humble opinion, businesses want that guidance. If if Don says, hey, look, we need to look at reasonable comp, then we’re going to look at reasonable comp, you wouldn’t ask your client, if they should look at reasonable company more than you would ask your client if you think they should do a tax return this year. Right? That would just be a silly conversation. Absolutely. To go to for sure. So yeah, having those conversations and then using those conversations in and around your advisor role is a lot of fun, because you may look at the report, and something might jump out in your mind, which is, hey, look, have you ever thought about moving over to a payroll service? Because look how much of your time is spent? But I’ll tell you the really fun ones are when the client’s head just goes, Wow, I don’t I didn’t realize how much time I was wasting over here where I could be making money over here. Let’s salute. Let’s figure that out together.
Yeah, that’s super important. So let me ask you this question is another I have so many questions for you, which I know we only have a certain amount of time on the podcast, but we’ve got we’re doing webinars, and we’re doing other things for education, but thinking along those lines of alerting them, if you will, of how much time they’re spending on certain things. So you have an awesome tool called a client. It’s like it’s called Client survey. Is that am I saying that right? Yes. Survey. And so is there a difference between me sitting down and kind of going through that survey with them and and helping guide them through it where I don’t actually send it to them? Is there any liability on that? Should I be should I always send the survey as opposed to sitting down and going over it? It’s almost like they’re signing off on what they’re doing or like what does that look like?
That’s really a good question, because I hear that question probably more often than you would think. And what I’ll say is it’s preference. So some advisors like to just fire off the email link and that their client go through it. And then have a conversation with them and say, hey, look, let’s talk a little bit about some of your responses on here. Did you really look at the job description for Chief Executive, there’s two people in your company, there’s multiple layers of management involved in being a CEO. I don’t think you have multiple layers of management and your reasonable comp is very, very high. If we make this adjustment, let’s look at the description, make sure it makes sense to you, oh, look, we’ve just dropped your reasonable comp by $20,000. I’ve now just saved you X dollars in payroll taxes and really showing that value. Right. So that’s one way another way is just to sit down and say, well, let’s kind of go through this. And as you’re going through this, talking with them about some of the different hats that they’re wearing. And different advisors have different styles. But depending on where you fit into their world, you may be able to help them and realize that some of these duties aren’t ones they either are particularly good at or wasting their time on. Let’s get out there and get you making money. And I
love that piece. And that little nugget right there alone. I know for myself, I use use time a track time tracking tool, of course, we just use tee sheets, which was always like my favorite company ever. But you know, tracking that time I realized in 2000, I believe it was 2017, the fall of 17, where I have looked at my you know, what am I what am I doing on client work versus admin work. And I was at 6040 60%, administrative 40% actual getting work done. And I’m the highest billing person in the company. So I knew because of that evaluation, that analysis, if you will, I needed to hire an admin, I had no admin it was me and 10 employees, and I had no administrative person I was it. And I’m like, You’re an idiot, and you’re advising other people. So let’s just put that out there. I get it. And so I hired somebody. And that totally changed the financial future of my of my business, because I was allowing someone else to kind of take control over that. So being able to have that conversation and having them Oh, yeah, you know, what, I, I am mopping the floor, why am I mopping the floor, I can bring somebody else in here to do that, or whatever it may be. That’s an example. Right. And so I think that that’s another important conversation to have with your clients. So if you’re looking, I don’t know how to get into advisory, we’ve just given you like seven things to do, that you can put on your little checklist of these are the things I’m going to do as part of my advisory work.
And so we’re talking about just how they’re spending their time, we’ve even talked about their retirement, or their exit strategy. Right? Most people worry about the compliance piece, which they do need to worry about, don’t get me wrong, that is important. But the smiling, right, the client smiling, going, oh my gosh, I hadn’t thought about getting my retirement to where I need to get, or I do want to exit the business, let’s put that plan together. And let’s get reasonable comp figured out so that when we get an offer, and they’re normalizing those books that we get the valuation that we want.
You know, I think that’s a such a super important point, because people are people are looking to sell their business we’ve had clients contact us about they’re ready to sell their business and we we you know, go through a process, I usually just outsource it, I don’t necessarily get heavy deep in that. But if I can at least do some groundwork to balance that reasonable comp and be able to to make that work that piece of it work for them. And the the buyer is going to be so much more attractive, the buyer will be attracted more attractive to the business to buy it. If there’s facts. So glad to say I’m looking to buy this company, here’s a copy of a tax return and I look at it says self prepared. So first thing I say hey, listen, this returns a self prepared, I don’t know if it was actually ever filed like this could be just a made up return. You know, so those kind of little things. Same thing with reasonable view, we’re looking at an S corp, you’re buying an S corp, or you’re you’re buying a partnership, if you’re looking even at an S corp, you’re saying, what was the officer salary on that line? And then you look at Oh, well, it’s a partnership. So well, what were the guaranteed payments? Are these people even paying themselves? And it’s like, well, we know they don’t wanna pay themselves too much, because they don’t want to pay taxes. And, Jeff, definitely partnerships, they don’t want to pay self employment tax, they certainly don’t want to take guarantee payments. So those are just some hints to a buyer, when there may be some irregularities or something that’s wrong, but when you can say listen, this officers compensation was based on calculations on what they did. And guess what, here are the things that this business owner did. You may not want to do the same things as this business owner, you may say, You know what, I don’t want to schedule calls. I would never do that. Okay, great. Now, you know, you need to hire somebody, but now you’re seeing what those owners were doing, not just what they were getting paid. What is a value you add to that business?
Absolutely. And if you’ve ever had a client come to you say, Don, I think I’m about buying this business. We look at the books. Yeah, and it’s like Hey, Paul just person’s only paying themselves $24,000 a year, they should be paying themselves about 100 and a quarter, right? That’s, that’s $100,000 difference, and you’re looking at a 10 multiplier, we’re gonna knock about a million dollars off your pie.
Exactly. So those are those are just some of the things. And I think obviously, this is just a, this is a podcast where we’re at least, you know, getting some information out there. But there’s so much more that people can go to RC reports.com, and there’ll be a link in the podcast, you’ll be able to have a link right to their education platform that will you know, the on demand webinars that they can watch at any time. And just to get yourself more familiar with this super important concept, or, or actually two requirements, compliance related matter that we need to be paying attention to. And thankfully, Paul and his team at RC reports are giving us tools that we can just go and use and not have to use the Google which isn’t gonna give you bullet proof reports anyway. But and to think of it more, I think my message to people is to think of it more than just reasonable, just reasonable compensation, which, at $5,000, a client, I don’t want to take those chances. But it’s more than that. It’s a tool you can use in your advisory role with your clients to say, Hey, listen, let’s take a look at what you’re paying your manager for this restaurant. And, you know, is it is it what, you know, what’s the range out there from your location and those kinds of things? There’s so much more that we can that we can do with this tool. And it’s really, it’s one place with many tools, essentially, that we should be think about any last thoughts, Paul?
The only last thought I’ll share with you because when we started this, and it’s kind of a full circle conversation now how we went from, you know, having this be my own problem to helping it create, RSC reports is this. For the do it yourselfers out there, I get that that’s how I started out. It’s a two day process. This is now a five to 15 minute process, it will save you a tremendous amount of time if you need to figure this number out. And so from that perspective, I think that that’s where I come from, I love the fact that it’s used for all these other reasons and all these other things. But time is the only thing we don’t get any more of ever.
Absolutely. I think there’s always the ability to make money, but to make time is really tough. So with that, thank you, Paul, so much, Paul, with RC reports. This has been an amazing discovery is what I would say, for my practice and what I’m able to do for my clients, it’s so important to me to help them in whatever way I can. And this is just an easy, by the way, super affordable tool, which I don’t want to say that Pollux I don’t want you to increase prices. But I can say with confidence that I was like, this is like a godsend for me and my firm and my clients. So I thank you for having pain points that caused you to move in the direction of giving us this tool that is going to be so helpful for all of us. But thank you again for coming on the DM disruption. We’ll talk to you next time in our next episode. Very excited to for those of you who are listening, and I hope you’re getting so much knowledge out of this and education. So with that, Paul, thank you again so much and we’ll see Miandad Absolutely. We’ll see everybody next time. Thanks again.
This episode is sponsored by Liscio. Learn more at https://liscio.me/
Liscio joins the DM Disruption! Join Dawn as she chats with Chris Farrell, the CEO of Liscio, and Alison Ball, the Director of Marketing and Influencer Strategy at Liscio.
In this episode, you’ll learn the importance of maintaining proper cyber security in your firm, how Liscio can be the sole communication hub for your clients, and what new features are being released soon!
Listen now to learn why Dawn uses Liscio in her firm, and how their software can save both you and your client time!
Why Security Needs to be Automatic
Chris, Alison, and Dawn start their conversation by noting how important it is to keep your firm’s data secure. Alison notes that many cyber attacks are now hitting smaller firms and that it’s crucial that everyone practices proper security measures.
Chris notes that many firms leave clients’ EIN or Social Security numbers in their inboxes, and that can lead to a leak of your client’s data. Alison adds that implementing security measures needs to be automatic; if it’s too hard to put into practice or too inconvenient people will not do it.
How Liscio Keeps Communication Clear
Dawn expresses her admiration for Lisicio and says she loves how all of your client’s data can be found in one place. Not only that, but in case she is out of the office, her team members can easily access each client’s string of data without needing her to forward any emails or text messages. Dawn even shares a story about how much time she saved by adding all of her clients to the Liscio app.
Chris joins in and says he wanted to create Liscio for every sized firm. They don’t charge by the client, they are fairly priced, and they are easily accessible for clients and firm owners.
Why You Should Separate Your CRM from Your Project Management Software
Alison also notes that having all your clients on a separate CRM platform can be very beneficial. It can take a long time to get all your clients to start using certain software, and having to switch them to a new application can take even more time. If you utilize Liscio, you can change your project management software as often as you like without disrupting your client’s relationship.
How Liscio Can Save You Time
Chris talks about how Liscio can save you time, especially while you are on vacation. Many practitioners find it difficult to turn their email off during vacation because they need to forward certain clients’ information to their team members. With Liscio, all of your team members have access to each client’s data, which allows them to access any information they need without emailing for support.
Dawn says she appreciates how Liscio functions like “texting” but she doesn’t have to give her clients her personal phone number. She appreciates the ability to be able to close the app when she is out of the office, and it saves her time from answering “quick questions” when she takes time off.
Learn more about Liscio: https://liscio.me/
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Hi everyone, my name is Dawn Brolin, I’m a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, a president of powerful accounting, Inc, and the author of the Designated Motivator for Accounting Professionals. I’m here today to talk to you about one of my favorite new application implementations. And that’s with Liscio. We were finding that we were chasing clients and wasting a lot of administrative time chasing them for documents for information for answers to questions as we’re going through tax season. And we found that we’ve really could be working a lot less hours if we could solve for that pain point. So we found Liscio. And because of implementing liscio, we were able to save hours of time every single week, chasing clients, not only wasn’t the time that we were spending, but it was the frustration of trying to get in touch with them. And for them to securely send us documents and information so we could prepare their tax return in a timely fashion. No more picking up and putting down tax returns, because we don’t have everything we need. What I love is that it’s one central place for us that all of us in our firm can see all of the communications, whether it’s via text, or email, or a document that we’re looking for anyone in the firm can go grab that document or that communication and know exactly what’s going on with that client at all times. What’s even better about it is that it does integrate with our project management and workflow solution, as well as our accounting software. So we’re entering contact information for our clients in one place and pushing it out to other other solutions that we use. And I find that application integration is critical. But being able to save us that time, so that I can be on the ball field coaching in the spring, or whatever else it may be being with my kids, whatever it may be. But we found that we were being so unproductive, doing that administrative chasing that we were just like it’s not the clients fault, it’s our fault, we have to offer them a solution that’s going to work for them. And what we found with as we were implementing Liscio with our clients, the best feedback we would get in this was almost every single client was wow, that was easy. And that’s what we need it to be in order for our clients will get us what we need. And it’s got to be secure. We need cloud to cloud secure document exchange and secure communications. We no longer give out our personal cell phones, which is awesome. I don’t want to hear from a client at midnight. If I happen to hear from them through my liscio app, then that’s cool. Maybe I respond, maybe I don’t, but it gives me that flexibility and that time of peace and quiet when I’m not in the office. So I’m telling you go out, get yourself a demo of Liscio, implement it for your business so you have a successful upcoming 2021, 2022, 2023 and beyond tax season. Thank you so much for listening. And I wish you the best as you move forward.
Well, hello everybody and welcome back to the DM Disruption. My name is Dawn Brolin. I’m a CPA and a Certified Fraud Examiner. And I just want to help you and your firms have a better experience and or whether it’s busy season, not busy season, how about just daily, maybe we could have just a great experience daily. And so who better to bring to the DEM disruption if we want to talk about experiences and client experiences, then listen to themselves Chris Farrel and Alison ball two of my favorite people ever. If anyone’s ever had a conversation with me, you can say sorry, Chris. But I think really Allison is probably the favorite person of the year when it comes to the accounting profession. And it doesn’t mean that you’re any worse. She’s just unbelievable. So I want to thank you guys for taking some time with me because I know Lucio is out there kicking butt. And I want to we want to hear all about it. Talk about some great examples that we’ve been experiencing ourselves here at powerful accounting. And so welcome. Welcome, and thanks for coming, Chris. Hello.
Hello, Dawn. How you doing? Good to see you again.
Yes. Great to see ya.
Hi, everybody. I’m just so delighted to be here. Two of my favorite people. Chris and Dawn. Dawn you and I go way back. Oh my gosh.
Like way back. We have so many conversations. We were at ‘Appy camp, and the conversations around which was nice to be able to sit down and just have some time together and be able to just kind of really visit for real and not like crazy conference running by saying hello to people like on the fly. We’re actually able to talk to each other. And you were a major topic of conversation throughout the weekend.
Oh, yeah, yeah, we really, we really had a tough call there because I was a speaker in Calgary, right, a different conference. And so it was kind of like couldn’t you know, yeah, yeah. So I had serious case of FOMO seeing seeing you guys on social. Yeah, we had a lot of liscio users there, there were a lot of people who use liscio in their firms. And so that was kind of interesting. I was like, you know, I wonder what the conversation was right? You know, about Lisicio?
Well, it was positive, I can tell you that and really understanding that concept of the integrations, and certainly security is so gotta be in the forefront. And a lot of people are still forgetting that Chris, you were gonna say something I want, I want to let you say what you have to say. And then we’re going to just rip it.
Rip it. Let’s just get right into it.
Yeah. So that’s a great segue. Because the conference, a lot of conversations were around that client experience and the security of exchanging information, which I think people’s information is more valuable now than it’s ever been before. And people are taking it, they will take it whenever they can. I’m cautious about it. Just as matter of fact, I had a colleague was a client actually out of out of Rhode Island. And she was I said to her, Hey, I need to, we need some documents. You got audited, we got to deal with this. She goes Well, right now I’m in the middle of solving for a problem. I got, I got side angled by some scam, she got scammed, and to the tune of $85,000. Oh, so she was like, I really can’t think about that right now. And I said, Well, you kind of need to because you owe 30 grand after the audit. So now you’re at 115. So we might want to talk. But that’s really important, right?
Heartbreaking, heartbreaking and serious, serious cash, and they’re going after the small firms now. And, and, and business email compromise, I think is the big one. That’s the one you got to worry about. Right? As a practitioner.
Yep. So Chris, that’s, that’s one of the things that I find for myself, as we’re trying to educate our clients to at the same time, you know, for them, it’s not at the front of their mind till it till something like this happens. And so to educate them to understand that, not just with us, you should never be emailing your stuff to us period. I don’t care if they’re if the social security number is masked, there’s enough information on an insurance document, a W 2, obviously, or any of these other things that even just those last four are those socials, addresses, maybe where you bank or whatever appears there. And that becomes gold to those people who are stealing it.
We don’t meet anybody to be honest, who when we asked them how many social security numbers or how many ein do you have in your email? Right? It doesn’t say too many. Right, everybody’s done. I think it’s probably one of the big, you know, dirty, not so secrets probably in the profession. Right. And what’s interesting about it is, you know, the IRS education, I’m super glad you’re talking about this, because you know, and you’ve seen it and too many people get impacted their businesses. And even their, you know, their peace of mind, right? When somebody’s been in stealing from you. It’s like somebody’s in your house, right? But what’s even worse is in your house with your client. And you know, that that part’s actually frightening. But we look at what’s been happening, whether it’s the NIST or the IRS, right, you have all these bodies, the AICPA? Everybody’s been talking about this for how long? A decade? Yeah, the problem is this. Probably more right. Yeah, probably more doesn’t for at least a decade. And every year, it gets worse, right? It used to be big firms, that’s middle size firms. Now it’s everybody, everybody gets a dose because you can get a Bitcoin or two out of it pretty effectively. And it’s become big business. Right? So, you know, we can get as a consumers, we can get any little thing a cat food shipped to our home, inside 24 hours services everywhere, right? Because businesses are figured out to scale. These criminal organizations are no different. Right? This guy’s for Bitcoin, just like we can get a small package. That is just amazing, right? Yeah. And that’s happening left and right. And unfortunately, we hear a lot of it because a lot of people come to us say, hey, look, I’m client experience means security. They become synonymous. Right? We’re talking about how to do this little differently. And I think that’s, we obviously want to get to everybody before that happens. Sure. But yeah,
Yeah, we want preventive maintenance if we can, right, Allison?
Yeah, security’s got to be you know, in addition to what Chris has said, security’s got to be automatic, right. And it’s got to be easy. And so, I everyone out there, all of the practitioners that I talk to, they all have secure systems. But the problem is, is that there’s such a, there’s so difficult to use, right? Like, and who stops who even knows how to encrypt an email? Like you do, but does your client, your clients, your clients? That’s not enough, right, but do your clients know how to encrypt an email so it’s like, like, you start putting these barriers in so when you make it sort of as easy seamless, and, and and part of your day like you think about like an online banking app, right? How easy did the banks make it for us to have security and ease and on the go all in one, and would anybody bank at a bank now that didn’t have now like, you’d be like, Oh, I don’t think so. I’m not using that bank. I’m not using it. No.
I see the billboard now, bank with us over email.
Or fake with us only in person. Right? Yeah. All you have to come here. Bring bring us your bring us your checks. Yes, your
Deposit slip, I’m bringing it. Yes. And it’s like, well, it’s so funny too, because the clients, I think, and one of the things I find interesting with with with us, as practitioners, we want the ease of use, I want the ease of having an app that my clients can communicate with me. And sometimes I’m just like, I just want to be easy. I don’t, I’m not even thinking the security side around it. We think about it, we just want ease of use. But that’s the mistake we make. That’s a mistake, because we’re not putting the real priority in front of it. Now, we love that product. We love that client experience. We want it to be easy for them. But we have to, for our side of it, it has to be secure. And so I mean, if I never could go to have to go to an email again, I would be in heaven. I could just never be an email again. And I I can’t wait for that to actually happen when we get rid of email. And we’re communicating the way we should be, which is more direct, like you said, and I was, you know, kind of prefacing a little bit earlier about my experience with this client who I’ve had since 2011. She’s a phenomenal client when it comes to paying. Like she’s at the top. She’s the number one client in our firm when it comes to baby number two, one and two, when it comes to paying their bill never complains. But I can’t get stinking anything from her. I can’t get her to respond. I’m like, I’ll text you historically, I would text her. Help me help you. Hey, I really need that document. Hey, and I was it was a real struggle for us, I think primarily because, you know, in every client’s so different for her. We couldn’t get her to upload to SmartVault, we couldn’t get her to get her documents in she could wouldn’t. She’s not doing it. And so we were just so frustrated, but we weren’t frustrated with her. We were frustrated the process. So we knew we had to do something different. And until liscio came along, I was like, I’m just gonna drive to her house. I’m doing drive bys. She’s in the parking lot. I’m gonna go in and get what I need. It was almost at that point. And then we put her on Liscio. And this is how I explained it to her, which I think is a really great tip for people who are maybe struggling getting clients to, to, you know, jump on board and buy in, which it’s just because they’re humans. But I said, Lisa, I’m going to put this on your phone. And this app is called Liscio. I bought liscio I’m subscribing but I tell her it’s my app. It is Dawn Brolin. Why did I call it Liscio none of your business is called Licio. Put the thing on your phone. And then when you get in the look, turn on leave your alerts on for the app. And when you see an alert on your phone from this app, put it on your homepage, you think, you know it’s coming from me that means I need you. And when we did that with her, it has been night and day with her tax season was smoother because of it. We were able to message through the app. And it was funny because she’s got five or six entities that she running. She’s running three ice rinks, a racing horse company, she owns two rental properties. She also like a coach, she’s a she doesn’t 7 million things. So I’m able to go into her profile. And when I’m in Liscio, I can go Lisa, Lisa, blah, blah, blah, Lisa. And then I can pick which account we’re talking about. We’re talking about the race horse, I need a copy of the printout from companion or whatever the app, the thing is, they used to track the revenue and whatever, I need this report. So she can go into that, that task or the message or whatever, and be like, bang, here you go. Now it’s in the files. Yeah. And the best part is it’s a scanner as well. And we’ve I’ve talked that about the I would say it’s not even the it’s not the client experiences the professionals experience when they get a PDF of the 2048 coming back to you and not a JPEG. That’s usually blurry and the IRS doesn’t accept it. Like, those are the things that sometimes we that’s an example of where I love the convenience. And the in the client experience I get I get responses from her right away. Right, yeah.
And it’s organized so that your team can actually go in and collaborate on her documents and put them where they need to be for your back end systems or what have you. But and also the team can see the whole string of all the communication. So if you’re out of the office, you know, Tracy or Nicole can pick up and you know…
Yeah, and it’s perfect. So like, obviously, as we’re all so busy and in the fall especially super busy with conferences. I’m not here a lot, but I want my clients to get the answers they need at any time. Right. So from a second hear the perspective, that’s awesome. And I think, I think another great practitioner experience, since I said, security is really important. There’s two letters in that word that will freak anybody out. The SEC. Security was cut off some of those letters, say the SEC. So we have an experience. Right now we have a client who’s a hyper Liscio user. But so we have a client experience now where this is a company that has multiple entities, who was doing quite and this is this, these people came to us late, but they were doing a lot of loans. So they’re taking in investor money, a lot of millions of dollars of investor money, and the SEC caught wind of it. I don’t know how they do that. So he’s now under an SEC investigation. And so we got subpoenaed, and we gave him most of the financial information on the first subpoena, gave that to them. And now they’re like, We want everything. We want all of your communications. And I said to Nicole, I said, Nicole, you know what is awesome. It’s all in Liscio. Every bit of it is in Liscio. So we can just download what we need, throw it on a flash drive along with the financials, and send it off. And then we’re totally covered. Like, we didn’t have to go to Oh, emails, we gotta go find all the emails from him. And then we gotta go over here and find all of this and text messages and all, it’s just all right. And Lucia what? What a way for us to send it to the SEC so that we look professional?
Because are you gonna are you gonna go also with the bat? You’re gonna go in with the bat.
Always. I’m always got my softball bats right over there. Just I need the I need to be on defense every once in a while. So, you know, but yeah. So I mean, it’s just that these things that I think this message is we don’t think we don’t think forward. Right? We really don’t. We’re always thinking about this moment. And today, which, you know, our philosophy is that isn’t a motivator is what’s important. Now, the when philosophy What is important now, and I get that, and there’s time for that. But there’s also time to reflect and think, Hey, what are we prepared for? What’s coming next, if anyone told you that the pandemic was going to happen, and you needed to be prepared? Would you believe it? No.
Well, we thought it’d be a couple of weeks, right? When it did have and we were like, Oh, I’ll be home for two weeks, you know, flatten the curve. Yeah.
And that’s, it’s so funny to say that because we were in like, 2020 20, we’re at practice. In we get the news that the seasons shut down. And we go over, we put them on the bleachers. And we have this, we have the diagram that they put up where it was like, we’re here, and we got to, we have to flatten the curve and all this. And the kids were like, Coach, how long do you think we can do? It’s like, what if it’s only a couple of weeks, can we still have a season and like it was this whole unknown thing? But if you look back, and you’re like, if we knew it was gonna last like it has, would you have done something different? So as you’re making decisions on your workflow, so one of your clients, they, they somehow hack into your system and your clients information is compromised? What is showed up coulda too late. And I think from a security perspective, that’s what we miss. We miss that. We’re not thinking about what could happen. And we think about oh, well, it hasn’t happened yet.
What if that you know of that, you know, that’s the interesting thing that people that I know that have gotten business email compromise, compromise, they figured that those scammers were in there for like, months, like just lurking, watching their patterns.
That’s the thing, Chris?
There’s a perception thing we’re talking about here, right? Because everybody knows we’ve all known hey, look, we’ve got those three numbers in our email. Okay, it just kind of how it is right? Right. Or no, hey, we should probably think about maybe using a system where we can work better with the client, or you know, we kind of know these things kind of tangentially, but solving them all together. Like if you wanted to create an online banking app look like big banks, big banks have great apps. Super great. Look, small banks. They don’t have good apps that have good website stuff, right? Yeah. So it’s like, it’s kind of like a hey, look, that sounds great. It sounds totally idealistic and totally impractical. Right? Because I don’t have the money for it. The time for it. I’m busy. Right? I think, you know, I spent 12 years in accounting. And I think the work ethic is always I’m gonna get through it. I’m gonna pound my way through it. I’m gonna keep working, keep working, keep working. And it’s really, really hard to like, pick up, you know, the eye, you know, the perspective, if you will, and say, I should actually do this, and maybe it won’t be as hard as I think it might be. Right. I think what we try to do is, you know, the price has to be incredible, right? Like super inexpensive. The service has to be impeccable. We’ll do you know as much as we can for you, make sure you’re successful. And ask the dead simple for the clients so we can still keep on working. right not have to get totally distracted. Right? It has to be approachable. And I think that’s probably the biggest gift is I think we think about what the world where the world is today versus even just a couple of years ago, the way SAS software is delivered, we can make the price point super amazing for even the smallest companies like nobody’s priced out. And nobody’s under serviced. Right, I think that’s really that was the key insight we had, you know, a couple of years ago is like, look, accounting profession, we know, we know, these people, we love these people, we know these people, you know, we come from, you know, this group, it has to be a kind of a $40 a month kind of price point, right? Yeah.
And, and not by client either, like, you can’t charge by client, because what ends up happening is it ends up getting just really massive. And the other thing, the other thing I think is don’t try to find one system for your, for your clients, and for your staff back end like that. The front end, that’s what the banks did. That’s what they created something really awesome for us to use. But the banks use a totally different system on the back end to manage things, and it’s probably really ugly. Like we wouldn’t, we wouldn’t, as mere mortals be able to work with that system. Right? Like, right. So your practice management stuff should be separate from your, from your clients stuff. And if it’s not, the problem is like hurt. Heather, Heather Satterlee said this a while back, she said, you know, the practice management suites always, they think a certain way. And they and they, they they create, like, they want you to do your workflow in a certain way. And maybe you want to do it differently. And then you decide, oh, I don’t want to do it this way. And then you go for a different system, you’d have to change all your clients again, right? So keeping them on something like Liscio is like, we don’t care if the banks change their back end system, they’re probably changing them every few years, right? Or upgrading them doing what have you, right. But it doesn’t affect us as consumers, right? It doesn’t affect us as customers. And so that’s kind of the philosophy, I think of having a separate, really affordable solution for your clients, that your team also gets a lot of benefits from, right, but not tying it to your sort of like your soup to nuts entire workflow, because your clients aren’t involved in most of that stuff. Right?
Right, exactly. And I think that’s one of the pieces where we don’t we typically think the opposite exactly what you’re just saying, but realizing why not have it for best best of breed for both the client and your firm. And you’re so right about how practice management works. Because it’s, what you need to do internally is very different than the way you need to, you know, communicate and work with a client. But what better than to have both, if you can have both, you’ve got your practice management, and you have the ability for Liscio to update Karbon in which we use Karbon. So I’ll just throw that out there that we do. So liscio, working with Karbon is an awesome way for us to only enter data about the client in one spot, which is liscio. And let liscio push it to Karbon, let Liscio push it to my accounting, you know, QBO, because we just use it for everything so that from a firm functionality, perspective is seamless. And we’re not having we’re not having to enter in three places, which is what we would have had to do. So now we’re entering it in one and it ends up in three. And so that’s really important to me, but I just look at it, if you’re trying to evaluate, like what’s happening with that communication with your clients that you are getting it from all of these different places, and I kind of compare it to ADP. So like I’m an ADP user, because it does everything I need. It gives me client insights that I could never get an any other way to analyze payroll, whatever it may be. But what I love about is I’m going one place, I’m going into all of my payroll clients are there. It’s the same thing. I want all of my client communications in one place. I’m all about, listen, I’m getting older. I know you don’t believe that. I’m getting older. So for me to remember, oh, this person only uses email, oh, this person just text me, oh, this person does this, this person does something different. They want to call and you’re sitting there going. I just especially Oh my goodness. Okay. blow me away about texting. So let’s just talk about texting for a minute. Right? A lot of people want to text. I love the functionality of texting for my personal life. It’s great. I can communicate with my kids. I can whatever you know, play, you need to get a hold of me. On my private side. I don’t want any text messages coming in from a client ever. I don’t want I don’t take my phone for you to text me while I’m at dinner. So but if I if I see if I get a notification from my firm dash on my phone. Now I can choose whether or not I want to communicate with them. Yeah, you give them that full blown access to you through a text. They’re gonna expect an immediate response. You have to control that right, Chris?
Absolutely. I mean, I think you know, nobody wants to use email, right? If you try to email you know, somebody who’s a you know, Um, you know, born sometime, but you know more recently, they’re not going to look at the email, right? They’re gonna text, or they’re gonna use an app. So we have to have the app experience, I think, you know, the world has changed. I think it’s fair to say the number of texts sent per day between important clients. Don’t want to be careful with this, because there’s a lot of volume and email. But the most important conversations we have in our personal lives are happening on text. Most important conversations we’re having are on text. So I think it’s actually a little bit of an honor to be invited by a client to text them means we’re close, right? Yep, means you’re close. They’re not they’re not really getting us to email with all the spam and all the junk, right? That’s a great thing. And why would you ever want to say no, like, hey, no, I don’t want to text you basically say, we’re not close.
Let’s have this client relationship. But yet, you have to really get in touch with me somehow.
Yea we’re gonna do this over email. I mean, come on. Right, which I think I could put practitioners puts us all in a really awkward position, right? Because we were service oriented, right? And we’re people oriented. And so I think that that puts a lot of people to buy. And I think that’s precisely why so many, so many people in the profession are texting. I think when we look at it, we say, hey, it doesn’t have to be FHS. There’s a lot of people who are doing things over WhatsApp, for example. But that’s even better. And we start to compartmentalize it to start to be a little more in network. It’s not fully a network, right? We’re moving towards being a network, which is really what people want. How can you bring them in network in the right place? And then give them all the tooling? Because I think when we look at it, we say, okay, yeah, you want to tax but we can’t text, large files, I can’t get a QuickBooks Desktop file on it. We can’t text things to be signed, we can’t text a lot of different things. It’s a second, we say, inside the firm, we’ve got 10 different systems. If we’re using five different systems to communicate with the client. We know we can’t balance a 10 internally that easily. We certainly shouldn’t expect a client to juggle five things to work with us. Okay, we’re gonna tax but now go check this portal or now go check this signature thing are now go check something that blows them up, so they can’t find anything. The second we blow them up, what happens? They start texting us again, hey, can you send me? You know, we have to be thinking like, hey, just like we want to consolidate everything for us, we have to have the same same lens for our clients. And once we do, then we win. Right? Then we have the Bank of America, the chase experience, and then we’re just in the habit of hey, I just go here, for Bank of America, just…
That one place. It just makes all the difference. Doesn’t that one place? Yeah. And a habit.
You know, it’s, it’s so this is such like, I don’t know, I just love talking to you. And you talk to the two of you for days, really. But think about what’s happening in the industry right now. And that’s really important for people to keep in perspective, the whole com… Ron Baker just did a great conversation at Intuit Tech Summit. Okay. And he talked about where everyone went from hourly pricing. And they even hanged himself at one point, value pricing has been the big conversation, though. I don’t think a lot of people have bought into that a lot. Some have some haven’t, regardless. But he’s he’s at a great place where he says, and I changed the term because I, you know, it’s about me. So he talks about subscription pricing. Okay, now I take a step further. And this is where liscio comes in. Because this is exactly what it is. subscription pricing, to me is like a Hulu account. So I don’t really want to call it that. And I agree with Ron Baker, and even had a conversation with him about it. And I want to make sure that I hashtag this and that I can this right, I have to trademark this because I want to win is relationship pricing. That’s what we’re doing. There you go. Subscription. There you go. Right. Right. You shouldn’t hit pricing. And I am Allison just launched relationship pricing. Tomorrow will be the firt. Well, I I had a couple people for October. But I’ve got four clients who are some have been at the $9,000 a year billing, jump to $18,000 a year because we put them on a relationship because…
They they’re at but they’re getting more as well. And they’re getting a deeper relationship and the value there is for them because they don’t have to worry about picking up the phone. They know that it’s all included.
And if I have an app like Liscio, they have a direct connection to me. They can’t get me on the phone, but they can message me through Liscio and I can go Yep, those are one of the about the relationship pricing clients. They’re getting first priority. That’s right. And so when we’re talking about having this new way of being a professional of moving forward in our practices, and so I worked really hard with giraffes. They’ve been instrumental in helping me get to this point, which has been great. Just like they’ve like we’re an extension of my firm and even helped me put my webpage together for it like, awesome. But they got me through the process in my brain of understanding what relationship pricing really is. And so if I can see, here’s an app for you, you’re on value pricing, you can get me anytime you need me. And I’m able to fulfill that promise, what if I don’t do that? Let’s step back from it. I’m gonna do relationship pricing. And we’re gonna be that firm for you. And you can call me anytime you want. But email me or text me or call me or leave a note on my door, or however you want to communicate with me now, what am I doing? I’m setting the relationship up for failure. Yeah. Because they’re not going to get me when they want me, they’re not going to get answers as quickly as they could have, because I don’t know where it went.
And you won’t have the full picture either, you won’t have that full picture of what everybody said to that client and what they said to you and what they sent. And that’s where having that single source, single source of truth single place. And Chris, I think they call it now in larger firms single portal. So it’s like, you know, that one place for the clients to go.
There’s patterns here, right, we always looking for patterns. You know, in, in our lives, I think one of the patterns that a lot of firm owners fall in, it’s a firm owner trap. The firm owner trap is I can’t delegate to my staff, the second failure to my staff fully, I don’t have the complete picture. So what do we do? Now the complete picture, firm owners end up getting CC and BCC got everything. And then it got stitched together. Otherwise, you just don’t know what’s happening. I think every look at a different way. Which is a pattern that works, where you can actually get up to date on somebody really fast. We’re gonna go visit some some second cousins we haven’t seen in two years. Where do we go? Right? Go to Facebook, go to Facebook, go to Facebook, scroll down a timeline. Get up to speed. How long does it take you up to speed on two years to scroll through Facebook? Not long. Now you’re ready? How else would you do it? How else would you do it? So what we’re doing let’s see, this is a this is a feature we’re releasing in the next two weeks. But we call it timeline. Okay, in the Liscio timeline is going to have all your client requests, everything they sent you invoices, you sent out messages, everything files, everything is in a timeline. If you want to see the files, you want to see the requests, you can see it in one place. So anybody on the team to Dawn you can be out at the Super Regionals. Right there you’re doing anything. Anybody on your team could scroll through timeline. Hello, hey, yeah, great Dawn’s out right now. But the question, okay, great. And while they’re getting the input from the client, as they’re managing the relationship, they have all the data right there in front of them. Exactly. No handoff, I gotta go call, Dawn. You know, how much do we like getting routed? When we call an airline? Hang on Ron, department, we put you on hold. That’s not a relationship? That’s the pattern that we see that we’re really, really excited about servicing.
And with that, if you think about it, just that what you just described, you can’t get from having a phone with a text, or an email over here, or files over here or whatever, your you’ve got these pieces everywhere. And I think that’s what’s gonna go.
What’s gotta go and the way you’re doing it, right? You have the other client, just horse racing and three strikes. Okay, calling in, I got a question about horses. Now, do you want to have to scroll through everything from that person? How many of us have done the search for search for client aid in Google or Microsoft, and you get a laundry list? Everything too much. But he can say I want to target the horse racing business. Now we have a timeline for just worse.
Pinpoint everybody’s and everybody’s, I think the big thing is everybody’s communications are in there that have had that with that one client. So or about that client? It like everything that’s kind of like, you know, allocated to that, to that account. I can’t see inside Chris’s inbox unless he copies me. And even then, I can’t see everything that happened. That was just between Chris and the client, right? So you can’t man you can’t actually manage relationships based on email. Like, Chris, you gave an analogy, in a meeting we had last week about can you imagine like a customer service organization managing on email? It’d be just a mess or a sales organization managing without their CRM, like it’d be just a total mess. Yeah. And you just couldn’t imagine so why do we do that in the accounting industry, right,
Every every other business it’s Kelly’s. It’s really I mean, I love it. It’s just such an amazing part of the world to work in. But if you’re running professional sales team to use Salesforce or something like it right, how many companies are out there do we meet that aren’t using anything?
Very, very few of them are using nothing.
And how many people or how many, how many people were just emailing into customer service? And it’s going to somebody’s personal email box or business email? Nobody. It goes to a help desk, right? Wherever we can collaborate. But accounting is this weird this really this really, you know, interesting adolescence? Well, yeah, yeah, we’re in search of that moment. And that’s really, that’s really what it is. So the patterns are super established. We know they work. We know clients adopt them like crazy, right? Because we do everywhere else. But it’s tougher to counter.
Yeah, so definitely. So is that is this timeline, the this big thing that’s happening here? The next couple of weeks, we just kind of talked a little bit prior that there’s what’s happening at Liscio?
Absolutely, there’s a bunch of things that are coming out. But I think you know, two things, we’re putting out what’s called time one, which is simply look, while you have to speed up by accounts or by person come here. If you want to actually understand what you need to do we have another page inside of it called in focus. So you can go to a client and see, you know, how many tasks are waiting for for them? How many things have we received for them that we haven’t I mean, documents came out that we haven’t processed yet, how much money do they owe us? How many invoices are outstanding, all that through a single view. So somebody calls up, you can say, hey, I’m looking at your account right now looks like we have two requests waiting for you can go take a look at those for us yada yada, yada. But you will know, at a glance where that class dance mix aligns,
or any member of your team will know, that’s the cool thing. Any member like so it’s not just you will know. Right? You have a team. Yeah. And they’re and they’re assigned, you know. And then the other thing we have is client service teams. So if you’re worrying that you have just everybody else to see everything you don’t you can assign clients to you can assign people to clients to segregate if you have a really large team. But the thing is, is that you create this visibility, right,
which I love, because like I want Tracee to manage those communications communications as much as possible. I don’t have to so she can go. I’m excited about the timeline. She’s gonna be excited about that, too. Because she’s able to go in and someone calls She’s the face of powerful accounting. Thank God. So you know, if somebody calls, they’re usually calling Tracy. And they’re either looking, did you get this? Or did you get that? Or did this happen? She doesn’t have to be calling me or slacking me or whatever, at any point, because she can go in just look and see what needs to get done. Or yeah, it looks like Dawn sent you the 2048. You didn’t do anything with it.
You can take a proper vacation! That’s the whole point. Everyone takes a vacation. If you don’t do this, then we’re dealing with I used to sit at you know, I’d be in this is, you know, sad, but so true. But I think it’s relatable. And go on vacation. You’re sitting, you know, somewhere, great view, your family’s there. And you’re checking emails, you can route things, because I don’t route it right now. Even though I’m on vacation. I don’t router right now, the clients waiting. Right? I wouldn’t feel terrible in six hours when they don’t get service during the business day. Yep, that’s what we do. We became routers, right? That’s, that’s….
Oh, it makes my head hurt.
They’ll come back and they’ll tell us, hey, look, I have control over my business. I can actually take vacations. You still they still we all still have the habit of checking things. But it’s not the same as when I gave Tracy’s out. You’re blind. Right? That’s not the case. Because you can be out. And you can say we got you covered. Tracy, you have a great plan. We’ll see you in a week.
Right? Exactly. So so it’s been really a game changer for us. And for our clients. Like we’re just able to communicate better. And with relationship pricing, the way I look at it is I have to make sure that I have a tool that I can, yes, I can respond to timely anyone can respond to you, we’re all able to stay on top of things because we are shrinking our client base, that’s we want to laser focus a little bit better. So we want to make sure that experience for those that we keep that we did that by the way we decide to keep we’re going to we’re and we’re firing clients right now, as we’re going as we see appropriate, you know, those either those people who are constantly calling and asking the same question 10 times are still haven’t gotten us what we needed. And we still haven’t given them an app to be able to get us things. We’re not doing it anymore. You don’t want to adopt our processes, you don’t want to do the things we’re doing. It’s not going to work, the relationship isn’t there. So we and that’s what we’re establishing, which is really exciting. And if you haven’t gone through that process, it’s something to go through is to be like, You know what, like, we have this one client, this guy, he’s never wants to pay anything for anything. But once all the help in the world, and it’s like, okay, guy, guess what we’re done later? Well, you know, and we were telling them now, so they have a couple months, three months to find another practitioner and tax planning whatever they may need. But in order to have a relationship pricing model, you have to make sure you’re able to cultivate the relationship in a way that’s positive for both of you. And with Licio. You can do that. And I think that that’s really important for people to hear, and most importantly, that it’s secure. But we’ve got to get this we got two components we’re just trying to solve for and we’ve got one app that can solve for both and that’s what we need. Get out of email. You’re out of your mind like I can’t wait worse We’re working towards directing people to the app. And we’re, you know, we’re still trying to help them get over there. But imagine, you know, I think maybe it’ll take another six, maybe another tax season to get them all to be like, Okay. And then I won’t ever have to check email again. And because they’ll call and they go, don’t never respond to my email. Well, yeah, you’re supposed to be in liscio. member, and Oh, okay. And then they send a message, you’re like, Hey, welcome to the party.
It’s like, the two things we can do there. I mean, obviously, we integrate with email, too. So you always categorize email, and we’re actually working on one of the big things you’ll get in about 90 days is we’ll pull it in by clients. That’s what works. Audible just like Salesforce does. But where I think you’re going, where I think you’re going is so brilliant, what you’re saying is the right client super matters, right? And you’re changing, you’re changing how you’re working with them to make sure it’s not the right client, the right relationship it matters. We did a survey recently. And, you know, we asked people how important is getting the right client versus any client? You know, neutral sunlight, extremely Guess how many firms responded? This is hundreds first, because my firms responded extremely important.
Half a percentage, obviously.
80! I’m saying almost nobody said not important. Almost no, it is somewhat or because I think a lot of volume shops, right, but the volume shops get burned, because people don’t pay or whatever, right. But four out of five, four out of five firm owners are saying it’s extremely important. Just what’s the game that everybody is competing for the best clients. Right? Right. And you’re just saying, I’m moving, I’m moving to relationships, I’m not selling a commodity, I’m not selling a commodity subscription. I want to work with the best people and I want to commit. I’m in on that. Right. So it’s really, really, I think what you’re doing is really,
yeah, what’s great is I don’t have to have right now I have 250 clients, I would like 100. Because I would rather infuse my soul into those clients that want. And I’m just asking them, listen, with one two weeks ago, and I said, Listen, you know what he wanted to ask me some for tax planning, blah, blah, blah, we’re going through the questions. And I said, Listen, this is where we’re at this and I had prefaced the conversations, and we knew we were gonna talk about this. Listen, this is where we’re moving it, this isn’t something that you feel like your company needs right now. It is not a big deal. Let’s get you where you’re going to be the most productive, the most successful. And maybe that’s not with me. And I’m okay with that. I just want you as the business owner, to be successful in whatever way that means to you. And that just for you right now, doesn’t mean you want to talk to me every quarter, and talk about tax planning, help you run your business and all the questions you’ve been asking me on this call. Those types of things, you’re not worried about what I’m charging you, you just call let’s just talk, whatever you need, and call me whenever you need me not worried about whether I’m gonna bill you or not. And he was like, Yeah, I just don’t think I need all that. I said, Awesome. He goes, You don’t as a matter of fact, I’m maybe I’m gonna go local. Maybe I’ll find someone local. I go, that’s awesome. If that’s what you need, then get it? I would rather you do that than to stay with me and be miserable. Like we here’s the here’s what it is. I want to get paid on the first of the month. And I want to pay all of my employees, all two of them, including my Well, three, including me. I want to pay all three of us on the first of the month. Yep. Our bills are paid. We pay all our bills on the first of the month, we can move on. And then guess what we do? We Wow, we sat we Zazzle that’s even a word. We do we do? Are we go 110% to do whatever we need to do for those clients. That’s take a vacation. I don’t care. We don’t care if you’re off three months a year. You’re getting done. I don’t care. Yeah.
And practitioners can have that we’ve, we’ve, I think I think the biggest thing that I see, when people move to when they when they when they when they get control of their client communications and stop that madness of having a look in so many different places. their personal lives improve. And where did we end somehow we all got the idea that you had to work, you know, 6080 hour weeks and you had to have tax season was you can never do anything extra in tax season. You’re just working, working, working. And really, Chris is Chris and me. I mean I once I once I learned about the problem and really saw the impact of it the knock on effect of it Using all these disparate systems, just the pain, the pain that everybody’s under, we can do something about that. It’s and there is a solution. And it just just requires just thinking a little bit differently about how you work with your clients. And, you know, bringing them into all that one place where, and then everything starts to calm down, and it starts to end you can have you can, you can leave the office at a regular time every day, and you can, you know, take walks during the day, and you can be healthy again, it’s like, it’s just a big deal. It’s really, really a big deal. And you can and then you can move to the relationship that you’re talking about. Yeah.
It’s inevitable, everybody’s, it’s all gonna end up here. Just a matter of who’s going to get on the bus when they when did they go choose to get the bus? Because the state of the profession is not sustainable, right? People don’t want to do it forever. People don’t want to join the profession, right? People have been doing all the same way forever. Why? Why are you doing this? Well, it’s how we’ve always done. We know that’s not sustainable. It’s totally unsustainable. It’s the whole point. The whole point of everything I’ll put in putting systems and all this is to make things enjoyable, right? 100% why we do that we should do our jobs make them enjoyable. So anyway, I think this is entirely entirely, you know, inevitable. It doesn’t matter will take another 12 months. 24 months 3640 of I don’t know. Yeah,
I don’t know. I’m not waiting for it. I’m just going you can pay for it. Or you can go for it. And I’m just somebody who’s a go for it. Person.
Go for it. Absolutely.
Yeah. Any last thoughts? Any last thoughts from you guys?
Love you pieces. I’m looking forward to seeing you in person again soon.
we’re real excited to you guys and excited excited for the new things that are coming and you guys are always moving forward. And, and I just see, you know, great things for Liscio as we move forward. And hopefully people are smart enough to not get left behind when it comes to you know, having the client experience and in your firm experience. So thank you, Liscio for joining us. Allison, do you have anything you wanted to say?
No, I was I was just I was yeah, thank you.
Yeah, so thank you. Liscio. And thank you guys for listening to them disruption Dawn Brolin here, and we look forward to seeing you in the next episode. Thanks, everybody. Take care. Bye bye.
This episode is sponsored by Bookkeep. Learn more at https://www.bookkeep.com/
Thomas Ruscitti & Emily Hedrick from Bookkeep join Dawn! Listen now to learn about Thomas and Emily, why Bookkeep is the go-to bookkeeping solution for accounting firms, and how automation is the future of this industry!
Tom and Emily’s Beginnings
Tom begins the conversation by talking about his experience in accounting. He says that he received a call from an Inuit site leader in Tucson to teach them about point of sale—as Quickbooks point of sale had just been released. Tom says this 10 day contracted position turned into a 10 year career at Intuit.
Emily also talks about how she started in accounting, and how it began with being hired as a project manager for Insightful Accountant. Emily then shares that she met Tom and the Bookkeep team at Scaling New Heights, and when she was looking for a new position, Tom reached out to her immediately.
Building Relationships Within the Accounting Community
Dawn brings up how everyone in the accounting industry is very supportive, and how there isn’t as much competition as you would expect. She highlights how important it is to be open to joining the accounting community and how it will lead to a better experience for both you and your business.
Tom agrees and adds that it’s very important that everyone who chooses to join the accounting industry tbe passionate about what they do. He even goes on to share that the biggest influencers in the industry are people like Dawn, not the applications and products the industry uses.
Emily agrees and says that she recently spoke to someone new entering the accounting space, and they didn’t know how to approach “pitching themselves.” Emily says you can’t try to sell something to somebody; you have to build a relationship. You have to build trust with a client before they will be interested in your product.
How Bookkeep is “Selling Time”
Dawn brings up how automation is the future of the accounting industry, and she asks Tom about what Bookkeeping can do to help practitioners achieve this.
Tom brings up the point that at the end of the day, Bookkeep is ultimately “selling time.” He says that they are giving the community their time back. Tom says there is a shortage of Bookkeepers in the industry and they are using their application to solve that. Bookkeep allows practitioners to efficiently and effectively run their firms, which allows them time to focus on what’s most important to them.
How Great Customer Service is the Key to Client Retention
Tom and Dawn also talk about how important it is to maintain a good report between you and your client. Tom says that many other applications promise big things to practitioners, but often fail to deliver when it comes to customer service.
Tom brings up how they have a chat support open Monday-Friday, but that their CEO, Jason Richelson is often answering questions that come in on the weekend. Tom and Emily both agree that having stellar customer service is the best way to support your clients, and they will support you in return.
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Hi everyone, my name is Dawn Brolin, I’m a certified public accountant, a Certified Fraud Examiner, the president of powerful accounting, Inc, and the author of the designated motivator for accounting professionals. And I’m here to tell you, if you are not searching for applications that eliminate data entry, you are missing the mark. Now I found an app, it is called Bookkeep. Bookeep solves for integrations between apps such as PayPal, or actually, really payment methods or ordering systems like GrubHub, things like that Shopify WooCommerce, the list is never ending, and they’re always adding on more applications. what is awesome about bookkeeping is that you simply connect your data file, whatever it may be, to bookkeeping, and it syncs just use GrubHub, for instance, it puts in GrubHub income at the gross amount, then it has expense accounts for GrubHub fees, and so on. And so it allows you to not be data entering or hand keying journal entries for these types of systems. And it does it correct every single time. When I found that application, this is a conversation that I’ve had with my, with my staff for years and years, we don’t want to enter data. When I found Bookkeep, we implemented it immediately for every client who has either PayPal, or Shopify, or GrubHub, or whatever it may be, so that those transactions can go in on a daily basis, magically while you’re sleeping. And you have accounting that is accurate, so you can make decisions. Are you selling enough? GrubHub? Are the fees worth it? How much are you paying? And so many people were using these applications have no idea what it really cost them to run through those systems. And so bookkeepers solve for that as accounting as an accounting professional, I always tell my staff, I want books to be correct. And I don’t do not want your hand keeping a journal entry. If you find yourself hand keying and transaction, then you need to stop and find the solution. And I can tell you right now, bookkeepers, solving that for all of our GrubHub Pay Pal, again, Shopify, there’s many different apps that they sync with. It’s awesome. I recommend that you go take a demo today, because it’s so easy, and it’s super affordable. So go get your designated motivator here. Go check out Bookkeep. Thank you so much for listening.
Hello everybody and welcome to the DM Disruption. Dawn Brolin here at a Wyndham, Connecticut. I’m super excited today to have two of my absolute favorite people just in general and in life. I think we have those people we love. And we’re here today with Tom Ruscitti… I tried every version. Okay, you say it.
Ruscitti. I got it. Pronunciation thing that your brother…
That’s okay. Yeah, I mean, it took me 20 years to learn how to say it. So you’re okay.
I can’t even imagine how long it took to spell it. Because there’s c in there.
Right. Yeah, yeah.
See? And then of course, we have the wonderful beautiful, amazing Emily Hedrick, which saying the name right? And my these are my people from bookkeeper. We’re not just going to sit here and talk about bookkeeper. We’re going to talk about some really cool industry wide thought leadership. Because that’s fancy for we’re just going to talk about stuff that we love to talk about. And so Tom and I have known each other for well, since we’re like two so it’s probably been three years. I think that’s…
And so Tom has been in the accounting industry for many years. Many again, like I said since he was two and Emily, who is just the backup of all backups you know, she’s actually in charge of Tom, Laney of courses to Emily really, at the end of the day on a day to day basis. Emily’s in charge so, I want each of you calm once you start just introduce yourself or why do you love the accounting industry and just say whatever you want my guy?
Well, let me let me start by saying My name’s Tom Resetti or rachet. The that’s the Italian pronunciation and actually means small roses in Italian. Gosh, I’ve been working with QuickBooks ProAdvisor and in community for roughly 20 years maybe a little bit more and started I don’t know over 20 years ago, I got a call from Intuit site leader in Tucson who asked me if I could come and teach them a little bit about point of sale, because QuickBooks point of sale had just been released. And they didn’t realize they couldn’t sell it for like Chinese buffet restaurants and things like that. So I went down there on a 10 day contract and and ended up lasting 10 years. And the, you know, it’s funny because the everybody goes to these great huge conferences, and they’re, you know, like Oprah Winfrey and all kinds of famous people. But if you talk to some of the the original back then we used to come the input retail solution providers. You know, we started with six, we could have had our first conference in a car that our second, our first actual RSP retail solution provider conference was at a place called westward look in Tucson, Arizona, and we basically did it all ourselves. So Maria, and I and Marie’s two sons were, were putting the little pages in a binder for the agenda, Bill Bergen and I were, were banging a little brass tacks into the certificate. Gina was trying to keep me square, which was a full time job that no Emily does. Which I literally, I mean, let’s admit, if you’ve got to try to keep me on track, you should get hazard pay. Yeah, I’m not even gonna I can’t even deny it. Right. I mean, um, but, you know, it was, and still is. And if we want to, maybe chat about community, we can do that in a minute. But I’ve been in this in this marketplace, especially in the Intuit marketplace. Now we’re getting into the Xero marketplace and, and that ecosystem for 20 years. And honestly, I would say I’ve made more great friends in the Intuit community than I have my whole life. And I’m talking about through college and high school and, you know, a couple, a couple stints in prison. And yeah, you know, those were quick. Yeah, yeah. So, and that’s me.
Yeah. Well, so Marie Archuleta, right, that was talking about wonderful woman when I thought I saw her in an airport last week, and it wasn’t her. But…
Well, I will tell you, I don’t know if you’ve seen Marie recently. She looks like a movie star. She looks like a movie star.
One of the most kind people you’ll ever meet.
You want me to tell you a quick story about Maria, Maria and I go back, we go back a long time. She was one of the first RSP team members, solution provider team members, you know, I left Gina really took over Simon passed. And and But Marie and Gina were one of the two first. I mean, when when we first started this, it was myself, Marie Gina, no bargain. And then Craig Baker came a little bit later. And we did everything together. And we were going to work a show in San Francisco. And I was already there. And Marie was flying in. And it was a little bit later at night. So instead of making her take a taxi, I ordered her car service. Now, the difference between a car service and a taxi in San Francisco and you know, in the late 80s was probably 30 bucks, right?
Back in the day. Yeah.
To this to this day. Marie Archuleta later will tell that story about how special she felt. Because there she wouldn’t get in the cab. There was a guy standing there with a sign. And she got the feel important. And those are the kinds of things and I have hundreds of those 1000s of those where you just gotta make people feel special. And Marie was a very special human. She and so anything I could do to make her life easier. I was willing to do often at the expense of what into a closure P card. Yep. Which is your company purchasing car. Right? You know, and honestly, 20 years later, we do the same thing. And Emily can attest to it. Right? I’m not having I’m not gonna have Emily walking through a parking garage in New Orleans. No, valet parked the car. I don’t really care how much it costs, right. I mean, it’s not like we’re staying in a penthouse with caviar and champagne. Just valet? I don’t you know, something happens. Emily, we’re done.
So that’s all backup.
Yeah, I’m losing no Orleans, only, you know? Yeah, think about just a second think about that. Yeah. Anyway, that’s me.
So speaking of Emily, Emily, tell us about yourself. What’s your best name in the world? Emily?
Yes, of course. So I just started with bookkeeper earlier this year. And my experience in the accounting industry started when I was at insightful accountant. And I was there for about two years, I was the webinar host, and kind of like the project manager for all of the webinar type contracts. So I was really lucky to interact with a lot of different apps, a lot of different people in the apps, a lot of presenters. And I do I love the accounting community, I had previously worked with some corporate and higher ed clients. And it’s a lot different. The accounting industry is very, very welcoming. Everybody I feel like is really super nice and wants to help everybody else succeed. And so I really do like that about this industry. And it’s so great to go to these conferences, you know, we’ve been online for the last couple years. So going out to these conferences, and being able to shake people’s hands and see them in person has been really awesome. Really awesome experience.
Yeah, it’s interesting. And I love what Tom said too, about, like, you make these friends in this industry, and people are so welcoming. They everybody kind of wants to help each other. You know, it’s not, you know, I just don’t think there’s competition. Honestly, I think most people have their like, what they’re really good at what they’re not really good at. But I just found, you don’t get those emails, you get those things and emails from people like, hey, why don’t you know, join, we’ll guarantee you five new clients, I’m like, I don’t want anymore. Good. I’m so good. And the reason why I like the way I look at it is, you know, just want to back up a second, making friends. I just went to Deb ephors birthday party a few weeks ago, Deb has been a friend of mine for a long, long time. She’s a great person, great human. And, you know, that’s what these relationships do by by building up and you you know who the good people are. And I’m not fine. I’ve not found a lot of crappy people within the accounting industry. There’s some that are a little, maybe a little bit more headstrong than others. And you just got to know where to fit in, when it comes to that kind of a thing. But you know, that conferences, going to conferences is great. That’s how you like, face to face. And right, Emily, like we’ve been online for so long. And that’s been really tough, right? And it’s, it’s a whole different experience when you wrap your arms around somebody or just, you know, be able to sit and have a coffee or whatever. And that’s like, so great. And so, you know, thinking back Tom to, you know, the 20 years plus that you’ve been involved in the industry, what the heck is going on? Now, we were talking 20 years ago about nobody even dreamed of an online platform, maybe? I think 10 years ago, 12, maybe even 13? We were like, Oh, I see, I remember when I was in I was in this partnership. And I want to work remote because I have young kids and they were having nothing to do with remote working? No, you need to be in the office, your buttons be in the seat, and are still companies like that right now. Which I think those guys might find themselves in a little bit of trouble, because of the way things are moving. And you’ve got your young professionals coming up. But, you know, back back in the day, Tom, why don’t you tell us about back in the day? What was it like?
Well, you know, before we had electricity and running water, and no, you know, but the thing is, if you really look at what’s gone on, and, you know, in my illustrious professional careers, and you know, I’m old now, let’s, let’s just be serious, right? I’m old, and I’m okay with that. Right. But I was in the point of sale business, I installed more hospitality point of sale terminals, and then probably any three people in America. And it was always a local network. They had a server in the back they did you know, you had to cable you had to do all this kind of stuff. And you had to run cabling in the kitchen and you put a printer in the kitchen and then three days later, it’s full of grease and you know, all that kind of stuff. But nobody would ever back then even consider like a cloud, but companies come on. Seriously, right? Let’s not even talk about right now. And honestly, our founder and CEO Jason Nicholson was really one of the pioneers of this cloud based and then he he’s really lost his mind and said he was going to put it on an iPad. But if you remember 15 years ago, the only people used iPads for the kids and they were playing Candy Crush or whatever they do. Right? And and he’s out Nope, I’m gonna put it in the cloud my POS in the cloud, and I’m gonna have it on an iPad and everybody in the POS community went, Yeah, right. Yes. Yeah. Look at it shopkeep, one of the most successful startups of the day, you know, and it does that with 40 or 50,000. Margins. Cloud based on an iPad. Crazy Talk. Now not looking at what we do now. I mean, there is more, there’s more technology in my phone, in the near phone, then NASA had when they went to the moon, for real, that’s crazy talk. Yeah. Crazy. And, and so technology wise. I can’t even say the sky’s the limit, because we’ve already passed that. Right. So where do we go next? But I think that I really think that the the art community, right, is well served by people who actually care about what we do, honestly. I mean, you know, when you said, I met lots of people, most of them are good people, the majority of them, there might be some that are headstrong, the vendor side of that is exactly the opposite. Right? Everybody wants to be in the Intuit community. Why? Because they’re like, 160,000, pro advisors. Right? Right. I don’t know, there’s some ridiculous number, right. So everybody sees that as as fertile ground. Right. And so they, they sweep in, and they’re the new kid on the block. And you know, they might be a little better looking. And they might be have a nicer car, if you go back and look at high school, and, but they’re not willing to commit to the community. And if you think you’re gonna be successful in the Intuit community in two years, then you You’re crazy, right? This is a long term play. And people in this community, it’s funny, because I tell people coming into this community all the time, you’re gonna shake a lot of hands and kiss a lot of babies, long before you see any revenue. 100%. Right. And the people that are the greatest influencers in our community, the people that everybody else listens to, right, typically don’t do the most business. Because the people that are doing the most business, are busy doing business, and not really that concerned about helping the community. Right. Yeah. So, you know, the big influencers are helping your your brand or product, right, but we’re not getting that business from them. Right? No, I mean, you’re a great example. Everybody, everybody in the world wants to be associated with Don, bro. Everybody. Right? Yeah, I’m telling you. Yeah. When when we started setting up the first thing that the guys from whatever their name was, I can remember their booth. He said, Oh, so you know, who do you work with? Right? Guy said, do you work with the umbrella? And I said, Oh, yeah, I’m then going for 2000 years. Yeah, yeah. Well, you know, that’s because only the good die young. You know, you know, that movie Highlander where they hack off his head and it grows back. But the moment I mentioned Dawn Brolin, they’re, they’re like in reverence like, oh, well, you know, you and I don’t work together, because it’s just something that we do, right? I mean, it takes work, especially, especially on your guy’s part. I mean, for Emily? Oh, you know, I mean, you know, you get a reprieve. Right? You know, cuz you don’t talk to me every day. That’s right. You know,
the day you’re so right, like, it’s not, this isn’t a short term play. This is the part of a family that lives forever, this is dumb. And you see the apps that come in, quick sweep in, and then they’re gone. And understanding, first of all, the foundation of the apps partners, that you want to work with the foundation of what they believe in their, you know, their moral compass, just there to sell you a product or are they there to help you improve your business and the lives of your customer, your clients? Right? And that is something you have to you know, I always believe that about Intuit right? So when I that was like my, I’ll say that’s my first app that I started dealing with, right? Because I went into staples. I’m like, green box. I like that color was from my high school. I’m like, All right, I’m gonna go with the green one, I don’t even know if anything else was there as little Running Man, you know. And as I started to get to know them joining the Intuit accountant Council and then getting to know Tom through the IRP, well, whatever they want to call it now, that reseller program and all of that, you just I didn’t know there was such great people in the accounting industry, I just, I mean, I’m sitting my desk and that’s all I ever knew. But then when I started, I’m like, this is a company that really does care about their customers people like Alison ball, you’re like, that’s I met Alison through there and invasin and you know, Andy, and Shana all those guys who were the fountain Maria Marcela, and their name is the list is endless, really, of great people I’ve met and got to know through time Mark Dean is also another one of my favorites. I had Mark, you’ll love this little story about Mark being mark the, his voice, I’m like, bro, you need to be an announcer or something or, or even like maybe like a really a beautiful love song radio show. I had him record a voicemail, like a morning, wake up. On this is your day, you got this and whatever, I play it every once in a while. Like, that’s what it’s all about. You need the longevity, I can’t be introducing apps to my clients, and then they’re gone in two years. So that’s my responsibility to vet them. And I think that for those that are listening, that is a really important point that you have to take home. Right. And Emily, you’ve seen it what, obviously working with an Insightful Accountant, you came across a lot of app partners, with a lot of people. So you saw that firsthand. Oh, yeah. And like you just, you know, you just kind of knew probably after the first 10 minutes of a conversation,
Well and it takes a little bit of time to we had a conversation this past week with somebody who’s very new in the space. And, you know, I think they were they didn’t really know how to approach it. And I was, you know, I was like, Look, I’ve been in here about to a little over two years. Now, you can’t just go in and try to sell something to somebody, you have got to build a relationship with them. They have to trust you to be even interested in your product. Right?
Yeah. And again, you’re just getting the first five minutes you get that? Yeah. So you know what, as we look back, and we say, okay, back in the day, whenever the cloud was like, What are you nuts? You know, what are you smoking today? Like, that was kind of like, you know, all right, are we back in the set in the 60s, where we’re gonna go back to, you know, doing drugs and stuff? I don’t know, and go back. But it’s like, that’s the thing. And so the industry is changing. And here’s where I think it’s so important. As we look forward to the future, we look at the back the past and like, we didn’t believe this would we would be here? Well, some of us did. Right? As time went on, we knew this was coming. And we knew changes were going to be made. And so the industry itself is in an interesting shift right now. We need a lot of young, professional, we need people we need people in the industry, people are phasing out fashion they’re coming in. And that’s really important for us to pay attention to. And if you think about that, whether they’re doesn’t matter what their age is, they’re new in the industry, like you were saying, Emily, whether that was a vendor or an attendee either way, as you’re trying to maneuver in here it is, it is hard. It’s hard to figure out who to commit to and who not to commit to. And that’s probably the biggest challenge. Now, technology is replacing in some cases, and it should, it should, I should never be taping this keyboard, right as a keyboard. Can you see it? Yep, there we go. The keyboard and doing things like this to create transactions in a data file. We should be solving for that. And at the same time, not decreasing our prices, because we feel like we’ve automated things. So there’s this interesting conversation about where are we going and where am I going to fit in? Tom, you are seeing that right now. People just
Yeah, and the thing is, you know, and I’m sure Emily can speak much more eloquently on this, but we’re really selling time. Right? I don’t know if you’re a big fan of home COMM And I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that or I have to have some kind of copywriter hometown is a home improvement show where these to this young couple, Ben and Erin Napier in Laurel, Mississippi. They go around and they rebuild these old houses in Laurel. Now Morrow is a small town, so And this week, they did uh, I don’t know what media it was on. He had given his wife the gift of time for her birthday. They have two young kids now. So You know, they’re always running around, and he’s playing at lunch for her with her mom a day that you can work in the art studio. He’s taken care. And we’re not as romantically, but we’re doing the same thing. Right, what we’re doing for our community is giving them their time back. Okay, we’re, we’re solving for the aggravation that is leading to a shortage of of bookkeepers and accountants in our community. Because, you know, after the 10,000, manual reconciliation you’re trying to do you say to yourself, there has got to be a better way, right? I should just go drive Uber, so that I’m not frustrated, like I am putting his data in. Yeah. And if we can save you two hours a week, five hours a week, 12 hours a month. The question that Emily will ask is, what are you going to do with that time? Are you going to find more clients? Are you going to help more clients and do more consulting work? Are you going to make your kids baseball games? Are you going to be at your, your kids dance recital? Or any if you look at as a vendor, how I can help you? Right? The my client, right now, people talk about clients, and they’re really, they have in their head? The clients are the end users. My clients, are you. Exactly. Yeah, that’s, and you know, the guy who started Southwest Airlines, I can’t remember his name, um, said, my mission is to take care of the employees, because if I take care of the employees, they’re going to take care of my customers. Exactly. My job. My mission every day when I wake up, is to make sure that you know, no matter who else is your partner with that bookkeepers got your back? Yep.
Period. Great example, Tom. I think it was Thursday or Friday, last week, that I, I think I emailed you, or I text you. And I said, you know, we’re using bookkeeper for client, any client that has that can integrate with your tool, whether it be square or whatever, Pay Pal, all the bazillion ones that you guys work with? Then I’m awesome. I’ve got that up and running, I get so excited when we get a new client or even an existing client who’s starting to do sales to another venue. And we’re like, oh, we could sell for this. This isn’t going to take us more time. And I text you and said do you do posting by class? And that’s because my one of my bookkeepers, Nicole, she was like, we have this client we’ve had I’ve been just doing their tax return, we’re not been doing a lot of consulting with them. But they’re growing like crazy. And she’s like, they have this reporting requirement where they need the sales to come in blah, blah, blah, do they do my class, and I’m like, it doesn’t by class right time, because I’m not needed to use class. So I don’t ask about unless I need it. And I was like, You do classes and I sent that to Nicole, I could see that I could feel the relief from 20 miles away where she lives. Because she is the bookkeeper is exactly what you’re talking about. She wants to solve for the client, that’s her thing. Her job is to make the client’s life better to give them the time back. So you’re giving us the to connect our goal is to give them the time back and have them actually reporting accurately and all the rest of that stuff. But you’re so right on that time. 100%. And Emily, I want you to jump in on that.
I mean, I’ll just echo Tom is it’s I mean, you’d have to put in care you have to care for whether that is your accountant, or where the whether that’s the end user, that you have to provide value. You can’t just sell something and think, Oh, well, everything’s great. And they should use it just because like, there has got to be that we’re saving you time. And whether that is adding more clients to your business, taking a day off only working four days a week, go in to see your kids, you know, activities. Those are important things and I hear it from from users, you know that they are saving time they are able to go pick their kids up from school, and that’s a really nice thing to hear. Because we’re not just selling something just to sell it. Right.
Yeah. And I mean, you could monetize that all you want. I mean, we we have research studies and you know, you’re gonna save X amount of dollars, X amount of hours, but that’s, that doesn’t hit home. Until you say, you know, wouldn’t it be nice to actually have dinner with your family three times a week instead of once, right? And then people start to realize, but it’s the it’s, it’s that type of relationship. You know? And, you know, again, if you want to see the opposite, go go run it restaurant for a couple of months. And and you could buy tomatoes from a guy, the produce vendor for 20 years. And then somebody comes in and offers you those same tomatoes, or what they say the same tomatoes for 20 cents cheaper upon, and you’re buying tomatoes from that because of tomatoes, that tomato, tomato, right, and you get the first shipment and not all of them are firm. And some of them may be broken or whatever. And the first thing you say is I should have never left my 20 year guy. Yeah. Right. But you did it. Right. Yeah, we’re the same way. Our booking is not the cheapest solution. We were especially when we were younger, we probably were because that’s how you get business. But we’re not the cheapest solution. Right? And and if you want the cheaper solution, go get the cheaper solution. And then when it breaks, or when you know, the two guys in the garage, don’t answer the phone, when you call for support, then you can come back to us.
Well, and I think that’s another great conversation because support, right? support is critical. And when you’re working with some kind of a solution provider, and you can’t get somebody pretty darn quickly, you’re gonna be frustrated, and you’re gonna, you’re gonna waste that time that you thought you were gaining back by the way, you just lost more time than you were doing. So now you’re you’re at the negative, we’re in the negative now and nobody wants to be in the negative like I don’t think anybody does. And so that’s another big consideration. So How available are they? And you know what, at the end of the day, you’re not going to know until you’re in a jam. That’s when you know how good support is, is when you’re like oh crap, I’m in trouble. I need help. And then that’s when the truth starts to come about. And so you know, definitely one of the things and I’m you know, we’re we are talking about bookkeeper today, because why wouldn’t we? bookkeeper for us, my biggest thing was I can get in the chat and get somebody like almost right away, like pretty much right away. And it Listen, can you you know, I don’t have I don’t want to email. I don’t want to freaking email another person who stabbed myself on emails, right? You guys have that support? Not every app has chat support, and chat support where they actually get on to chat and answer you like a human. I can tell you real quick, because I know you’ve got something on your head in your head there. I had an app. No, it wasn’t an app. It was always something I was trying to get solved for a client. I can’t remember exactly what’s but it was a there was chat support. And it was a bot like one of those bot things. It’s like, hey, what do you need? And I’m like, I need a customer service representative will and then it just the can thing and I’m like ready to kill someone. It was one of my restaurant clients actually. And so I’m on there. And she’s watching me because I’m sharing the screen. And then they said something like, oh, no, no one’s available at this time. And I typed it I go, of course, there’s no one available because that would be convenient for me. And then the guy jumps back out. He’s like, No, this is actually a real person. I’m like, Well, you were pretty good disguise because you sounded like a bot. And it was just funny. When I was just like, Yeah, of course you don’t have anybody available. But of course, it’s a huge deal. Support is a huge deal.
Yeah. So it’s funny, you talk about our chat, um, especially on the weekends. So we’re our chat support. Our support team works Monday through Friday, right? The chat is on over the weekend. And you know, who’s monitoring that over the weekend? Jason, our founder and CEO, Jason Richelson. And he was answering chats while he was on vacation in Spain. Yeah, and, and that, first of all, that just shows the kind of person he is. But that’s also for me. Kind of sad. Right? This poor guy can’t even take a vacation. Now, somebody else would have answered it. I’m sure. I mean, I answered chats all weekend. But if you have the level of commitment, and again, I go back to commitment to the community, right? That person who chatted over the weekend was probably going to be okay, if we waited till Monday. Sure. But now they’re never going anywhere. Right? I mean,
You know, I think part of it too, is I know as a practitioner, and this you guys are smart, because obviously Tom you know everything and Emily knows everything soon, Jason’s got it all figured out. So you guys like I have a solid team. But at the end of the day, a lot of practitioners find the time to be able to work on those integrations and do those types of things on the weekend. You know why? Because the frickin phone isn’t ringing, and the people aren’t coming in the door. It’s that ability on the weekend, to be able to focus and I find myself like, during the week, I’m a 10 to four girl, if I can help it at most, I want to be no more than tend to four. Sometimes on Friday. I’ll just work in the morning and then I know I’m going to work on Saturday for three or four hours, because I know it’s gonna be quiet and I know I’ll be productive. And so you know, who wants to work on the weekends? Nobody but who wants to work during the week? Nobody. So like, it’s just like pick your battle, right when it comes to when you’re working. But having that support time, those people will never go away.
Yeah. And you know, I say all the time, man, if I hit the Powerball, I’m calling in rich, right? I gotta, Hey, boss, I can’t I can’t come to work today. I got a vision problem. Well, what’s matter? I can’t see myself working anymore. I just hit the Powerball. You know, but, you know, the other thing is, again, not wanting to give away any trade secrets here. But if I send an email on Saturday, so I get twice the open rates, as I do, if I send it Monday through Friday, sometimes even higher than that. And I know, I know for a fact that if I emailed Dawn Brolin Saturday morning, I’m going to get an immediate response now, Monday through Friday, it might be an hour or two. Yeah. Saturday morning, she’s when she sees it. She’s answered, bang, right.
Commitment. That’s the two way commitment.
Again, I think that if if you really want to see the true colors of the vendors that you want to work with, call support or chat support and see see what the results are right now. We do. I don’t I don’t think I know for sure. I don’t know everything Emily may. But I don’t know everything. I do know this, that once you have a relationship with a Intuit, member of community member, you have got to cherish that, because you’re only two scrubs away from everybody in the community known your screw up. Yeah. And I can list them. Yeah, I mean, there are hundreds of people who have flown into this community and screwed us up. And then we all have to recover. Right? And, and, frankly, and I’m sure you have to beat this out. It pisses me off that they think they can come in here so cavalierly. And work within this community. Yeah, it really does.
Yeah, yeah, I think that, you know, I find for myself, you know, oh, that looks like a good app. And I’ll go look and see what they’re doing whatever my biggest thing is, I, I want to I want to evaluate how they’re approaching me. Right? are they sticking a pamphlet my face and whatever? Like, what are they actually like, Hey, so what is your what is your firm like, like, actually having that conversation, of course, conferences are the great place to do that. And at the same time, I think conferences sometimes do a disservice. They do a little service, because they don’t do necessarily don’t do their due diligence to, to, you know, vet out the apps that are that want to come and sponsor their show, instead of just being Oh, yeah, come on in, we want your 7500 bucks or your $15,000 or whatever, because we’re trying to fill the show floor, we want to make a lot of stuff there. And that’s not always the best decision.
Well, a good example where you were at scaling new heights this year, there was a company that was making a lot of noise about how great they were and what a great partner they were going to be for whatever group and scaling new heights and the night before setup, they were putting up the big banners on the on the columns way into the show. And that was the big buzz, this company was going to give away this giveaway that that night, they went bankrupt, turn the lights off. And that morning, we were going to set up and they were pulling things off the columns. And that’s because you know, $75,000 for a sponsorship. That’s That’s good. That’s a that’s a big win. But only if they show up. Yeah. And my advice to them when it was going on, was quite simply get paid up front. Yep. 100%. Right. So the moral of that story is just because they have the big, flashy new car doesn’t make them the best transportation to the fair.
And I feel like a lot of people in the accounting industry, I mean, as from my experience alone, like, nobody sees an app and just goes and jumps into it. Like it takes time. It takes all of that going to see about customer care and really understanding the business and getting a little bit of background about the people that are running it for them to make a decision to go for it.
Well, I think the vendors, the app partners that choose the right people, so like bringing Jason’s no dummy brought Tom on that he brought Emily on.
Tom found me at Scaling New Heights last year. So that’s how we, that’s how we connected.
Because because Emily, Emily and her girlfriend were trying to play pool. And it was really sad. It was actually it was it Yeah, shout and shout out to Molly near the two of them actually knew how to hold a full stick but they wanted to they wanted to do something. I mean, you know, we did a thing where come on by we had Jason’s Amex card and we run up the bill. And, you know, but yeah, and honestly, whatever happened where she was working before I happen to be on LinkedIn when she posted and 10 minutes after she posted she was looking for a job. She was talking to Jason. Yeah. Because we needed Emily. We every day, I tried to tell him how much I appreciate what she does, because we were just getting crushed. Otherwise. But I mean, you know, and again, I think this, this becomes kind of a kind of a, a more emotional conversation as you as you go deeper into it. Because, you know, if you’re going to look at an application, I want to know what else that company does, right? If they’re selling cars, and they have an app, pretty certain your app is falling below the line when it comes to how am I going to help? You know, and if there’s a, you know, if somebody screws up in this community, and a year later, two years later shows up with another app or another company and thinks that we’re all not going to remember. They get what they deserve. Yeah, they really do. I mean, and you know, there is there is so much good. That happens in our community, that the bad actors, the bad actors should get called out and they should get drummed out of our community. Right. And just like just like trek, right, which a lot of people say, you know, I looked like a cross between Shrek and Sean Connery. Shrek lives outside the village, because he’s grumpy, and he’s this and he’s out in this other. But the end of the day, you saved the day. And that day, right? Those people get drummed out of our community because they don’t deserve an opportunity to serve you. All right, honestly, I mean, you know, what would I do if I wasn’t doing this? I don’t know. I often say I wish I was born rich instead of good looking. But, you know, I mean, there’s something about having lifelong friends. I mean, yeah, you know, I’m Don, it’s, they’re the same cast of characters, you know, and, and some of them retire, some of them go on to do other things, but they’re going to be friends forever. And, you know, hopefully, when I croak. It’s not going to be how much business I brought to you. It’s going to be that, you know, he was a good guy, and he helped and he made a difference. Because we’re all going sometime right now. evitable. I never seen on a gravestone. He was a great employee. Or, you know, or, you know, he should have been one more cold call. You know…
No, I totally agree, Tom. Like, I mean, like I said, I go to these conferences, and, you know, people will come up and compliment me, but it’s like, they’re not, they’re not, they’re complimenting the job I do, but they’re complimenting me as a person. And like, it is so fulfilling to go and talk to these people and just have that response.
Yeah, yeah. 100% is it’s interesting you say that way too. Because at the end of the day, you know, you go to a funeral and you you know, I’ve been to too many we all have been to MIT to too many in the last couple of years but just looking around and like when my line be this long, like you know, you look around here like would they would they would I would people be sad that I was gone would they be celebrating which is what I prefer them to do? You know, celebrating that that time. But at the end of the day, I always want to be remembered and I’m not saying I’m great at it. I’m just saying that i My goal is always to strive that people when they think about me, they smile. They don’t they’re not like Bruins here, wonder what wonder what painful story she’s going to tell today. This is like a happy time for me. Right and, and that’s what we want. And there’s in that those relationships that you’re building out there, that’s what life is about, you know, automating the The accounting is awesome, because you know why I can have my time back I can, I took Friday off, I went down to Scarborough and I bid up with Saratoga met up with my aunt, my uncle, and, you know, those are the things that we should be doing. And at the same time, my company is still running, I’m not coming in on Monday morning with this overflow of emails, because we’ve, we’re really working so hard to have things automated, and for people to be able to get their lives back. You know, I mean, only want to talk to us, they don’t want to talk to the stinking accountant, they just don’t, some do some do too much, in some ways, but it’s like, you know, that’s what you want for your business, you want to be able to get into your office at whatever time, you know, my standard is 10. Today, I had a, I had a call at 930. So I had to come in really early, you know, so, but being able to come in and not be like, Oh, my goodness, what happened over the weekend is all that what I’m going to run into on a Monday. And we’ve really worked hard to minimize that painful exposure, I failed somebody because that’s the last thing I ever want to do is to fail someone. So I think, you know, as we’re thinking in the future, and as we’re considering what what is going to happen as we continue to move forward. And it’s client satisfaction, because Tom, what you were saying about the apps where they swoop in, they screw about, you don’t want to be that accounting professional, either. Yeah, you bring a client on, and you’re the state standard, same old, same old accountant, like the other guy, you don’t want to do that. You want to set yourself up for success and for you to stand out. And in order for you to do that. You want to make sure your clients are saying, Oh, my goodness, my account is freaking awesome. And then they were burning up sorry. We’re not taking on any more clients. And boy, you got lucky, you’re on the list. And that’s what I’ve been telling clients recently. I’m like, Listen, I’m not taking on new clients, because I want to get better at those I have. And if that means later, you know, six months or a year from now, I can open back up to accepting new clients and cool. But, you know, and I think app partners think a little bit about that themselves, too, as you guys are almost interviewing us as the accounting professionals say, Do I want to work with person? So be your person!
Sure, yeah, you’re exactly right. Because it’s kind of be it’s kind of be a more genuine relationship for it to be successful. Right. Now. Interestingly enough, you know, if we want to talk about where the industry is, is actually heading, I think you’re on the forefront of that because you introduce your tech stack, right? Here’s what I here’s what I use. Now, if you get a client and they say, Well, I don’t want to use bookkeeper, I want to use x, well, good, you go ahead and do that. Find somebody else to work with you. I don’t really want to be your account. Right? But not everybody does that. So then you have three people on this product and three people on this product and, you know, five cuts five clients on on truly and five clients on relay and, you know, three clients on melon, or whatever it is, you know, pick a name, you know, I want to I want a software application called prune. Right? You guys gotten a peach tree and you got this? Prune because nobody’s gonna mistake that right. Whatever it’s gonna be, it’s gonna be right, right. Right. Nobody else will steal that name. Right sauerkraut? I mean, come on. I mean, Dorian fruit, something that people are gonna go, wow. But anyway, but no, I mean, I think you’re seeing that now. And the other thing I think you’re seeing is you and I see it all the time. And I’m not really sure why but you know, Oh, get good training, become a virtual bookkeeper. And you can work 10 hours a week, and that could be your side gig. Yep. Right. Well, I don’t want my dentist to be a side gig, right. I prefer my, I prefer my cardiologist actually spent most of his time doing cardiologist stuff, but not soapbox derby. Yeah, I mean, seriously, right. So now it’s a side gig. And they think that they think that they have the process down where you don’t actually have to know bookkeeping to be a bookkeeper. And that’s just the most dangerous thing ever. Right? So we’ve just got to weed that kind of stuff out there. There are really great folks who do that too. Right? They create their own network, they create their own training and, and they’re very successful when they adopt a tech stack and their followers adopt that same tech stack. That’s great. But anybody thinks you can take six hours of training become a bookkeeper? I want them to do my competitors books.
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I mean, that’s, that’s so true. Because at the end of the day, and that’s one of the things like for me, and a lot of my colleagues that are out, you know, Marriott Martinez, there’s a million other sites Literally all kinds of different people who are out there doing great things, right Hector Garcia just helping so many people learn. We are actually practitioners a difference between someone who’s trying to thought without owning a practice versus those that are owning a practice. And that’s one of the things for me. You know, people are like, Well, how long are you going to keep doing accounting? You should just go out and keep and do the speaking. I don’t know, the keeps me grounded. It’s not about it’s alright, I’m not doing it for free, right? I mean, it’s got to be a little bit about money. But I’m doing accounting, because I know I have to keep my head in the game. I have in order for me to help other people be successful, I have to prove that I can be successful. My own practice, otherwise, I wouldn’t talk it sideways out of my mouth. That’s not true. It just can’t be that.
And there’s the difference on honestly, as we as we wrap this up, there’s a difference. You’re honest enough about the relationship that you’re building to say, hey, look, this is also about money. You’re not a nonprofit, nope. Or at least not by design. But you’re not a nonprofit, book gate is not a nonprofit. No, it there is a way to be successful, and still be profitable. And that is by actually doing the things that we do. Right. And it costs a lot of money. There’s a lot of resources behind what we do now. Four of us went to zero con New Orleans. How much did that cost bookie? I don’t know what the booth probably 20 $25,000. But like I told these, these folks who just showed up at zero con, half the people that are in this show today won’t be here next year? Well, honestly, I think including them, right? Because they don’t have the commitment. This is all about commitment. I’ll come in at the dawn Burleigh. Right. And Don Brolin knows that, right. Don Brolin knows that she can text me on a weekend and or in the middle of night with a question or concern, and she’s gonna get an answer. Absolutely. If if you don’t have that degree of confidence in your vendor, your technology provider, then you’re with the wrong technology provider. Yep. Right. I can tell you that 99% of the people in the community that that we do business with have my cell phone. Yep. That’s probably stupid on my part.
But you don’t give it to just anybody either, right?
I don’t. Wow. Yeah. That’s a whole different I was there. Yeah. Let’s slow down that train. But that’s honestly, I mean, you know, you have to be committed to each and every one of these, these partners you work with, because otherwise they’re gonna know. I mean, if I, if I have asked this 20 years ago, then you know, I’d be making spaghetti sauce it you know, Luigis, you know, pizzeria or you’d be selling revenue off the street? Well, yeah. And I do do that, too. If you look at my Facebook page now, um, I do make however, the best meat sauce in America.
Yeah. So I know. I mean, this has been a great conversation. I think it’s the in there a lot of people who want to learn how to work with vendors, and how to work with the app partners. And, and so I think just even listening to this to get that guideline of what’s important. And that’s, that’s really to be true to yourself. So Emily, I’ll let you say your last words.
Yeah, sure. I mean, what you just said, something I’ve been thinking about that, as we’ve been talking is just, you just have to be authentic, you have to be authentically you. And your company has to be authentic and committed to to the clients and to whatever the mission of the company is.
Yeah, absolutely. Tom,
My last word. You want my last words?
Well, no, just go. Dot, dot, dot after whatever use
Yeah, I mean, seriously, I agree. 100%. If you’re not committed, they’ll know you’re not committed to them, and you’ll be on your way. And if you’re in our space, you should find something else to do. Because we are we are committed, we are 100% committed. You know, I think we have 25 people that work for us and 19 of them development and support. Right. And so, you know, to those poor guys that were next to us. That’s just trying to find something else to do.
Go make your own spaghetti sauce meat, so yeah, I mean, yeah. So I’ll wrap it up by saying the moment I met Jason last fall, so of course, I came over the bookie booth because of Tom. I’m like, oh my god, it’s Tom. But me too. Jason, I’m just having the conversation with him. He’s extremely intelligent. As a matter of fact, as a CEO, I owe him some reports out of a bowling alley. Sale system. Right. And he and I had that conversation a couple weeks ago. And then he actually emailed me I think it was Thursday or Friday and say Brolin, get me those bowling alley reports. He doesn’t have to do that. That says a lot about it to me, what he’s trying to accomplish for every small business owner in the world.
He has to do that Dawn. Yeah, because he’s committed to doing it. Yep. And that’s the difference. Honestly, that’s the difference. We are our entire team is is so committed. I I mostly am committed because I don’t want to let him down. Yeah, I mean, yeah. And that’s what it’s about. We don’t want to let you down. He does, you know, I mean,
let you down the road goes both ways. I think that once you can build that solid foundation, that relationship, that there’s a home run relationship right there that you will have forever. And so you know, and I think at the end of the day, as people that are listening, that’s that’s the message but I want to thank you both so much for coming on to the DEM disruption today. We’re just trying to shake up the industry, get people to be out there and actually doing something with the tools that they’re being given essentially, from our partners like bookkeepers to give you your life back to give you your time, and your team, your staff, and then hopefully at the end your clients and so that’s you know, that’s what we’re trying to help educate, teach people to do. But Emily and Tom Thank you guys so much for for joining me today and our future is forever. So we look forward to having you on again as we continue this conversation because it’s ongoing and forever, until we’re dead.
And then I’ll come back and haunt you so you’re not even gonna get away from me like by the by that.
Not possible. Alright, everybody. Thanks, everybody. Take care. We’ll talk soon.
This episode is sponsored by SmartVault. Learn more at https://www.smartvault.com/
John Coleman, the owner of Commonwealth Business services, joins the DM Disruption! Listen now to learn how John uses SmartVault in his business, and how proper file management can save your firm time!
How John Found SmartVault
John begins his conversation with Dawn by talking about how he first saw Dawn in a CPE training course that discussed proper file management and storage. He said that he was looking for a new file storage system at the time, as their current program discontinued that service.
He discovered SmartVault through Dawn’s presentation, and was also intrigued by her teachings because of her admiration for softball. In the training, Dawn talked about how proper file management allowed her to leave the office early and attend softball practice.
He learned that SmartVault seemed to have exactly what they needed, and he says it is a wonderful program.
How John Uses SmartVault
Johns talks about the features of SmartVaults that he appreciates, and especially highlights SmarVaults drag-and-drop capability. He loves the feature of being able to seamlessly drag documents from emails directly into SmartVault.
John also talks about how you can print a client’s tax return directly to SmartVault to a specific client. This saved his admin a lot of time, and saved them from having to manually and separately send the forms.
John finishes by saying that they were able to complete more returns than they did in previous years, and they were able to save time when doing so.
Managing Work Life Balance
John shares with Dawn that he was able to attend every softball game and practice for his children while in the midst of tax season. Even though tax season can be a busy and stressful time for his firm, because of the software and technology they implement, they were able to complete more returns than they ever had that year.
John even shares that he was able to take a 5 day vacation after tax season, and he says that was the longest he’d been out of the office in years.
Importance of Succession Planning
John also talks about how one of his employees suddenly passed away, and how losing him was very hard on the firm. He said he was very integral to their business and it proved to be more of a hardship than they expected.
He also said that this was one of things that encouraged him to seek out software and technology to assist with many of the tasks they need to get done. While no one is glad to see good co-workers leave, it’s important to have procedures in place to ensure the business can continue to operate smoothly.
Want to learn more about John and his business?
Check him out here: https://www.teamcommonwealth.com/index.php
Want to watch this episode? Click Here
Want to hear more episodes? Listen here!
Follow Dawn Brolin!
Dawn’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/dawnbrolin
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Check our her Website – https://www.dawnbrolin.com/
you did it?
Hey everybody and welcome to the DM disruption.
I’m here, my name is Don Brolin, I’m a C.
And a certified fraud examiner and I’m out here trying to help educate other practitioners to improve their processes, improve their lives in some capacity, if that’s possible.
And I have the honor, I would say of having jOHn Coleman with commonwealth business services with me here today on the D.
Disruption, john has an amazing story.
I’m wearing a vintage smart ball t shirt this episode of DM disruption sponsored by smart fault.
And we’re going to talk about smart ball today because smart boat sounds like may have helped jOHn in some capacity in his life.
So john introduce yourself, tell us all about yourself and then we’re gonna get into the story.
Hi, well, my name is john Coleman, I live in central Virginia.
We’re in a little town called fredericksburg, which is equidistant between Washington dc and Richmond And I have a firm, we have about 14 people.
There’s some part timers, some full timers and we do tax and bookkeeping and the only reason why I’m here is is basically because of a fluke that happened.
you know, I had taken some classes, it was a training for some other software back in february of 2021 you know, if you count up your C.
E in december, you go, okay, yeah, I took that.
So, but I didn’t have a certificate from these people.
And so I reached out to them and they said, well no, those, those 20 hours aren’t C.
So I was like, oh my God.
So, one of my staff said, well, this is one and two hour things you can take,, that are fairly informative.
I had never heard of before.
And so I started taking these one and two hour classes and Dawn happened to be in one of them.
And he was talking about, you know, file storage.
And the file storage system that we’ve been using for a very long time was called File hold.
And the only reason why we’re using that is because we have been, we’ve been continued to use a lizard, which is a fantastic tax program, but it had its own document management system, but it discontinued their document management system.
So we had to quickly find something else.
And we went to,, to this other program that really just was kind of archaic in a way, it was really interested in finding out a little bit about smart ball.
Well, needless to say Don was on the program and she started talking about how she’s a big softball player and say, well, you know, I mean, I, I have 22 boys and they both play baseball and they’re at the age now they’re pretty close in age together, but they’re at the age where they have to be on two separate teams right now.
And so it was my turn to coach, the younger ones team and their, their, their practices start at the end of february, beginning of March.
So I had to be out of here, as dawn had mentioned in her thing, her program, I had to be out of here at like 4 30 on some days in the middle of tax season to get home, get them and get them to their practice or later to their game.
And she was talking about how, when, using just software in general, how she could really leverage that to kind of help her in her business and kind of, you know, leverage on that to get her out of the office.
And I believe he was saying three or four o’clock some days and I was like, this is exactly what I need because number one, we always have seem to have some challenges with, with personnel and unfortunately one of our personnel guy had been with us for 10 years, he had passed away in december of 2020.
So we’ve been without him for about a year, but really he’d been here for so long, he really was my right hand guy here.
you know, it was, it was tough and I wanted to see if we could use technology to, to have, you know, you gotta pay for it, but to have a smaller team and still be as effective.
, and it sounds like smart ball had a lot of bells and whistles that we really wanted to try and to utilize.
So literally at the end of the, at the end of the presentation they asked you want to know more about smart ball and I was like, y es you know, so, I did a little webinar with them.
They showed me the things they could do.
, it’s a wonderful program and it just has so many things that makes, not only the staff and the reviewers more efficient, but even the admin.
and I don’t even know where you’d like me to start in terms of efficiencies, but I will say, you know, for me, the biggest one for me was there was the Dragon drop capability.
So if I got an email from someone, I didn’t have to create a pdf and then go find it on my, my share drive and pull it in to the file, whole program.
All I had to do was just right over, I used two screens right over into smart vault and then you can change the name of it to say confirmation that they did make, first quarter payment or whatever it is.
And it’s just right there.
It’s there forever.
And the same thing with, you know, spreadsheets or anything else.
It was just right over.
And that was one of the things I love, the other thing is so many things I love about this program, but one of the things I loved was you can actually print out of loss or not.
It depends on the program, you’re using the tech program.
You can print directly to smart vault to that client.
So if you’re working on john smith and you’re ready to print the return go file print and we configured it because in the third you can print out four different copies.
So what we did was we made one of the copies, just the file forms.
So when we hit print it would print two copies.
One just the file forms and one the tax return copy.
And the reason why we did that is because our admin would separately send the evil forms normally through right signature.
And before they had to go into the one pdf and take those two out and, and just those two now they had their own copy and they loved it.
So we just called it, you know, john and jane smith 2021 signature pages and they go right in and right, you know, so it made them even more efficient and he didn’t have to go in and you know, go through the pdf and you know, and kick out the pages and then save the file and then import the file into a program.
It was just save so those two just alone, save so much time.
And then, you know, certainly smart vault has so many other capabilities, you can change the name of any, anything you want on the fly, you can move things around you.
I just finished an amended return today.
Some poor fellow just got a 1099 late from his brokerage people.
And just not to confuse anything.
We got, you know, a section called tax returns.
So I made a subsection called original and put the original stuff in there.
And another subsection under 2021 is amended.
So I told the admin people, I said just look at the section called amended when you’re putting all this together, give to them like, Oh that’s great, that’s so wonderful.
but to create different subdirectories and kind of tailor it to yourself is is phenomenal as well.
So it has said that we did more returns this this past tax season than we’ve ever done.
Certainly we can’t necessarily compare to the two pandemic years too much because we had extra time.
But even now that, you know, the pandemic due dates have passed, we’re still ahead of the game in terms of, of processing and completing the most number of returns we’ve ever done.
And people say, well how is that possible?
I mean, you know, tax caddy had definitely a lot on that taxi.
I’m sorry, the smart vault had definitely a lot to do with that.
we didn’t use a program of tax caddy as well, but we, you know, smart ball was for every client.
Tax caddy was for, you know, probably about 10 to 15% of our client base, maybe 20.
so we used it for every day for every client and it just worked out so well, I mean they had a little bit of training but you know once you get it set up is is pretty easy to follow along.
So we just set up like we wanted it and just kind of roll from there and now we have, you know, an estimate folder for this year.
So as we’re going through estimate stuff, the client says, yeah I did pay that Q.
One and Q.
Two you told me to, I just write over and I changed the name to confirmation of so that we don’t have to ask them later because it’s already there because sometimes they do go, hey didn’t you already asked me that like because before nobody ever really bothered to put a lot of correspondence into our document management system because it was just, it took so long to do.
I mean it was, but the dragon drop feature was phenomenal.
So anyway, that’s, that’s really on the, you know the 1000 ft level.
How I, how I love the program and I mean there’s a lot of bells and whistles to this thing.
I, when I was talking to someone the other day about it and I was saying we’ve kind of gone from, when you had, you know your phone that was on the wall and you thought you were and you thought you were cool because you had a really long cord so you could like go in the other room so your roommates couldn’t hear what you were talking about.
We’ve kind of gone from that to an iPhone 13.
I mean it’s it’s that big of a difference between our file hold system and smart faults.
So very happy with it.
extremely pleased with not only the training and the setup, but just the functionality of it.
It’s, it’s worked, it’s worked so well and, and I really think every staff person here has said something about, hey, this is this is so much better.
It’s like this is this is night and day compared to what we used to have.
So yeah, awesome.
That’s, you know, sometimes I talk to when I’m talking to other professionals are doing a webinar like, you know, yes, I want to solve for me.
I mean that’s, that’s just a natural.
I want to make my life better, but you’re right.
Like what we’re able to do for the admin.
I know Tracy in my office is just like, we just the systems of onboarding onboarding clients, whether they’re new or even I say we on board clients every year really because it’s kind of like, well I’m not gonna make any assumptions, they’re coming back.
So, you know, I brought this whole quoting process and we do this, but it’s so automated with the technology.
I never touched that return until it’s go time and Tracy says everything’s in smart fault which is great.
But I just want you know less clients are calling and asking for copies of returns that you know they may say okay we have a copy sure Tracy.
We just kept the same process of, well we’re not gonna still attach a tax return and password protected.
We’re sending you a link.
You figure out how to get into this thing.
Then we need to call your Children or something.
We need to like get medical help that I kind of think about it.
But so I want to hear more about.
So so that was great.
You implanted what happened the next baseball season is what I want to know.
Well first I say you know when people call and they have issues like that, we always say they’re not Y2K.
We either have to get their their kids or their grandkids to help them out on these things.
But you know I did not miss a single solitary practice or game because of work.
Now one practice I did miss because it was raining like cats and dogs and it was about an hour away and I just decided you know what some people did still make it out there that day but they just kind of played in the mud and that really wasn’t a practice.
But got every pregame, got every practice in and didn’t miss a beat with tax season because we again did more returns finished more tax returns than we have ever.
And the opposite of that is, and I tell my staff this every year there’s gonna be a finite number of returns we can get done in a year and if you can get more done during tax season while the conveyor belts really running, you know?
Yeah, it’s gonna make the summer and even the fall much better for you.
And I will tell you that I actually took a nice five day vacation, Which is the longest I have been out of the office in seven years.
and so now, not only was it five days, I came back and I was off five more days because it was the 4th of July holiday.
So I was gone from this office for 10 days, which is the longest I’ve been gone since my honeymoon 12 years ago.
So everybody’s like, well how is that?
We’ve got so many more returns on during tax season.
Why is that what we installed new software and, you know, and still, you know, somebody told me five years ago you’d be going to your kids baseball games and doing coaching and things like that during tax season, I’m like, what are you smoking?
I mean I never get get home until, you know, at the earliest six o’clock, There’s no way I’m going to be able to do that, but it’s worked out really well for everyone.
And you know, it getting more returns done during tax season is critical.
And I think the big challenge right now and this is why I like to help other firms is there’s just no staff.
You can’t find competent staff people anymore.
And that’s, you know, that’s really difficult, especially when you learn when you lose a very seasoned person like we did, you can’t replace them.
I mean, and so what do you do?
You try to use technology to kind of offset?
So not just you, but your staff aren’t here, You know, 14 hours a day trying to get stuff done.
You can leverage, we now have free admin people.
So they and they’re very talented and there’s a lot that they can do on the computer program side and it makes us much more efficient.
And we’ve also seen the efficiency some on their side so they can do other things too now so they can do things like work on building.
You know, it’s a little bit important too.
But you know, yeah, I love the program, I love the idea that technology is, is out there for us and I’m looking at some some more technology for us for this upcoming tax season just to make us even more efficient.
But you’re right when you have an access, a client has their own ability to pull down a tax return themselves through a portal.
they don’t call you as much or even a copy of a W.
Two if they have the access to it online.
You know you don’t get these constant calls you know and obviously it doesn’t really affect me anymore when I was first starting out I did but you know I kind of feel for the admin people sometimes okay we’re gonna password protected the last word of your of your social and the first four uni and they never can figure that out and so they have to call back again what’s the password again?
And so anyway it’s really eliminated a lot of that as well.
Well and it’s interesting you say that too because like one of the things that we started doing as part of that like I say I call it the on boarding process because until until the documents are there I don’t even want to know what’s going on.
That’s all Tracy.
One person We do around 300 returns.
It was there’s two of us but one is actually leaving so it’s interesting.
We’ll talk about that in a minute.
Yeah he had her I had her going into assert and entering names, addresses, phone numbers all the like preliminary stuff any dependent he knows how to add a dependent.
She’s a smart woman.
So I’ve enabled her to even do things such as entering the mental assert so I can just get in there and get started.
And so that is such a huge, like you don’t think about it, but that could be 10 minutes, multiply 10 times 300 clients.
That’s, that’s a lot of front.
And we, we actually tracked this year and individual wise, we picked up 85 clients.
So you know, I mean it’s a tangible amount.
And here’s the thing with admin that I found out if you include them in more things, they feel better about their job.
I mean they’re not just answering the phone and making copies.
They’re actually an integral part of the functionality.
And I’m always like, look, because they sit towards the front of the office.
I’m like, you’re driving the bus.
So you know, I mean, you know, you’re at the front, you’re driving the bus.
So you know, we’re back here in the back doing stuff, but you’re driving the bus, you’re very important here.
But if you show it by as time goes on, you know, certainly that’s not something that somebody does in the first day they walk in the door.
But as time goes on, hey, we’re gonna show you a tax program, we’re gonna show you how to do this.
They get very excited about it.
They’re like really, you know, it’s like, yeah, I mean you’re very talented person and you know how to do data entry efficiently and effectively and we we just brought on a new Office manager and she types 80 words a minute.
I mean she probably can put information in the system faster than me.
So I mean I know she can so she you know, so I had one of my staff people even though she’s new and that’s you know, somewhat unusual.
But she’s talented enough and I said sure how to use the asserts so we can we get new returns in, we have a little checklist, we go through, you know, to make sure we update all our databases and all our stuff so that we can get the thing into smart vault and get it rolling and send them the quotes and then, you know, you send them a quote and they reply back with a sign, you know, sign quote right into smart ball that goes, I mean it’s lovely.
So that’s that’s the thing when you nail down those processes, when you’re there, you’re like, and I remember the days when I would have to, you know, print to pdf and then upload and do all this other stuff when you can just drag that over there.
You know, and I I think it’s so important for people to think about and yes, we the industry is definitely having issues with staffing, we know that it’s not that we don’t want to hire people, I want to hire people, but I can’t find people who want to work.
People are willing to sit in the chair for more than three hours, which I get it.
I want you in and out of here too.
But it’s like there are things we can do to maximize the opportunity of, hey, this technology is going to work for me.
So I’m gonna give you an example.
So you talked about so sorry to hear about your staff member who passed away.
That’s a staff member by the way, that’s not the way you want to lose them.
No, we’ve had several retiring but they told us long in advance they were retiring.
This was quite a shocker, especially at the beginning of december when we’re getting ready to go into in the tax season.
It was, you know, in the middle of covid too.
So it was, it was not fun.
And you think about that and, and one of the things I always talk about, I don’t know about you, but I mean what your plan is, but just succession planning and looking at a firm sale at some point want to hand them keys to a building that they got to come in and figure out what’s going on in there.
Here’s my user name and password.
I’ll take that last two factor authentication on my phone bang that is now your bus, your butt.
But it’s turnkey where everything is organized.
Like in smart, there’s this organization of everything where they know where to find things because it’s all consistent.
They’ve got the integrations already established.
All those things make your firm be more attractive to someone that’s gonna come in as opposed to a place with file cabinets everywhere.
And also if something does happen to you make it marketable because it can’t be just, oh well john did that, Oh, I don’t know, john did that.
You know, you have to be able to have a system in place.
And I can tell you, you know, I know that when I decide to sell all a part of the business here, whoever the buyer is is probably going to come in and incorporate some of the things that we’ve done into their firm.
So we’re gonna make them not only bigger in terms of client base, but we’re going to make them more effective.
That’s, that’s my goal because I like to use smart vault.
No, Do you use blank blank useless sir?
I think you should.
And here’s why, and kind of go through the list of things because a lot of big firms, they wanna just use, you know, one vendor and put everything on the cloud and just, you know, and you know, you’re, you’re shooting yourself in the foot because there’s a lot of great programs out there that aren’t necessarily run by the big companies, but you know, you should be using them.
So let me ask you this question as we’re thinking about what’s happening next right road map.
Let’s think about a road map for a hot second.
I’ll give you an example to give you a chance to thumb through your coconut there to figure out like for me and what’s on, what’s on john’s next road map.
I’ll tell you what’s on Dawn’s next roadmap.
My next road road map is because I am losing a tax preparer.
I don’t want to look for one.
So I’m going to implement and I’ve used this app before and I liked it, grunt works.
I don’t know if you’ve heard of it grunt works to populate even just the simplest things.
And then the other thing we’re looking to do is to start actually mapping Q B.
Most of our I mean I’m a desktop lover, I am always, we’re gonna be committed to the desktop.
I love it and I used to love the Quickbooks desktop.
So even with quickbooks, desktop is to map especially with all the business returns that we can between now and the end of the year is to map all those files to assert.
At least we’re able to pull, you know, I can pull A P.
On a schedule, C do a book to taxi if it ties out.
If it doesn’t it’s likely to appreciation because you still have to enter fixed assets.
But the mundane posting to advertising expense and be more of a troubleshooter as opposed to an entry person.
So those are the two big improvements we’re looking to make this year.
What about you?
Well it’s interesting.
You mentioned grunt works.
We two years ago we initiated shirt prep which is similar to grunt works.
And they have another program called tax caddy which that solved another huge issue of ours which is I know you probably get this all the time.
People will call you and say don what else do you need from me because I don’t remember.
And so what tax cutting does is it incorporates the list out of lesser that they had last year and it goes down and so you can drag and drop your W two S and they can go back on at any time and see what else they’re missing.
And when they have everything done it asks you are you done because they may have something new that they know about.
And when they say I’m done you get an email that says so and so it’s done and then it pulls it into your prep which your prep will take it and sort it based upon it, put the W two S first and then at 10 90 nines and expenses.
And so you have one pdf with all the clients data in it.
And so if you’re looking for something that’s a little table of contents, you click on the pdf to go back and say wait a minute they had $400 in interest from centrist last year.
Where is that?
You just go back and say, oh I must have missed that page and there it is or it’s not there.
And so then you got to reach out to them, but it has eliminated so many phone calls and emails because who gets those phone calls and emails, the emails they come to me and I haven’t used them to return yet because it’s still being prepared.
So I have no idea what they’re missing.
So I got to go ask the staff and they have to email them and, but you know, they don’t even ask cause they can, they can actually download an app on their phone and it’s like, oh okay, I’m, I’m still missing my mortgage interest.
So let me get that.
And it’s worked out really well for some people for most people.
And there are some Y two K.
Compliance issues people that just couldn’t figure it out and that’s fine.
You know, we’ll send you an organizer, it’s okay.
We have a few of those.
but it’s, it’s worked out really well, but again, it’s using technology, whichever one you use and everyone you’re familiar with to try to get some of the work done for you.
And speaking of population Of your, your tax program years ago when I was at Deloitte, we used ghost system and we had about 300 partnership returns and they all basically were rental real estate.
They had one rental property in each of them.
So we were able to start mapping from lotus 123 of all things mean to into our ghost system and I created the map program and so literally you get the financial statements done in lotus 123 and you hit F one F two or something of that nature and it all go right into go system and you’re right.
The one thing we almost always had to change was either meals, entertainment or depreciation And then the return was done but you talk about 300 returns, they all have the same gl and everything.
They, the returns got done so much quicker because of that.
but it’s again, I mean I guess it’s been my experience all along is trying to use technology.
Not necessarily because when we first started talking about shirt prep, a couple people were thinking, well am I still going to have a job?
You know, if you’re gonna, it’s like you can’t replace people, especially talented people and like we have a suction from, you know, Richmond kind of sucks some people and they can pay more and dc.
So we have that challenge here where you know, it’s even harder to find talent sometimes, but we’re also fortunate enough that we have some older people that don’t want to commute anymore and they want to stay here in town and they’ve been great employees over the years.
But yeah I would highly recommend you check that out and grande works out and see if it works for you and see how how well it’ll work.
Especially you know if you can try it out for nine and 1015 deadlines would be great.
And then the mapping, I’ve looked at that before.
I haven’t ever gotten there.
I think probably because you know we have such different G.
For everybody but I think it’s wonderful that you can do it let me know let me know.
Yeah I was gonna say the next thing we’re really gonna look at is actually another one of your programs that you’ve you’ve touted in your in your webinars in the past which is canopy we actually have tomorrow morning we have a demo on canopy.
So we’re looking at that next to to see.
Yeah very happy with canopy and I do a lot of resolution work.
I don’t know I mean we all do but anybody that’s listening if you do taxes, you do resolution work because you’re either doing non filers or you’re responding to notices and that’s that’s representation right there.
Canopy has been awesome for me and I used canopy many years ago and it wasn’t where it is today.
So one of the things that people Yeah you saw it 5-10 years ago.
It is a totally different program.
I think most most programs are you know I mean yeah that’s a problem if they are different than where they were five years ago.
They’re not improving.
So that’s number 23 for example.
So that’s a funny thing you said that but can be the resolution where you need to do 4 33 for maybe a collections case.
This really great tool where you can actually send they call it a survey and basically it’s collecting all the information that belongs on a 4 33 but more through a questionnaire.
So the clients don’t have to look at a 4 33 and be like overwhelmed because it is overwhelming to look at it.
And most people don’t have O.
They’re just gonna be like oh and skipping lines and then they don’t fill everything in It and then it populates the 433 and the 656 that they’re doing an offer and it just really streamlines and makes the client participate and I’ve got great success from that.
Now it’s not O.
Because that’s the way it’s supposed to be alphabetically and so you know just so you know a little bit of it.
Not as much as some some folks but I do have a little bit of and people tell me especially stay off.
They’ll tell me sometimes that you’re so picky.
I’m like I’m not the picky one.
It’s the contents you know, I’m, you know, you gotta make sure you spell this word all the way out there, so, and so is gonna, you know, be calling me so, but yeah, we’re excited to check that out and, you know, continue to work with smart vault and tax caddy and shirt prep and see where all of it goes.
because it’s just making us more and more efficient, you know, any viable program that we bring on, Obviously there’s a little learning curve to everything, but if you can do it, especially for october 15th for your individual clients, when I call them the usual suspects show up on october 1st going, oh my God, And it’s like the 15th time in a row.
They’ve gone, oh my God, you know, you know, hopefully you can get it in there quicker and you’re not working on a sunday in october wearing here in Virginia.
It’s really, really nice outside in october, so you don’t want to do that.
There’s all kinds of festivals and fairs.
And then obviously I got fall baseball coming up, so I’ll probably be at a baseball field, so I need to make sure I’m efficient as possible.
You just, and you probably already do this job, you got to implement the P I A C.
And that’s just, you come on October 15, there’s a surcharge.
Yeah, it’s, we call it the pdf e.
Yeah, yeah, the pdf e we actually in our quote sheets now put in a rush fee because, you know, some of these folks have been doing this for so long now, they come in on october 7th and they’re like, I’m really sorry, here’s my stuff.
I know I’m going to get hit the rush fee, but here you go.
And it’s it’s not a cheap amount either, but you know, if I’ve got to tell a couple of my staff, they got to work on a saturday because these people have been like, twiddling their thumbs all summer, then they’re gonna, you know, they’re going to pay for it, you know, and what I try to do with those things just to if they’ve got to work on a saturday evening, their salary, you know, I’ll get them some kind of bonus later for that because, you know, we made more money off of it because they’re repeated.
So yeah, we have, we have built that in on on quite a few folks and on a few they’ve been like, you know, you guys are just too expensive and we’re gonna go, it’s like back in when you were dating, you know, it’s the one the girlfriend you were trying to get rid of, so you never gave her any attention.
And they finally, she finally like, you never paid me attention, I’m going someplace, it’s kind of the same thing, you know, So yeah, you didn’t get the hint, I didn’t call you, well, we did call back, but you know, we’re gonna it’s gonna be how much more this year.
Wow, that’s a lot.
So eventually they do go away with some people, some clients we just fire out, right?
But you know, for some of them that they go through the tax return with their microscope and it’s like, why is this number?
Like, you know, it’s like, look, you know, that’s let’s let’s not worry about that because The numbers are right, you know, okay, I could have put this in office supplies as opposed to supplies, but it’s a fully deductible expense.
Either one because it’s only $300.
Let’s back to doing whatever you do for a living.
And you know, let’s let’s roll from there.
You know, there’s nuances, you’re gonna give yourself a heart attack trying to trying to get down to that that craziness of A level.
But we, you know, we’ve had people like that.
So, so, so I think canopy will be our next and then some of the staff, they didn’t get fully trained on tax cuts last year.
So we’re and we got a couple of new new folks, our new office manager in particular, so got to make sure that they know how to run that so they can kind of learn as they go for this called the mini tax season coming up.
Yeah, that’s the nice thing about extension season.
This is the time to try out new stuff and do something different and plan for it and then a little hardcore implementation in november and december.
You know, I like to keep november december as light as possible.
But then again, I think I like to keep all the time as light as possible, falling into the trap of, you know, practice, I don’t practice, but I got something else I can do for sure they’ll be sitting in here, so absolutely, you know, I do some volunteer work too.
So it’s, you know, if I can, you guys have picked out a little bit ahead of time, you can’t just show up on the fly for that.
But you know, I got, I got better things to do.
You know, then I’m sitting here punching in W two s for somebody that decided to show up on october 14th.
So well I love that john because you know, we’re, I would say we’re in similar age, I would think we’re in similar age bracket.
So, you know, I remember the days and you probably when I talked about this briefly is just, you know, the 80 hour badge, like look how cool I am.
I worked 80 hours last week.
Well, you mean you were in the chair for 80 hours and people like to say Berlin, you’re so busy.
I said no, I’m actually productive is what I am because I don’t want to just be busy, I don’t want to be busy, I want to be productive.
I want to get returns done and you know, take care of the clients as I need to take care of the clients, but then move on with my own personal life because I don’t Want to deal with my personal life when I’m 80, Like I’m gonna be crippled probably by then with all the sports I’ve played and all the dangerous things I’ve done.
but you know, I enjoyed myself today.
Not 30 years from now.
Well I have a lovely client who recently retired and she talks about the go years, the slow go years and the no go years and she said I’m in the slow go years now so I need to get out and travel and so they’re, I think they’re either in spain or France right now, her and her sister because they’re going to travel the world for a couple of years while they’re still in the slow go phase and I think that’s great.
But you see that you see it in the client base to people retiring in a few years later there coming in with a walker.
It’s like what’s going on?
I gotta have a hip replacement.
So you know, you gotta keep up with your physical fitness.
In fact, That’s another thing I’ve done in the past couple of years.
Ever since we started putting in more technology is at 3:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays highly even go to the gym and do it in the middle of tax season for sure.
But the rest of the time I try to get out there and do that and you know, to make sure I come, I have a personal trainer who’s standing there waiting for me.
So, you know, I can’t disappoint her because she’ll start texting me and be like, where are you?
So, but you know, your health is very important as well and you, you know, you don’t want it taken away from you between that and playing coaching baseball and running around with kids.
I seem to, hopefully starve off the ill effects that I’ve seen with so many of my clients over the years.
So, you know, but if you’re sending a desk being non productive for 80 hours a week, which I know I wore that badge, you know, all six years at delight, you know, but you’re young then, but still, you know, it takes its toll on you.
And you know, some people say, oh yeah, my firm does, you know, 1500 tax returns a year.
Then you start talking to the people a little bit more and they’re doing, you know, 10 for 540 easies.
And you know, it’s like, okay, well that’s how come you can do so many because because I started asking what technology they’re using, oh, we’re using this and then it’s like, I personally know that those programs aren’t very good and I’m like, how?
So then you find out that, you know, it’s it’s not necessarily that big of a firm after all, they’re just doing a lot of easy returns.
We do some 10 40 Zs every once in a while.
But that’s not really our forte for sure.
Schedule, C schedule.
These are doing a lot of 10 65 11 20 s.
We got a lot of c corpse.
That’s not my bread and butter.
And I don’t like doing 19 nineties.
The rest, if anything I do, I’m on the board of one.
So I have to do that.
And there’s a couple others that we do, but it’s, you know, if they were bigger, Yeah, if they were bigger, I’d, you know, Yeah, I know there’s, you know, we do some bookkeeping for a non profit right now for complementary because you know, one of the officers, there is one of our great clients and he’s a wonderful guy.
So we kind of get roped into it.
Like my H.
And first summer I was walking down the street.
The treasurer at the time said basically came up to me on his bike and said, I need you to be the treasurer.
Like, okay, I’ve been here like, you know, six months.
But anyway, so then I became the treasurer there and you know, everybody’s like, you’re gonna be the treasure forever.
So anyway, yeah, you get those kind of things, but it’s little bit fun in a way, but it does take time and you got to have time to do those things.
And if you get your staff and everybody around you more efficient and effective, you’ll see that time.
And I’ve seen it, you know, this last few years with the technology,, you know, we’re more efficient now than we were when I had my right hand guy with me and, and, and it’s because of technology.
Well, john, this has been amazing, so much for the occasion with us trying to get the technology to work.
Speaking of technology.
But john and I are fighters, john and I fought through the technology challenges because we had the priority of seeing each other and talking about how, you know, hopefully those of you who are listening that you’re gonna take at least one thing away from this.
But I can tell you, I know for myself being able to coach and do something outside of this office, like changed my life a little bit right for the better and not being able to go out with those boys and being on the baseball mound with them.
That’s that stuff.
That’s when they’ll be, that’ll be with those kids for the rest of their lives and that’s what they’re gonna remember dad was there and that’s so important.
So john so much for, for joining me here today and you know, the DM disruptions here to motivate people to do something different, that their lives can be better, not just themselves, with their staff and their clients in some capacity right to get their returns done faster, they like their refunds, Yeah, they get them done in february, they go out and tell all their friends, so it’s like, you know, if we can keep doing that even better, so thanks again from you, as I can see you’re out in san Francisco right?
Well yeah, as I told you before, I have to keep my location secret because some clients will come and find me if I don’t, but well, thanks again, john, you’ve been awesome.
Thanks for everyone for listening to DM disruption will talk to you next time we’re going to bring some more motivational content, especially from your peers, I think that’s what people love the most.
So john Austin, john Coleman, we’ll talk soon, good luck with the baseball and I’m sure we’ll cross paths again soon.
Okay, well thanks so much by
This episode is sponsored by Liscio. Learn more at Liscio.me
Arun Mathur from UltimQuest Knowledge joins the DM Disruption! Listen now to learn why it’s important to educate and mentor young CPAs, how UltimQuest can benefit you and your firm, and where he finds his motivation.
Arun talks about having over 10 years of experience as a CPA. He has experience working in both large and small firms, and says his focus has been to specialize in improving governance in all types of entities, and sharing knowledge through addressing CPAs across the country.
Teaching Young CPAs and Succession Planning
Arun also talks about how important it is to train the new generation of CPAs to not only do accounting work, but get them familiar with how new automation will disrupt their workflow. Automation is becoming more prevalent in many firms, and jobs that used to take hours can now be completed by software. It is more important now that accountants are able to expand the services they can offer their clients.
Arun also talks about how important it is for all firms, both new and well established, to keep up with the changing technologies around them. The disruption that COVID-19 caused revealed pain points in many firms, and those who chose not to adapt to new technology post-COVID had a difficult time staying afloat.
Dawn also adds how important succession planning is, and that many firms have not created an easy way to transition their workflow to another person when they choose to retire or sell their firm.
Where Arun Finds Motivation
Arun shares a story of when he was really struggling in life, and said that one of his good friends that he had known since high school offered him a job. This allowed Arun to get back on his feet and he credits this person for giving him the motivation to achieve the success he has today. Currently, the friend is now a partner at Arun’s accounting firm.
How Arun Gets CPAs Out of Their Comfort Zone
Arun is very passionate about helping CPAs and he is currently designing a course for CPAs that will help them get out of their comfort zone. He often sees many CPAs unwilling to attend networking events or converse with other colleagues, and this can greatly inhibit firms from progressing. He strives to help CPAs build more confidence in themselves, and wants to help them do so in a fun way!
Learn more about Arun and UltimQuest Knowledge!
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Hi everyone, my name is Dawn Brolin, I’m a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, a president of powerful accounting, Inc, and the author of the designated motivator for accounting professionals. I’m here today to talk to you about one of my favorite new application implementations. And that’s with Liscio. We were finding that we were chasing clients and wasting a lot of administrative time chasing them for documents for information for answers to questions as we’re going through tax season. And we found that we’ve really could be working a lot less hours if we could solve for that pain point. So we found Liscio. And because of implementing liscio, we were able to save hours of time every single week, chasing clients, not only wasn’t the time that we were spending, but it was the frustration of trying to get in touch with them. And for them to securely send us documents and information so we could prepare their tax return in a timely fashion. No more picking up and putting down tax returns, because we don’t have everything we need. What I love is that it’s one central place for us that all of us in our firm can see all of the communications, whether it’s via text, or email, or a document that we’re looking for anyone in the firm can go grab that document or that communication and know exactly what’s going on with that client at all times. What’s even better about it is that it does integrate with our project management and workflow solution, as well as our accounting software. So we’re entering contact information for our clients in one place and pushing it out to other other solutions that we use. And I find that application integration is critical. But being able to save us that time, so that I can be on the ball field coaching in the spring, or whatever else it may be being with my kids, whatever it may be. But we found that we were being so unproductive, doing that administrative chasing that we were just like it’s not the clients fault, it’s our fault, we have to offer them a solution that’s going to work for them. And what we found with as we were implementing Lycia with our clients, the best feedback we would get in this was almost every single client was wow, that was easy. And that’s what we need it to be in order for our clients will get us what we need. And it’s got to be secure. We need cloud to cloud secure document exchange and secure communications. We no longer give out our personal cell phones, which is awesome. I don’t want to hear from a client at midnight. If I happen to hear from them through my liscio app, then that’s cool. Maybe I respond, maybe I don’t. But it gives me that flexibility and that time of peace and quiet when I’m not in the office. So I’m telling you go out, get yourself a demo of Liscio, implement it for your business so you have a successful upcoming 2021, 2022, 2023 and beyond tax season. Thank you so much for listening. And I wish you the best as you move forward.
Hello, everybody. And welcome back to the DM Disruption. My name is Dawn Brolin. I’m a certified public accountant, a Certified Fraud Examiner and the author of the designated motivator, and also the author of the upcoming book, the designated motivator for accounting professionals. And what we do here on this podcast is we not just talk about motivation, we also take that motivation and put it into action because you can listen all day long. But if you’re not doing something about it, then I’m not doing my job. So we’re here today with an awesome guy that I’ve just met Arun Mathur. He’s with UltimQuest. And he’s we’re going to talk have a great conversation about motivation. He’s a former CPA, which is awesome. And he’s gives back to the community through education. So a Arun, welcome to the DM Disruption. Thank you so much for coming. Tell us about Arun.
Thank you so much, Dawn. It’s such a pleasure to meet with you. And I have watched a couple of your podcasts very excited to see what you’re doing. So I have to start by saying I have not written a book. I’m not selling anything. However, I do have a pretty strong background as a CPA, I work 10 years in the largest CPA firm in the country. And when I use the term country, I’m talking about Canada. So see, right, I worked in the Toronto office and the national office. Then I got into a commercial real estate stand where I did land rezoning buying and selling commercial property. So that was totally unrelated to the CPA career, did that for a number of years and then came back into the profession in a smaller firm which is like a three partner firm. So I’ve seen like big business I’ve seen small business I’ve seen the owner operated business, done a lot of consulting work for them accounting work that anything. So my main focus in the last 1012 years has been on improving governance in all types of entities, sharing ideas through addressing CPAs across the country. And ethics is actually a core part of good governance. So those are the two areas that I’m specializing in when it comes to training. And you know, your book is about the designated motivator, the thing I learned in my life is our entire lives are about motivation, right? So I’ve seen, like, for example, the ability to motivate a lender, the ability to motivate government, our coworkers, customers, suppliers, even we motivate our family and community. So this is, this is sort of my life. And I’m, I’m at a tail end of my, my career, having done a number of different things. So currently, I’m focusing on developing younger CPAs, helping them with finding joy in their careers. That’s what I’m all about.
And that’s awesome Arun, so we talk a lot about it, we have for many years, and you’ve been involved for so long, as well as like, this next generation, we really have to grab them reach our hand out, pick them up, and bring them along for this, what can be a joyous and wonderful ride in the world of accounting. And, you know, I love the fact you’ve got experience with the big firms, right? Because that’s a whole different ballgame, then a smaller firm of four to 10 to 15, staff members, and a smaller run firm, where maybe there’s a little bit more flexibility than you’ll find in the bigger firms. But you’ve got that expertise. And so, you know, tell me what, because obviously, you’ve been in the accounting industry so long, what just got you to this point where you’re like, I want to help the industry, I’m ready to educate because you know, you like you like me, I’ve been in this for over 20 years. And it’s like, we’ve kind of seen it all. We’ve seen the good see the good, the bad, and the ugly. So yeah, what is it that’s motivating you to want to get out there and educate this generation?
Yeah so there are a number of factors, actually, some of the early indicators were when I was quite young, I actually took a course on public speaking when I was 21 years of age is pretty unusual. I don’t know anybody else who did that. And I am as a personality, I guess, I’m very bold and very confident. I like to take risk, I like to try things. So you know, there are people that might say, you know, I want a nine to five job, I want a steady job, I want to do the same work every day and all that I’m not that person at all right? So I’ve had this kind of idea of observing, watching contributing all of that through my whole life. And then when it comes to the CPA world, and actually the business world as well. I observed some people are very happy, like they’re doing good things, they enjoy their work, you know, they go home, all charged up and ready to come back and all that. And then we see the other side where people feel stuck. You know, they might feel like, you know, they want to do more. I’ve heard members say to me that, you know, we’d like to be contributing to the community doing something worthwhile. So I see I see our members as being very intelligent, hardworking, ethical people. And then I’m observing some that feel stuck, they feel frustrated. And having served on boards having audited large firms having worked in many, many smaller entities, you kind of gain some insights on how things work, you know, what things will not work all of that. So I think it all happened kind of naturally, right? Like I idea. I love the idea of sharing, and this is what happens, I go across the country, someone tells me something, then I share that insight and with the hope that you know, we’re sharing ideas that work sharing methods and sharing strategies that, you know, might have worked in one organization can also work in another organization. But currently, I guess the big concern is disruption automation. A number of members have said to me, you know, will we have a job in the future? What will that job be like? So there’s a need to upskill there’s a need to retrain. And I think the whole profession will probably not only the profession, but the whole world is in that same state of disruption, right? Because of technology, and many other things like automation. And so you know, in the old days, you could say, Okay, I want to become a CPA, this is what I’m going to do. But that this is now expanding significantly, right? Yes, it was that accounting tax and bookkeeping is not enough, right. Like we need to do much more. Right?
Well, yeah, because at the end of the day, we’re the trusted advisors of the business clients. We know that and individuals when you’re doing dealing with taxes. But, you know, and I think it’s a really good point we’ve we’ve talked about how do we replace, I’ll say the older generation, I guess I have to include myself in on that since I’m over 50, I was able to get the AARP starts coming to your door, and you know, you’re over 50, right, I haven’t gotten my hand waiting for somebody to go ahead and subscribe me to it, because that’s what I did to my husband, because that’s funny. And so, you know, we as that older generation need to set the stage for this younger generation. And you’re exactly right, it’s the movement towards the automation. And that is that’s here has been here for years, but you’ve been moving faster than we ever can imagine. It’s moving. And so the younger generation wants that. They want that automation, they don’t want redundancy. That’s what I believe, you know, and I have young generation employees here, and staff members that I that I’ve worked with, you know, they don’t want to be here, nine to five, they don’t want to work, the old fashioned tax season of 80 hours, you know, you got a badge for working 80 hours, well, those, those badges are bad, they’re actually not great anymore, right? So I think that you know, what we can offer you through education, being able to help train and say, you know, people like me are gonna be around for another 10 years, right in the profession, not like, I’ll be dead in 10 years, that’s not what I mean. You know, we’re still gonna be here, right? And we’ve got to get ourselves in a position to be able to bring them in, train them, not on the old ways. And that’s where the problem stands, I see people that are still, you know, files and file cabinets everywhere like that is. So that’s like last century, that’s not even yesterday, right? That’s just, you’ve got to figure, here’s one of the things I ruined, I’d love to hear what you think about this succession planning for smaller firms that are anywhere from sole proprietor, sole practitioner to, you know, 20-30 40-50, staff members, and being able to think of a succession plan where you need to have technology in place so that I can literally say, here, actually, here’s my logins, a password keeper, everything you need to get into everything. But here’s my all this is how I do everything. Here’s my, my app stack, which and here’s my diagram that shows how it all interconnects that you know, and then maybe some kind of a training program, but for those that are still sitting on paper, I think they’re gonna find that the value of their firm is going to be significantly less than somebody who has a pretty good handle on that technology.
For sure, for sure. And, you know, Dawn, this COVID experience we’ve have had in the last 18 months is a perfect illustration of what you just said. So companies, and not only our company, but any company that was in the old way, the paper way and not digitized. Like your your work comes to an end, right? You can right client, the staff is not there, you can do your work, right? So in the old days, we were like that we had files and papers, we would go to the client. So in COVID, that’s not possible. Right? So that’s a really good example of, of what happens if we don’t adapt, right, like, right, you’re going to be in trouble.
Right? And that’s, you know, that’s the whole the one who has, you know, has that technology in place and is able to serve as clients anytime, anywhere, anyhow, used to be more of an efficiency conversation. And a good handful of years, I’ve been saying, okay, we can stop it with efficiency. Okay. Efficiency is great. How about profitability on top of efficiency, which is even much more fun, right? So that you’re, you’re able to get I mean, I know our let’s just be everybody else. To be honest here. Let’s just be totally honest, we love our clients. Don’t get me wrong. We love to hear the stories with the clients. But when we’re preparing texture, and I don’t want to hear about any stories, I want to focus on the return. You know, I said people would come in for an hour, well, probably 3540 minutes of that was just talking, which is still great. And you can still do it, but you don’t go meet me let’s go meet at a coffee shop. When I can actually listen to you or whatever. You know, I can listen to you and look at you in your face instead of this. Oh, that’s nice. Johnny had a game. That’s awesome. Oh, how did he do? And you really never listen to what they’re saying. Exactly. And so those people thrive. And you’re right. And so thankfully, I think some firms like I think it was a big realization for people, right? That, oh, I have to really have it together. But I want to shift this conversation just a little bit because I want to ask you, in your profession, you’ve been doing this for a long time. Was there somebody in your life that that gave you the motivation it took to either, you know, become a chartered accountant, right, because you’re a CA CA in Canada? I think it is. Right?
We will see is but about seven, eight years ago, the entire profession merged. So we’ve now using the CPA, but it’s now okay. Professional Accountant.
Right. Got it. Okay, so, so through your career, you had to run into somebody who was like, wow, they really helped me out at a key spot or whatever. Tell me about that. I’m sure you’ve got somebody.
So that’s a really good question. I mean, I had people at a university level like professors who shared their ideas with me and turned me towards what what’s practical and current? I’ve had a partner who one of the stories I have is I have like a rags to riches to rags to riches story, which is unusual. As part of that story, I have a friend who I’ve known since I was in high school. And when I was in this very, very dire situation completely down and out. He approached me through my family and said, you know, we have a job for you come and work for us, and so on. So I would say that is the gentleman who I would point I would answer your question with someone that had confidence in my abilities, someone that was willing to, to help me at a time when I was absolutely, absolutely down and out, right. So he’s actually my current partner in the firm I’m with it’s a small firm, I’m 100%, dedicated to working with him and helping him. And he’s actually much more than a friend much more than a very, very good professional, he’s actually a excellent human being cares about other people, that type of thing.
You know, and who better to work with and somebody like that, as opposed to somebody who’s just mean, right?
You know, I can tell you so Dawnn, I mean, over the 45 years that I’ve been working, I actually heard from one of my staff members. When she came over and joined us, I asked her, What was your firm like, and all that, and it was also a smaller firm, she told me that every single staff member left that firm, right? Attrition down to non existent, right. So that’s how bad that owner was. They didn’t take care of the people that didn’t care about their people. And one by one, every single team member left the team, we’ve seen that as well.
You know, and I think that that just goes back to the unfortunate world that we live in currently, where it’s a lot about me, me, me, as opposed to us, us, us. And you, you, you and us together and working together. And I like my whole passion is around just I mean, changing the world is like kind of a big goal, I think. But But But you’re right. I mean, people want to be around positive people. That’s the whole concept of the the the designated motivator, is being able to reach and tie inside the soul of somebody and be be selfless in a way that you actually give them that attention and that care and concern on a daily basis. And it’s genuine. Right? And so just treating one person a day, in a nice way. Can you know they pass it along? This is a simple example. So Saturday, we bought I bought a boat finally been talking about buying a boat forever finally bought a boat. So we’re going down to the boat on Saturday, and we stopped at a grinder shop to grab some grinders to take on the boat. Great time. So we go in there, there’s three young boys, it got to be between, I’d say between 10 and 11 years old, and that in that range. And they came into the pizza place and they were picking up pizza. They’re sweating. It was like really hot on Saturday. And they’re like, Wow. And they come in and they vote. They’re all standing near the cooler. They’re like, Oh, I really love a sprite right now or a coke or whatever. And I can I’m listening to them. And I said to us, I said to the lady go, hey, get add, you know, three sodas to the I want to give these guys a drink. They will. They’re all drooling over the soda over their drought. They’re drenched. And they these young boys are just like, Wow, thank you. That was very nice. And I said you know what, guys all you know how you do you know how you repay that? You go be nice to somebody else that maybe other people weren’t so nice to today. And that’s called passing it along, guys. And they were like, thank you. So like it was a soda, you know? But like, right, that’s the stuff that people say, Well, I’m not like you bro. And I’m not crazy. And I, you know, I don’t you know, put on costumes and do crazy stuff and use a bullhorn and yell and it’s fun. You know, I’m not like that. You know what you can buy a soda for a kid who comes in and sweating. And I said to them, I said, I’m just so glad to see you outside and not on a video game. And they were…
Such a nice story, Don, because you know, you’re small act of kindness, which you know, not a big deal. But this, this will make an impact on those three lives, right? Like those kids are going to go forward and say, wasn’t that lady so nice to us? She didn’t have to do it. And I think, you know, the world is made a much better place with even a very small act of kindness, like listening to someone talking to someone expressing concern, you know, you don’t have to spend money and not too much time. But you know, the unfortunate thing is the media is full of bad news, right? The media will never cover good news. Right? So we ended up getting this impression that the world is a horrible place when really not that bad, right? So when your little act of kindness, you know, comes in someone’s life is like a refreshing thing that someone did something selfless. Right? Right. That’s a nice example. Yeah,
yeah. And it’s great. And so you know what, let’s shift this conversation because I know you have a child who’s playing soccer from what you told me. So tell me a little bit about that. what that’s about.
So, so I have a son who now is about 22 years of age, when he was around 11. While right from about six years of age, he played soccer every summer. And you know what a soccer team is like what a soccer game is like, Oh, yes, typical thing is like a parent is coaching because they want their kid to grow. And, you know, there’s always one or two hotshot players that are able to score. The other kids are like secondary, their job is to pass the ball to the to the scorers, and they score and they win, right? This is the typical way. soccer season, right? Yeah, what happened is one year we had an absolutely strange year, they formed a team. And then there was no coach. Right? So I was concerned, my son was concerned, all the kids were concerned, are we even going to play or is this season going to be like something we have to set aside and other teams will play. In the midst of that confusion, one of the parents, his name was John, he stepped forward and said, I will coach this team. And he only stepped forward because we were seeing that nobody would be playing right. And that was that was his motivation. He had never coached soccer before, but he came in. Now John had a very, very different approach to coaching. I’ll just give you a couple of examples. So you know, like, during the weeknights, they would have a practice night, on the weekends they would play. So during the practices, I noticed that John was getting the kids to do drills, right. So they were drills to pass the ball up the side, they were drills on how to pass the ball, how to throw the ball, how to take the corner, kick all of the mechanics of the game, right? So he was he was teaching the drills to every single kid. And I noticed that he wasn’t focusing on his own son, like he was giving the same training to every single kid. Right? This This to me was a little bit unusual. And I’ll tell you what happened in the game. So, you know, as you know, like, whether it’s baseball or soccer, like the parents are instructing the kids and telling them what to do, you know? Oh, we’d be like, you know, we would be gasping because we’re yelling, you know, not only yelling at our own kids what to do, but even the other kids because we know their names, right? So we’re instructing them go this way, pass to, this guy, all of that. And, you know, we’re thinking that the right person should take the corner kick and all this. Well, this coach John, he trained the kids in the practice, but in the game, he just stood and watched the game. He didn’t give any instructions. He didn’t say who should do the corner kicks, who should do the throw? And, and, and he stepped aside, and they just watched the game, right? So you might be wondering, what was the outcome of that season? Right? Yes. Let me tell you. This team had no hotshot players, this team won every single game in the season. Wow, we single game on the field. I’ll tell you, like, basically, the kids were making their own decisions. The kids were not focused on scoring, they were focused on the passion they had for soccer. They liked working with each other, they had all been trained equally. There was no identification that this is the boss or this is the leader or this is the scorer, everybody had equal chance, right? So, you know, I guess, you know, if you focus on fun, and the enjoyment, no matter what your activity is, versus focusing on a win, it’s like, in a corporation, you might say, you know, we achieved the bottom line or whatever. But then you people could be miserable. On the other hand, you could say, Okay, are we enjoying what we’re doing? And then the winning is a byproduct of that enjoyment? Right? So to me, that whole experience was about motivation, about empowerment, about building trust between the kids. And the coach did all of this very silently, right? It was not obvious to me while it was happening. And he focused on skills development, right? So he built the skills of every single player, not just hotshot players, you know, you could be playing defense, midfield, you could be playing center, or whatever you were playing. But he worked on all the kids equally. And we saw that right. Like, there was no special treatment for his own son. And I think the idea that the kids were free to figure out the place, right, figure out who they should pass to, and all of that made a huge difference, right? So I think ethical treatment, fair play, all of these things are kind of the the indications of a good team of a strong team. And I think like this is the lesson I learned, like it was a soccer game, but it can apply in a family it can apply in business, government. So that’s something that happened many years ago.
I love that story. That’s a great story. And, and it’s so true. It’s almost like you know, even like think about a firm You know, in any firm, any team, any part in life is at your strongest at your weakest link, we all know that that’s the truth. It’s a fact. So what you’re doing, by building up all of those players allowed that team to have success that they likely would not have had to be totally honest with you, I believe. Number one, I believe in the techniques, I believe in training and teaching repetitive movement when it when you’re in sports, and that’s something that we do, you know, we do what we call, we call, we call them everydays, you’re going to do the same drills every single time you come to the game because, or to the practice, or whatever it is. Because those are the fundamentals of your job of your game of your whatever you’re playing, or whatever you’re doing in life. And in a firm, it’s like you bring in these, we’ll call them juniors, cuz that’s what a lot of people call them, right? They come in the first years, and they’re starting to learn. And the more that the culture of the environment of that firm, embraces those newcomers we call the newcomers and softball newcomers to the game, and put your hand out and pick those guys up those guys, girls, whatever, you pick them up, you bring them, you bring them up to as hot as fast and as best as you can bring them up to that level. And that’s what a real successful firm like yours, Arun, because obviously, you know, you’re attracting talent because of how you treat people. And that’s some of the things people don’t realize not only about how much you’re paying them to pay me a million bucks, but I can give somebody a Friday off and still pay them. I’m winning.
Yeah. So Dawn, let me let me tell you your what you just said reminded me of something that happened to me in India. So I’ve been in Canada for about 55 years. So I was just a young kid when I was in India, but I’ve gone back for trips. So I was in I was meeting someone for the first time he was the chairman of a large food company in India, a manufacturing company. And as I walked into his office behind him, there was like, a cork board. And there was a sign that said TGIM, right. So even before I said good morning and started introducing myself, I went to that site, and I said to him, I said, you know in North America, it’s TGIF, it’s not TGIM, right? Then he went on to explain the sign. He said, We have a program where we develop our people, and the type of corporate culture they’re trying to create, is that they, they hope that their employees will be so excited about coming to work, that they look forward to Monday. And that blew my mind. Right? Can you imagine that kind of where you’re looking forward to coming to work? Right? Isn’t that amazing?
That’s awesome. See, and you know, a room that is such a great story, because you can think about it. It’s like, if you like imagine just let’s just start an idea. Like you do something different every Monday morning, if people can’t wait to come and find out what is what’s going to happen on Monday morning. And they’re excited about it’s kind of like watching a reality show, like what’s happening next week, you know, it’s like, Okay, I’m gonna go, I’m gonna find out what what what’s going to be on my desk today, or whatever it may be. And that’s about creating a culture of happiness. Listen, work is called work for a reason. It’s not called vacation. It’s called work. And we all have to have to do it. Okay, well, we all should do, I should say it that way. We all we all have to so at the end of the day, the one who makes the work environment fun and fulfilling, both from an individual perspective and a professional perspective. When you can do that and be a designated motivator that leaves that firm. You got it figured out. And trust me, I just did a keynote on the book last week. I tell people like, oh, people don’t set goals, money goals, of course we do. We set out we have budgets, and we have, we have budgets, and we do have goals in that capacity. But I don’t come to work on Monday morning to make money. I come to work on Monday morning to be around my people to be around my clients talk to my clients, and hopefully help them survive, as well. So I just I love that.
That’s No, I think it’s so critical to have that attitude, I actually taught a course in the university on auditing. And you know, people consider our work to be pretty dull, right? Accounting, auditing, this all kind of dry tacks and all of that. So one of the things I started in that class where they said, and there was about maybe 40 students, right, in a beacom class, so I said to them, I said, you know, we’ll start this thing where we’ll start the class with a joke, right? So they can’t be off color jokes. It’s got to be like, proper. You know, I’m going to do it. And and, and I’m going to urge you to do that as well, right? So in other words, we’ll start the class by saying, Okay, who wants to tell a joke? And if nobody else does, then I will. Right? So this class went on for the entire semester. And we did exactly that. Right. And this elicited, you know, participation, people told us stories, people shared things. One of the young ladies who was in the class actually was a medalist in the Canadian CAE exam. Like the years later I saw a picture I said, Oh, I recognize her right. So that small gesture of adding a little bit of you know, humility, adding a little bit of humor in the middle of the auditing class. US, it generated like a very positive result. And I think you can do this in anything. Like when I’m teaching my courses, people say to me, I came into like a course on internal control, fraud prevention, of course on key performance indicators, whatever it happens to be right. And they say I came in with a view that I’ll be bored out of my mind, right? Because they have, and we go on on the subject, right. But I tried to bring in my, like real life experiences, we try and share real things. So I think people can do that. Right. If you can think of what is relevant for the other person how to make it interesting. Yeah. And that itself is motivation, right? Because you’re putting across your content. But you’re framing it from their perspective, right? And this makes it more effective. Right.
That’s so fun so far. So listen Arun, this has been a great conversation, you are just a pleasure to even just have a conversation with I mean, is there anything else you want to leave with the listeners, anything that you can think of that you want to message? And and tell us just give us a little bit of how they find you? And and obviously, this is education for Canadian accountants Correct?
Well, that’s our courses are offered in the US as well. We’re pretty global. Yeah. And I’ve got some things going on in India, which are just in early stages. So our environment is very similar. So the courses would be relevant. So just to get back to what I said in the beginning, like my life legacy is to figure out how I can help other CPAs. And so what I’m, this is like a work in progress has not been done yet. But I’m coming up with like a program. It’s like a mentorship program. And the idea is that if someone is feeling stuck, like for example, I think our CPA, if you look at the demographics, they’re intelligent people, hardworking people, ethical people. But I would say if you look at the strengths, the strengths are on the hard skills, right? Where we might have weaknesses is on the soft skills, right? So I’m looking at all of my years of experience and seeing how the world works. So I’m looking at, you know, how do we empower our members to gain the soft skills and run out the things so that, you know, that’s not an impediment for their growth? So if, you know, again, it’s like a work in progress. But some of the ideas we have, we’re thinking about, you know, going back to your original motivation, when you first became a CPA or wanted to become a CPA, you know, what is it that you were trying to accomplish? And kind of going back and revisiting that original decision to say, Are you are you getting what you wanted to get, and so on. So I hear from many members that, you know, they’re enjoying their work, and all of that, but they think that they want to do more for the community. So I’ve heard from a number of people, you know, for example, they tell me, okay, I’m retiring. And I say, What will you do next? Invariably, the most common answer I get, is people want to do community service, they want to serve the charitable sector, the not for profit sector. And this is so nice to hear. So I’m going to talk about, you know, how can we do that, while we’re working? Right, you don’t have to wait till retirement. You know, the whole idea of collaboration, this is the key thing, in my, in my experience, if we learn how to collaborate effectively, we can have much, much better outcomes, you know, this whole idea of managing people, I mean, we’ve been talking about it up to now, a lot of senior people, a lot of management people in our industry, may be very good accountants, but they really have not thought about managing people, you know, thinking about the other person. You talk about arranging effective meetings, you know, sort of the strategy, the approach, how do you get to what you want? How do you make a meeting worthwhile? We’ve all attended meetings where you scratch your head and say, you know, why was I asked to come here? Sometimes these meetings go in circles, right? Like you’re not accomplishing anything. Even this whole idea of networking, I’ve talked to many CPAs, they’re unwilling to attend a networking event, like a University alumni event, you know, even a work related, networking event, business Chamber of Commerce type of event. My life experience tells me that the greatest acceleration in my career happened randomly, right? It happened because I met someone in a networking event, we hit it off, we met for dinner, and then I left my job and join them. Right. So this actually happened to me. It’s a very, very powerful way to propel your career, but I don’t think many of our members are thinking that way. So I’m going to talk about that. Public speaking is another area like it’s part of leadership, it’s part of communication. You know, well, I mean, I don’t have to tell you this, but you know, if two people are talking it’s a one to one communication. You look at Anthony Robbins right. They fill a room, you can regress 2000 people in one go or 10,000 people in one go So, and public speaking is like a multiplier effect, right? Like your communication is being multiplied. I guess it’s happening right now because people will listen to you and I. So you know, there’s a lot of hesitation not just in our members, but generally it’s a human nature, people are scared people don’t want it. Right? When I talk to people about public speaking, is just like selling, right? If you say to a CPA, you have to sell something, they don’t want that. Right, right. So why don’t we get them out of that comfort zone and think about, think about the benefits and also how to write. So So I guess you could encapsulate all of these things into like, emotional intelligence and that type of field. And then also like career development, career advice, mentoring, even all of the emotional psychological things, I think, like, I have so many professors, family members, others who just kind of nudge me a little bit that made my life, right, it was a minor, little thing. So I hope to be able to do that for the future generations so that, you know, they find joy in the profession, they find fulfillment in their work, they feel that, you know, their life has been worthwhile. They’re contributing to the community. It’s very, very possible. Right? So I’d like to remove some of the roadblocks that are preventing people from reaching that joy. Yeah, maybe towards the end of the year, we might have our program done.
Well, and we’ll have you back, we’ll have you back. Just reach back out, we’ll get you because I’d love to hear, you know, how did it go? What’s, you know, what are we? What are we looking for, and, and certainly link to you guys in the, in the bottom section of the podcast, because we able to link to you and see the great work that you’re doing. And I just want to thank you…
One thing I should just stayed on? Sorry. No, you know, I just wanted to add, one of the things I’ve learned in my life is that when you fail, you have to get up and go right, you can’t fail and just stop. Right. And, and you know, very often people have a very negative view of failure, like we want to prevent failure, we want to avoid failure. You know, when you look at any kind of business success, we’re always talking in a very positive tone, you know, you could become chairman of General Motors and all of that, right. But between the zero and there, there’s a lot of failure, a lot of hardship. And I think we we don’t really hear that. So I’m very happy to tell you that having gone through this kind of thing myself, that I’d like to communicate that right, the idea that we should have a positive attitude towards failure, we should learn from failure. And really, it’s kind of counterintuitive, maybe, but this is how the world works. Right? We fail and we have to get up and, and start again and keep going at it. Persistence is important. Hard work is important. Right? Yeah.
I love that. Because really, at the end of the day, you’re right. Number one, when you’re successful, I find for myself, like when I have a Successful IRS representation case, and I’m able to, you know, take care of whatever the situation may have been for that client, that gives me confidence. So for me, is it positive, of course it is I get excited, I’m fired up. I’m like, took care of this person. That’s my job, I’m doing well. But when I failed, and I failed many times it for many different reasons, whether it was how I handled a staff member, how I handled the client situation, whatever that may be. That’s what I actually learned. I didn’t learn from success, I learned from the failures, for sure.
That’s so true. So true, I have a lot of ideas. Like you know, I have ideas about relationship building, I have ideas on these types of things. Because what I’ve learned is, you know, if you can create positive relationships that can prevent a lot of headaches, if we have like, ethical kind of behavior towards the people we work with, that that creates a really good relationship, it creates high trust. So you’re kind of you’re you’re putting yourself into a platform where you can springboard from that. And a lot of people are looking for quick returns and quick gains. But long term, if you take an ethical approach, you build good relationships, high trust relationships, just like they did with the soccer team, right? Like that’s a win. And that’s, that’s like a sustainable win, right? Because you are doing positive things is going to create a positive result, right? Absolutely. I have lots of ideas, but we’re hoping to put that into a program into a very step by step type of thing that will go global with that, hopefully, it will help a lot of members.
And that’s what it’s all about. You know, that’s one of the reasons why I started the podcast, I’m just like, can we get the message out? Can people hear this, you know, successes and failures over and over again and really just like, try to take it in on themselves and look inward towards themselves and what they can maybe do change. You know, those kinds of things to make their lives better, but also the people around them, which is what’s important, right? So we’re gonna message you you’ve been fantastic. Arune Mather with UltimQuest. And we’re excited to have you back once the program gets launched Let’s let’s help you watch it. Again. thanks again everybody for listening to the DEM disruption. We’ll see you next time. Same place, same time. Look forward to talking to you everyone. Take care.
Thank you very much. Nice seeing you.
This episode is sponsored by Truly Financial. Learn more at https://trulyfinancial.com/
Scott Scarano joins the DM Disruption! Tune in to learn about his own podcast, Sons of CPA’s, the importance of succession planning, and how improving the productivity of your firm may not be as hard as you think. Listen now!
Post Covid and Importance of Staying Present
Scott and Dawn discuss how this post-covid season is affecting their firms. Dawn brings up how the tax atmosphere has now changed, and CPA’s are expected to be doing more than ever before. Scott agrees and says that trying to get a hold of the IRS is even more challenging than it used to be, and how waiting for the IRS to respond is taking up a lot of their firm’s time.
Scott brings up how he no longer has the notifications turned on on his phone, as he found that his time off work was still spent doing work related tasks. Dawn adds that she now uses Liscio to converse with her clients and never gives out her personal phone number to her clients; this has helped her spend more quality time with her children.
The Sons of CPAs Podcast
Scott is the host of the Sons of CPAs podcast. Scott says that he and his colleagues are the next generation of CPAs, and that they are focused on presenting new ideas and new ways to run a successful firm. He remarks that many accounting firms may not see issues that are causing them to lack in productivity, and his podcast can help firm owners and CPAs be exposed to new ideas that may help the performance of their firm.
Dawn also talks about how she partners with other accounting firms to split certain costs and save on business expenses. She also says that it gives her a sounding board to bounce ideas off of, and it allows her to learn new ways to improve her practice.
Succession Planning for your Firm
Dawn and Scott also discuss the important step of devising a succession plan for when you choose to retire from your firm. Scott says that he sees a lot of single entrepreneurs who own their own accounting practice fail to create an easy transition for the person that either buys or takes over their firm. Many accounting firms also use old or outdated technology and refuse to update their practices, which can lead to issues when trying to grow or expand the productivity of your practice.
Scott also shares the story of meeting his wife while working at the same restaurant in college. He shares that she is the biggest motivation in her life, and credits her for giving him the motivation to pursue his current career path.
Check out Scott’s Podcast, Sons of CPAs
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Hi, I’m Dawn Brolin. I’m a certified public accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, and the author of the designated motivator for accounting professionals. Today I want to introduce you to Truly Financial. They’re a digital bank and you can visit them at TrulyFinancial.com. They are part of the team rollin starting lineup, which is the best of breed roster for technology solutions and partners that I use in my own accounting practice, Powerful Accounting, Inc. In fact, my entire ecosystem or playing field, if you will, is called Truly Financial field. Here’s why. Banking the right kind of banking is essential to everything you or your clients need to do when it comes to money. Truly financial is changing the banking game. For starters, they’re a digital bank, no more going to the bank for me, those days are over. I can do everything online, and so can your clients. Partnering with Truly Financial helps you offer clients and their customers frictionless collaborative banking solutions anywhere in the world. Truly financial provides accessible all in one banking that gives small businesses superpowers that were previously only available to larger businesses. When you or your clients open a truly financial account, you get multicountry corporate Visa cards, local and international bank accounts and the ability to send or receive payments seamlessly. I use Truly Financial to help the business owners I work with grow without getting slowed down by high fees, or big bank bureaucracy. Learn more about how truly financial is changing the game for accounting professionals and their clients. Be sure to check out their partner program for accounting professionals to at TrulyFinancial.com Thanks so much for listening.
Hello, everybody. And welcome to the DM disruption. Another episode here really excited to talk to Scott Scarano. Most of you probably have heard of Scott, he’s out there. He’s, you know, forging the way as an entrepreneur and doing a lot of really great things. We have him here today to talk a little bit with me about motivation and how we can kind of he seems like he’s like a little bit down today. So we’re gonna pick him up and drag him along and shoot for that motivation for him today for this episode. So Scott, thank you so much for joining me here today. Let’s talk about Scott Scarano. Otherwise known as Scotty to his friends sometimes, or Beam me up, Scotty. We can even have that do that.
Yeah,we got the new Sopranos that just came out. Usually draw the comparison. That yeah, the higher brow people on sopranos a soprano. And the the typical everyday man is usually things soprano. So I’ve noticed this in my life. And I just started noticing as I was watching that new one, it’s like, you know, I usually say soprano, Soprano tomato tomahto.
Exactly. So there’s another good like now your high brow?
That’s where you get this Scarano right. That’s in my accounting world. It’s always Scarano.
So I love it. I love it. So Scott, talk to me, tell me what’s been going on with you. What’s, what’s this? What’s this kind of feel a little down? What’s happening in your world?
I think this, this new posts COVID, going back to the world is what’s getting me down. Okay. I think it’s trying to marry the reality that was created during COVID that I very much enjoyed. So now, I think the rubber meets the road. And there’s more going on. Everybody just wants things done now and I got to actually get back to work. Like that’s, that’s ultimately why I’m down is, is I can’t just be absent from the firm to like, I was enjoying I have a podcast of doing other things besides just working. I feel like a CEO now. But yeah, see, you actually has to do some work. And, you know…
It’s so true. Right. So so clients are kind of coming out of the woodwork a little bit more. And I definitely see of course for us as a CPA is the the atmosphere of tax right now is so frustrating, really, at the end of the day. It’s frustrating, mostly, I think, because the IRS, which I had a great conversation with Matt Fulton on Friday, just talking about, you know, the new tax bill and all the spending and all the stuff that’s going on. And I said to him, I said Matt, dude, I can’t even get through to the IRS for an amended return from two years ago. Nevermind, slapping on more stuff that’s going to be coming down the pike here as we go through the fall and then into January. So I can see where your, you know, who wants to I call it reentry. So we have to re enter into that mindset of madness really a little bit, right? So I can see where that that challenge is here for you for sure.
I mean, you know, you and I both know that anything like, like you said, like two years ago amended return, like anything that we’re sending to the IRS, first we have to mail it, and everybody knows that, you know, or fax it. And it’s just gonna sit there like we’re dealing with, you know, S corp elections and things like that. And it’s just, you know, it’s back and up. We don’t know if they’re accepting it or not. It’s just anything here and there. So what we’ve done at our firm, at least is just add a line item to everybody’s monthly prices, IRS correspondence, protection, anything that comes up, we’ll handle it, otherwise, they’re getting bills every time. You know, that’s, we’re not billing my time. But yeah, I mean, you do a lot of IRS, don’t you do a lot of representation and different, you know, aspects of that. So, you know, from a practical standpoint, you’re still going to deal with long phone calls, you know, anything. So, I don’t know how you personally handle that. Or if you have people that do that. And it’s yeah..
No, I for the representation, I need to handle 100% myself and, and I use something called actually one of those supporters of our podcasts call ENQ, call E N Q. And so that gets you into like, the front line, there’s a lot of on social media, there’s people who are like, that’s just not right. You know, it’s bad enough, blah, blah, blah, I’m like,
Well, you pay extra for it, right?
50 bucks a month. I’ll take that. And it puts me You know, I say faster. But I’ll tell you what, you know, it’s really interesting to Scott, I have a client who has like an identity protection letter that came in regarding their 2020 return. And of course, he’s got a nice $25,000 refund coming. You call that 1-800 number you can they actually say due to high call volume, call back another time. We’re not even going to put you on hold.
Not even yet. It’s a courtesy. Sometimes it used to be a courtesy hang up. Now. They’re just not even putting anybody on hold like that. Sorry. Got your order. Yeah…
I’m just like, what I mean, it’s crazy. What’s happening. So when it’s true to Scott, like, we just had that reentry issue. It’s like, you know, I personally enjoyed the last year and a half of not meeting with people. I’m much more productive. I’m turning returns over faster, because I’m not having that one hour…
And just anything else. Yeah, like, you have more control over your day, I think. Yeah. When Nobody’s interrupting, you know,
Yeah. Which is almost never, which, you know, I mean, it’s, it’s constant, right? So, and you think about it, over the course of a day, when you’re having a normal workday, you’re probably communicating with, okay, people say, Oh, I’ve talked to this many people, but you’re probably communicating with 30 to 40 to 50 people a day, between texts and phone calls and emails. And well, thank goodness for
Sometime more, yeah.
Which is, which is funny, because one of the reasons our firm moved to Liscio, which we talked a little bit about Chris Farrell, before we started the episode, but, you know, that has given us the ability to consolidate all communications with the exception of a phone call, but texts and emails and everything going into one place, where we’re not having to go to, you know, which cell phone here and look at…
Well, there’s less misinformation, there’s less duplication of communications, like, you know, it’s just like now at our firm, it’s text call and email, when you need to tell them something or reach out to them, because we don’t know which ones they’re gonna respond to. Right, like…
And that’s it. Yeah. You know, it used to be like, from a communications perspective, used to be communications meant, you know, alright, you send out an email, and hopefully someone get back to you in the next day or two. But people it used to be a text was almost like an emergency, like a text was, hey, I need something now. But now, texting is so common. I was like, I’m not giving out my personal cell phone. I am not doing it. There’s nothing that important. I have Liscio on my phone if I decide to open it and communicate. But I’ve decided I want it to be the driver of the communication. I didn’t want to necessarily be interrupted when I’m on a boat, like, like we were talking about before, right? Because I want to be present when you have three kids, right? So you have three kids, when you’re with your kids, you want to be present with your kids. Because like you said, we know we work all the time. We’re workaholics of sorts, right? So we work so much that when you do get that time you want to spend with your kids, right?
I think we in to me, I’m trying to marry the idea of of workaholic versus wanting to help to write like a lot of us always say that’s what we want to do. We want to help. You know, the first part I always say it’s money first, you got to make money first, it’s about money until it’s not. And then when it’s not, then it’s about you know, whatever it might be and I think managing the interruptions to like I think I’m gonna call this episode The DM interruption, right. And that’s usually because I’m always interrupting people not and that’s another out of context statement, but this is more Yeah, more and more in the sense of, you know, managing the interruptions. And I’ve turned off notifications for everything on my phone, which is a big deal, because I don’t even get notified if I get a phone call, or anything else. So I really have to, and this is part of what what brings me down is like to have to turn those back on now. Like, am I getting? Am I missing some calls? Am I not scheduling my day, right are missing an important text or an important email? It used to be a notification for every email that came in. And a lot of people might still have that. And to me, by turning that off, it just creates more anxiety when I do go into the emails now. So it’s like, you can’t win.
That’s interesting. Yeah. Okay. You know, and I love that mentality, though, what you’re saying, is to shut off notifications. I had a client in here on Friday, and he was saying, you know, I want to I don’t want to leave my phone on vibrate, because he’s a plumber. So he would have people, you know, texting and calling at 530 in the morning, and he’s like, he just has newborn babies. Like, I can’t be having that. And he’s like, Well, what do I do? If it’s like, I want obviously, if my what my wife is with me, but let’s say she’s away or something like that, I want to be able to get that notification at 530. In the morning, I said, That’s what favorites are for. You set up your favorites on your phone, and you shut off notifications from anybody but your favorites. And so that’s a good tip. And I like that because obviously I have kids that are home with me. So I need to be able to be available for them. But you’re right, the notifications, stress me out, stress me out. And so I don’t allow notifications on my phone either. Because I’m like, Okay, I’m going to check my tax. I’m going to check my emails, I’m going to check my phone calls. And yeah, you know what, Scott, you might miss a thing or two. You know, you’re like me, we’re both people pleasers. You know, and I think accountants are, I think most accountants are people pleasers. We’re in the service industry, we’re working with people…
It’s the forward facing ones are the ones that want to be put in the back room and just do the work thing that they’re not always people pleasers, they’re usually people displeases, but you got to put your to put somebody else with them to make it work. And I usually the firm owners that I speak to probably as well that we mingle with, they’re the front facing ones, they’re the ones that want to talk to clients. And usually you’ve got somebody on your team like them to you know, it’s, this is the one I want to put in front of when a client is upset or when something’s going on. That’s important. Yeah, put them in front of this employee. Right. And we’ve, what we’ve tried to do at the firm, and I’m, you know, dive into those details, but it’s like, we want to figure out, okay, what pairs of people can work well with clients, and then usually with that pair, you can get a lot of the front end overhead, and just really, you know, most of that client facing aspect of the work that we do. Right, then maybe we have an outsourced team to handle some of the lower level work, but it’s like marrying those type of employees to work together as a team, sort of like in a pod, you know, so to speak, in this remote work atmosphere like we did, we had an office, and we don’t anymore since COVID, like we’ve sold their office, right. And now, part of me to is that have been down for the past couple weeks is like, I want to go back, I want to go back to the office. I’d have three kids and my son was out of school for three weeks when they have year round school, so everybody’s on a different schedule for years. But not in school, obviously, nothing like that. I could still hear footsteps above me. My daughter in high school. And that’s just a regular schedule, like everybody, you know, has she has a summer office, and then year round school for my son and elementary. And that’s like, they get three weeks off, and then they go for a quarter. And then they get another three weeks off. I think it’s a quarter. I don’t know what it is. Right. Yeah. I mean, that’s, we used to like that, because they were on the same schedule. We go on a trip, you know, middle of the year, not that busy. You know?
Absolutely. Yeah. You know, it’s interesting that you say that, because, yeah, I have an office on my property. So I’ve had a an office in New Haven about an hour drive from here and decided that just was too much. But you’re right. I mean, the flexibility that we have been able to enjoy over the last year and a half has made things a lot better. And you’re right about the forward facing person. So I have Tracy in my office, she’s a gem. She’s one in a million. She handles all things clients, she loves to talk to the clients and not that I don’t because I do. I like to talk to the clients. But really, at the end of the day, I got to have the head down, keyboard shuffling, we’re just like, bang hitting away. And really, when you’re right when there’s a conflict or an issue, she handles it so much better than I do. She really does. You know, so she’s she’s able to do that. And I think, you know, having the ability to have somebody she’s works 20 hours a week between 20 and 30 Maybe in tax season. But for the most part, you know, she just handles that stuff and boy, it just takes a huge burden off of me.
Have you seen a split between like she’s doing she got her head down for 20 hours and then 20 hours she’s like communications are just about 20 hours.
She only does she works about 20 hours a week total. All she does is client communications.
So she is that whole front facing for most of the front, is she more of Like your clients access specialist, what do you call her?
Absolutely, absolutely. Without her, you know, she, she handles follow up on client organizers, which we do all digital anyway. But, you know, she handles all of that she handles, okay, you know, I let me just make sure that this bank accounts, right and whatever. And so she’ll just, yep, let me give him a call, she’ll set all my appointments, I’m not allowed to make appointments, because I just got all…
I’m dealing with that today, like, I can’t make my appointments, because I’ve missed them, like, I’ll double booked them, you know, all kinds of things. So, yeah, we get to that, we usually do pretty well, because it does have the team approach, you know, and, you know, just round robin type things, but then when it comes to me, you know, a proposal follow up of double. And that’s important.
And those are important. So tell me more about like, you’re out there helping other CPAs moving forward, right, and helping them get past it. Tell me about that. I want to hear about that.
So I don’t take the motivator approach. I like the way you’ve really framed it very well, for us, it’s just very conversational. Right. So that’s the podcast. And that’s, that’s more of like, you know, we’re the next generation, we call it the sons of CPAs. And we’re the next generation of, I’m not even a CPA, but like accountants and CPAs, that are taking a charge in this, you know, industry that’s been going through a lot of change, and we’ll go through a lot more. We’ve got, you know, people doing things, one way, that’s traditionally speaking way, it’s always been done. And then a lot, you know, not a lot, but a subset of firms out there that are doing things a lot different, I think, you know, you’re probably very acutely aware of that. There are some that just, you know, that are just in their own bubble. And I think, you know, to a certain degree, we’re all looking to change and do things better. And do you think our clients, so it’s like, what are the best practices, and nobody really has any generally best practices that somebody else doesn’t do differently? Like, everybody’s doing things a little bit differently. But when you look at the traditional, so to speak, it’s very much the same, you know, hourly billing, we’re doing this, we have this partnership model. And this is, and then I know that you in particular, to have a very unique approach to that partnership model. Right. And I think that’s, you know, that speaks to this next generation of people doing things that kind of work for our current world, right?
Yeah, totally. I mean, like, so I have, I have packed partners, okay. And they are, you know, we formed this partnership, we’re all our own CPAs, we all have our own clients. But we decided partnering together, splitting the cost of software, having a firm license together, having that ability to bounce things off of each other without invading or impeding on the way we want to run our practices. And so that’s been a really great marriage between the three of us, it’s been really awesome. And so you’re right. I mean, I think that that, and I love what you do for the, for the younger part of the profession where we really need those people desperately. And yeah, at the end of the day, they’re not going to do it the way we all did it, I should say, I didn’t really go the traditional route myself, I never went to a big firm, I had a small partnership with, with a couple of CPAs that were on staff. And that’s where I got my experience. But you know, a lot of people, you don’t have to go be owned by the man, which is what happens a lot of times in those bigger firms. Not ever, but that’s not for everybody. And so having some non traditional approaches is important. Right?
increases for flex, I mean, for flexibility. And just for decision making, right? Do you? Do you guys have to have a committee to make every decision? Or like, because that’s, that’s a big difference. And a lot of these bigger firms is they don’t ever change anything, because they have to all agree. And a lot of times, you’re not very agile, if you have to, you know, it’s not if one person is not at the helm, and it’s one person making the decisions. And usually, they shy away from that, because who knows why, and it’s just typically done by committee, when it’s a bigger, you know, under one umbrella. Now, do you guys operate as different firms? Or do you?
Yes, well, we have a firm rolling in Koba. Yeah. You know, so we have our E fin and all of our, we have insurance together, everything’s all together, we just build separate. So really, at the end of the day, we file is Anderson Brolin, and Koba, but then when it comes to the bill is powerful accounting. It’s a powerful accounting. So you know, and so we just cut checks to pay for the, you know, that, like I said, the insurance and our website and that kind of stuff. And really, at the end…
And then it just goes to your management company, almost like that’s, your your you pay a management fee to powerful accounting to handle the rest of it, and then your tax return is separate. Okay.
Yeah. So we just, you know, we kind of took a different approach. And I think that again, like you said, for the Son of CPAs, for those younger entrepreneur minded CPAs, who don’t, or are going to be CPAs, who maybe don’t want to take a traditional approach is really great to have, you know, resources such as your podcast to say, Hey, what are other people doing out there? That may be different that I may be interested in, right?
We gotta go plural with that sons of CPAs because it’s not just me. I’m not just the son of a CPA. He’s also Yeah. And, you know, we kind of, we have different firms too. And we don’t even take that kind of approach where we don’t really work together in a firm, but we, we see eye to eye on a lot of things. So we both said, you know, I think in different conversations was just like, let’s eventually do a podcast. And this year was the year we eventually did it. And we have sons were both sons of CPAs. And so the name came by accident, actually, it was just during the third episode, it was another son of a CPA, we were all on one call. And it was just like I said, as a joke that they were the sons of CPAs. And he was like, that’s pretty good title…
That’s kind of a good name. And yeah, I mean, at the end of the day, it’s like, we have this ability, especially, and I see this a lot of social media, where they’re solopreneurs. Like, they’re only they’re one practitioner. And at the end of the day, those practitioners, the more you can band together, like you are with other CPAs, or with other sons of CPAs. And be able to have that collaboration is so important, when you’re on your own. Right, because you are the one making all the decisions, you are the one you’re relying on yourself 100%. And so if you can get that collaboration and find those mentors, like Scott and his co host and other people that are coming on to his podcast, now you have some some ability to relate and ability to you know, I’m sure that you guys answer questions, you can, you know, send in questions and things that you are interested in learning more about…
I gotta start doing that. That’s, that’s a good idea. Yeah, I would like to create a type form one day and just have send, you know, send listeners submit a question. Yes. Questions.
Yeah. And, you know, a lot of times I what I find myself doing is if I’m either giving a webinar, or attending a webinar, being able to watch the questions that are coming in from the audience will also help you see, hey, what are the questions people are asking? They’re not just on social media, but even when you’re in those events to pay attention that stuff? Because that’s what people need, they need answers, they need answers, they need, you know, whatever kind of support that they can get. And that’s, that’s what’s awesome about what you’re doing what we’re doing here at theme disruption, just trying to help and give back and you were saying that before me, that’s what we do. We’re people pleasers, we work a lot because we want to please a lot more than anything, right?
Yeah. And to scope it out and scope it back in, like, I’m part of a franchise. So Paget Business Services is a alpha is traditionally speaking, it’s a very old franchise. They’re going through a lot of change management internally, and we’re, you know, they just hadn’t hired a new CEO, you know, a little over a year ago, we’ve got a new COO, and, you know, are off my office in particular has been upside down, compared to the model and the traditional model of how things were usually done, and I was making decisions on my own. And it was like, Am I doing the right thing or not. And I looked to the community outside of Padget, to kind of get some guidance, so now looking back in, things are changing, there’s Domino’s, and there’s different, you know, apps being adopted, there’s different processes being adopted, there’s different ways of doing things that have been adopted in this change management. And it’s a big deal, because we’ve always done it the same way. There’s a lot of Boomer owner, you know, franchise owners, that are doing things the same way for you know, 20 plus years, 25 plus years. They don’t want to do any differently. They’re about to be out the door. So then how do they pass that baton, and make it easier for the next generation?
So I love that because that’s exactly it. So in the second book that I’ve got going right now, we talk about succession planning. And for those people who are not changing and not adopting and not making shifts in their practice, got to start thinking about succession planning, you know, I here’s what I’m gonna do. Here’s my password to LastPass all my passwords are in there, all the secret sauce is all that stuff is in there. There’s no files for you to get to go to smart vault, get all your documents, you know, everything you need, is a turnkey, here you go recover 360s are hosting solution. All you got…
Take the clients and go yeah, take them. That’s your plan. Yeah, I can the keys over here you go have fun. Yeah. Well…
And talk about value of your firm when you can do something like that, as opposed to oh, come on in. I got 300 clients, here’s all the file cabinets. No, you’re gonna have to come here and get all that it’s like, no, here, done. We’re done. And the value that that provides. So sometimes people think of okay, yeah, we’re going to bring up that next generation. But let’s bring them up in the way they should be brought up. And without as many obstacles as possible, right. So we go through tax season, we’re making notes all through tax what was painful, what was not painful, we should change the organizer to say this say that. And we do that throughout tax season. And then we make changes like this year, our big change was liscio. Adding liscio on so we had better communications with our clients. We needed to do that we need to streamline it. So there’s always room for improvement. And that’s what I think, like you’re saying…
My runway for adding liscio is eventually like, right now we’re actually trying to utilize the most we can out of carbon two, biggest change this tax season, or at least this past year was adding client tasks. And just, you know, the auto reminder that you have embedded in there and no huge carbon to like, oh, you know, that that one thing, they think we’re emailing and they’re apologizing, we’ll get it to you. And it’s effortless for the team to have, you know, okay, they’re preparing this number of tax returns, they don’t want to always have to hound anybody down. So it usually builds up till the end, you turn that auto reminder on, it seems like a very simple thing, but it’s just part of the process part of the task list. And that’s the next one to come in. Just, you know, rig that up. Have that go. And then now I was on coast. Like, I don’t know, it just seems like it changes the mindset of everybody too.
And it’s just so and it was something that was simple to implement, right. And so I love Ian over at carbon. Ian’s doing a phenomenal job. And yeah, we use Karbon,
Ian’s on the next episode of our podcast that I actually recorded it like two and a half months ago, but finally releasing it this next week. Yeah…
That’s awesome. And Ian’s great. I mean, even I’ve met Ian Intuit Right? He was into my one of my Intuit bet buddies, just like Andy Anchetta was was actually my first introduction, pretty much my first introduction to intuit outside of Lesley cap jetty. And so, you know, they’re doing great things because they’ve…
Your team green, right? That’s like, I’m a team blue. Like, I’ve got my blue shirt on. But you know, you don’t see the all the zeros stuff behind me right now. Right? Yeah. Like, it’s really just for like, and I think you agree to most, you know, you choose a one, stick with it. And that’s the one that you typically are going to use at your firm, you know, give or take.
And that’s what I tell people like, listen, they’re like, what, what accounting software do you use? I’m like, I use QuickBooks because it’s what I know. It’s what I’m best at. And that’s what worked for me. I don’t I don’t need to support any other accounting software, because I’m just not an expert in anything else. And so, and, you know, I think a lot of times, too, when we get to that point of acceptance, maybe we’re like, you know what, I don’t want to do payroll anymore. That’s what I got to a point. I was like, Oh, my goodness, I have. And I did two years.
And I was like, Okay, get as much of it on run as we can and then send payroll, and then now now it’s a split between those and payroll turned to gussto. Now, it’s like half, you know, actually, now the majority is on gussto. But most of the larger clients, all ADP, and that’s just we can’t do after the fact I’m sure we probably were doing after the fact payroll at some point. That’s that’s just a headache to think about.
Yeah, I had a client this morning. I so I sent him his tax return any questions? You sent me this book of questions, which is fine. Some of them are pretty funny. But he said in there, he’s like, oh, so I do I really have to pay $600 a year to have my payroll done. Can I just do it myself? Like I said, bro, listen, that’s nothing.
You’re only charging six. Oh, man!
Whatever solution he was looking at. And I said, dude, spend the $600. Like, do it yourself, I can promise you, you might as well just cut a check to me for 10 grand for all the problems you’re gonna create. Yeah, that’s what’s gonna happen. And so it was it’s just a no brainer. And then we just I didn’t want to deal with deadlines anymore. I don’t want to deal with notices like, I don’t make that’s for me. It’s not a moneymaker. Some people may bank on payroll!
Well, now I’m trying to you know, I’m trying to reverse engineer, like, Okay, we went from making money on payroll now. It’s like, I would much rather just hand it off to gusto, have gusto, handle almost all of it. And we just support right now. Now I’m like, we’re leaving money on the table. Now, if like we’re acting as a middleman for gussto support. It’s like now let’s call it, like, gusto is calling it people advisory. And now we can start branding things in this other payroll arm that we’re calling, you know, it’s more of like a showmanship like we’re not necessarily doing payroll, but there’s a lot of, you know, things that we can do to help them with their picture.
Yeah, and I so I do ADP. And I, one of the biggest reason well, there’s two reasons really, the accountant connect functionality. And I’m sure you because you’re using run as well..
Our ADP is our personally, like, I love the new updates, they just came out with like the AI that’s giving you ideas of what could be wrong on there and just giving you the tips there. And then the the notice notices from the IRS, or any state all being in that queue of just maybe update their service line and update the I just really had a couple issues with that. But I love that they’re in there and they’re not mailing them to us, like we would get those in the mail all the time. It was just back and forth can’t keep so
It’s beautiful. And I love the commission, honestly because like you’re right, you’re 100% Correct. We are the middleman. Regardless if you’re doing the payroll, you’re outsourcing the payroll whether it’s ADP gussto doesn’t matter.
They get to notice this further taxes like everything. Right, they see a notice from the state. I got a notice from the IRS, they see that notice and say, Oh, that could be payroll related. We’re not really doing your payroll. Yeah, it’s an Notice for my taxes, right? And they just, all right, well, we’re gonna have to support this now to do so.
And so that’s why I try to tell people like it’s, it’s we’re not making money from the client on that we’re making money from ADP. And because they pay commission, it makes up for that time we do spend, I’ll say scanning and uploading that document service request, but but it does compensate us for setting up payroll, you know, the clients don’t set the payroll up, we set the payroll up, meaning entering all the EIA ends, and the withholdings and the Department of Labor, and the employees and doing all this stuff…
You facilitate a lot, we still make sure it’s correctly done. Because if they did it on their own, they may not even know the first thing about it. And they’re, you know, at the level of what they’re gonna get with ADP, they don’t have that full 360 view of the client, you know, what they should do? And what’s the runway and you know, what are they? How many employees? Are they going to, you know, in any kind of situation? Or where, which dates are they going to need?
Exactly. So, that’s a good thing that we can we can be in on those types of conversations. So I want to shift now, Scott, we’re going to shift a little bit. Sure, I want to shift I want to hear, like, one of your motivation moments or a time in your career, at one point where you found so and so really helped lift me up or, or you in the work that you’re doing, when you were able to pick somebody up and help them through a situation. Give me let’s give me some kind of an example of that for you.
A situation. So we were just talking recently we talked because, now whenever,
When you were five? Sure, so about Scott!
so a situation where somebody’s really helped me out, like kind of move forward. So I think, I think to a certain degree, obviously, it’s my wife, right, that’s the first thing that’s going to come to mind. And I think that she saved me as a person, like I, I went got a pretty deep area to look at, but it’s like, I went through some issues in college, you know, I was at UNC I was at Carolina, I, I started doing things that I may not be proud of now, got the trouble with the law, got kicked out of Carolina, and then ended up and really, just to be clear, I don’t really don’t shy away from talking about it, but I was selling drugs. That’s all it was. So I’m in school, you know, I was I was I was actually doing three price options, too, it was a lot of a lot of threading the needle of what we do now, and giving value, you know, actually delivering, you know, I love it. Okay, not, you know, that’s, that’s a dark. So I know, to a certain degree, though, it’s like, so then I ended up going from there to, I’m working at three restaurants, I’m finishing up school on my own, and, you know, trying to pay off other debts. And just, I was in a, I was in a place where it’s like, okay, now I’m trying to reroute things back to the track that they were on. And then I find her, she didn’t even speak any English at the time, too. And we were working together. And we just worked very well to get out of one of the restaurants. I was working at Maggio’s and it was a just a very good relationship. And so, you know, this speaks to somebody being of assistance and helping without even the language to it was just wow, you know, we had this connection. And it went deeper than just talking about the weather or talking about what was going on. We did communicate, and we did talk she you know, she knew enough English, I knew enough Spanish. We you know, and that’s sort of what was the foundation of our relationship still. And that was like 17 years ago. So that’s awesome. You know, and that’s it to metaphorically, I guess, well, or however you want to use a metaphor, but it’s like, yeah, the the way that our relationship did you know start was she, she is a helper, she helps people. And that’s what she does. And that’s how it’s always been in our life. And I think that she brings out the better in me to it to a lot of degrees. Like it was before that it was always me trying to help myself. And now I see, you know, I have a lot more empathy. And I can really relate to anybody in any situation because of, you know, what, she’s, what she’s brought that other level of, I think that changed my whole life, obviously, you know, and, you know, to all other aspects of it. I didn’t really plan on talking about that. But you were asked, and I brought it up.
Yeah. So I love that. And I love that, you know, and I think there just does come a time in everyone’s life at some point where you’re like, man am I really like doing what I should be doing or whatever the case may be, and you have that person, whoever it is that just comes into your life and like, changes you for the better. Right? And, you know, sometimes it’s hard. It’s hard to accept that help, right? Because you’re you’re wanting to help yourself. You’re like, I got this I’m in control. You know, I’m a type personality. I’m the boss of everything.
Oh, yeah. Well, it took me falling off of all that to be able to accept help, right? Like, at that point and I know that mindset to like that was the mindset that I always had. I don’t need anybody to know everything. But I you know, I kind of forced myself into that role of I need assistance anywhere I can, you know, I can get and I think that that kind of helped. Moving forward to, that’s awesome.
And I’m sure like, as you watch her with your kids, like, that’s probably one of the most beautiful moments in your life is to watch your significant other for you. It’s your wife to, you know, be caring for those kids. And we were kind of joking before about how they live this long, right? Yeah, I know, you give her all the credit, but I’m sure that, you know, I’m sure that you are showing your children, which I think is part of what my role was in our family, just like you as the as the breadwinners, and things like that, that they want your work ethic. And then what’s your commitment, right?
It’s the actions, right, like, you know, I can’t really speak to what I tell them to do, but they can, they can model their behaviors off of mine. And I think I’m a good enough example and example of somebody who maybe learned from past mistakes, or somebody who currently is trying to do the right thing in most cases, right. And so I think I see that my daughter, she has a really good work ethic. And she’s, you know, she worked really hard. She’s studying at night. And most people might say, you know, ease up on the study and things like that. But she’s, she’s, you know, exactly. And it’s not just that she loves it, she likes the reward tiers, like, she’s, she’s showing us her grades. And she’s, like, pretty proud of herself there. And it’s like, you should be very proud of yourself, because you worked hard. You know, that’s great. So we’re not even telling you like you have to do your work or trying to stay on top of any of that. We’re just letting it go. And I think it’s the actions, right, it’s the shore that they model off of that behavior. So yeah, I mean, I think, you know, I had a lot to be grateful for. And sometimes when I feel down, I gotta kind of think of what are the good things that are going on and everything too.
Yep. Yeah. And it’s, it’s that glass half full mentality. And it’s not every day, the glasses glass is not half full every time I’m just overflowing. Right? Like, sometimes you’re like, Whoa, yeah, what is going on? But
Or its fully empty? Yeah. And you need some something to drop in there somebody else to drop some stuff.
Somebody throw something in my glass, I need it. Right. So, you know, and that’s really what it’s about. Yep. And that’s what it’s about as all of us being able to help each other and help others through the journey of life. And the journey of you know, the accounting industry,
Drives this metaphor to like the refill and pouring into the glass. So she was a, she was bussing the tables. And one thing that was really, you know, just impressed me it was, there was never any other bus or at any other restaurant that would actually make sure that table was without them saying anything. waters were always full tick plates that were empty, were always clear. And it was just anticipating the needs of the end and always got better tips when I was working with her too. So it was like, you know, we both worked very well together to anticipate that without a lot of talking. And no excuses. There’s never an excuse for anything if you just do it. Right. So that’s right. I think that’s, that’s with our life, too, you know, to a certain degree, you know, when the glass is half full, somebody else could fill it up, or you can get up and fill it up yourself. But if you’re at a restaurant, you’re not expecting to get up vote yourself. So
Exactly, exactly. Exactly. Well, Scott, listen, we try to keep these to about 20 minutes keeps people happy that way. But other than that, yeah, no, you’re awesome. This was a great conversation. And, you know, just keep on doing what you’re doing Scott, and, you know, go out there, go hug your kids, hug your wife, and, you know, stay positive, and keep on helping people. And I want to thank you on behalf of those that you have helped. And those that you will help. Because really, at the end of the day, we’re all in this together. And I appreciate you and thanks. Thanks again for coming. Any last words anything you want to throw out there?
Oh, no, I just want to work on you know, work on being more like you on this because I think I could you know, I only really take that mindset approach of really helping people it’s just more of a commerce getting the conversation started. But then you know what kind of other advice can be given without interruptions so it’s like I brought up earlier that the DEM disruption in ours is the sons interruption because that’s all I do is interrupt people on the podcast. I get to work on that. So
it’s all good, Scott. Well, you’re doing great things. And thanks again, we appreciate your comments. Thanks, everybody for listening to the DM disruption. We look forward to seeing you next time. Take care
This episode is sponsored by ADP. Learn more at www.adp.com/accountant
Caren Schwartz joins the DM Disruption! Listen now to learn how Caren started her own bookkeeping service, how she first gained her clients, and how she achieved the success her business has today!
With Caren’s father being a CPA and an attorney, it was no surprise that Caren chose to follow in his footsteps and become a CPA herself. She says she has always had a love for working with numbers, and knew from a young age that this was the path for her.
Caren also talks about her time working at IBM, and while she liked what she did, she knew it was not what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She started to think of things she liked, and knew that she was always very good with numbers. She then started a bookkeeping service to work with small businesses, and over time she evolved into doing more consulting work. Now, Caren works specifically with law firms, and says it’s probably because of her father’s work in the law field that encouraged her to do so.
Caren also talks about how she’s always enjoyed working with numbers. She recalls spending time working at her fathers accounting firm and assisting with the bookkeep, and even helping her friends balance their books while she was in college.
How Caren Grew Her Business
Caren talks about how she gained her first client by sending out letters to local accountants and even followed up with phone calls. She shares that she got one phone call back from someone who took a chance from her, and was able to gain more clients through word of mouth. Dawn also adds that it is very important to “shout from the rooftops” about any new business venture you are starting, because you will not gain any new clients if no one knows you are in business.
Caren also shares how important it is to give away information to your clients for free. She recalls that many people helped her for free when she was first starting out, and she wants to do the same. She also says that people are more likely to trust and want to work with you when they inevitably run into a complex problem, and you’ll be the first person they call to fix it.
Finding Work Life Balance
Caren works full time from home, and she talks about how COVID-19 has made it more difficult for her to achieve a healthy work life balance, and finds that she tends to gravitate towards work even when she’s supposed to be out of the office. Since partnering with 3535 Consulting, she has been able to take more time off for vacation, but would like to implement regular vacations moving forward.
Dawn also talks about how important a work life balance is and says that she intentionally schedules time during the week to do things she loves, even if that means she has to work for a few hours that evening.
Connect with Caren!
Visit her website: https://timeandcents.com/
Want to watch this episode? Click here!
Want to hear more episodes? Listen here!
Follow Dawn Brolin!
Dawn’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/dawnbrolin
Subscribe to Dawn on Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp1-…
Check our her Website – https://www.dawnbrolin.com/
Hey everybody here I am Dawn Brolin, your designated motivator. And I’m here today to talk to you about the ADP referral program. I love it, work with ADP your way because no two accounting firms have the same, you can process your own payroll, get rewarded for referrals, handoff payroll entirely to ADP. ADP is so flexible, you want to increase profits, you want to have everything in one place for you, that referral program is the way to go. Go to adp.com/accountant, you won’t be disappointed.
Alright, everybody will welcome back to another episode of the DM Disruption. And I’m here with one of my very favorite people, one of my mentors. So Caren Schwartz is here with us today. Again, a really dear friend of mine, we’ve been on the trainer writer network for four or five years, and Caren just stepped down from that committee. And understandably, we’re gonna talk a little bit about, you know, what is Caren been up to? What is Caren want to see for her life in the future? What has she seen in the past? And we’re just gonna have a great conversation, because Caren’s good is definitely a favorite of mine.
Thank you, John, I love talking with you, you’ve always got so much energy and you it’s just amazing the things you’ve done and are doing so well.
I appreciate that. And really, at the end of the day, I like you, we all are trying to do things. And we’ve always been willing to help each other out when people with questions. You know, I’ve reached out to Caren, C aren has done a lot of work with attorneys, and accounting and those kinds of things. And I’m kind of want to start off talking to you about your parents to be honest. Because, you know, I see that maybe it was a little bit of motivation, or maybe not, which I think you’ll tell us about but your dad being a CPA and an attorney, which you could tell us about and then your mom and the bookkeeping field. So you kind of grew up around all this.
Yeah. So I kind of joke when I look back at it that I guess it was in my genes, and I never stood a chance. But I worked for IBM for 14 years. And when I left IBM and IBM, you get really, really specialized. And that doesn’t necessarily translate well to the general world. Right. But I had two young children. I had a wonderful nanny who I was not prepared to give up. Right. And so I had to work. And I really couldn’t find anything that was a good fit. And so I started so I thought about what do I like to do? What do I know how to do. And I was always very good with numbers. It’s in the genes. And so I started a bookkeeping service for small businesses. And then over time, I evolved into doing more consulting work. And it turned out I was working with law firms, and I liked working with law firms, I guess, you know, I was used to dealing with my dad. And so I knew how to deal with lawyers. And so it was just comfortable for me. And so I really narrow down into working with that niche. Right. That’s it.
And that’s interesting, because when, you know, we were kind of talking about your dad and the fact that he’s an attorney. And I know your specialty has always been in the law industry and you know, IOLTA accounts and nightmares like that, that, you know, attorneys don’t seem to want to pay attention to it’s kind of funny, but but that you gravitated to that area because maybe of your dad, which is cool. And so what about your mom, like your mom, you said your mom was in bookkeeping. What would you do?
My mom was a bookkeeper. But she actually she was she stopped working. She always said she stopped working when my father started making more money than she did. Because they got married. She helped to put work while he was going through law school. But basically, she took care of all the books in the house. She did all the finances in the house. And I remember sitting with the big green ledger sheets and working through the numbers for the personal finances. But then also my father’s company had moved from New York City up to Rye, New York, about 20 minutes from where we lived. Back in the days before there was lots of traffic on the roads. And and shortly after they moved their bookkeeper, his mother took ill and she had to go back to Germany to take care of her mother. And they asked my mom to come in and fill in a little bit. And so for a year my mother was supposed to be a couple of months it ended up being about a year my mother really was working as the bookkeeper at the at my father’s office. And so you know, I had I knew about her doing that and her working in that area. And then I also just being the daughter a couple of summers I actually worked in the office helping out in the the general office, but doing a lot of it within the bookkeeping area, so, I had a lot of exposure to that kind of thing.
And how old were you when you were doing that?
Well, when I was like in high school or college, right, because that was a bit older. Yeah, yeah.
Well, yeah. Make sense, you weren’t eight years old doing both.
So that so that and that did that just like spur interest for you. So as you, you know, what, like, what just made it stuck for you.
And so, I was just always very comfortable with numbers. And so, you know, I always balance my checkbook. I remember in college, I had a friend who was having trouble with her checkbook reconciliation. And so I just sat down and helped her with it. So it was something I was always good at. Right? It was an easy, it was an easy, comfortable place to fall back to, and it was something that I enjoyed, I like, it’s a little bit of a puzzle, you know, kind of finding and fixing those numbers. And I’m terrible at crossword puzzles.
Same with me! Like, don’t bring me to a trivia night, right? I do go, I contribute nothing. Like, I just can’t contribute anything to those types of things. But you want me to, like you said, reconcile our checkbooks, all day long. We love it. And so then you like you said, you had the kids and you were like, you want to keep your nanny, which I can appreciate that. And so how did you get your first client?
You know, I started looking at accountants in my area. And I sent out a lot of letters, and followed up with some phone calls. And I got one attorney in Westport, a woman named Sonia, who basically took a chance with me, and passed a couple of clients on to me, and I was able to, you know, work with her and help them. And that really evolved. And then she continued, you know, giving me some business and I was able to expand out from there and pick up new clients.
That’s so fun. It’s so so I think back we have such similar similar stories, certainly not the same. But I knew at 16 I want to be an accountant. But remembering that first client, like for me, like you said, Sonya took a chance on you. I have a guy who was building the in law apartment for my parents. And he was my work for my dad at Pratt Whitney when my dad worked there. And he was like, Hey, you have an accounting degree, you want to do my books. And I was like, Sure, I could probably figure it out, I think right. And it was just he took kind of took that chance on me too. And immediately fell in love with it. And he had those the one right system. So he wrote the checks out. And you know how the round one rate sheets is what he had the brown ones, but anyway, but it’s just so funny how you like just, I think that marketing still works, like you said, you send out letters and stuff to local accountants. And I try to tell people, they’re like, how do you market yourself? And I’m like, Well, you know, like you said, I reach out to tax attorneys, you know, I reach out to those kinds of people and say, Hey, listen, if there’s a gap, you can’t fill, or you’re looking for somebody to help out with, you know, filling out the 433, or gathering the documents or whatever, I’m your girl. And that’s how I kind of was able to start getting clients and I tell people listen, shout through the rooftops of what you’re best at. I think what sometimes, though, that I find in our industry is that people still struggle within, I want to say a niche, but even just a focus of what they love and what they’re good at. And so I think that wouldn’t like for you, you identified the law industry as something you were passionate about something you really enjoyed. And so you went after that we know, if you ask anybody who’s the you know, who’s the one who really loves the books with attorneys, and I’m like, Caren Schwartz all day like you, you just know that. And I think for those that are listening, if you haven’t shouted from the rooftops, the thing that you’re passionate about, or that you love, or that you’re really good at that may be holding you back, I think what do you think about that?
I agree totally. And one of the ways you do that is also by giving, because I part, you know, there’s lots of things posts get put in lots of different areas, the products I support, there’s, you know, users that will like, you know, one of the products I worked with this TimeSlips. And they’re a sage city, which people put questions in, and I go in, and I answered those questions. And a lot of times I’m giving away my advice for free. But if it’s something fairly simple I do if it’s something complex, I’ll say, Look, this is way too complex. Reach out to me, and we can talk about how I can help you. But even if I’m giving it advice away, people appreciate it. And they come to realize, when they have a situation that is too complex, oh, you’re somebody I can call on. And even with other consultants, giving them advice and guidance, it comes back whether directly or indirectly, and so I’ve always been willing to give give advice because other people have also given to me.
And that’s what I think is unique about our industry. I don’t know how many other industries do that. Like, don’t just say like, share secrets about things. It’s not they’re not like their secrets is just stuff that we figured out over time. Right? So, you know, I find that so, so now shifting a little bit. So one of the things that we are that I had kind of, you know, I researched Caren of course, all the time, but we talked about is that work life balance and where you’re at in your practice, right? So like you like me, we’re, we’re fairly similar in that we’re not, you know, we’re not on the upward slope, necessarily, I’m ready to go down the hill, kind of in a little way. I’m, I’m happy to go on my boat once or twice a week and not be in my office. So tell me about where you’re at with that right now.
So that’s something I have a really hard time for my office is in the basement of my house, which is beautiful. It’s a walkout basement, with windows and doors, and you know, it’s a really nice area, I have a hard time stopping myself from working sometimes if I have, if I don’t have anything going on, on the weekend, I may come and sit down at my computer and start doing some work, or I’ll answer client emails and stuff like that, which I really should not do, because it gives them the wrong message that I’m always going to be there. And I you know, so you know, but, and I, I’m better now about sometimes taking time off. Although with COVID, it’s, you know, not been too exciting to go traveling as much. But being a part of for many years, I was kind of a solo. So taking a long vacation was really hard. Because you’re worried about what’s going to happen with your clients and stuff. And I’ve had some people work for me on and off for years, but I decided I was better off. Without employees, I didn’t want that work. But since I’ve been a part of 3545 Consulting, I have the backup and stuff. And so a few years ago, we actually did a 10 day trip to Israel, and all my clients survived. So I realize I can do this. And so now I do once we can do more regular traveling, do plan to you know, kind of take regular vacations, but getting myself to stop. And that’s the other thing with COVID, you know, when we didn’t have COVID was much more out in the evenings and during the weekends. And so I’d have a lot more going on. And so it was easier to not work. Now that I don’t have as much of that going on. It’s much harder for me to kind of tear myself away and say, Okay, I’m going to go do read a book, I’m going to work on a jigsaw puzzle, I’m going to do something and I do do that. But I have a little bit of a tendency to stay too long at the computer.
Yes. And I can appreciate that for sure. I have definitely found actually myself since since COVID has happened. You know, I was working. But I was it was kind of weird, because in with taxes, it’s maybe a little bit different. But I felt like I didn’t have people in my office all the time. I could focus a lot better because I was just pumping out tax returns. I mean, I was just like, Okay, let’s just keep going, let’s go. But I didn’t ever work that 50 6080 hour work week that I historically had. And I feel like my time was managed better. And I learned a little bit more about that. So that this past tax season was a little bit better. But so so let me ask you this question then Caren, what is if you were to say these are three, let’s let’s exclude travel for a hot second, let’s exclude going to Israel, which must have been an amazing trip and being able to do more of the traveling part. But let’s cut the travel out and let’s say Caren’s at home, and then there’s this passion you’ve had for the firm your whole life maybe like for me, it’s sports. Like I want to watch sports, I want to go to sports, whatever, that’s kind of my thing. What about you? What else was there? Is there anything else in there Karen that you would do?
Yeah. So I say I play at golf. Because I’m not as good as I would like to be so I’d probably like to spend more time playing golf sure that I could get better
So when you golf let’s let’s stick on golf for a second and I do want to hear about the other stuff. So for golf. Do you just go like once in a while like a friend will invite you or you’re just like what what’s that look like?
So there is in Fairfield where I live there is a par three golf course and there is a woman’s league that plays at the par three golf course on Monday mornings. I go out during the season, which is not long enough in Connecticut. I go out on Monday mornings and I go early and I play so I’m usually back at my desk by nine or 10 but I play nine holes on a par three course.
Okay, that’s fine. See, that’s good. Right and I want I’m glad to hear that you’re doing I was gonna say to you or you join a league of some kind so that’s awesome.
Yes, that’s the league is what got me out playing regularly because I didn’t know enough people that played to go out and play.
You just be like, Oh, hey, want to go golfing? Right? Yeah. So it’s more like you needed something to like, kind of fill that gap of who else plays? Right? Right. Right. What else is Caren shorts passionate about?
Um, I love mahjong. And now right now I play in the a couple of evenings, one or two evenings a week, depending. But I have friends that play and we’re like, if you if you were available during the day, we want you in the game. But I don’t want to take the time during the day.
Sure. So is it just the drive the you’re, you’re a hard worker, you’re somebody you know, you probably like like myself, I watched my dad, my dad was a hard worker. So I have a work ethic like my father, and it’s like, you know, get things done, get things done. Is that what’s keeping you at that computer? Is it a mental, like, what is that? Because I feel like, are we gonna smack that out of you.
Part of it is knowing that there’s things that need to be done and just saying, and well, you know, maybe I should just do it now. And part of it is that there’s nothing else pressing pulling me out, like in the evening. So during the day, it would be easier for me to do other things. But during the day is when the clients want to do things. So if it’s stuff that involves clients, I had to have to be available during the day,
Which makes sense, which makes sense. So I’m just listening to me care. And I’m a problem solver just like you were both. That’s why we’re in this industry. But just trying to think of Okay, listen, what if you want to start you said, You know what, I’m going to go play mahjong with these people. You know, one day a week, and this day is a day I never scheduled client stuff. And that’s that’s just how the rules go. Not that you’re not working all day, but that you’re saying, you know what, at 11 o’clock, I’m out of here for three hours. I’m gonna play my module, because then what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna work at night because like you said, there’s not as much dragging us out at night these days. Right? Right. Except for the Red Sox tonight. course very important. So, but you know, so I’m just
So rry, I’m a Mets fan.
That’s–I’m sorry you’re a Mets fan. I’m just kidding. I’m totally just getting yeah, we’re just I don’t know what’s happening with the Red Sox these days. But I love it. So. But yeah, so so I’m just trying to think so what other things so you’d like mahjong? You love golf? You love those two? Are you like those two things? You love what you love? Mahjong? I’m just thinking of it. And I’m sure you’ve seen Heather Satterlee who’s now out but not only she riding horses now she bought?
If my daughter heard about that, she’d be so jealous. My daughter wants a horse. It’s so bad.
Like, oh my god. Well, look how long it took it took Heather to get to that point. But yeah. So I just like and I know, for myself, you know, I did the softball thing. I went out and coach softball during tax season, which everyone said I was a lunatic. And I am and I’m totally willing to admit that, but I just got to a point where I was like, I’m not gonna wait until I retired to do things I love. You know, I’ll work on a Saturday if I have to, in the offseason, you know, when it’s when it’s not tax season. I don’t typically work on the weekends ever. I did this Saturday, because we have obviously extensions this week. But you know, just trying to find that passion that you want to do something and then you know what, nobody’s telling nobody’s your boss. I mean, I understand that you’re doing some consulting. I get that. But you’re the boss. So you Karen, right. Right, and just set some guidelines and say, hey, you know what, I want to start doing this once a week. Because I can work at night. I’m not doing anything else guys will work. But you know, just enjoy those times that you can have for yourself during the week. Yeah, I dare you.
Well, I will try to do some of that.
Yeah. Because, you know, it’s one thing that, you know, obviously, we all have this. I think we’re all people pleasers in the accounting industry, really, we want to sell or serve the client, we want to get that stuff done. And we know we’re responsible for certain things, and we’ve got to get them done. But I just found that, you know, what I’m willing to do is go the extra mile. And another point, if I can do this thing that I really love, right?
I think as I settle more into my will, this change that I’ve made in my relationship with 3545. And I see how I can balance some of that, I may be more, you know, going to say, okay, every Friday, I’m going to take off the afternoon or every you know, or whatever it is so that I can do something like that, or during golf season, I’m going to take off an extra day to you know, play golf, play more.
Right. And I think that’s great. I think that’s what we you know, we do work hard. We do sacrifice and have for a long time here in Maine. We’ve been doing this for a while. And we have put those all day all nights in because maybe we’re trying to figure out a problem for a client. I remember the days I would come get a bed now my husband’s like, you know, I have my laptop with me and he’d be like, they stumped you again. And I’m like, yeah, they stumped me out of QuickBooks question that I need to figure out. This is, you know, these are the days before you could go to the Intuit community. You know, this was like, right way long time ago. When it was, we just had to figure stuff out on our own. There weren’t all these big certifications and things like that we just learned, we learned how to do stuff on our own. Which I think makes us awesome, by the way.
Yep. The products that I work with, I remember way, way back. We used to have, oh, god chats. What was it can’t no not can’t be served. One of those really early instant messages, instant messaging, and we’d get on and we’d be, you know, with a really slow connection, but we’d have chats where we would talk amongst each other, and past idea. So I get that embedded in me very early in my career. I think it was also easier for me to balance a little bit more when I had kids at home. But now that’s just my husband and I and he’s doing stuff and it’s a lot easier to just kind of keep going. It’s tough, because you don’t have the interruptions as much.
Absolutely. Do you remember Caren? This is fun. Do you remember when into it when like you’d volunteer for the week to answer community questions? Did you do that?
Oh, yeah. Yes.
Yeah. Remember my whole goal? My whole thing was whenever they say, okay, for when it’s your week, or whatever. I was like, Who has the most responses? And I would want to beat that number. That was like my whole thing. It was like, I want to be number one for the number of responses. Hopefully, they were right. But it just wanted to be one of those responses. And I would skip over the really hard ones and go just go to the easy ones. Fire them out. Right. Those were fun days. Right. Right. Those were fun days.
But that’s what makes thing about participating in like chat groups and stuff where you can respond. If there’s a question you don’t know the answer to you just skip it. And you know, you can reply and you look really smart.
Yeah, absolutely. I’ve been in the face some of the Facebook groups and just in their jumping in some, you know, answers or ask him some questions that I asked, you know, whatever. And the resources now, or just unlike we ever had, you know, getting through this,…
Google is wonderful. I search for things on Google all the time.
And absolute…Tracy bought me a little sign for my desk says Idk. Google it like, I don’t know, Google it. Like, if I have to look it up. If I look it up on Google, somebody asked me a question. I’m like, You know what, I just want to be sure I’m answering this, right. And I Google it, and I find it I send them the link and hoping that they’ll be like, oh, all she did was Google it. Like, you couldn’t google it, man. Like, come on.
Yeah. My daughter this morning. And it texted me and said, How do I do a print screen? Well, she has a Mac. I don’t have a Mac. I don’t know how to do it. Because I went into Google. I googled it. I texted her, I said, Here’s what Google says.
Seriously, like, Come on, man. You guys got the most you’re that age group. You’ve got the most resources at your fingertips. And have we ever been? Right? I’m on Google at people. Yeah.
So I think back on my mom with her spreadsheet, you know, with her paper spreadsheets and stuff. She would love things like Excel and Quicken it would have would have given her so much more free time because I remember sitting with the calculator, adding up the numbers. And you know, she always had the paper tape going because if the number didn’t bat numbers didn’t balance or why Where did I goof?
Yeah, I still love doing that too. By the way, sometimes just you know, using that. I love that little calculator with a tape. It’s so fun. My daughter loves it, too. She’s like, Mom, do you have anything for me to add? Like now? I’m good. There it is. Oh, my goodness, I do love it. Well, listen, we try to keep these to about 20 minutes or so Karen, you’ve been amazing. You know, love, love to hear the stories about you didn’t know that about your parents. That’s kind of a cool little fun fact for me to get to know you a little bit better, as always, but I really appreciate you I know there’s a lot of people out there Karen as you have spoken at scaling, new heights and QB connect and the presentations that you do and the training that you do in the teaching. I know there’s people out there that you have positively affected their life. And that’s what you know, the the designated motivator, concept and characteristics are all about and you so you are definitely one of them. If you didn’t know that.
Well I appreciate that, yeah, thank you so much for the opportunity to be on today but also for your friendship and all the things you do for the community as well. Because it’s it’s just so cool being part knowing you.
Hey, same here, Karen, you’re a great friend and I do appreciate you so everybody, thank you so much for listening to this episode of the DM Disruption. One of my favorite people Karen Schwartz. Love her revolting Connecticut’s beautiful day today. You should be golfing today. Karen, you got this morning?
No, I did not.
Right. We need to pick another day this week. Get out there and golf because it’s gonna be a nice week. All right. Thanks again, Karen and everybody. We’ll talk to you next time on the designated motivator. DM disruption podcast. Thank you so much.
This episode is sponsored by Canopy. Learn more at www.getcanopy.com
Are you looking to increase your accounting software knowledge? Do you want to brush up on your skills? Kathy Grosskurth is a member of the Intuit Trainer / Writer Network, and can help you do just that! Listen now to learn about Kathy’s beginnings, how she started her career in accounting, and how she can help you and your business better understand your accounting!
Kathy has been in the accounting industry since 2005, and worked part time from home while also being a stay at home mom. Then in 2012, Kathy decided to pursue freelance work and had success gaining her own clients. But as the years went by, she still felt like she wanted to expand her skill set and offer different services to her clients.
She decided she wanted to become a trainer for accounting software programs, and attend QB Connect and Scaling New Heights for the first time in 2016. She recalls how nervous she was to attend and was concerned she would be treated like a third wheel, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! She met many people she had looked up to over the years, and solidified the fact that she knew she was heading in the right direction for her career.
Immediately after leaving Scaling New Heights, Kathy says she gained a new motivation and a want to teach others. Kathy talks about the decision to start her own Facebook group for people in the accounting industry and in her area to connect together, and the group is still active today!
How Kathy Found a Love for Accounting
Kath describes that a two year junior accounting course is what sparked her love for accounting, and she used that love of accounting to eventually start her own QuickBooks training course. Her and Dawn talk about teaching young accounts, and they highlight how important it is that the incoming CPA’s be well versed in how proper accounting is executed.
Connect with Kathy
Visit her website: https://www.bookkeepingcleanandsimple.com/
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Hi, everyone, my name is Dawn Brolin. I’m a certified public accountant Certified Fraud Examiner, the president of powerful accounting Inc, and the author of the designated motivator for accounting professionals. I’m here today to talk to you about Canopy. Canopy is an awesome tool. If you’re doing tax returns or tax representation either way, what it allows you to do is pull transcripts from the IRS, they have an integration certified by the IRS to pull transcripts, what I love about it is I log in one time, I connect my E services account, and I can go into canopy and pull transcripts, I don’t have to continue to log into the E services, put in my password, get my code and get in. And finally just get through E services. It’s so cumbersome. So I use Canopy it’s a one time connection. Let me give you a couple tips. Number one, I like to pull transcripts for some of my clients who make estimated tax payments, maybe they don’t provide me a copy of the estimated tax payment, I want to make sure I know the correct dates of those estimated payments, okay, so I will go into canopy pulled an account transcript for my client and be able to see what dates they made their estimated payments just solves for a lot of problems, there’s no notices maybe I thought they did four or $5,000 estimated payments, when really, they only did three, they told me that it board they only did three. And notice comes in because they didn’t pay enough in tax. And now they’re saying you did the tax return wrong. That happens all the time. So to eliminate that pain of that process, and that, you know, customer integration or customer experience, right? We want to eliminate notices and all costs. So that’s one really key thing. The second one is when you’re not sure if the clients given you all of their documents, maybe there’s a 1099 R that they had from the year before. And for whatever reason, they don’t think they can find it, I can pull a trace a wage and income transcript, pull down all that information. So at least I have the federal information on that 1099 If it’s applicable if they received one for that year. And it eliminates again, the whole concept of notices. So I find it really important as I’m preparing tax returns to have this tool in place. And so I love using it. So as a tax preparer, those are a couple of tips, how you can use canopy in your practice. Thanks for listening.
Hello, everybody. Welcome back to the DM Disruption, where we’re here not just to talk about motivation, but actually turn it into action. And there’s a guest on with us today. Kathy Grosskurth. But Kathy, actually hasn’t been around art the industry for a long, long time. But her impact goes beyond the years that she’s been working in the accounting industry. She’s a great friend, great people. She does a lot of training and teaching other people getting back if you You’ve seen her on social media if you’ve been on social media. So Kathy, welcome to the show today. We’re so I’m so excited to just have a conversation with you. How’s everything going?
Everything’s going pretty good Dawn, and I’m glad to be here today. So yeah, it’s it’s been it’s been pretty, it’s been weird, but it’s been good.
It’s that, you know, it has been weird last couple of years, which is part of the reason why I wrote the book designated motivator, just some experience that I had. And then you know, the book for the designated motivator for accounting professionals is going to be out by scaling and pre orders will be scaling new heights, but they’re it’s up, it’s almost done on Amazon ready to go. Because I like you, we are trying to positively impact the accounting industry in whatever way we can. And you are definitely doing that. Because I’m out there watching social media, I participate. But I also watch what other people are doing. And you’re doing great and amazing things. You’re always positive. You’re always lifting people up. And when you get involved in the conversation, you make that conversation better. So I want to thank you for that. I’ve, you know, just really enjoyed getting to know you as much as I have been, it seems like just a little teeny, weeny little bit, which is why today, we’re gonna talk about you and your story, Kathy?
Well, first of all, Dawn, I want to thank you so much and hearing that from you. It’s just really one of the biggest compliments I could get because sometimes, you know, you don’t really know how you’ve impacted someone’s life. And then sometimes you might get some verification in a thank you email or somebody will post a compliment on our YouTube channel, youtube video I posted so yeah.
Y eah, you’ve been great and so, so Kathy, I want them listeners, the listeners know you again as you’re out there currently now in the social media helping everybody out. But you didn’t start there you started in you worked at a different job. And I don’t know that history. And then about five years ago, you said, You know what I’m taking the bull by the horns, I’m doing what I want to do, which is be in business for myself and go out and do that. So tell us the story about Kathy and how you, how did we so luckily get you in our in our industry?
Well, it actually started way before that, but I’ll fast forward five years.
All you sister, it’s all you!
Okay. Well, I had actually been working in the field, off and on since about 2005. And I was doing a very part time I was working at around, you know, my kids being at home and being a stay at home mom and doing this a lot. I was working from home before it was even a thing pretty much. Okay. So fast forward to about 2012. And that’s when I decided decided to freelance mostly because I was working for other people, you know, as an employee also volunteered in the nonprofit area. And so I started accumulating my own clients and stuff. And then at about about 2015 or so I kind of knew I wanted to do the training thing, because that’s been kind of my background, I was certified in Microsoft Office, and I taught the continuing education, you know, Microsoft Office, mostly Word and Excel and PowerPoint and stuff. So I knew I wanted to go that route. And so around 2016, I was able to snag two tickets, one for QB connect, and one for scaling that I got for pretty cheap. And at that point, it was quite a bit of money that I outlay for those, even though they were severely reduced tickets. But I saw it as an investment because I knew just from being on Facebook, I had started joining a lot of accounting groups on Facebook. And some folks from Intuit had even reached out to me, Mindy King was one of the first ones and Allison Ball as well, and so I got I was meeting people, you know, through these groups and trying to answer questions and stuff like that, trying to be helpful. Sure. So I decided that I wanted to go to scaling and meet some of these people that was just corresponding with. And, and I didn’t know what to expect. I was thinking man, you know, I would hate to go to this place and feel like a third wheel that nobody would care or anything like that. But I went to that meeting in Orlando, I actually drove there because I live in Atlanta, that it’s not that far. So only about six and a half hour drive down there all by myself drove down there. One of the first people I saw was Hector, of course, I didn’t say anything to him, because at that point he was checking in and all that. But as the week went on, I got enough courage to meet him meet Michelle Long. And a few other people Mindy actually saw me and ran up and got a selfie with me. And and it was just incredible. And so many other people that I met as well. I mean, just so many people, even locally around here that I didn’t know. And around that same time I was thinking, you know, I’m wanting to be a part of a larger community. But we didn’t really have anything local here. We actually let me back that up. We had a water group that met, but they were kind of dormant, but they were like on the eastern side of the town like we’re I’m on the western side of the town.
Yes, Atlanta is big!
You know, you could probably have a group for every quadrant or even in the middle of the city. So I was trying to figure out if I wanted to try to make that group work or that after a while, and I had also met another lady from Woodstock. And we were talking about starting our own group. And I don’t know what happened with that. But I just decided, well, you know what, I’m just gonna take the bull by the horns, and I’m gonna see if there’s interest in this. So when I got back from scaling, I mean, I was so motivated, I decided to go ahead and reach out to everybody in our local area through the Pro Advisor website and started connecting with people that way, and also through some of the Facebook groups as well. And so in January of 2018, we launched our first it was actually an online meeting, because we, you know, we knew we were in the middle of tax season, sure. Tax season didn’t, didn’t think we would get a whole lot of people but at that first meeting, we had like maybe five or six people and we had, yeah, so yeah, so we had our first in person meeting in March of 2018. I think about eight or so individuals show up and then we started to get a few regulars that came and of course, you know, not everybody came to every meeting. Sure and So after a while, we were averaging probably about 10 people or so, over that. A year, not too bad. I mean, you know, and we met every month, we had a set, meaning we met on the fourth Thursday of the month, created a Facebook group, which, you know, we’ve got quite a few people on there now, probably about 213 people, the pandemic hit, and we were already talking about changing meeting locations. And because we wanted to try to, because we knew that another group, what meeting very much, and we wanted to try to, you know, try to incorporate some of them not to take over, but you know, to kind of get them kind of going back again, though, anyway, then, we had decided on a location and we decided, you know, we were not going to start meeting back up until March anyway, because usually the first meeting couple meetings a year, we know, people are doing Texas, they’re not going to come out. So then the pandemic kit. And so I had, and then I had another situation where my co leader, we didn’t see eye to eye on how we were going to handle that. So she and I ended up parting ways. Sure. And so I just basically, and I had an assistant that’s helping help help me kind of keep everything on track. So we continue to meet but we use Sue. Okay. We started in the last couple of years at scaling. I actually started speaking like 2019 was the first year that I actually spoke, right, one workshop there. And then last year, I did too, and this year, I’m doing too. But anyway, from from that people, I told people about our group, I said, you know, I don’t I don’t care if you’re from Atlanta or not, you can be a part of our group, you know, you can be a virtual part of our group. And you know, we would we would love to have you participate, because there’s a lot of places in the United States that do not have a group. Yeah, our group ended up I mean, that ended up being a foreshadowing of what happened, when the pandemic hit, we had basically had to move everything online. So ever since December of 2019. That was our last in person meeting. Yeah, ever since then, January to present date, we’ve been doing everything on Zoom. And we’ve had people from all over the US participate. But we’ve also grown with some local people as well, that I’ve still not met in person, some of them I’ll be seeing for the first time, when we go to Fort Worth. But we’re in the process of trying to determine a meeting location, and it’s gonna be somewhere around the perimeter, probably the top end of the perimeter, because I figured some of the folks, if they planned it out, then they should have no problem getting there. But we’re gonna do like a Harvard thing. And one thing that I found out in speaking to Joe earlier this summer, because I was telling him my idea, and then that, you know, I wanted our group to be kind of a virtual group to kind of be a catch off for other people. Sure, tell me that some of the other local groups had decided that they were going to go on hiatus, and I didn’t know that I mean, oh, was one of the craziest things I’ve ever heard it. If it weren’t for our group, I don’t think I would have been able to have had my head intact. And I still feel like that in the last few months in everything. I think this pandemic has hit me worse than I thought, because I had some personal things that I was dealing with, and my husband was having some personal issues, but it kind of hit me that you know, everything is different, it’s still different. I guess a lot of it was thinking that we were going to try to come out of it a lot sooner. So that’s really been a lifeline. For me, it’s been one word not only have I been able to reach out to them, but they’ve been loving on me as well. So I’m so glad that we were able to keep it up and so when we went to Orlando, I wouldn’t Orlando last year, and it was a very scaled down event. So and that was weird not having all those numbers of people there but it wasn’t away it was kind of too because it it allowed us to do what we need to do. Joe was very good about the social distancing thing or that so that was good. But you know, I was thinking, you know, we’re, we’ve rounded this corner, we’re gonna get this vaccine everybody’s gonna be I figured by now we will be you know, business as usual. No, it hasn’t happened quite to the extent that I want but we still aren’t doing our meetings and everything. So that’s kind of where we’re at right now. And if nothing else, I just want to share is that you know, even in the midst of, you know, me going through some of the stuff I’ve gone through I’ve trial always be a positive, because I used to be one of those negative people. And and I don’t want to go back to that. And if I didn’t have that group, if I didn’t have that support, then I very easily have gone back in, in going back into a negative frame of mind. But you know, it’s been a part of something bigger than myself is, you know, really helped me and I think it’s helped all those other people.
So, well, I think you’d be surprised Kathy, honestly, right, we’d be surprised at how much like doing something you love, which is being part of a group like that with your right without that lifeline, and having those connections with people to be able to keep you up. And that’s, that was one of my biggest concerns over the last four or five months. And why I wanted to write this book to help the accounting professionals kind of reconnect to their why. Right, and I’m doing a session on scaling to call reassess your success. And really, it’s about, let’s get back to why we love what we do. Let’s get back to the clients that we love, the clients we don’t love, and the services we provide and all these things to kind of rein it back in to say, okay, I can redefine if I feel like I’ve kind of fall off the car, oh, you’re off the off the rails a little bit. Let’s get you back on the rails and back on track to where you were you were going, I’ll say pre COVID. Because I agree with you. I think there’s a lot of it’s just different now than it ever was before, for obvious reasons. And I feel it’s definitely important. For people like you who are out there being positive, encouraging people, there’s a lot of people in pain, you can just read social media, you can see pretty quick, who kind of maybe had a bit you know, a little bit of a dip here and there and having dips are okay, that’s probably one of the biggest messages right Kathy? Right. I mean, you know, life doesn’t just it’s not this beautiful journey of of perfectness and positivity, we run into hurdles and those that the thing that I do believe things that don’t kill you make you stronger. I do believe in that. And and, you know, we have to fight through them. But isn’t it so much better to fight through it with people?
It most certainly is, it most certainly is. And if I didn’t have those people in my corner, then I don’t think you know, I wouldn’t have been able to make it this far. And also, incidentally, I’m doing like a revisiting of my networking workshop. I did that in 2019. But, um, on this one, I’m going to be focusing more on you know, what’s happened since the pandemic, and I’m planning on getting real, even though I’m gonna kind of go over some of those main concepts. Again, I’m gonna kind of go over those pretty quickly because I want this workshop to be one where we talk about, you know, some of the things that we’re feeling and, and I’m gonna be real with people. So it’s gonna be like, you know, you know, what’s, what’s in Vegas stays in Vegas, or Yes, what’s in Fort Worth stays in Fort Worth, because I want to have everybody that attends that to have the opportunity to be able to share in a safe space, because, you know, we need that, I think we need that so much more now, because we’ve done that in quite a few of our zoom meetings, and we’ve talked about it I’ve even talked about the fact that I ended up having to go see a counselor because of some of the stuff that I’m having to deal with, you know, and there’s nothing wrong with that. And one of the things and just incidentally, it is National Mental Health Awareness Month, so that’s something we need to be reminding people that, like you said, there’s no shame in needing help, you know, and that’s something if nothing else, if people need help, there’s the people out there that you can reach out to, so that you can remember to remind people of but also be on social media, you want to try to not be so negative that people to turn you out but you know, I’ve always been a glass half full kind of person, I try to see the light the brighter side of things, even though sometimes I probably shouldn’t, but that’s just my nature. I try to be more more you know, looking at the you know, the positive out of something if I can.
Right, absolutely. So, so Kathy, tell me, what, what happened and when was that moment where you were like, Okay, I want to do this I want to be an accountant. I want to be able to teach and train and I know that’s something that is something your innate naturally you love to do that kind of thing. But was was there a moment or like, even when you were younger, where you were like, Yeah, I really liked this accounting thing. Obviously, software, you’re into software, which thankfully right? I was talking to someone a couple weeks ago, and they were telling me how they did like a lot of Um, I’ll just say older people who didn’t really know how to use the computer how to use Zoom. And this was pre COVID. And they were doing like you were doing with Microsoft, they were teaching more of the how to get online and how to do certain things. And why what a blessing that was to people, because they helped teach them, then they were able to spend time through zoom with their family, whether it’s the holidays and these things that if they hadn’t taken that class or whatever, they wouldn’t be able to do that. But was there this moment of in time, maybe there wasn’t where you were like, Man, I just, this is just what I love to do. And I’m just gonna go for it. Was that like, when you were in Microsoft thing? Or what? What was it?
Well, it’s interesting that you mentioned that because when I was after I graduated high school, I went to a two year class on Junior accounting. And that’s where I learned, you know, all the bases of the county, of course, back then we won’t, we won’t say how far along I was, but we were learning on spreadsheets, that worksheets and all that kind of thing, to learn the debits and credits, and when you did in the tip, 10 column worksheet and all. So awesome. Yeah, but that education was so crucial in understanding it. And you and I can go off on a segway about how, you know, we need that today. But I don’t want to digress on that.
I have to agree with you, but go ahead.
Fast forward to probably around the time, when I was at home with my kids, and I was doing some work, you know, I was doing some admin work. And then I was active in my community, volunteering with nonprofits and stuff. We have a local food bank over here that that I would work with, and stuff like that. And I was also on the board of directors for a community organization. And somehow I actually got pulled back into this accounting thing, because we had back in 2005, it was right after, it was right before Katrina hit. Okay. We had Hurricane Dennis came through in dumped record rains in this area, we had like 13 inches of rain in this area, in in like a two day period, which is why a lot of rain. And that happened like two or three months before Katrina did. So we had a lot of people displaced a lot of homes that you know, had the really bad, you know, damage and stuff like that. So they had a group of people who started a disaster recovery group, and I was the treasurer for that group, okay. And I had an I had just gotten a copy of QuickBooks, it was the 2004 version, like the accountants version, I wasn’t even a pro advisor at that point, but they needed something to track that. And so I started using it. And I basically self taught and, and I really liked it, because I was able to go in and do the job costing because they would have different properties that, okay, have to keep track of, you know, the money that they receive for certain jobs that they would do and stuff like that. Sure. That was where I got back into it. So all those years ago, I took all that training. And then you know, when when I got back into it all those years later, all that training kind of kicked in. And it was almost Yeah, of course, I had to review some of those concepts. But it was like, it was kind of like a 180 or 360. I went back into what I had originally went to school for and right. So that was you know…
I love that. I have to say, you are spot on. I and I I’m teaching it the Well, I had didn’t this semester, I probably won’t next semester, but I’ve been doing some adjunct teaching for I call it gray on accounting as accounting 101, right, or 201 or something. And, yeah, we’re teaching them debits and credits. And we’re trying to teach them. One of the ways I was trying to help teach them was I did all the T accounts. Here’s how you’re going to do this. See how this has to match that and give them a trial balance. But I’m telling you right now, and it was all in the textbook, right? But if if I was to write that course myself, it would be exactly what you’re saying. And I would have them actually using Ledger’s handle Ledger’s that they would be filling in and writing out, not in Excel, but literally handwriting and doing the homework on paper because that’s how we really learned how everything ties out. And the computer makes it way too easy. And I think that, you know, I’ve had I’ve had young staff, I have young staff who are coming in master’s programs and all this. And it’s like the it’s almost like are they really getting the idea of exactly how this is almost all tie out. And I think that might be where they’re where the education system needs to be kind of like putting the check to say hey, get those spreadsheets back out here. Boy did they teach us how to balance them Breathing out. Right? Right, right.
And that was one of the things that I saw as being a big hole in some of our training. And I saw that Intuit was trying to do that. But even before Intuit, came up with their little thing, I have like a six session course that I’ve developed based on and I use a college textbook to kind of kind of an abbreviated version just to kind of give you what you need, and then try to equate it to using QuickBooks. And I found that it’s really helped a lot of people because a lot of people start in on this without a single clue as to the accounting in the background. And yeah, that’s got to do a better job of is, is teaching the people the basics.
Yes. 100%. And so in saying that, where can people because so you actually have that course? And it’s up online, isn’t it?
Yes, yes, yes. And they can go to my web page. And they can see, because I offer it in two versions, I can do the individualize instruction. And then I also have like the videos that I can do, but it comes with all the handouts and everything like that.
So we’re definitely we will, that’ll be at the bottom of the podcast. So you should see it down at the bottom. So we can promote that for you, Kathy, because I agree with you, I think we need to help people help wherever they are. Always tell me, I always tell people as I meet my clients where they are, it’s okay to meet a new bookkeeper, a new accounting professional, whatever you want to call them, where they are. And if they haven’t had that foundation that, you know, they picked up QuickBooks and kind of learned self taught did that. And that’s great. But maybe they just need that real good basic knowledge of the accounting systems before they let QuickBooks do it for them. And yeah, we definitely, you know, where we I see this a lot you probably do too, is when I look at p&l and balance sheets, and people have to Oh, well, I’ve reconciled everything. Okay. Well, why do you have negative numbers on your p&l? Unless it’s a sales returns and allowance or a contra account? Which I can, I’m fine with contra account. Yeah. But not realizing when your system it’s like, if you’re not recording it properly, you’re not reporting it properly. And it’s so important for us to keep our eye on that. And so we definitely want to promote whatever it is that you have out there to offer people because people need it.
Well, I appreciate it. And one of the things that I’ve realized that some people reaching out to me too, is that they have teams of bookkeepers that they want to enhance their skills. In fact, I work with Liz Scott’s group of bookkeepers this summer, teaching them that very same course. Yes, that, you know, based on that course, they, they had a lot of questions that they were asking internally and are moving in the right direction that they need to move on. So yeah, it’s a really ideal course for, you know, accounting teams and stuff like that.
Right. And yeah, we definitely want to promote that. But so we’re gonna, we’re gonna we always try to keep this 2025 minutes, Kathy, you have been awesome. Like, this was a really fun conversation with you, I definitely learned some about, you know, a little bit of your background, which is exciting and fun. But I do still, like I said, In the beginning, I really do appreciate you. You know, just watching you over the last five years or so. And watch you grow. And just that what you give back is what like just warms my heart because you do that and you do it, you do it with no strings attached. And you can tell you do it because you’re passionate about it. And so thank you for from my perspective of what you have done for people. And we’ll continue to do and I will be there almost guarantee you, when you go to scaling your height, somebody’s going to come up to you and be like, Kathy, I just appreciate you for what you’re doing, what you’ve done, and what you’re going to continue to do. So I want to be the first person Thank you. So that’s what I want to do.
You know, if you remember this or not, you had given me this car at one of the QB connects. So when you did your little round table thing, and I still have that I have it sitting right here. And it reminds me, it reminds me of you and reminds me of the encouragement that not you only gave me but everybody in that room.
Well, I appreciate that. And this and that’s what we’re all here for. And I’m proud of you. And I’m looking forward to seeing things if I get a chance to pop into your session. I will. And so, but I just can’t wait to see it scaling. And I just want to thank you for your time. You’re just giving. You’re just our giver, and I just appreciate you.
I appreciate you so much for having me.
Of course so and everybody, thank you for listening. It’s been a great episode. Cathy’s just just on fire crushing it, check out her course. You know, go check out her website. If you have staff that are struggling with the ABCs and one two threes of accounting and really need some foundational work. Cathy’s your girl, she does a great job. She’s always free to give. So thanks, everybody. We’ll talk to you next time on the designated motivator the DM disruption. We are here to help motivate, give you as much positivity as we can. And we wish you the best and we’ll talk to you again soon. Thanks so much.
This episode is sponsored by Bookkeep. Learn more at http://www.bookkeep.com
Are you still manually putting data into Excel? Do you want to get an accurate report of your financial health? Justin Hatch, CEO of Reach Reporting, joins the DM Disruption to talk about how they can help solve the pain points of data entry interpretation for your firm. Reach Report allows you to easily interpret all of your financial data, right at your fingertips. Listen now to learn how you can increase the financial health of your business, without spending valuable office time!
Justin grew up in Canada, and was always fascinated by business and entrepreneurship. He started his first company at just 21, and then went on to develop a software company. He was able to be a part of some amazing opportunities, but said that he still didn’t feel as though he’d found his calling yet. At this point he relocated to the US, and sought the opportunity to solve a true pain point that he felt would help many business owners like himself. Because of his experience running his own company, he learned that data processing was a huge pain point for many businesses, and he wanted to develop an easier way for SMB’s to understand their numbers.
The Start of Reach Reporting
While other applications existed at the time Justin was developing Reach Reporting, he still felt that all of them were missing a piece of the puzzle that could solve a lot of data processing issues these companies were experiencing. Justin then realized that partnering with accountants would help them truly understand the financials of each business and would also help them interpret important data points to their clients.
We All Need Data Distilled
Justin describes a time when he was working at NASDAQ and had to prepare a presentation for the Board of Directors. Amongst the board of directors, there was even a former CFO of NASA, and Justin says he was very nervous. He made sure he had all of his terminology down pat, as he knew the people he was presenting to were very intelligent. However, during the presentation, the former NASA CFO asked if he could simplify the data points he was discussing, and himself and his colleagues were having trouble understanding the complexities of what he was explaining. It was at this point that Justin realized that everyone, including NASA employees, need someone to translate complicated data to them—they need it distilled.
Justin and Dawn also discuss how, as a business owner, you don’t need to do everything. In order to make the most of your time, it’s important to automate many factors of your business, and Reach Report can help with that.
Want to connect with Justin? Check out his LinkedIn here!
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Hi everyone, my name is Dawn Brolin, I’m a certified public accountant, a Certified Fraud Examiner, the president of powerful accounting, Inc, and the author of the designated motivator for accounting professionals. And I’m here to tell you, if you are not searching for applications that eliminate data entry, you are missing the mark. Now I found an app, it is called Bookkeep. Bookkeep solves for integrations between apps such as PayPal, or actually really payment methods or ordering systems like GrubHub, things like that Shopify, WooCommerce, the list is never ending, and they’re always adding on more applications. what is awesome about bookkeeping is that you simply connect your data file, whatever it may be to bookkeeper, and it syncs just use GrubHub, for instance, it puts in GrubHub income at the gross Mal, then it has expense accounts for GrubHub fees and so on. And so it allows you to not be data entering or hand keying journal entries for these types of systems. And it does it correct every single time. When I found that application, this is a conversation that I’ve had with my, with my staff for years and years, we don’t want to enter data. When I found bookkeep, we implemented it immediately, for every client who has either PayPal, or Shopify, or GrubHub, or whatever it may be, so that those transactions can go in on a daily basis, magically while you’re sleeping. And you have an accounting that is accurate, so you can make decisions. Are you selling enough GurbHub? Are the fees worth it? How much are you paying? And so many people were using these applications have no idea what it really cost them to run through those systems. And so bookkeepers solve for that as accounting as an accounting professional, I always tell my staff, I want books to be correct. And I don’t do not want you hand keeping a journal entry. If you find yourself hand keying a transaction, then you need to stop and find the solution. And I can tell you right now, bookkeepers, solving that for all of our GrubHub Pay Pal, again, Shopify, there’s many different apps that they sync with. It’s awesome. I recommend that you go take a demo today, because it’s so easy, and it’s super affordable. So go get them your designated motivator here, go check out Bookkeep, thank you so much for listening.
Hey, everybody, and welcome to the DM disruption. My name is Dawn Berlin, your host, I just love to help all of you, whatever I can do, just to infuse some positivity and motivation into your firm. That’s what I’m here for. And today I brought on Justin hatch with reach reporting, because he’s, I don’t know, first of all I met him is scaling new heights. Just a cool dude. My friend, Sean Duncan, he’s out of Texas great guy said, Hey, you gotta go check out what Justin’s doing. I’m like, bang, let’s just do it. It’s really all about being real, real about what we need real about what you know, what kind of can motivate us to maybe make a change in our firm with our processes and the you know, the technology that we’re implementing. And so Justin is here to talk about Justin to talk about how can reach reporting help you but more importantly, just to have some conversation, because it’s always fun. So, Justin, thank you so much. So tell us who the heck you are and why you’re so cool.
Yeah, well, thanks for having me on the show. I’m not gonna say I’m, I’m cool. Especially if I’m getting compared to anything like Sean. I mean, that guy that guy’s the best. He’s, he’s one of my favorite people. And I only ran into him at the trade shows. So Sean, if you’re listening, you know, you got you got somebody out there. It’s trying to be like you. Yeah, when I when I grew up, I’m gonna be like, Sean, you know?
Maybe we all can be. I mean, he’s pretty tall after all.
I know. I know. I know for you. It’s a crazy story. So I was born and raised in Canada. I grew up involved in business my whole life. I started my first businesses when I was young. And then and I actually started a real business when I was 21. You know a bunch of crazy stuff and learn how crappy businesses and how you should never start one and it’s that’s a good idea. And then and then and then I get the bright idea to go start a software company. Yeah, that’s Yeah, yeah. So we’ll, we’ll get to that in a minute. But but yeah, we we started a business I had it for several years, I ended up going into oil and gas, became a VP. We went on to the NASDAQ i, we did some cool stuff. And honestly, it wasn’t for me, I was kind of, I was kind of getting the itch. And so we, we kicked out, but they brought me down here to the US. So, so I had been down here for two or three years and resigned from there and said, I’m out, I want to start a business. And so I sat down and I said, Okay, what is the thing? What’s the thing I want to do? And, and this was an interesting time, because we kind of accumulated a little nest egg, we added a few minutes and and we had some time to think, which which is a total fallacy, you don’t have any time to think it’s a total lie, especially if you’re starting a business. Don’t Don’t Don’t tell yourself that. But we took a little bit of time to think and, and I thought about, okay, what was the number one pain point that I felt when I was younger? When I was starting a business when I was operating a business, the pain point that we felt at the company I was at, in the oil and gas, what was the number one pain point we felt, and how to resolve that and it came down to data. And everybody at that point, you know, everybody I was talking to it, like rolled their eyes, because you know, this was 2015 There’s like a million of these BI companies starting up and and, you know, we were we’re throwing our hat in with like, Salesforce, and like Looker and Google like, again, come on. That’s, that’s, you gotta be crazy to do that. And yet, we knew we knew we had a distinct understanding of how real the pain was. And I didn’t know that everybody didn’t have that. And so we said, we said, are there other people out there that, that are also trying to really understand what’s happening in their business? What, what are their financials trying to tell them? And and we tried to create a solution that kind of automated that process. And what we found was, it went really well. Except we needed one more missing piece, there was this critical piece of the puzzle that was missing? And it was this this partnership with accountants, right, because we needed somebody who could come in and say, Okay, I see I see where we’re at. Yes, let me help you. And so it became this amazing relationship that we developed with, with CPAs. With CFOs. With bookkeepers with advisors with, with I mean, this the spectrum, right of people that are working with their clients, and we started to work with them. And we said, what do you need? What do you want? What would you like to see? And so they played a major role in helping us determine what the software was, and how the software worked. And and when we say this was created by the accounting industry, we mean it because because we frankly, didn’t know exactly what the accountant wanted. And so we, we relied on these, all of this feedback to say, Okay, now we’re going to work on this. Now we’re gonna work on this.
Now, so when you I’m gonna bring you all the way back to 21 years old, I’m bringing it back. So you knew you wanted to? Well, first, you want to be in business for yourself, you’re thinking, Okay, I want to go out and start my own business. And then you found that your challenges were, and I’m guessing you tell me. Number one, I need to see reporting, so I can understand what’s happening within my business, the health of my business, those things, but you felt like you weren’t getting really what you needed. And so when you looked back and you reach reporting was born, you look back and said, as a business owner, I have these challenges, but then also, the business owner doesn’t necessarily know how to read them. So they need the accounting professional to say, yeah, they need this, but we also need to help them interpret it, which is a whole nother thing. Right?
Right. Right. Exactly. Yeah. And so that was, that was such a real pain that I actually still remember that vividly. Just thinking, why am I why do I have this box full of receipts? Why…when I got so my dad had a friend who was an accountant, that poor man, that poor man, I mean, I mean, he half the time he spent just trying to explain to me some of like, the dumb stuff. And I hadn’t gone to college at this point. I was like, oh, no, I’m 21 I’m, I’m way smarter than college and and you know, it took me a minute to figure out that I needed college in my life and and and so you know, there’s there was those those things that I was just missing? And I didn’t have I didn’t know how the things worked out. I didn’t know how the books worked and right and so for me, it was it was saying okay, how do we go to this, this poor fool and and help them but but the funny thing is this It wasn’t just me as a young 21 year old startup kid. This happened when I was at this oil and gas company.
Okay, yeah. So we had Florida, we’re on the NASDAQ.
We were on the NASDAQ like, and I still had executives coming to me and being like, Oh, if we sell this, then we’ll be be able to have enough revenue to pay for this. I was like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. That’s not how it works. Like, like, we’re missing stuff here. Like you got costs. I mean, I yeah, I get that you have, you know, 12 green bills, but you got debts to pay. But those those have those already are earmarked to pay off certain and, and there was so much that was missing. People didn’t understand contribution margin. They didn’t understand gross profit margin. I mean, legitimately, I think that’s a I mean, we’re talking about COVID is a pandemic, you wonder what a pandemic is? Yeah, people don’t not understand gross profit margin, like, like, there’s a world of people out there that don’t understand some of these cricket, critical principles in business. Right. And so then what I set out to do is say, Okay, how do I work with these phenomenal accountants, and provide something that is so digestible for the for the small business that even if they’re geniuses, right, it’s something that they can pull up, and they immediately get super valuable information out and boom.
So okay, so I’m gonna, I’m gonna go back a little bit, you know, to when you were a kid, just not too far, not too far back. But think about right. Thinking about what Justin in maybe you didn’t even have this. Some people don’t. I mean, I had an epiphany at 16 years old, I was going to be an accountant, like, I just knew it. It was, you know, a teacher at school who said, we have one accounting class, and then we’re gonna say graduate 38 people, like it was tiny school, flopped down this packet and said, you’re in business. Go figure it out. Here’s your Ledger’s, they were all manual. So, you know, we back in the day, were actually learned debits and credits through, like, right, reading them out. And you know, putting the ledger together. So it all everything had a tie out. And I’m like, Oh, my goodness, this makes sense. I love it. So I knew that that’s what I want to do. A lot of people didn’t necessarily have that exposure. So when you were younger, like, what was your, did you like have like, I want to do this? Or, I mean, not, you know, you want to be a big football star who doesn’t want to do that? Right. But was there something that like, kind of helped pave the path for you to want to make a decision at 21? To be in business for yourself? Like, why did why why? What did that look like? Yeah,
That’s like a unbelievably loaded question. Especially as I like, unpack, like, like, what the all the onion layers of what makes Justin Justin. Yeah. You know, there was there was a couple things that I was very sincerely, I very sincerely wanted. One, I genuinely wanted to help people as well. Yeah, I genuinely wanted to make a difference. And I don’t know if that comes from, like, some childhood insecurities, or what, or if it just was something I was, I was born with, and I just, I just wanted to help out. Yeah. So I wanted to create something that could be used as a tool. That was really, really manageable. Yeah, I did not do well in, in my years up to high school. I struggled in school. Yep. And, and I, it was weird, because I couldn’t quite reconcile what intelligence was because I was, I was getting these grades that that I felt like didn’t match with how smart I was. I thought I was smart. And but these grades weren’t matching. I was it was it was really hard me You said we’re gonna get vulnerable talk about Yeah, let’s go. You know, so. So I didn’t have these these things match up. And yet, there was things that I knew that I knew that half of my instructors didn’t know, right, you know, just just the little streetsmart stuff. So So, what I what I said was, Okay, is there something I could do? And this was before, you know, ever reach was even a thing, but is there something that I could do to genuinely make something easier? So yeah, okay, help, but like, I want to simplify stuff for people, right? I had really cool experience later in life at the at the NASDAQ company. And I was sitting in front of Board of Directors, and I and when you’re sitting in front of a board, you terrified and I was presenting to them on on all this stuff that was happening in my department. And, and so when you’re when you’re terrified you you come up with this list of all these things you want to say and you you’d like you go to every big word, you know, so like, your, your vocabulary is suddenly like, you know, infinitely better that day, you know, like, like, you like pull on these things, because you want to appear really intelligent.
And you can’t go like this. You can’t go a board of directors. You would not believe that shit. Like you can’t say that. Like that’s not usually what you
exactly like that’s that’s what I kept telling myself. It’s like, there’s no way They want to hear that, like, There’s no way. So I’m presenting and they’re like one of the dudes, they’re his. He’s He’s the former CFO at NASA. Okay? Like, I mean guy, no, like, these guys are insane, smart, like insane, like educated at Wharton, but he went to boarding school, like, so smart. So I’m presenting to them. And as I’m presenting, he holds up his hand, he’s like, Justin, Justin test. We’re just a bunch of old guys here. Can you can you explain it to us in a way that we can understand, you know, really distill it down for us? What just happened? Like, like what the so the smartest person in the world and documented proof that he is the most intelligent person in the world, just told me to simplify things. So I didn’t look at this and say, Oh, that’s tell tells me how intelligent, no no, when I looked at it, and said, was, this helps me realize that no matter who we are, we need to be distilling down information. Before we give it out. Yes, we have to distill it down, we have to and this will become our reach motto, we have to absorb complexity. So when the data flows through reach, we absorb complexity before we give to the next person. So I realized that that that day, that moment, that no matter who we are, no matter how intelligent we are, we need stuff distilled, because data is data is data and data takes calories. Yes, no, if you’re trying to increase your caloric burn, great. Put more data in your life, or maybe just, you know, go go grab a textbook, and you know, try to digest that. But But if if we’re trying to genuinely understand stuff, we need to be looking at it on an Information Level knowledge level, not the data level, like you know, just just because I can figure out where an IP address is, doesn’t mean I should, like there’s tools just because I can do all the math in my head or on paper, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t use my calculator, like we should be using the tools that we have the resources that we have at our fingertips, we should be simplifying stuff, so that it’s really easy to grasp.
I love that because it’s as funny I just did like a I don’t know if it was a keynote for a company through zoom, which is always makes it weird. And you’re just sitting there, you don’t have to pay attention…
And they’re all on mute, so when you tell a great joke, nobody laughs!
I’m laughing. I think it’s hilarious. Like, okay, I’ll come by myself. But, but it’s so funny you say that, because I said to them, you know, there are certain things that accounting firms have to recognize. And one of them is and we talked about in the book, reassessing your success. It’s like, why would you want to exactly your example, add things up in your brain? Why would you want to try to come up with a formula, and then use, you know, a calculator to do it or whatever, when, when those types of things can be automated. And that’s okay. Like, we don’t have to, like, I don’t think I’m cool. If I’m, like, 40, out of 140%, like the first of all, that’s the only kind of percentage I could come up with was, like, 102, over 36, you’ve logged on, I can’t do that division. So there’s getting a percentage. I think it’s around 34%. But I don’t really. So I feel like what you’re talking about with the tools that we have available to us, you’re exactly right, I don’t need to increase my brain capacity, and utilize caloric calories in my coconut. Because first of all, I don’t have a really big head. So I’m not trying to lose any weight up here. Because other areas, but um, it’s so true, it’s like, why not take it in, it doesn’t make it so that you’re not utilizing your brain in a way that you’re becoming unintelligent or less intelligent. It’s just that you’re utilizing and maximizing resources. And honestly, taking the minutia out of your brain and eliminating that will give you opportunity and space for more intelligence.
Right, right. Right. Right. And so then the opposite is also or the the the downline is also true, where our clients are in the same place. Yes, they could learn accounting like this, these people aren’t idiots like, they’re, they’re usually pretty intelligent humans. I mean, they founded a business they worked on it, they are they became an executive in or whatever, right? But just because we could present them with really hard to understand data doesn’t mean we should. So if we can not only use those tools to our advantage, to help us be better, or as levers to really leverage our skills, right. But then we also give it to them so that they can understand it in that simple way that became that was that I mean, obviously this is a far cry from what that 16 year old was thinking about. But it was it was really it those days that I started to say, Okay, what what would be cool is if we could do this, but then automate it. And, and that’s what our reach is all about right now is absorbing complexity, but really automating the process, right? We, we, we look at these at our, at our accountants, you know, with, with the heart eyes. And, and there was there’s this one lady and I pick on her all the time, she’s one of my favorite human beings. But she she was telling me about the reports that she built every single month. And she’s telling me how she did it. And she, because of the nature of the systems out there, you know, we didn’t even really have the fathoms they were they weren’t really a thing yet. And so what she was doing was, she was going into QBO, she was downloading the data into an Excel spreadsheet, she was manipulating in there, putting in charts and graphs, taking screenshots of the charts and graphs, putting them in Microsoft Word, and then putting her commentary in there and sending it to our clients. We said, This is ridiculous.
I’m looking for a knife or a knife, stab myself, because that sounds terrible.
It is like, like, it’s legit. And, and she was telling us, you know, what, what her processes were like, and how she did it every single month and how she was able to kind of automate certain things because she left bodies of text in there. And we just thought, no, no, no. We said, we need to solve that problem first and foremost, because like once, like once you once you put the tourniquet on, then you can start dealing with like the small stuff, you know? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Like, like, we got to stop the bleeding. And, and so we we first set out, we said, Okay, let’s do that. Let’s automate that part of it. Let’s make it so that whenever you log in, it’s updated with the new data that’s in QuickBooks, whenever you log in, it’s updated with the new month that we’re in. So not only is it in the new data that’s in QuickBooks, but it’s pulling the most recent last month, right, or even the current month, if you want share, let’s make it so that we can put in text but you can put numbers into the text like you can drop in like total income and have an update for you little things to to automate that. And so now we had the tourniquet on it. Yeah. Now we had the turn. Okay, so now we’re not hemorrhaging. Sorry. This analogy is like going to anybody that has a sensitive stomach, like I’m out.
Most of our listeners, watch Grey’s Anatomy.
Okay, good. Good. So so we have this situation now we’re, we’re still, we’re still in rough shape. You know, we’ve been beaten up. But but now we’re not dying. Yeah. So now, what are the things that we can do to improve the quality of life at that point? Yeah. And that’s where we’ve started to have so much fun with reach. Because now we’re able to start saying, okay, okay. Now, what do you guys want now? And we’ll go out. And I’m not kidding. Like, we have lists of all of the things people are requesting and the things they ask for on a regular basis. And then we give each thing gets a vote, right? Every time somebody asked for it, and so then it gets bumped up or down on the list. Yeah. And, and so so we have, we have this stuff, where we’re now able to create things, where it’s no, it’s now satisfying that I want to really help out, I really want to make the world a better place, because now the audience is telling us even more, but now they’re telling us more luxuries. Sure. Now they’re saying, Oh, hey, you know, it’d be really cool if we could do this by class, but then have this come in from this project, and then apply it to this, but then I want every column to be this one, that’d be so cool. And then automate it, right and make it so that every month it stays live, so you’re not going in and updating it every single Blinken month? Well, that’s where it came from.
Yeah, it’s all about and this is one of the whole point of the designated motivator for accounting professionals. And what we’re trying to do is to expose practitioners to something new and different. Now, yes, change is hard, we get that change is hard, when you really have to learn a new complicated system or a new tool or this and that, or maybe you do have some kind of complicated integration. And that does happen, it may be in some situations. But when you can literally plug something in to the data that’s already been populated, and take it out and make it meaningful, more than just a p&l and a simple p&l and a balance sheet that you can get from any accounting software. That’s, you know, those are not necessarily always the end result that we need, we need a bit more insight than that. And so, you know, I definitely find that firms are wanting to move out of the world of Excel and Word documents and PDFs and, you know, having to redo things month after month after month or whatever. One of the biggest things, I think, and this is Shawn would definitely agree with me, is from an advisory perspective. So for those people who are looking for reporting that’s meaningful and purposeful that can be that can cause a conversation with a client. And I think that that’s, you know, and I was talking about earlier today, you know, I find that a lot of bookkeepers and I think more in that area than anything is they want to hang on to their bookkeeping, they want to hang on to data processing. They don’t want to let it go, because they can’t imagine what else they would do. What would I do if I was not handling data entry, data management, and all of this, what would be my purpose while…
Then the fear that I’m disposable
The fear of the replacement of people is real, the fear that what you’re doing now, five years from now will be obsolete, and you’ll have no purpose, it’s the total opposite of that. It’s the opposite. It’s that same old saying of when one door closes, another one opens. And it’s no different here, probably more prevalent than any, any other industry, in that, as growth happens, opportunity exposes itself and a lot of times, that opportunity will generate double three times as much revenue then it would doing what you were doing before. So that data entry information gathering, you know that, Oh, I gotta do this big Excel worksheet today. Like that’s it’s…
It’s going to be a thing in the past. It is it is.
And it actually is already it is in many cases already. What we’re trying to do is help the practitioners understand that it’s okay to change. It’s okay to say to your client, hey, listen, I’ve got first of all, if you’re going to automate all your data, make the same money for doing nothing. I’m kind of a proponent of that. I’m all in. If I can make the same money, doing less work. I want more. Yeah, well, more money and less work. Yeah. So in order to do that, though, you have to implement tools within your practice that will allow you to have that automation so that you can use like you’re saying, Yeah, we want to, we want to be able to interpret the information for our client. But being able to have that at your fingertips and not having to manipulate it, which by the way, huge human error, huge human risk of error. Right, right, when you can automate it. And so, you know, that’s some of the motivation that I have to say, you know, like I was saying what I’m saying earlier, you know what, I’m leaving my office today at 2;30. You know, why? Because I’m going to practice I’m going to softball practice tax season, I don’t care. I’m going, but my, but because I’ve implemented the systems and the processes that I’ve automated certain things, but I also invest the time to implement them. Number one, yeah, yeah. And that’s, that is a necessary evil, you’ve got to invest. It’s not spending your investing time in your practice by…
In yourself, yeah. And one of the things that we’ve seen this, that’s been very powerful is for us to look at it and say, okay, yes, we can be very busy, we can do a bunch of busy work, often busy work is the stuff that gets automated first, right? Because because people are looking and saying, There’s got to be a way to to make it so that I will have to do this. So that busy work gets automated first. But what happens is in create, like, let’s say we have a client, they want some sophisticated report. And let’s say it’s not just a, they don’t want just a printout of the p&l and balance sheet they want, they want some hardcore thing on the 10th of each month. Well, what we said was, okay, now, people are having to go through, they’re having to create all of this by hand, and they’re having to go through, like you said, subject to human error and all that crap. But the problem the real problem is they’re spending so much time doing something they’re just going to have to do again next month. And so they’re actually do use the proper word damning themselves. Yes, they’re stopping their own progression. And, and they they don’t progress because because we have all this busy work so so the real value comes in when we can use this part. Yeah. And we can become use our minds and and and the things that we’ve learned and all the the the, the stuff we’ve been able to draw out of the data and then we can become curators of this. So so what what we say is create the report, once you send us a reach template, put your your own signature on it, make it make it yours, make it for your client. And then every month when you log back end, instead of spending all that time to rebuild the dang thing, which you’d have to do outside of Reach. This time, curate it, hone in on it and really narrow in on what’s the what’s the stuff that’s very valuable. Hey, I remember I had this conversation with my client last month it was this they mentioned this, I wonder if they would benefit from such and such a metric. Right? I’m gonna throw this in just to see what they say. They get a call three days later. What the heck. When did you put this in? This is gold! I didn’t we needed this years ago. Yeah. You mentioned something I wanted to what is going to make them never stop valuing you. It’s stuff like that. Absolutely. You can’t have. You can’t have some algorithms, some AI anybody that tells you that there’s AI that’s gonna be able to do that they’re delusional. 20 years, maybe, maybe, but but for the foreseeable future, we need to have eyes that can see stuff and see what’s happening. And then and then tell a story about it.
Exactly. Now, so because we’re gonna, we’re gonna wrap up here pretty quick. But what I want to I want to hear from you, Justin, tell me about a client. And obviously, I’m going to name names, but a client success story that, because I think that we’re all motivated by different things, I don’t think I don’t think people are really motivated by money, people want to have money, let’s, you know, we’re not going to be idiots about it. But that doesn’t necessarily motivate me, I don’t get up in the morning and go, Oh, I’m gonna go make $5,000. Today, I get up and say, what are the things and this is reality? What are the things I need to accomplish today in order to be successful for myself, and successful for my clients? And that’s the approach that I like to take every morning is, Who am I going to, like, where’s that one, client, or interaction, maybe it’s not a client and interaction that I’m going to have today that I am going to absolutely make that person have a better day, in whatever capacity that looks like. So for you, in within your, within all of your stories of when you were 21 doing business, or you’re at the NASDAQ or company with the NASDAQ, or Reach Reporting now, where you found somebody who was just in a position that of they weren’t doing real well, and you came in and you were able to help positively affect them that day, or through the course of time or whatever, there’s got to be maybe one that’s…
Oh, I can’t even tell countless, countless stories that are similar to that. And you know, where where we are more than spoiled is, then they will go and leave a review. And they say the nicest thing like, like, they’re borderline like, like, like sometimes, like we’ve worked with a lot of people. And I mean, we were in the heart of COVID. Like, there was some there were some people that are struggling, we had some firms that shut down that we had to, we had to just be like, Look, you’re getting it for free, you’re getting Reach for free. It is imperative to us that you guys are successful. And and so when you can pay us great. And not for back pay, I mean for going forward. Great. Call us call us then, but until then, the software is yours. And we’ve insisted on on those kinds of situations. Because and not because it’s going to come back to like, like, we don’t…
Yeah, I always taught my kid you never give to get.
Yeah, exactly. And it’s it’s so that’s such a crappy ulterior motive anyway, like, I mean, the limits here is that, like, you’re gonna have to hold it anyway. But but what we what we said was, okay, take it, use it, it’s yours. And, and, and the best part about that is, is the feedback, we would get, you know, people would come back, and then they would be very complimentary. And they would say nice things about this. And they say, Hey, you know, it would be really cool. And I haven’t shared this with anybody. But if you guys did this, it would be a game changer for this entire industry. And right, we’re all ears when stuff like that. But but that’s that’s aside from the question that you asked. One of my favorite stories was this couple, this couple of ladies running this amazing firm. It was it was amazing. And they were amazing. And they were they were super busy. So so they knew they wanted a reporting tool. But they found as they found this, when we go all the blank, we sucked. Like our software, like it could do cool stuff at the time. And it was it was really powerful. But there is so much more that needed to be done. So they had to be patient with us. But what we did was, we said to them, Hey, we want to work with you guys. We really were I mean, at the time, we also really needed desperately needed the money. And so we went to them, and we said we’ll do whatever it takes, we’ll do whatever it takes to get this. Well, the best part about that whole situation was they’ve been able to add clients like crazy, because once the processes are automated, then you can come in and when you have half an hour, you can actually delve a half an hour into the company. It’s not something right now. Okay, now you have a half an hour now you have to do this thing is going to take you three hours. I mean, if that’s not like a definition of what accounting is, is you have a half hour of time and you have to do a job that’s going to take you three like that, that happens constantly and so so we wanted to create a relationship with them where we can really genuinely help them. So they with the feedback with the stuff that they gave us with the stuff that we were able to give them and the coding we’re able to do. We’re able to create a solution that has made the software better for everybody that’s benefited us dramaticly but their firm has gone bananas now Here’s the crappy part, once they learned the software, they now know the software better than I do. So don’t call me anymore. So I don’t I don’t get to see them anymore. But but, you know, they, they, they use it constantly. They’ve automated their processes. And then when they call me and tell me about something, one of their clients said, That, for me, that’s like, that’s everything so so right? Because there’s no, there’s nothing about Reach Reporting on our reports, right? Like, like, the only person that knows that reach reporting even exists is the accountant. Right and right. So like, the clients not not know what it is, yeah, and so so. So it makes us so happy when the client comes back. And it’s like, You created this report for us. We’ve never seen a report like this. And we’ve never understood our business in the way that we now understand it.
So for you, as as you can, as reach reporting continues to evolve and grow and grow. And that’s what I always tell people do not get involved with applications that do not continue to grow and grow and get better. And listen, take feedback, which is super critical. And obviously, you guys are doing that. For you. It was about we want to solve this pain point. Because I was in business. And I didn’t get this, I didn’t have this. I feel like it was kind of like when I was a kid, we didn’t have X, Y and Z. It’s like, so when you were a kid in business, you didn’t have this, this tool, right? So for you to be able to infuse a solution into a firm and watch the firm be able to take advantage of the tool and utilize it for the betterment of their clients. That’s what Reach Reporting is all about.
That’s when you go home, and you’re like, Oh, good. I felt good. Like, like we actually were able to like that’s a project where it’s not like a one deal. Right? Like, like, we don’t do contracts, we don’t do contracts, right? We say, Look, if this is providing you value each month, you stick with us. If this is not, then you better tell us by canceling. Yeah. Because because don’t you dare stick around just because we you know, we hit it off at a trade show, right? You know, we really want people to, and we never want to have people being forced. It was his whole contract part. Like we never want people to be forced to do the right stuff. Because they got suckered into it at the beginning. Sure. And so so we insist on constantly updating the solution. Now, what’s interesting is, as, as we’ve adopted, so so we actually, like we, you know, we’re growing like crazy, which has been so much fun. But as we’ve adopted a lot of dysfunctionality that opens up the door for some other companies to come in. Sure. You know, like, firms that deal with restaurants. You want to know, people that deal with real pain, is that 445 reporting? That is a nightmare. Yes. And so they said, there’s no reporting solutions, anywhere that can do that, can you help, and so we got something coming out, that’s gonna be able to really help, you know, so it’s that kind of stuff that that we love, because we just love building new cool stuff. And so you’re gonna start seeing some even, I mean, some incredible things coming out, as the next couple months, you’re gonna see some cool stuff. And then this next year is going to be phenomenal. So
what would it be fair Justin, to say to the audience, I’m just gonna say it anyway, you’re gonna have to agree with me otherwise, whatever. So I would say, if you’re a practitioner, who is still living in Excel, for various more complex reporting, or, you know, the original accounting solution cannot give you the reports that you’re looking for specific reports, especially like in the restaurant industry, or contractors, or anybody, anybody who has these report any kind of complicated reports that you’re not able to do natively in an accounting solution, which is normal, almost across the board, unless you want to spend 100 Right here. They can say, Hey, Justin, here’s my report, this is what I need to do. They can give you feedback, reach out to you, Justin Hatch, and say, Hey, this is a pain point I need solve for this would help this industry or whatever, they can reach out to you. And that is that is a relationship that you would that you’re inviting, right?
Absolutely, absolutely. Like, in fact, connect with me on LinkedIn. Like, will I’ll put my money where my mouth is like, like, we just we do it all the time that we’re we, we insist on those types of relationships. We at first we were saying, Okay, let’s, you know, let’s make this for every business out there. Well, at that point, you have to be low touch, you have to be there’s just not enough of us to go around. But that instead once we started working with accountants, then they work with their clients. So they have the 10 100,000 You know, whatever. But you know, most of most of the accounts we work with are working with 10 to 25 clients, right that is such a normal amount and that is a fantastic amount. Yep. Because they’re able to service those clients with a phenomenal tool. But yes, have them absolutely have them reach out if there’s ever anything they want to see in the solution, or even if if they just want to, chew the fat tip, because we’re at that, too.
Yeah, that’s awesome. So, so for those who are listening in, in the show notes, you’ll have all the contact information and be in touch with Justin. You know, again, it’s this whole podcast is about helping you as the practitioner, better your firm, because we know if we can help all of us be better, our clients can survive. And really, at the end of the day, we are their financial doctor, we are the reason that they stay alive only because without the analysis and the tools that we provide to them, they wouldn’t know where to go, where to look. And Justin kind of talked about that. So, Justin, I want to thank you so much for coming on today. It’s been a great conversation, I like I said, I mean, you were also in scaling new heights, and it was just really awesome to meet you. And, and your tool can consult for so much. So any last words, before we jump off?
You know, I love the industry, I didn’t know as a kid that I would be making a software, you know, because that’s a pretty geeky thing to do. And, and I and I didn’t know that I’d be in reporting because that’s, you know, pretty geeky thing to do. But I am having the time of my life, creating this. But really seeing what the industry can do with the reports, the report builder you know, it that’s the best part is seeing what you guys do once you get the tool because we can create some cool stuff. But then we only know you know this much about what’s happening in the industry in the market and stuff. When when we have the power hitters come in, like, like our accountants that are creating these powerful tool. It’s, it’s something to see it. It’s awesome.
That’s awesome. Well, you’ve been awesome. So speaking of awesome, and certainly glad to have you and look forward to building relationship with you as we continue to move forward. And so thank you to everybody who’s listening and we’ll see you next time on the DM Disruption while we’re just going to keep on firing you up and helping you make changes and just making life better for you and your clients. So thanks everybody for listening. We’ll talk to you soon. Peace out. Peace