Episode Summary

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!

 

Episode Notes

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 Many accounting firms also use old or outdated technology and refuse to update their practices, which can lead to issues when trying to grow or expand the productivity of your practice.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’s Motivation

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

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/sons-of-cpas/id1571747680

 

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Transcript:

Dawn Brolin
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.

Scott Scarano
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.

Dawn Brolin
Exactly. So there’s another good like now your high brow?

Scott Scarano
That’s where you get this Scarano right. That’s in my accounting world. It’s always Scarano.

Dawn Brolin
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?

Scott Scarano
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…

Dawn Brolin
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.

Scott Scarano
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..

Dawn Brolin
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,

Scott Scarano
Well, you pay extra for it, right?

Dawn Brolin
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.

Scott Scarano
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…

Dawn Brolin
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…

Scott Scarano
And just anything else. Yeah, like, you have more control over your day, I think. Yeah. When Nobody’s interrupting, you know,

Dawn Brolin
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

Scott Scarano
Sometime more, yeah.

Dawn Brolin
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…

Scott Scarano
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…

Dawn Brolin
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?

Scott Scarano
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.

Dawn Brolin
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…

Scott Scarano
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?

Dawn Brolin
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.

Scott Scarano
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.

Dawn Brolin
She only does she works about 20 hours a week total. All she does is client communications.

Scott Scarano
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?

Dawn Brolin
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…

Scott Scarano
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.

Dawn Brolin
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.

Scott Scarano
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?

Dawn Brolin
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?

Scott Scarano
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?

Dawn Brolin
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…

Scott Scarano
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.

Dawn Brolin
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?

Scott Scarano
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…

Dawn Brolin
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…

Scott Scarano
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.

Dawn Brolin
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?

Scott Scarano
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?

Dawn Brolin
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…

Scott Scarano
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…

Dawn Brolin
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…

Scott Scarano
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.

Dawn Brolin
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,

Scott Scarano
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…

Dawn Brolin
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…

Scott Scarano
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.

Dawn Brolin
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.

Scott Scarano
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.

Dawn Brolin
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.

Scott Scarano
You’re only charging six. Oh, man!

Dawn Brolin
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!

Scott Scarano
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.

Dawn Brolin
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..

Scott Scarano
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

Dawn Brolin
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.

Scott Scarano
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.

Dawn Brolin
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…

Scott Scarano
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?

Dawn Brolin
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.

Scott Scarano
A situation. So we were just talking recently we talked because, now whenever,

Dawn Brolin
When you were five? Sure, so about Scott!

Scott Scarano
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.

Dawn Brolin
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.

Scott Scarano
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.

Dawn Brolin
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?

Scott Scarano
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.

Dawn Brolin
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

Scott Scarano
Or its fully empty? Yeah. And you need some something to drop in there somebody else to drop some stuff.

Dawn Brolin
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,

Scott Scarano
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

Dawn Brolin
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?

Scott Scarano
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

Dawn Brolin
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

 

 

 

Episode Summary

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!

Episode Notes

Caren’s beginnings

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/

 

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Transcript:

Dawn Brolin
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.

Caren Schwartz
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.

Dawn Brolin
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.

Caren Schwartz
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.

Dawn Brolin
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?

Caren Schwartz
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.

Dawn Brolin
And how old were you when you were doing that?

Caren Schwartz
Well, when I was like in high school or college, right, because that was a bit older. Yeah, yeah.

Dawn Brolin
Well, yeah. Make sense, you weren’t eight years old doing both.

Caren Schwartz
No, no!

Dawn Brolin
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.

Caren Schwartz
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.

Dawn Brolin
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?

Caren Schwartz
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.

Dawn Brolin
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?

Caren Schwartz
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.

Dawn Brolin
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.

Caren Schwartz
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.

Dawn Brolin
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?

Caren Schwartz
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

Dawn Brolin
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?

Caren Schwartz
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.

Dawn Brolin
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.

Caren Schwartz
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.

Dawn Brolin
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?

Caren Schwartz
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.

Dawn Brolin
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.

Caren Schwartz
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,

Dawn Brolin
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

Caren Schwartz
So rry, I’m a Mets fan.

Dawn Brolin
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?

Caren Schwartz
If my daughter heard about that, she’d be so jealous. My daughter wants a horse. It’s so bad.

Dawn Brolin
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.

Caren Schwartz
Well, I will try to do some of that.

Dawn Brolin
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?

Caren Schwartz
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.

Dawn Brolin
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.

Caren Schwartz
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.

Dawn Brolin
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?

Caren Schwartz
Oh, yeah. Yes.

Dawn Brolin
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.

Caren Schwartz
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.

Dawn Brolin
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,…

Caren Schwartz
Google is wonderful. I search for things on Google all the time.

Dawn Brolin
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.

Caren Schwartz
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.

Dawn Brolin
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.

Caren Schwartz
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?

Dawn Brolin
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.

Caren Schwartz
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.

Dawn Brolin
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?

Caren Schwartz
No, I did not.

Dawn Brolin
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.

 

 

Episode Summary

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’s Beginnings

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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Want to hear more episodes? Listen here!

 

Follow Dawn Brolin!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheDesignatedMotivator

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheDesignatedM1

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LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dawnbrolin/

Subscribe to Dawn on Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp1-…

Check our her Website – https://www.dawnbrolin.com/

 

Transcript

Dawn Brolin
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?

Kathy Grosskurth
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.

Dawn Brolin
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?

Kathy Grosskurth
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.

Dawn Brolin
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?

Kathy Grosskurth
Well, it actually started way before that, but I’ll fast forward five years.

Dawn Brolin
All you sister, it’s all you!

Kathy Grosskurth
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.

Dawn Brolin
Yes, Atlanta is big!

Kathy Grosskurth
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.

Dawn Brolin
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?

Kathy Grosskurth
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.

Dawn Brolin
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?

Kathy Grosskurth
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.

Dawn Brolin
I have to agree with you, but go ahead.

Kathy Grosskurth
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…

Dawn Brolin
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.

Kathy Grosskurth
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.

Dawn Brolin
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?

Kathy Grosskurth
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.

Dawn Brolin
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.

Kathy Grosskurth
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.

Dawn Brolin
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.

Kathy Grosskurth
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.

Dawn Brolin
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.

Kathy Grosskurth
I appreciate you so much for having me.

Dawn Brolin
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

 

Episode Summary

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!

 

Show Notes

Justin’s Beginnings

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.

 

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Transcript

Dawn Brolin
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.

Justin Hatch
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?

Dawn Brolin
Maybe we all can be. I mean, he’s pretty tall after all.

Justin Hatch
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.

Dawn Brolin
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?

Justin Hatch
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.

Dawn Brolin
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,

Justin Hatch
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.

Dawn Brolin
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

Justin Hatch
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.

Dawn Brolin
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…

Justin Hatch
And they’re all on mute, so when you tell a great joke, nobody laughs!

Dawn Brolin
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.

Justin Hatch
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.

Dawn Brolin
I’m looking for a knife or a knife, stab myself, because that sounds terrible.

Justin Hatch
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.

Dawn Brolin
Most of our listeners, watch Grey’s Anatomy.

Justin Hatch
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.

Dawn Brolin
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…

Justin Hatch
Then the fear that I’m disposable

Dawn Brolin
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…

Justin Hatch
It’s going to be a thing in the past. It is it is.

Dawn Brolin
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…

Justin Hatch
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.

Dawn Brolin
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…

Justin Hatch
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…

Dawn Brolin
Yeah, I always taught my kid you never give to get.

Justin Hatch
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.

Dawn Brolin
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.

Justin Hatch
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

Dawn Brolin
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?

Justin Hatch
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.

Dawn Brolin
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?

Justin Hatch
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.

Dawn Brolin
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

 

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Summary:

Did you struggle to pay your taxes this past tax season? Does it feel as though you never have enough capital to cover all your expenses? Denise Grove is a money coach specializing in helping businesses implement Mike Michalowicz’s “Profit First” business model, and can help your firm achieve better profit margins and leave you stress free come tax time. Listen now to see how you can improve your business and thrive!

 

Denise’s introduction

Denise started working at one of the big four CPA firms, but quickly realized that she loved helping people. She shifted her career to being a money coach, and found joy in helping businesses achieve the success they’ve always dreamed of. 

She listened to Mike Michalowicz’s book “Profit First” and while she questioned its business method at first, she realized that this was the solution that was going to help more of her clients succeed. She then became a certified “Profit First” coach, and has been helping her client’s with Mike’s method ever since!

 

How Denise Helps Clients

Denise talks about how she also acts as an accountability coach for her clients, and gives them a plan to commit to. Denise describes how she also begins by making sure the owner starts paying themselves, as oftentimes she finds the owners don’t give themselves a paycheck. She then looks at their cash flow to see what areas  the business is spending money on, and sees if there is an area they can diminish or cancel completely. 

She also shares that, because of her time as a CPA, she can aid in interpreting what their tax return is doing, and assist her clients come tax time with organizing their documents. 

Denise then talks about times when she sees her clients succeed, and how that is the part of her job that brings her the most joy.

 

Where Denise Finds Motivation

Denise talks about how she found a lot of motivation in both her Mom and Dad, and although their parenting styles differed, they both helped her tremendously to get her where she is today. She also talks about her husband being a huge motivator in her life, and how she will often bounce ideas off of him to gain a new perspective on a problem.

Denise also credits one of her accounting professors in college for giving her life changing advice. She was close to graduating and had offers from the big eight firm, but was overwhelmed by what decision she should make. She sought out advice from her professor, and he said to go to sleep, and the first firm you think of when you wake up is the firm you should accept the offer from. Denise did just that, and says that was the best advice anyone could have given her; she still uses that method to this day when she is faced with a hard decision. 

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Transcript

Dawn Brolin
Hey, everyone just want to jump on real quick. I’m so excited this morning, I’ve got a client who has been struggling with their AP processing, and actually having some kind of an approval process. Guess what they’re setting up today Veem. They’ve got about five different companies. They’re paying a lot of bills or a large growing real estate company, and they just needed a solution. So I love the fact that I have found the applications that are efficient and effective, and allow for my clients to be able to operate their businesses, the best ways they can be as profitable as possible. So if you’re trying to find an AP solution, you’re trying to get yourselves and your clients set up on something that works wonderfully. And it’s free. Go check out Veem.

Everybody welcome back to the Designated Motivator, the DM disruption. We are here to just hopefully inspire you and give you some encouragement as you work through your day. Hopefully, you’re listening to this podcast while you’re working, just chillin, putting on your little speaker and chillin. But Denise Grove is here with us today. And I know her through Profit First, which by the way, is a book that will change your life period, if you’re in business for yourself, if you have not read the book, you have to read the book. And if you want to learn how to implement it properly, and take advantage of all of the system that Mike Michalowiczhas put together, Denise is your girl. And I’ll tell you, she is a Designated Motivator. She has the greatest attitude. That what she has a passion for is what we I think we all have this passion in a way. But I think that Denise just takes it to a whole nother level. So Denise, welcome to the DM disruption. I I’m a big fan of you. You may be a big fan of me. But that doesn’t really matter here. Because I am a fan of you your color on your shirt is gorgeous. You look beautiful today. Thank you. You’re killing it, you look great. And you sound great. So introduce yourself to everybody tell tell us about Denise, tell us what is her world about what are you doing?

Denise Grove
Well, I am as I’ve always left about I am a recovering CPA, as I started my career at the Big Four public accounting firms and moved into corporate that quickly figured out I love helping people. And the bigger the organization, the further removed you are for being able to say immediately, especially your results. So I have morphed into a money coach. And I especially work with small privately held family and businesses to help them just do better with their money because working with me, there are no stupid money, questions. None. And so…

Dawn Brolin
Never, the only stupid questions is the ones they don’t ask.

Denise Grove
Yeah. And the best thing about zoom and working with people in person too, is you can see their face. So you can see when they’re thinking what on earth is that woman talking about? That we can solve it right? But I listened to Mike read Profit First on Audible and Atlanta traffic one day. And when he starts talking about it, because of course I immediately thought that is not GAAP. That is not accrual accounting. What is this man told about? And by the end of the second or third chapter, I was like, Why didn’t I think of that? Because I struggle with cash flow with my clients where they were waiting on a big deposit to be able to make payroll. And I’ve been empathetic, sweated and sweated thinking, oh my gosh, where are we gonna get the money for the paychecks? His whole idea of segregating the money in bank accounts for its purposes, solves all that angst.

Dawn Brolin
It really does. It really does. I, you know, I read the book went right when it first came out, I’m like, this is a great idea. I’m going to do this. I’m really, okay. This year, I’m really going to do this. It’s like this, oh, no, this year for real. And then January of 2020. I said, this is my year. I’m doing it this year, and I implemented it for powerful accounting. And I have to tell you, I don’t worry about it. Because I you know, you people are always saying to me, Well, what about the percentages? Like how do you start, I go, you know, you do your best you pull a p&l, you should be able to get some idea of the percentages. If you pull a p&l and you’ve got your percent of row and figuring out what you think your payroll percentages, and you know what a lot is, and I’m sure you come across this, you look at it with your client, and they’re like, Yeah, you’re actually at 47%, not 30, or whatever the percentage may be right, exactly. So tell me about that. You because you’re, you’re forward facing these clients, and you’re, and you’re looking at their money because cash is king, I have a former business partner that said to me, if you don’t have cash, you’re not in business. Right? And so tell me what those experiences are like, because I know you have great stories.

Denise Grove
Well, the the first thing is, is the accountability coach. Yeah, like, it’s just like, if I really want to get to the gym, I get a personal trainer. Because if I tell you, I’m gonna see you someplace at 5:30 in the morning, when we have a commitment, I am there. And that is what a profit first coach or any kind of money coach life coach, whatever does, in my opinion, is it makes you have a commitment to another person. And so the first thing is you showing up showing up and being willing to learn. I just have everybody start with 1% and a profit, because the owner takes the profit. And usually I see people who are not taking profit distributions, and the owner is not paying themselves. And that is for the first few things, as Mike talked about his process that I said, Oh, yes, I have seen this over and over again. I look at the whole family or the whole person too. And so one of the things I did is get them to say what do you really need to be taken out of this business to make your family be cared for. And that’s an important component, especially in a smaller business. But we just start, even if it’s just 1%, and a lot of people haven’t paid themselves paycheck in years, especially like with these closures and the pandemic even more so. And so I make them pay themselves something. And that means that we look at the money flowing out to everybody else and say, Okay, what are you not getting value out of? As I’m as guilty as everybody? Netflix? Right? None? Have I believed it can take months? Probably not that they still get it out of my credit card charge, right. And now on a bigger scale, that’s what Profit First helps you do in a business?

Dawn Brolin
Absolutely. It’s, it’s such a great comparison. It’s so true. And you know, you one of the things I think that motivates you, because you are a people pleaser, you are always trying to encourage and bring people up is that when you can have that positive effect, and you see it happening. It’s not just a conversation you’re having with them, because that’s the thing that makes me crazy. That’s why I’m all about the motivation. But it’s not just about being motivated, but do something about it. Right? So you are getting your clients to do something about their situation. And that’s got to be when I’m sure you’ve looked people in the eye and I would be super surprised if you told me know that you had this profit first conversation with them and you implemented and you got it started. And then they start to say, oh, every quarter I can take that profit and to look in their eyes in their face and their soul because that’s what you’re doing. Right it’s about the people. I’ve you had to have gotten a tear to from your clients tell me I have. I have and by the way, we did not prep this No, in practice I I’m saying this genuinely out of knowing you. So tell me

Denise Grove
Well, I have in the end the best one was ever one of my clients and when I when I say her books were a challenge. I’m being very kind. It takes us each year with a bookkeeper the right bookkeeper in the in the on our team, we’ve got to moved, got her books sorted out, we got her started profit first. And at the end of about almost a year. I looked at her one day and I said I am so delighted for you. It she went “Denise is delighted you just made my day.” They see her I mean it was because she had made so much progress in 12 months.

Dawn Brolin
It’s just beautiful. I mean, you know, the way I look at it, too is like this conversation about the payroll and having the cash flow and your payroll and like for accounting firms. For me, my Labor’s my big cost, right technology honestly isn’t bad. I tell people so I’ve got the new book coming out DM disrupt- so does a motivator for accounting professionals in it’s about having the right technology in place and having you know your systems and things so you can get more work done and not be so administrative. Right. And I was talking with another practitioner and she was like Dawn, I need you to help me I got to understand what you’re doing blah, blah, blah. And I said, Yeah, I mean, it’s costing me, I added on the last software I just added on was Corp V and it’s a taxpaying software, it’s not cheap, but it’s it’s a great tax planning tool. So that was 1000 bucks a month prior to that it might my total technology per month for my there’s only four of us $1,700 a month to run a whole accounting practice. And so I find that the cashflow, we’re realizing where our real costs are. And then at the end of the day, like the tax account, that’s a genius to me. I’m like, I put 15% away, it’s way more than I need. But I know my taxes, my money that I overtaxed is always there.

Denise Grove
Exactly. And they will like in Friday, Friday being the deadline if you’re for personal taxes, right. And in mulata, small businesses you and I know are either partnerships or S Corp. So the tax liability flows to the owner is personal taxes. I had a phone call Friday. And actually the owner said, we’re on our way to the post office, my partner is taking both our returns and you know, sending him in getting the green card back. So the IRS can’t say they didn’t get it. And, and he said we had too much money in our tax account. He said, I’ve been in business over 20 years, and I have been scrambling today usually to get the money to try to pay the taxes. And he said, what a relief profit first process is to me, because we have plenty of money and we had a little leftover face to face. I’m going to use that to go ahead and get my estimated taxes paid for 2021.

Dawn Brolin
You know, what, what more can you get out of like, I mean, okay, so you escaped. You’re an escapee from the CPA lands. So you’re, you know, you don’t have those on Friday? Oh, my goodness, days. Right. And, and because I’ve implemented processes, I was on my boat on Friday. I did not I did not prepare taxes. I’m gone. I had it all done. And, you know, I find that, you know, the definition of insanity of doing things over and over again, the same way. Is is literally insanity. What it like, who wants to live in that world? And like you said to me and having that tax money there? What a relief on his soul. Yeah, obviously at the end of the day, right.

Denise Grove
Exactly. Well, and that’s a lot of it. You know, having the money stable, is what gives you that peace of mind. And then you can actually, definitely on your business, you know, helping your clients.

Dawn Brolin
Yeah, I mean, you again, being an escapee, which is where my call your Denise escapee Grove from now on, you’re the escapee

Denise Grove
I need some bars behind me, put you in jail.

Dawn Brolin
Which they love. Because you and I talked about this, almost every guest that we have on because my whole thing is, listen, find what you love to do, because you’re going to do it for a long time. And yeah, you you have that CPA experience, you’re you’ve gone through that process, and you’re like, Ah, now instead of being that person who’s maybe delivering the tax return to the client who owes the tax money, which is stressful for everybody, by the way, it’s not just you, the client, we are stressed out about it, too. Sometimes I’m more stressed out about it than they are. You know, you said to you delivering the tax return on Friday, you have a client now because you’ve decided to focus in an area that you’re passionate about you love, you’re motivated to get up every day and see that client, you get the phone call have I had a great day to day I paid my taxes, and I still had some money leftover. Right? And you’re getting out. I feel like that value that you’re adding to them, but what you’re giving to them as their money coach is priceless for them, of course.

Denise Grove
Absolutely. And one of the beauties of being understanding that tax background and having that auditing background, and having worked in big corporate and understand a much bigger picture, it makes it easier for me to make it into baby steps. And no Priority A is this. Now we’ve got that under control listed B and we don’t have to worry about that yet. I know it’d be nice fellas stay focused on this systematic plan. And if he doesn’t, you’ll get overwhelmed as an owner. Number 1..

Dawn Brolin
you only have so much time, right?

Denise Grove
The time as well as the lack of expertise. So they look at it and go I have no idea where to start. So we don’t start. That’s human nature.

Dawn Brolin
You know, that’s an interesting comment, because I was thinking about kind of something similar to that last week. I sit there going, Oh my goodness. So this client notified me on Tuesday. They had hired an r&d Research and Development Credit Specialist right. And I had actually had a conversation with this client with one months ago. didn’t go anywhere and nothing ended up happening because that’s not my specialty. Right? Right. So I get the email on Tuesday, hey, we got to have the 2020 superseded return needs to be filed by Friday. And I’m like, Okay, so first of all, I’ve never dealt with an r&d credit on a tax return. That, you know, I’m not a big for I’m not doing multimillion dollar returns, I’m doing pretty, pretty basic returns over here. And I was like, Oh, my God, I immediately I could feel the anxiety in my body going like this. Am I gonna be able to do it? Do I don’t? Do I know enough? Well, this r&d company was awesome. They gave me the forms all filled out already. So I just had to kind of translate that into a Lacerte talk. To make sure that through, I’ll tell you what, I probably spent five hours on something that should have taken me a half an hour because I just didn’t know. But it does. It paralyzes you, if you’re a business owner, and you’re like, I don’t know how to do this, and I’m going to put that off, because these things that I know how to do, I’m gonna go do those things. Right? Right. So that’s what your critical that accountability that you’re giving them?

Denise Grove
Well, in the baby steps, not to take off of other you know, personal financial, you know, Dave Ramsey baby steps out of debt. But I’m gonna ask you about that. Yeah, this is baby steps two, and saying, we’re gonna do this, this is what we’re gonna do. And this will result in you being here, this next month. And so breaking it down into manageable…., well, it’s just like running a marathon. You know, I’m not gonna go run the savannah marathon or Boston marathon or anything, just get up in the morning and go do it. You’re gonna train all year long. And you’re probably going to try to run a half marathon. Right, you know, and then, you know, I mean, it is it is a process and run in your money is the same process. Yeah, people just don’t think of it in that terms.

Dawn Brolin
No, that’s so true. And I have, interestingly enough, whenever I have a client on the phone, and we’re talking about cash flow concerns, or just I just don’t seem to ever have enough money, blah, blah, blah. And it’s like, people don’t really think about your business and you need a new computer. Let’s, for instance, your computer died or whatever. And you just you have to get a new computer. You got to figure out how to come up with the money for that, right? Typically, what do they do? They go into debt, they buy an asset, they’ve got debt. And I always tell my clients do not always is always a big word, but I very frequently tell them, always just kind of, you know, but I frequently tell them, Listen, I know what you’re in. I know, I know what we’re doing some tax planning, and their first thing is, I’ll go buy a vehicle, or I’ll go buy a piece of equipment, I’ll go buy this, and I’m like, Okay, number one, do you need it? Like, do you really need it? Like, is that gonna make you money? Or are you just are you spending money? Like, you go buy a truck? Let’s say it’s a 6050 $60,000 truck. Now, you’ve got to know on that thing for six years, and you want to section 179? And this year, are you crazy? Now you’re paying that you got dead money out there? Dead money, and they just don’t think of that. And you know, that’s the bonus you can give as being a CPA and having that tax knowledge to be able to help coach them through those kinds of conversations, right?

Denise Grove
Oh, exactly. And a lot of times I interpret in English, what the tax return is doing, because let’s face it, look in all those form numbers and and as little grids is, even though I’m comfortable doing it is my forte, and so I’m looking going Okay, where did that number come from? Where that No, and you have met a lot of people aren’t detailed. And so you know, no, take one look at that and go, Huh, you know, so, you know, being able to say this as the upside. And the other advantage too, is because I am knowledgeable of it. I know exactly when to say we need to get some tax planning going right now on this. Because there’s sharks thing that didn’t make a hill of beans on but some transactions or deals or however you want to put it you want to get the tax planning piece in before you putting on the paper not after?

Dawn Brolin
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that, you know, you being able to have those eyes on top of the Profit First, the entire program that you’re able to do that combinations lethal, to be honest with you, like you’re, you know, that’s Mike’s goal, eradicating small business debt, like that’s what he wants to do. And you’re out there doing that. I think that’s phenomenal.

Denise Grove
I love it.

Dawn Brolin
I love doing it. Mike is a looney tune. Love that guy. He’s like a brother. Like I just love that guy. Because he’s as crazy as I am. He’s like the other other half of me is the man side. But, but so I want to I want you to tell me, who was somebody that motivated you in your life that kind of like maybe you were in a kind of a funky, a funk or you’re in a scenario or you just had this person that was always there to pick you up when you were down? Because listen, as a motivator, I get down let’s be honest . You know, we’re we have struggles to people I know it’s hard to believe. We just seem to have figured out how to overcome them. But we dip, we do dip. And so what what is only about that story for Denise?

Denise Grove
Well, there’s a, there’s several, you know, several situations like that. And I’ve got it first, of course give it to my parents, you know, they had, of course, very different styles, my mother’s motivating style was much more gentle. And my dad’s basically said, you will do it and get over it. And so, yeah, that combination of parenting styles was definitely a motivator, because I never wanted to disappoint them. And so, you know, my motivation to help, you know, improve was good. And of course, now my parents are both have passed on. So my husband is a big motivator, because, yeah, he will give me his perspective. He’s not an accountant. Of course, yeah. And so he gives me a whole different perspective on ideas that are out to bounce by him. Then one of my favorite stories is in college, I had offers from back then all the big the big firms, the big 8 firms, all basically the same offer. And so, okay, I couldn’t figure out which one to go with. And one of my accounting professors who was also a mentor to me, he said, Okay, just stop thinking about it tonight. Think about it, and get inside. Okay, that’s it. I’m not thinking about this anymore. And then tomorrow morning, when you wake up, the first firm on the top of your brain is the will offer you except it worked. The rest of my life, when I’ve been in one of those cars, you know, some things, it’s really clear, the cons outweigh the pros, but some things are real, even. And so they’ll still to this day, that’s my technique. I think about it, I go to bed, and I have the answer in the morning.

Dawn Brolin
I love that. And you know, what great advice from your professors. I you know, I’ve done some teaching at the local university. And I’ve always tried to steer them in the right direction and give them kind of an open mind to different things that they could do. I want one young man who applied to be in the IRS for criminal investigation, because he, you know, I talked a lot about the forensic work that I do and things like that he was so excited about it, and being able to give them that guidance like you. I mean, who knows what I mean, that you never Hindsight is 2020, which I still think it’s a weird weird saying, but not really sure. So, but just thinking back, like what your life would have looked at look like so differently,

Denise Grove
if I could have, it really could have because, you know, going with KPMG, I went started in the Dallas office after interning in Birmingham, and I was selected to rotate through a national and the Department of professional practice. So here I was not even quite 25 years old, right and firm policy on how we were going to audit through the computer, that nobody could make stuff up on us anymore. You know, I mean, it’s just, it’s just phenomenal. But my career path led to just that one, one good night’s sleep. Right? So I next time I’m down in Auburn, I’ll have to let Wayne Wayne up and let him know that he changed the trajectory of my life.

Dawn Brolin
I mean, those are that’s, that’s unbelievable. I mean, what better compliment can you get from a former student or from like my, in my case, a lot of times athletes, a student athlete that’s like, hey, you know, you’re the reason why I came here, or you’re the reason why this and that, and that’s you there’s no money speaking about money, there’s no money that can you can be paid to get that kind of a feeling. Do you know what I mean? And I’m sure you’re seeing but you’re Denise, you’re doing that for people now. So you’re what my one of my old coaches always said, pass it on. The whole goal is if you learn something, and you gain and benefit from something, then you pass it on to the next person, and then they’ll pass it on to the next person. And that’s how we all get better. And that’s what you’re doing. That’s what you’re doing. So are there any last thoughts you want to leave with people’s or you know, a message you want to leave with the listeners today?

Denise Grove
I just think that every day you need to get up. It’s a brand new opportunity to get out there and do good and be helpful and kind of people. Yes, just leave things better than you found them. Even if it’s just a little bit at a time. And you know it of course you’re I’m not much for looking back. Yeah, so I have I’ve got a long rash of mistakes, but I just don’t dwell on them. I just say okay, well.

Dawn Brolin
Yep. I call I always say life is like an etch a sketch every night. You You shake that thing clean you get up the next morning you’re all ready to write a new story. Exactly all you can do that’s all you can do. And you know lifting other people up and doing those kinds of things with your your natural do that you have the sweetest southern voice in the whole wide world. And you know we love a good so I was almost gonna say Hey, she said money because you said something different. You said I forgive Why don’t you say money? How do you say money?

Denise Grove
Money Money, money. And you say it because if you think I have an accent mama had you? I love it.

Dawn Brolin
I love it. DENISE I thank you so much for even just taking your time out of your day to talk to the listeners today. And just to spend some time with me which I was really excited about because I do remember you from Profit First and the downs of the conference profit con and and I’m like wow, this is going to be cool because anytime we could talk about Mike Michalowicz and at least pick on him a little bit because you know he deserves that is a good day for me. So thank you for your time you do look beautiful. I love that blue color. And you stick with that looks great. And thank you for all you’re doing for small business out there. And we’re just going to keep on shouting to the rooftops as all we can do, right?

Denise Grove
Yeah. And thank you for the opportunity because when I saw you had your new book out and the podcast and you were looking for people to be guest, I said I’m gonna support Dawn and show her I am a designated motivator!

Dawn Brolin
You are Denise and I mean it really does like I have chills it means the world to me that you know that you would want to support me in this and I just want to help people just like you and you know, you want to help people too. And we’re all in this together and it’s just like you said everyday just try to be nicer just even one smile at the at the Dunkin Donuts girl or wherever you go. And just be like, Hey, I hope you have a great day you know, like really actually mean it don’t be exactly we want we want it to be genuine. So, Denise, thank you again so much. And thank you to listeners who are listening to the SM disruption today with Dawn roll and excited to just continue to help motivate but I want you to take some action. If you have not read Profit First you need to read that book by Mike michalowicz . And you can call Denise Grove if you want to coach she will help you straighten out your money. She’s a money girl and she will help straighten you out. So thanks again, Denise, and we’ll talk to you soon. You’re awesome.

Denise Grove
Very good. Thank you.

Dawn Brolin
Hi, thank you so much. Bye bye, everybody.

 

 

 

This episode is sponsored by SmartVault. Learn more at https://www.smartvault.com/

Episode Notes

Ian’s Beginnings

Ian describes the time when he was the head of a company in the late ‘90s, but talks about how he was not as well versed in finance as he should have been. He went back to grad school, and recognized there was a need to develop a software that could power and integrate all the other applications everyone already uses. After he left Intuit, he realized there was a huge need for this kind of software in the accounting industry, and he sought out to develop what became Karbon.

He talks about how, back in the day, if accounting professionals wanted applications to integrate, they had to do it manually. He also saw that there was no easy way to view all the tasks each of your team members were working on. After seeing all these issues, he knew a dedicated software to manage all these integrations and tasks would help accounting professionals tremendously.

 

Karbon’s Solution for Communication

The driving force behind the development of Karbon was the need to implement better systems of communication within each firm. Ian says that one of the biggest pain points he saw in accounting firms was the lack of effective communication, not only within each accounting firm, but also between them and their clients. Ian says that Karbon strives to marry each form of communication so you can spend more time giving quality service to your clients, rather than spending hours figuring out what tasks need to be completed.

Karbon’s Passion for Integration

Dawn expresses her love for Karbon by praising its use of integration. Karbon integrates with many popular applications such as QuickBooks, Lisico, Ignition, and more! Ian says that Karbon is always striving to be at the forefront of technology, and is constantly moving forward to integrate with new applications that will solve pain points in many firms.

 

Want to learn more about Karbon? Learn more here!

 

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Transcript

Dawn Brolin
Hi, I’m Dawn Brolin, CPA, Certified Fraud Examiner and the author of the Designated Motivator for Accounting Professionals. Today’s episode of the DM Disruption is brought to you by Smart Vault. My go to solution for secure, completely paperless document storage. Smart Vault was built with unique needs of accounting professionals with bank level security, completely customizable folder structures, plus native integrations with tax software, such as a cert and pro series, as well as popular practice management tools. It even has an integration with DocuSign right in the software for maximum efficiency. I’ve been using Smart Vault to keep my practice running paperless ly and profitably for more than 10 years. That’s why I consider them an MVP in my Team Brolin starting lineup, check them out and get a demo at SmarVault.com today.

All right, hey, everybody, and welcome to another episode of the DM Disruption. And we are here with the one and only Ian vaison. Which by the way, it’s impossible to get a hold of this guy, because he and Karbon are out there crushing it. I mean, crushing it to the point where the hype at Scaling New Heights was overwhelming about what Karbon is doing in the industry and for the pro advisor community for the tax community for this. And they weren’t even there. But I can tell you, they were there because they’re integrating with Liscio. And they’re integrating with SmartVault. They’re integrating with Lacerte, they’re doing such amazing things. And I’m honored because I’ve known Ian, when he was back at the Intuit days, right? And he just busted out of there and just went out and just went out swinging, and came in as a co founder of Karbon. And Ian is awesome. So Ian, thank you so much for spending some time with me. I know you got a little raspy voice, but like I said to you off off of camera. It’s hot. Okay, not that I’m saying that you and I are like whatever. But it’s a raspy voice is a hot voice. It just is what it is. So if you appreciate it, love it. So hello, Ian.

Ian Vacin
I’m super excited to be here, it won’t sound like it from the voice. And I can’t really express as loud as I want to go. But I’m gonna try my best. I appreciate that. Yeah, we are, we are trying our best. We’re we’re out there kicking some butt. And we’re hoping to kick a lot more. So I’m super thrilled to be on here. And I’m ready to tackle about motivation and a little bit about me a little bit about Karbon.

Dawn Brolin
I love it. That’s what we’re here for it. So we’ve since we do go way back. And I happen to know a little bit about eon. So knowing that you came, I just want I think the audience wants to hear your story. And I know a lot of people know you a lot. I know you from Intuit from the Intuit days, because you made a mark in now a lot of people have been at Intuit, they’ve done things, but you’ve left your mark at Intuit. And you left there and embrace this new concept of helping the accounting professionals in a different way than you were helping them before. So tell the story all about and we want to hear all about you.

Ian Vacin
So I’ll give you guys a little bit of history and why I ended up where I was I actually started a company or I’d taken over a company in the late 90s, which, you know, that was a very different era. And long story short, I basically I had a situation where I don’t think I was competent in the finances. And we just got caught really flat footed. And I had to lay off a lot of people and we shut the company down. So I went back to grad school, I thought, if I could figure out how to make the the financial products that power, whatever one works on, then I could really make a difference. And I could ultimately be able to do what I’m doing today successfully. So that’s why I chose to work at Intuit on my way out. Now, when I worked there, I didn’t understand the accounting channel, it didn’t exist back then. It wasn’t until Microsoft decided to come in that we really took notice. And that’s where I played a part of it. And ever since then I realized that the way that I can make an impact here positively and this is something we have a Karbon is if we can help the accountants out there, be able to do what they do, then we can influence so many small businesses by being supportive of the broader community. And that’s what that’s what my passion has been since then. So in Intuit, I worked in every version of QuickBooks worked a little bit on the Quickin side. Then I picked up the pro advisor program worked in the accounting division. And then fast forward. I’m now here at Karbon and we’re here trying to make lives easier everyday for all of you.

Dawn Brolin
Well, and so that’s really I mean, obviously, the accounting industry is a kind of a different breed of kind of people, right? There’s a there’s us crazy people. And then there’s the oh, we call it the traditional route of the, you know, suit and tie and everything like that which there’s nothing wrong with, there’s nothing wrong with either of them. But you know, you had an impact into it. And you had the ability to connect with pro advisors with accounting professionals like myself, and you did that. And so now in this, I’ll call it the new roll, or the bigger and better roll or whatever you want to call it, because you saw the need, and you understood the pain, and you didn’t necessarily see the best solution out there for us to be able to manage, you know, our workflow and how we are actually running our firms, right.

Ian Vacin
Yeah. So we, you know, the start of Karbon for me began when I was in the pro advisor program where there was all these different systems, but there was no way to really manage them well, and really be able to know what one person was doing versus somebody else was on the same team. And if you remember, back in the days, used to be if you wanted to had an integrated suite, you had to do all the work yourself, you had to maintain it all. And the technology just wasn’t there. But then my next role, I basically partook in buying an you know, one of these workflow solutions. And when it came in, and was so rigid, you couldn’t change it. And there was the lesson learned that the problem that we all have, as accounting firms and counting professionals is, you can guarantee what you want to do an engagement letter, but it just takes one email to change and up end how you’re gonna have to serve that person. And so when we started this company, we, you know, there’s the founding group of us and the first few employees, we actually spent time working in accounting, and we sat there and lived the we walked the walk. And we observed it with the hypotheses that we had at the time to really understand why is it so hard that even if we are in a situation where five of us were shoulder to shoulder, sitting in the same office, how come we don’t know whatever, right. And that was the birth of this particular company,

Dawn Brolin
You know, and I love that because I had worked, I was out, I worked…I was a partner in a firm years ago. And one of the things that I found really frustrating for me was that weekly meeting, okay, the weekly meeting kickoff the week, what’s everyone working on, you know, what has to be billed what hasn’t been collected, yet, we spent like Monday’s doing admin day, it felt like, and I didn’t know what they were working on. They didn’t know what I was working on, people made assumptions on who was working on what and it was just a discombobulated disaster, and a real waste of time. So as like a managing partner who wants to go see, okay, what Sally been working on what she’s sitting there, ready, what’s ready to start for her, you know, where she’s struggling or whatever, we couldn’t get that insight. And you’re right, you’d have to go, it’s like, okay, emails are over here. And then we’re pushing them into certain folders. So then when I go to work on John, I gotta go to his folder, and outlook and everything was just so disconnected. And that’s how we operated, right. And so and when, when carbon, tell me a little bit more about someone carbon first started, you understood, you went into these firms, and you looked at the workflow, or you watch what they were doing, and you’re like, there has to be a better way. And so what was like the main focus of that of that initial maybe five thoughts on what you were going to do?

Ian Vacin
Well, we weren’t building workflow, we, the first problem we had was communications was the problem. So we had to solve the communications issue in the fact that you may deal with somebody, but you don’t just deal with them as a, as a business, you have to deal with them as an individual, they may work for, they may have a charity that they have, they may have family members that you have to serve. And so the the multi representation of an individual, and how you’d have to serve them, combined with all the methods of communication, you need to work with them. And that, only then can you get enough of an understanding to actually be able to work with them. So we start off trying to marry communications and work together. And that’s really the two kinds of pieces of the pie that we had to do, we didn’t start from the traditional sense of, oh, we’re just going to build what the work and writing was, because the work engine would just be too rigid. You know, if you look at the heritage of things, we started off with a triage piece. Then we built tasks we just redid we just reinvented that literally last week with my a week, which was on the oldest pieces of the product. And then we start to do the workflow, the work engine, the scheduler, and then all the other pieces that go on top of it. So that’s kind of table stakes. And one of the things you brought up was one of the one of the travesties I think is going outside your lane. And for us it was understanding that communications and work at the center point of what we do, and there’s so many things that we have to interface with, which is why we never use the practice management tagline until literally within the last year because And even in that we’re a best of breed product. We’re not everything 100%. And we don’t plan to be.

Dawn Brolin
That’s, that’s the beauty of it. And at the end of the day, and I try to tell as, as I’m working with other practitioners on, they’re trying to figure out how to how to put this all together, what does this all look like? And it’s like, okay, so QuickBooks is meant to do accounting software, QuickBooks is not meant to be a client and practice management solution or, or a client communication tool. That’s not what it was built for. It’s built for accounting. And, but get the beauty of having the ability to integrate, which I think is really important. You know, the enter one time scenario I had, I just literally had a client in the office and, and he’s, he’s like, you know, I feel like I’m always having to do everything two or three times. And I’m like, That’s because you are, like, let’s just call it what it is, man, you are doing things two or three times, because you’re not looking at solutions that integrate in interface. So Karbon handling that, you know, client, you’ve got all the practices all working within that one spot. And then once you’re done with that, then you need to get that information into QuickBooks, and you just sync it, it’s just like, hello, is that mean? Why are you entering it in Karbon than entering it here and then entering it there? Same thing with…I mean, one of my favorite things, my favorite things is the Lacerte integration, right? And having the ability to not just think emails, like that’s what we think we think Karbon that’s going to manage our emails, it’s going to manage our work. And but we’re gonna have to manually do manually do all of that, well, no, you don’t have to manually do all that. As a matter of fact, you don’t even have to have Lacerte to open to look at the what the status is of a tax returns right within the work, which is where you should be living, right? With the timeline. And in the, you know, time management, the budgeting, and those kinds of things. And I do have to say, one of my favorite other favorite features, we could do Don’s favorite feature, conversation. But when I go in, and I have a we have a status called Tax ready to start, that means the tax return, we’ve got everything we need, it’s ready to go. And I go every morning, I pop in there, and I usually do a little bit of my scheduling through that too, to make sure I know what I gotta make sure get things done. But I love the budget, when you put in the amount that you’re charging them for the tax return, it’ll tell me if I finish all these returns, I’m going to 10 grand in my bank account, like it’s a simple insight, but how powerful to motivate which is what the DM Disruption is about, to motivate me to want to get the work done. Right? Yeah, it’s so exciting.

Ian Vacin
Yeah. And then as a team member, I might have 100 things, which the ones that really matter. Those are the ones we look at the budget, or maybe you’re gonna look at it from the importance of a client, maybe you’ve got that tagged in a certain way. I mean, that’s what you know, we spend a lot of our time focusing on the clients who shouldn’t deserve our time. And so it’s to help all provide that sort of clarity, so that the individual or the firm can make those determinations of where value should be spent.

Dawn Brolin
Yes, absolutely. And one of the great things that I tell people this is probably on every episode, because it’s it’s a fact it’s true. And it’s what we we as the practitioners have to watch for. So Karbon is a tool that is always improving I and I said this when I was at Scaling, I did a couple sessions. And I said, what you have to watch for is the application moving forward, because if they’re not, they’re moving backwards. So if you’re not seeing improvements in the product, or releases latest releases, that are coming through, like the multiple clear triage that just came out this morning, I believe, wonderful, Sara always is ended up in my in my little chat thing to tell me what’s going on. But we’re seeing Karbon at the forefront and the leader in this we call positions in Team Brolin Starting Lineup in the position of practice management, and workflow and tools associated with that. You are the leader 100% in this space without a doubt. And so I think that I advise people on what to choose for the different technologies, do they integrate? Are they looking for feeback? Will they will they accept feedback? You know, do they have a roadmap, and you’d be surprised at how many don’t, and they haven’t had a release for you know, a year or two? Like, that’s just not gonna work.

Ian Vacin
I think I think it just comes back to a little bit of how it just the personality of the company. So we take everything we invest about him and myself, Stewart, John, and the staff here at Karbn we’re not, we’re not happy with the fact of we always want to go faster. We always want to deliver more. We hear I see every piece of feedback that comes in everyone that goes into that help and feedback. I read every single one of them and so is the PM team. And we prioritize that. And if you don’t listen to your customers you did. Secondly, if you’re not investing every effort that you have to make everything better, you’re going to fall behind and we don’t want to be complacent. I appreciate that. You say that, you know, we’re doing well within the space. But that doesn’t matter to us. because I’m not looking at where my competitors are, I actually don’t care, I look at where we can be, and what we need to be to support all of you what you need to do. And, you know, frankly, we’re not a purple squirrel, we don’t have all the features in there, and we never will. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try to get them all in there. So I agree with you, you need to look at the case of things, I have been on the road with vendor over vendor over the last 20 years, and heard about what feature is going to come when it’s going to come and watch it never bite. And so I want to stay away from that. But we get asked a lot about our roadmap. So we’ll tell you what’s coming in next three months, because it’s in the queue, it’s being worked on. Outside of that, you know, there’s a bit of prioritization ups and downs. And so we generally don’t go beyond that, but I think it’s proof is in the pudding. And hopefully that comes out.

Dawn Brolin
There’s no doubt. Now let’s just talk about the acquisition of one of your one of your, your team members, because I gotta call everybody a team member, right? One of your team members who is well known in the industry and has a and I think that this speaks to like you were saying the character of the company, in and of itself, does it feel right in your gut? Like, does it do you feel like they have the right mission in place, so they really have the right people in mind. And so for you to acquire Andi Ancheta, who is one of the most amazing people that I have ever met. So knowing that you’re, you’re stacking your staff, you’re stacking your key components of your company, and you chose Andi. Right. And so you guys worked a lot into it together. And it just, it just happened, right. And I think that’s another piece is if you remember, and you know, you do that the days of the tea sheets, right? Where, you know, Jen Hetherington, Kelly, and Kelsey Medal. And of course, Matt, but it was it was those girls, those ladies who put the fire and passion into what t-sheets meant to them, and how the culture of t-sheets behaved and portrayed in there, when they come to conferences and things like that, and you couldn’t help it, you couldn’t help but be drawn to that fire. And I feel like Karbon has that same profile of professional positive people who are just out there trying to make it happen. And so it has to be part of what your culture is. So tell us a little bit about like Karbon’s culture, you know, what is what are you guys standing for, and, and people like Andy Anchetta, you, you can’t deny how awesome she is.

Ian Vacin
So we’re very particular on who we hire, especially over that last, you know, these last seven years or eight years now that we’ve been doing this. And, you know, a couple of the things are, you know, we’re very intentional, and very pragmatic. And from a culture standpoint, we persevere. And there’s resilience within that. And so for instance, Andy, I’ve known for a long time. And I think for a lot of folks listening into this, there’s a lot of people that you know, and you respect, and you can go down the list. But the list isn’t that long, unfortunately. And the good people are, they’re amazing. So for Andy, and again, in the history that I’ve, I’ve been doing this in the professional industry. There’s a group of folks that we all recognize and appreciate. And so Andy was, the person who I, I’ve chatted with, probably once a month, every two months, we’ve always been in touch. And it was always a situation where if you ever want to come if you ever want to go someplace, just call me up and tell me what you want. And, and Andy is fantastic. We’ve got a lot of other folks that we brought on this team that are amazing. But what we don’t do is we don’t fall into the fallacy of hiring people who have been in the vendor community for a long duration of time, that haven’t been able to be recognized by the industry, by all of you, the folks that the practitioners that do all the hard work, because we don’t really want to have that within our in sort of our sort of corporate culture. So we taught we typically a lot of times I’ll hire folks who are not within this, but have a high level of customer really, have a high level of thinking about how to do problems differently. Because we need to be able to reinvent what’s being done without falling into the traps of well, this is what the last guy did. And last company, we should just do that. We don’t do that’s why I said it’s intentional and pragmatic. When we deliver functionality we’re not just checking off a box we really understand why that was a pain point. And how they interweaves with everything else not just within the carbon landscape but within the products that everyone uses. And so it’s a hard recipe to deliver on but again that’s what you know to get those right folks to come in. You got it you got to have a bit of magic a lot of luck and hopefully there’s appreciation what we’re trying.

Dawn Brolin
Yeah, no doubt and and with saying that so going from your stat… I have to I just have to name drop Andy like I just can’t help it.

Ian Vacin
Andy’s amazing! I mean, she is the heart and soul of what we have on our customer team, which I get to be a part of.

Dawn Brolin
She’s just, she’s just always had a soft spot in my heart because she’s the reason I believe that I ever got on the Intuit Accountant Council. She was my interviewer. And I just like, I’ll never be able to thank her for the opportunity that she helped me achieve with that. And it’s really, the beginning of my story of accounting really was was with that first experience with Intuit, which was awesome. But so now if we shift a little bit, let’s talk about integrations for a hot second, like you said, I mean, things are built apps are built for a certain purpose. And then when you realize that, oh, well, you know what, maybe we can all play in the same sandbox, which is the way I put it, it’s like apps that integrate, understand where their lane is, and they understand how they can help the team. If we’re thinking about Talladega Nights, right, shake and bake, we got the car coming up from behind, so that somebody else can be the winner of the race, you know, and unfortunately, you know, shake and bake, it’s all good. Magic Man, you know, came from that as well. So you’re you guys are forward thinking and you’re also evaluating pretty critically who you want to play with, right?

Ian Vacin
That’s true. We don’t and we don’t usually go down to the traditional the traditional route is if I want to go integrate with somebody and I’ve got more strength and in the relationship, then I’m going to extract rents, or I’m going to take a little bit off the top, from another vendor. We don’t play by these rules. Whenever we work with somebody, it’s mutually aligned incentives. And for most people that we integrate with, there’s uncomfortable overlap. And the reason why that’s a good thing is two systems can’t integrate together if there’s not a common area by which they have they transfer, data workflow, or whatever it might be. And so a good a good analogy is you start off with QuickBooks, right? Well remember that Karbon is not where you do the work. It’s how you do the work. So we’re a springboard for all these other places to do the work. And finances overlap. When you get to things like time and budgets, you get to again, what work you’re actually pursuing. And so QuickBooks, there’s QuickBooks Online accountant, right, right, is it? It does a little bit of a we do, but that’s great, because it’s a starting point for folks who can’t understand what you want to do. But then you need something more professional. Great. That’s what we’re here for. You talked about Liscio, right with Liscio is fantastic. Chris is a great guy, Chris is in the same sort of mantra, you know, we have overlap. People ask us all the time, well, if he’s client, you know, basically client facing client management 2.0. and you guys have client features, then how does that work? Well, we’re they took it as a place that we’re not going to take it, we’re not going to go to that mobile first only, you know, dealing with text messages and all the other things, but we overlap on our contacts, we overlap in those vehicles. And that’s what makes it work. And they did a fantastic job of making those pieces integrate. You talked about SmartVault, that was another one and and your group, right? Well, we do talk in management as well, because we intercept every communication. And we have to do that in order to context of work. But we’re not a document management system, we never wrote. And so the key is, is we’re a short term data store, to ship all those documents to the proper vendor, they’re the professionals. And so that’s where that integration really matters. And when you think you can do everything for everybody, or you decide that you’re going to try to bite off more of that puzzle, that’s when you end up flailing.

Dawn Brolin
And, and that’s a natural, that’s a natural movement over to the Lacerte conversation, right. So having Lacerte be able to tell how to work, which is Karbon, how do I get the work done, ie tasks within the work, which is the whole customization of that is phenomenal. And we what I what I pride us on here powerful accounting is we’re constantly looking at our workflow and our task list and how are we establishing that so it makes sense that there’s not a lot of disruption, although this is the DM Disruption, we still don’t want disruption in our workflow if at all possible. And and being able to customize and recover it and make it work forward is awesome. But you’re right. It’s like when when someone sends a document, whether it be via fax, because this blog type will get a fax notification from us by fax comes through, and we attach it to a work that communication is attached to a work when we go to do the work. It’s telling us how and you’re right, those documents are right there to grab. But they’re also there to download and stick in what we call our permanent document storage, which is SmartVault. And so I think that, that you’re right, you’ve got to try to figure out for you how all that works best. And we just implemented Liscio. So we’ve been using it for a couple months. Now. Our clients are like, oh my goodness, this is so easy to use. But Licio isn’t how I’m going to do the work. It’s just me being able to communicate with the client, so that I can say, hey, I need this document, I need a password and it’s secure the communication secure, and they don’t have my cell phone number. Thank you very much. Right. And so that’s where I know Lisico fits into my playing field where Karbon is going to tell me how I’m going to get all of it done. And when and how we had a meeting this morning we agreed Staff meeting this morning. We’re like, Okay, we got November and December to get books ready for 1099’s things like that we don’t do a ton of bookkeeping, but we do enough that we’ve got to manage it. And so in Karbon we went through and it’s like, we revisit it, when we see there’s something we’re maybe not and it’s not Karbon, it’s, it’s powerful Accounting has control over carbon, which, which gets in the way, our control gets in the way, because Karbon is meant to do things in a certain way. So I just find that you know, with the staff, it’s just so easy to be able to see everyone’s communication, when with the work when you’re going to figure out how to get it done. And that’s what we love about it. But the Lacerte piece, tell us what stem that like, I know that there’s Intuit practice management, or you know, that’s really kind of geared with carbon. Tell us about that relationship?

Ian Vacin
Yeah, so I mean, obviously, if you’ve got long roots into it for myself, and Andy and others, right? Well, one of the biggest things on tax was, you know, there’s just a lot of volume. And with the volume, you really need to have a very, very good process to be able to get through that seasonality. And from the Intuit side, you know, they just haven’t had a product that’s able to fit within that gap. And when, when they were looking around for who to partner with, and I’m sure they looked at the entire set of folks, you know, they also saw where we were headed in the focus that we had, we have no intentions of ever building, we never would, I mean, but what we do is we help make tax understandable and easy. And again, where the book ends on that main process, we are, we are there to help get the engagement going, we’re there to make sure all the pieces come together for talking about a business tax return. And then we’re there to be able to put that in place and allow for you to use the product of a Lacerte, and then monitor where the statuses are. So you’ll see it become more and more intertangled, where again, we can do the pro form rollover, you can create the return on the fly, you can see the statuses as it goes through, and it ultimately gets finished at the end. And then we’re monitoring the statuses for return statuses, e filing and so forth. Now you add that in with the other integrations that are currently underway, with document management and things of that nature. And it just gets a lot more sexy, right? But he is is we’re there to help book in where they’re at helped give visibility across the peers scale of you know, if you’re a firm of four or five people, you probably do in five hundred returns, it’s a lot of returns. And by the way, if you’re not a cabin, close eye on it, it’s going to be this wall, this mountain that’s going to hit you as you hit March and April. So you need to flatten the curve, but you need to pull the work in you need to systems and pursue it, chase down the clients and then help bring that seasonality curve under control. And that’s where we fit well.

Dawn Brolin
I love it’s not just how I’m going to do the work, but who’s going to do the work. And I think that you know the ability to assign a task within a work. So for instance, a great workflow that we go through is the engagement letters go out, Tracy’s in charge engagement letters, she gets the organizers, she does the payment making sure we have payment information, I do the quoting. So in every single work, we have the same process for every client assigned to the right people. Because we found that when I started getting involved in the organizers and doing that stuff, Tracy’s like, please stay away from it. You are not good at it. Like this is not your wheelhouse. Let me be in control. And it’s crystal clear to anybody like where are we in this work at this point? Oh, I go, I pop in maybe client has called me or something. And I’m like, John, you didn’t get treated the client organizer. You’re not even in line yet, buddy. Like, so you’re able to really at a click of a button to see where does this guy stand? Because he’s calling me and say where’s my tax return? I need it. Well, you haven’t even started with step one yet. Don’t skip over Tracy’s process because she let you through the line, man, right?

Ian Vacin
Yeah, well, it comes down to I stay in my lane, you got to stay in your lane, right? So it’s understanding what everyone’s lane is and supporting that. So yeah, you’re the least efficient person to be at the front of that process. And it’s the most expensive person, you don’t want that. So you want to be able to have that separation of duties, being able to the roles. Just because there’s a title doesn’t mean anyone’s more important. It just means when we’re on a conveyor belt, because that’s where I come. I’m an industrial engineer, by trade, that’s what I know. And that’s what this is about, which is you’re putting the right people on the right spots, to be able to create the most efficient end result for everybody involved, which is including the client. And so when you’re able to do that, then you have a magical moment, then you have peace of mind, then you have high returns in terms of gross margins. And literally you can you can do as much as you can with the staff you have and whether you want to where you want to go from there. It’s up to you as the owner or the firm/

Dawn Brolin
Yeah. Well, I you know, so just to so just to kind of wrap it up we’d like to keep it within 25 minutes people get bored with us although you and I think a pretty freakin awesome I think people will want to listen for forever. But are there any like, do you want to tell us any roadmap things that maybe are not not NDA type of stuff, but some things that maybe people have to look forward to here in the next few months?

Ian Vacin
Well, we’re pretty transparent on your site, and you can see where the road is going forward. You know, because we’re not really worried about, you know, if we can inspire our competitors to fall, sure, it’s just going to make everyone successful. Big, big thing coming up at the end of the turn of the year is file management integration. And so that allows for all the documents to flow to your document management store crossings. Calendar is the biggest one that has been on the roadmap and the requests list for ages. And that is currently in development speak. So that creates the magical moment of oh, I’ve got all my communications, now I got my calendar. And I can do time box, and I can see my colleagues and what they’re working on, those folks will actually move next year into what we call team capacity planning, which is pretty darn cool, which is, I can see what I’m doing in the next month or so I can move everything around. We have a new component, which is really on our client requests, just making that a little bit tighter, big thing that I’m super excited about, which you’ll see next year, is our industry cloud concept. And this allows for you to have all the reporting capabilities you could ever dream of, by bringing in all the data stores that you want. And I’m giving you the flexibility of how you want to report on Google, we get criticized a lot people go like Where’s all your reporting, we do work view. And the only thing the problem is like if I create a canned view for somebody, or I create this report, it’s gonna work for like four people. And the other 500 would be like, that’s not working for me. So the idea there is give me what you want, like you know the panacea to play with it, give you some guardrails, and then let you do what you want to do. So that’s a really big, and then integrations is the mantra of next year. So you will see this become fully integrated with all the different tools that you’re looking for. So it’s really on, on, you know, unraveling what we do. And there’s another sneak surprise. And I think that’s, that’s it.

Dawn Brolin
Well, I can tell you right now, the scheduling, I’m super pumped about everything, we’ll be able to see what other people are doing. And we had that meeting this morning and said, Listen, okay, we’ve got the work all figured out. That’s all good. Everything’s all tight. We’re good. Everybody’s satisfied. Okay, cool. Now we can make it recurring, because we got the templates the way we want it. And then it’s like, okay, now go to Outlook. So now you’re gonna go outside of Carbon, and you’re gonna go put in your calendar, when you’re gonna work on these certain things, right? It’s just, it needs to be better than that. So we’re definitely excited about seeing that feature come out, internally here powerful accounting. But I would just be an your like, I don’t know, you’re like a brother to me, man. And I’m just so glad that you I was able to, I know how busy you are. And I really respect your time, and I appreciate you, and what Karbon is doing to help firms across the across the world, you know, get it together, and become, you know, a better more powerful firm, which is what we need to do. So any last words?

Ian Vacin
No, I appreciate the kind words just so you know, we’re here to serve all of you, and you guys do the hard job. We’re here in the background. And hopefully, you know, I think the thing that I would appreciate is, give us your feedback. Whether you use us or not, that’s up to you. But you know, you need to you need to really push your vendors push those that are in your ecosystem to help you out every day. Push them to do more for you. Because I think that’s that’s the kind of the situation we’re in that we need to have better. suppliers, for lack of better words, we have better partner. Because right now, you know, it’s a hard hard job out there for small businesses and accountants are the heroes. So anything we can do to push you further to be a hero. That just makes everybody win. So I’m super blessed to be on here. I’m not that busy. Don, I’m all I’m always got time for you. And I really appreciate you being nice enough to share the love.

Dawn Brolin
We love you guys. And like I say, my whole goal is to get the starting lineup to play in the same sandbox together. Because the better we are. And it’s I know it’s corny, but they say better together. It’s the truth. It just says we can all be pushing each other. Because the more we push each other, the better we all become at the end of the day. It’s not just about Dawn Brolin, it’s not just about Karbon. It’s about all of us working together to have a better experience in our profession. And so that’s been awesome. But thank you everybody, for listening. It’s been a great episode with Ian Vacin, co founder of Karbon, just an amazing person, and I’m honored to be caught to call him a friend. So thanks, everybody for listening and we’ll get back to you next time on the DM Disruption. Thank you so much.

 

This episode is sponsored by Fishbowl. Learn more here: https://www.fishbowlinventory.com/

Summary

Seth Fineberg, the Editorial Manager & US Team Lead of AccountingWeb, joins Dawn to chat about the changes he’s seen in the accounting industry, solutions to solve pain points, and gives insight on how firms can better manage their time. Listen now!

 

Episode Notes

Seth’s Introduction and What’s New in Accounting

Seth Fineberg is the Editorial Manager and US Team Lead for AccountingWeb. Seth briefly talks about his role, and explains that AccountingWeb is a brand dedicated to accounting professionals, specifically small to mid sized firms. Seth also remarks that behind every successful business is always a great accountant. 

Dawn asks Seth about new changes he has seen in the industry, and how the pandemic really disrupted the way many accounting firms flowed. The pandemic reminded people they should be better connected and to focus on maintaining better work life balance.

 

Importance of Implementing New Technology

Seth also talks about how many accountants tend to be understandably hesitant when it comes to implementing new technology and applications in their firm. However, many of these applications can help save accounting firms time and money, and help them achieve the desired level of work life balance they are looking for.

Dawn agrees and says she only implements applications that have proper integration, and through using these programs, she has been able to expand the revenue of her firm, and maintain work life balance.

 

Pain Points

Dawn asks Seth what pain points he currently sees in the industry, and he begins by talking about how hard it is for firms to maintain compliance. He has seen accountants at their breaking point; they are having to deal with new procedures due to the pandemic. He shares that many of these headaches can be solved by implementing the proper technology in your firm.

Seth also talks about the difficulties he’s seen when it comes to hiring new staff. Many practitioners are leaving their practice or retiring, and he says that it’s very important to make sure you hire the right staff to set your firm up for success.

 

Seth’s Motivation

Seth also talks about his experience as a baseball coach, and how he has found joy from coaching his two sons, and is glad baseball is something his whole family can enjoy together.

 

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Transcript

Dawn Brolin
Hello, 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 today just to talk to you briefly about an awesome inventory app called Fishbowl. What I love about fishbowl is its ability to sync seamlessly with QuickBooks Enterprise. And what’s even better about it is, we as accounting professionals don’t always have to be the best at everything. I find that you know, if you think about softball, which is what I always like to talk about. Not everybody is a great pitcher, not everybody’s a great outfielder. And so as accounting professionals, we all find those areas of accounting that we are really good at and that we are really passionate at and we love. I love my clients, but I’m not I don’t want to have to implement an inventory system for my clients. It’s not in my what I call wheelhouse, okay? But what’s great about fishbowl is they have someone on their team in Beverly Lang, and Beverly is an accounting professional. And so she’s able to make sure that the inventory system is set up properly, and that most importantly, the counting is done. And the integration from Fishbowl Inventory into the QuickBooks Enterprise system is seamless and accurate. So myself as the accounting professional, I want to make sure I’m referring the best of breed solutions for my clients, especially when I’m not I don’t have my hands in on that. And so I trust Beverly, and I trust Fishbowl that they’re going to do the job, right? I’ve seen it firsthand, if you want good inventory, great inventory, easy implementation, and have someone who knows the accounting side of it, Fishbowl is your solution. Thanks for listening.

Hey, thanks, everybody. And welcome to the DM disruption. We’re here to change and transform accounting practices and practitioners across the whole world, and helping them get their organization under control. And one of the things that we’re really excited about is just helping each person however we can. And we’re hoping with the podcast, that we’re going to give you great motivational information, what’s happening now those kinds of things. But most importantly, just to have a nice conversation with a guy like Seth Fineberg from accounting web. So Seth, thank you so much for coming today. But we were just kind of chit chat. We’re talking about the shirt, the jersey. It’s so fun, isn’t it? It’s a nice jersey, too. This is not a cheesy or cheap jersey. And so today, this episode is brought to you by Fishbowl in awesome. Oh, awesome inventory system. It’s like for me, my whole thing is my starting lineup is all about applications or solutions that actually provide a solution. And it’s not just hogwash, it’s listen, let’s get these people who have inventory issues, right? Either theft, loss whatever, or just keeping track of their inventories that they know what their asset value is. I mean, for goodness sakes, people were doing accounting so people can take the information and timely information not oh, we’ve got to enter stuff from two months ago. No, it’s real time integrated solutions that work for you as a firm or for your clients and solutions. Like I don’t have an inventory need. But that’s who I recommend when it comes to inventory. Because they’re I mean, they just got to figure it out. But Seth introduce yourself. Tell me about Seth Feinberg. I mean, I know you but other people may not.

Seth Fineberg
Well, hello, I for those who don’t know me, or even for those who do, you’re gonna get a review. I’m Seth Fineberg. I am the Editorial Manager and US team lead for AccountingWeb. So which basically means you know, I oversee all of the words and all of the content. And everything we’re putting out on accounting web, you know, ultimately goes through me. AccountingWeb has been a brand dedicated to accounting professionals specifically. So you if you run a practice, or you’re a big cheese in a practice or you are making decisions within a practice, whether you’re a sole prac or particularly, you know, small firms, small to mid sized firms. You are our audience and have been for the last 20 years. I’ve been at the helm here for about six and a half years. Some of you may also know me from back in my day as a technology editor and accounting today. So I’ve been covering accounting for nearly 20 years now in my career as a as a business journalist, which spans a little over 30 years at this point. And you accountants a great, great bunch of people and you realize how much especially as a business journalists, you know, I’ve always been motivated and inspired by what makes business work. I’ve never had like a business background, I have more of a journalist side, but getting into the world of business, finding out what makes it work, you realize behind every good business is an accountant, or an accounting professional, they truly are in your corner. And, you know, if you’re not, um, you know, people like Dawn are here to help you with successful practices and tools that she had learned as a practitioner herself, to, you know, make things really work and help you you know, kind of keep pace, you don’t all have to be these big, you know, Rockstar superstars, superheroes, you might be to your clients, but you don’t have to necessarily be, you know, the most advanced accountant or bookkeeper in the world, you, most of you. And the folks that I talked to, they just want to get through the day they want to get through the season, they want to know, they’re doing things right. And they want to do right by their staff, and, of course, their clients. And you know, so they all know, they can be better. So they listen to podcasts like this, they read our pages, to get inspired to feel like there’s hope for them and some direction out there for them. And that’s, that’s what we do day in and day out. So thanks.

Dawn Brolin
Oh, my goodness, that’s a that’s such a perfect description of encapsulates maybe everything I’ve ever thought of in a great summary. That’s why you’re a journalist, you see, I can go out there, and I can pound the keyboard with the best of it. Right? Get out there, bang, bang, bang. But you just said that so eloquently. And it’s so true, Seth and, and you’re seeing obviously as as the man in charge, and AccoutingWeb and knowing and seeing practitioners, either commenting on articles that you’re putting out, or if you’re paying attention to social media, you see what the struggles are in the accounting profession. And especially right now we’ve talked to a few on the show, James Upton one is one for instance, there’s a couple of others that we’ve had on to just say, Hey, listen, what are you struggling with right now? And where are you at? Because we are seeing this struggle. So you know, the Designated Motivator for Accounting Professionals, which is coming soon, we’re focused 100% on exactly Seth, what you’re doing in the world of journalism, and getting out ongoing publications and articles from all kinds of amazing practitioners, right for you. So it’s not just like Fishbowl’s coming on. And they’re just, you know, talking about their product. But you’re having other professionals come in and write about people like Fishbowl to say, Listen, that’s they’re going to tell you what they understand about what they can do for your clients and solve for things. But the practitioners are the ones who say, Hey, listen, you’re going to start using this particular solution. It’s because I vetted this solution. I mean, they’re using it myself, because I’m a practitioner, I own a firm and I’m, I’m a business owner, just like my clients, which is what I love to say to them, right? And so, you know, what types of things current events are you seeing in the industry right now that you would say, pay attention to this or that?

Seth Fineberg
There’s, there’s really so much, you know, right now going on, I don’t want to beat a dead horse over, you know, just the the true disruption that the pandemic has, has had. But I think even before that, I think really what it did was it just brought to light, how better connected we could all be, how much of a work life balance that practitioners could and should really have. And, and also that there’s, there’s tools out there to just, again, not make you like, you know, the you know, the biggest, you know, rock star in the world, but to just deal with your every day problems and issues that you’re facing from onboarding and staffing to just, you know, dealing with, you know, basic cash flow and dealing with, you know, just your basic work that you’re you’re your own workflow and your own firm. And, you know, handling client issues. I mean, it’s, you know, you’ve what I’ve seen over particularly the past year and a half is is accountants and bookkeepers, even the smallest of them out there, which, by the way, is very much the, you know, everyone’s talking about the Big Four, the big 10, the big 50, the big 500, this or that, then there’s everybody else. There is the small practitioner, the sole practitioner, the folks that are in the corner of individuals and businesses every single day. And they’re the ones that were hurting the most and we’re looking mostly to their accountant. So there has been a large call, I’d say over the last five or six years to you know, to be better, do better, be more all these things and I don’t think it’s really resonated as well ss you know, the you know, those who are delivering the message would would prefer and a lot of is because a lot of that message, nooffense to the vendors, but a lot of it was coming from them, or folks who were paid by them to to have this message and practitioners, as you know, we’re they’re very, you know, and accountants by nature, they’re very skeptical. Sure, they’re paid to have that level of skepticism that, you know, that analytical nature that’s in every accountant, every good accountant. And you’re just it’s like, You’re not telling me why. And you’re also not telling anyhow, as much. And so that all of that over the last five years, I think has bubbled to a head to where we were in kind of a national emergency, for, particularly for small businesses who were like, this is my life, like, I want to, I want to be able to pay my employees, I want to be able to stay in business, how do I do that, and accountants were right there, you know, they were, they were like, kind of, you know, they were like the emergency room doctors, they have your financials, they have your charts, they have, you know, everything out there at their fingertips. But you know, some of them, you know, maybe didn’t have all of the right tools to stay connected with their staff to stay connected with their, their, their clients in real time. And so the things that were kind of getting pushed off over the, you know, the few years because maybe the narrative was just a little more to like, beat me over the head versus right on your side. And that’s what we try to do every day too. And by having a lot of our tone, sort of come from other practitioners and people in the know, people who are doing and living it every day by saying, look, we’re on your side here, and I think vendors are starting to get that message more too. But, yeah, too much of a tangent, but I think there’s several things that kind of bubbled into one, and it’s that there are tools available now and have been available for seven, several years already that have been vetted, that have been proven that are there to help, right, you just do get it done everything to get it done. And then you know, also, yeah, maybe maybe be a rock star, be a savior in the eyes of your clients. And, you know, I’m sorry, that it took, you know, a bit of a crisis to for that, to, to motivate to push, you know, practitioners to, you know, to do this, but they still need help on their own too. So you’re doing great work on that front door. But let’s get real for a minute here. And just, you know, this is also a process to you don’t have to do everything yesterday.

Dawn Brolin
Yeah. And it’s been fire-hosey.

Seth Fineberg
Yeah!

Dawn Brolin
It’s like, it’s like, there’s so it’s too much. There’s so many apps that are out there, there are a ton of great apps, what I found to be what my laser focus was, I want to make sure that my apps integrate. I don’t want to do double work. I didn’t want to enter things twice. I don’t want to, oh, did I put it over here? Did I put it in this system? No. When I put it in one, it sends it to everybody. And then everybody knows who that person is or that client?

Seth Fineberg
Just push a button.

Dawn Brolin
Just push a button!

Seth Fineberg
I don’t want to know from an API, what?

Dawn Brolin
Exactly like, it’s like anybody that has, I’ll call it fragmented application usage , fragmented, of course, right? Meaning just, I’ve got this over here, and this is over here. But this doesn’t talk to this. So we got to put it in. But like that those things are so far gone, right ?

Seth Fineberg
He’d call that chunkification!

Dawn Brolin
He did call a chunkification! And you know what? I didn’t buy into that word in the beginning. I’m like, Doug, what are you talking about? Man? You know what, that’s what he was right? It was right. That’s what it was. And it’s just like, it’s so I like the way I’ve been trying to structure this whole concept of, you know, the Designated Motivator and saying, listen, number one, like you said, Seth, and it is totally key. These smaller firms there be their sole props there, or they’ve got, you know, four or five staff or five to ten. A lot of times those are the practitioners who don’t have a partner, typically. So they’re running their own.

Seth Fineberg
They got one.

Dawn Brolin
Yeah, maybe they got one. And it’s like they do rely on each other. But sometimes I just find that listen, I knew I needed to go out there and listen to the people who I knew were actually in there doing stuff. People like Heather Satterley, People like Hector Garcia, people like Stacey Kildall you know, Liz Scott, Marissa Martinez, I mean, all these people. So what really what’s happened is there’s those of us who have fallen on our faces, but we’re determined to get back up and say, You know what, I tried that app. It didn’t work for me. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. We said, No, we’re not gonna do that we found an app. We we’ve tried to make it work. We tried it, you know, we’re the kings and queens of workarounds. Right. And so we tried to do that. And it was like, You know what, as the technology grew, we didn’t have to do that anymore. We knew we could go to an application, say, does it work with this, and don’t say it works with it. This was one of the misconceptions. Oh, I work with QBO. Or I work with QuickBooks Desktop, and then at the end of the day, didn’t work for crap. So it’s like, you know,

Seth Fineberg
It didn’t flow in in the right way. And you’re like, wait a man, I’ve got stuff over here. I got stuff over here, right? Like this isn’t making I was a big thing that I would hear was just when you push that button to everything flow in, and it’s just like, what just happened? Like, I don’t want your or I don’t want to have to go over? Yeah. You know…

Dawn Brolin
You know, yeah. And then that was, that was all thing. So like, I was just trying to tell people listen, listen, it’s just like that. It’s like, you know, people who like history or don’t like history, it’s irrelevant. But if you watch people who have gone from, you know, I’ve been in this for 23 years, Stacy killed off, same thing. Like a Mariette Martinez, all those people were out there figuring it out. So why try to recreate what we know works. And we know it works, because we use it. You know, I always say, You know what my big thing is…

Seth Fineberg
If you are paid by some vendor, like you have a practice all these all individuals that you mentioned, like, guess what they’re in business for themselves to their they have practices that they’re trying to run, and they have other mouths that they’re trying to feed, and they’re trying to have businesses that they’re trying to help to.

Dawn Brolin
Absolutely, yeah. And I think, you know, one of the biggest things for me, and I would just say this to just as a broad common, is that the most important thing to me when it comes to an application is their customer service. And their customer service sucks, I am out out because I and it’s not even like I don’t even it’s more of Oh, something glitchy happened, which does happen. And I’m like, I don’t want to wait in line, I don’t want to be the 700 person, I need to get this off. So I can move on with whatever it is I’m doing. And so you know, we’ve gone through and just pounded the vendors, pounded them, give me what I want, give me what I want, and they are getting it. They’re getting it. It’s not just about that application that you’re providing. That’s wonderful. But listen, we’re gonna be your biggest cheerleaders, if you’re doing it the right way, and you’re giving us service that we deserve and need. Right. And I think, you know, that’s a lot of that stuff. So, so let’s shift just for a hot second. So I’m thinking about just as you’re seeing on social media, kind of the activity that’s out there. If you were to pick two major pain points that you see practitioners having today, what would those two pain points be? I like to because it’s smaller than three case you don’t know.

Seth Fineberg
That’s good. I’ll go with that. I’ll go with that.

Dawn Brolin
Always trying to educate!

Seth Fineberg
One big thing. And this is, you know, because you know, bookkeepers also work with the tax pros or some, you know, some are CPAs. And they do, you know, they have a bookkeeper in their practice. And they also do a lot of tax, right, either way, you both have to keep up with, you know, the compliance environment. And again, over the past year, I’m not saying every, every year, it’s always something’s always something with the tax code, or the way you file something, or there’s a new form, there’s a change to a form, something, you know, what now with all of the loans that the government in particular has put out to help out businesses and individuals over the past year and a half. Now, all of a sudden, it’s time to account for all of that keeping pace has really kind of come to a head and it’s and then the guidance, the guidance itself just keeps changing. And they’re like, I feel for these practitioners who are literally ready to pull their hair out, or like, just like look, and they’re trying it, they’re on the phone with the IRS for hours, just trying to get through, just give me something and I got my clients in my ear just going I don’t know, this, I see constantly. And I and you feel for people, they’re really in tears, the rain, just go into a hole and cry and never come out. Like, it’s that it’s that painful. It’s that real because they’re just there, you’re in charge of other people’s lives too. And they’re, you know, and you’re trying to also run your own practice and do you notice people paying me money and, and and putting their time in and I’m putting extra hours in. And if only I had the tools for that job to do it. Now. I’m not saying technology’s as everything. But there’s a lot out there, you might not know that’s going to make a lot of that pain go away. 100% It takes care of it. And my God, if you were in the world of sales tax, God bless you for being in that world. That living hell. Oh, keeping track of every little thing that you know. So say you have a retailer in any, you know, doing business in I don’t know, handful of states, they’re not, you know, we sell into maybe a dozen states, something like that. You have to be on top of everything in those states because of the beauty of economic Nexus. Absolutely. Oh, it’s such a wonderful world economic Nexus. And, and these are things to that, you know, eventually, you know, you know, bookkeepers who are in the financials and they know, sort of what, you know, how the business is going like, this is another area where tools can sort of take a lot of that that pain away, but this is probably the biggest. And then I guess, if you want to put in, in a third, and you know, there’s been tons of reports already recently released about this to staff, staffing, how do you get the right people to deal with all this, this is something that, you know, we’ve we’ve talked about it coming, it’s coming, there’s going to be natural aging out aging out of the profession, guess what?

Dawn Brolin
It’s even worse.

Seth Fineberg
It’s here! Over the next five years Dawn, there are going to be this isn’t our generation, this is the ones who are just above us. The Boomers. Yeah, the folks who are ready to sign out. And and just, you know, they’re just ready to lock it up, throw away the keys, they haven’t, they haven’t built any value in their practice. They’re like, they can’t sell it. What are you gonna do? Maybe sell your client base? Okay, fine. Now, you got to deal with onboarding these new clients, and you need staff who are, you know, maybe have skills that are outside that maybe you haven’t grown up been brought up as an accountant, maybe you right, you’re another profession? Maybe you know, marketing? Well, you know, how do I deal with that, even as a small firm? You know, and I’m growing. And then there’s a lot of folks too, that kind of jumped ship from the, you know, people maybe who are around our age bracket or even a little younger, that did their time already at a large regional or big firm jumped out on their own a lot of these entrepreneurial accountants and they’re trying to grow their practice, how do I hire that talent, and get the right people and get them to stay? So that’s kind of those are the three biggies right now.

Dawn Brolin
You absolutely nailed it.

Seth Fineberg
Hiring the right people. And just knowing even just what tools are right for me, like because you have plenty of the professional who maybe poo pooed it five years ago, they’re now going Yeah, I’m ready to listen. But I don’t know where to start.

Dawn Brolin
Yeah, well, and that’s one of the things in the book that’s going to be really awesome is we have a full assessment, no matter where you are, whether you’re just getting started, I’ve been in this for 20 years, I’ve been in it for 10, you’ve been in it for 30, like you said, You’ve been at a big corporate, you’re leaving, I see a lot of that. Join a bunch of Facebook groups, and I’ve read through them regularly to just see what’s going on out there. And you’re right, we’re seeing people starting up new firms of their own and yeah, trying to hire people, like where do you even start when you’ve got the HR package and all that. And I it’s so so important. IRS, okay, like you were saying, trying to get through. And I know there’s a big mixed bag of emotions out on social media about and Q. Colin Q. And I’m just gonna tell you right now I use it, I’m not ashamed to use it. Do you know why? Because is it right or wrong to get into the queue, and, you know, hold up the queue and all this other stuff? I don’t know enough about that. But I can tell you, what I have to do, is I need to get my crap done for my clients. And if it means using a service like that, to get me through faster, so I can get my job done, then I’m doing it.

Seth Fineberg
Do you not have like, you know, TSA PreCheck, do you not have clear do not have these things? Priority check in whatever? Here we are. And guess what, you’re just trying to get a job done. It’s not, you’re not gonna say cutting anyone off? You’re like, I’m a practitioner, I have one question I need clarity on, I’m going to get in, I’m going to get out. That’s what I need. I don’t need to wait an hour and a half.

Dawn Brolin
Exactly. Not doing it. So at CallENQ choose one than the other one, I want to talk about what actually there’s two solutions and people, you know, like one versus the other, or whatever doesn’t matter, for pulling transcripts, because it sucks online, go into E services, it’s archaic dinosaurs still live there. I don’t understand it. So, you know, I use a Tax Help Software and Canopy. Those are two great solutions for pulling transcripts. As a matter of fact, some people some people think, you know, I don’t know, if my clients given me all their income documents from you know, 2020 Well, if you wait till about mid May, you can go and pull their training their wage and income transcripts and make sure that whatever they’ve given you for documents, you have missed something. Because the last thing you want is for your clients to be like, Oh, you didn’t, you know, I got a notice because you didn’t there was a you know, some getting, you know, maybe some stock transactions, whatever. And they didn’t give me the paperwork because that happens all the time. Because they don’t pay attention, which is fine. That’s what I’m there for. But I can pull the transcript at least say Oh, looks like you AmeriTrade, hey, where are your AmeriTrade statements? I need bases and stuff like that maybe it wasn’t reported the IRS, it’s not on the transcript. So it’s like set yourself up for success to make your job easier. You know, and so transcript solutions, and Call ENQ, that’s dude, I can get I, and I charge my clients for all that stuff. I’m sorry, the IRS doesn’t pay me. Right. And it’s not my fault, the refund got held up.

Seth Fineberg
So value of of you, this is what you pay, you know, when you put it in as fee or subscription or whatever. Yeah, this is what you’re getting from Powerful Accounting.

Dawn Brolin
And Iv make calls for you. You’re all set. And yeah, so I think that there’s what I love, I love this conversation, because it’s really what the whole point of the Designated Motivator for accounting professionals book, it’s what it’s about, it’s about giving you solutions. Listen, I know, my roadmap works. I know, my roadmap has allowed us to do where $500,000 in 10 1/2 months.

Seth Fineberg
Cause you drove that road. You mapped it out!

Dawn Brolin
I mapped it. I wrote it all out. And I said, Oh, wow, I think I know what I’m doing. Maybe I could share this with other people. That’s the whole point. And I think just like, you know, you’re doing regular, ongoing, I mean, we’re doing content too. But you know, you’re telling the story and throw it out there stuff. And that’s what I think’s most important. But so we try to keep this between 20 and 30 minutes. So I guess I’ll just I want to get just kind of a little bit about Seth, you know, a little bit about Seth. You know, I know you’re coaching your son in baseball, and he’s kicking butt, you guys are doing two sons. That’s awesome. So just tell us a little bit about that. So people could get a little get the fields from set binder? Come on? Well, sure.

Seth Fineberg
I mean, look, I was never much of a jock. You know, growing up, I was kind of a loner kid, you know, what have you. But you know, growing up in kind of a suburban town, sooner or later, you just do what your friends are doing. And baseball was a big deal, you know, growing up in my town in New Jersey. And so I got into it, I got into little league, and I just, you know, I became a fan of the game, I collected cards and what have you. And it’s just something that always, always stuck with me. And then you know, even later than life in life, I just, you know, I was never like a sports fan. I don’t follow very much other sports other than baseball. And so I became a father. And I, you know, eventually had two boys. And even if I had two girls, whatever, it never mattered to me, I had kids. And I just wanted to see what they were into. And but they always knew mom and dad. And you know, my wife is is also an enormous baseball fan as much as I am particularly. Particularly the Yankees, I’m sorry, this is where I grew up in New York. She’s from the she was born. She was born 11 blocks from the stadium.

Dawn Brolin
Oh, whatever.

Seth Fineberg
Grew up in Detroit. What anyways, that’s got my kids into the, into the game. You know, to me, it’s baseball, Yankees, everything else. So baseball first. But as my team, your team is your team, you got, you know, sort of what went right, at any rate. So that’s, that’s how I got into it. And then, you know, the kids, I figured, all right, you know, just like any parent would want to do. It’s all volunteer around around here. You know, this is just a local Little League team. And all the parents just they pitch in their time. And they’re helping their kids as well as, you know, whatever, you know, 10 or 11 other kids who are on the team too. And I just, I have a head for it. I understand the game. I know. You know, I feel like I can just be like a parent out there and a coach, and my older kid, he needs it. You know, last you know, I work with him individually. But he’s got other coaches that work with him. My younger one is not he just turned nine. So he’s kind of right in that zone, where he’s just like, still needs dad in his corner. And, and I just, you know, I just love it. I love the feeling of just sort of being on the side with the kids. Now, I’m not one of those. Not one of those baseball, dads are baseball parents and like loses their mind. Like, kids game like I see it happen. And I’m like, What are you into? What are you doing? Not moms and dads…

Dawn Brolin
Oh no, 100%.

Seth Fineberg
And I’m like, I’ve just never I’ve never yelled at a kid. In my life. It’s just not and I’ve been I’ve been coaching now for I’m going into my eighth year of coaching. And I just that’s just not how I do. So talk about designated motivator. You know, I always had two rules on my team. Like your own coach that has teamed up with Coach Seth has two rules. You know, one is have fun. This is a game, why are you playing a game? This is to me, the greatest game of the World. Whatever your opinions on baseball are, I think it’s the greatest game in the world. You’re here your parents, you know spent money and time they put you here you want to be a part of a team. Second is pay attention. Pay attention to your coaches. Listen to us. We know what we’re talking about. Listen to us and pay it and listen to your team. teammates to, because they’re on the field, we’re not always on the field, they’re there to help you. You listen, you pay attention because it’s going to keep you safe. Because you know, things happen in an instant you spend 90% of the time waiting around. Yeah, absolutely. Kinda like the IRS, but you gotta be ready. Ready to go have the glove ready, you’re in ready position, your baseball ready, as we call it, you know, and you’re ready to make your move as soon as it happens, because you don’t know when that’s gonna be, I don’t care if you’re playing the deepest outfield, or you’re right up front. You know what bases loaded, you have to be ready. And so that’s what, that’s why I have those tools. And I have since the beginning. And I love that.

Dawn Brolin
That’s such good stuff. You don’t relate that to the accounting professional, it’s the same thing. We have to always be ready. We never know what’s coming next. We’ve always got to be ready. But I love that about, hey, you’re here. Take the moment. And now we talked about in the book, what’s important, is be in the moment be and we always tell the kids when softball and baseball same thing. Be in your shoes, you see because you got to be where you are, and be ready to take make a shift and do something different.

Seth Fineberg
Don’t go looking at that other game over there. Don’t be looking down. You know..

Dawn Brolin
It don’t matter what the other team score is. That’s irrelevant. And actually, in a we always tell our kids hey, listen, focus on us focus on our eastern softball, focus on Eastern, we don’t care what the other dugout is doing. We don’t care what they think they have their sand wherever they do. It’s about what we’re doing together. And so I think that that’s the whole I guess that’s a great message for the accounting community. We want to be together be where we are, know that you have there are coaches and mentors and people out there that will put their hand down, pull you up and help you through this process. Because we all had those mentors together. Just like Seth, as you’re doing coaching with the kids. You’re their mentor right now. Right? And they’ll remember you forever. That’s, you know, those stories will come much later in life. But they’re coming, and they will. But Seth, thank you so much for coming on to on today, except Fineberg,

Seth Fineberg
Thanks for having me!

Dawn Brolin
This was awesome. We’ll do this again, for sure, at least 100 more times, I’m sure because I got so many more things I want to talk to you about but we like to keep it short. We want people to be motivated. Thanks again for listening to the DM Disruption. And we’re gonna come to you next week with some more good stuff and we’re gonna keep on just trying to teach you reach out to us, Don brolin.com That’s what we’re here for. Happy to help everybody out. Thank you again, Seth. You’re the best buddy.

 

 

 

This episode is sponsored by Swizznet. Learn more at https://www.swizznet.com/

Summary

Jason Richelson, CEO at bookkeep™, joins Dawn to discuss the importance of implementing automation in your accounting practice, and how bookkeep™ can streamline all of your bookkeeping across many platforms, even popular eCommerce applications. Listen now to learn how bookkeep™ can help your accounting firm!

Show Notes

Automation is the Future

Jason begins his conversation with Dawn by expressing the importance of implementing automation to execute your bookkeeping properly. He talks about all the payment and eCommerce apps on the market now, like Shopify, Amazon, Square, Sezzle, etc.., and says it’s impossible to keep track of all your deposits manually—with bookkeep™, you don’t have to. Jason also explains how automation is the future; more and more applications are going to implement payment processing features, and bookkeep™ is constantly improving their products to offer more integrations with new applications.

Sales Tax Audit? bookkeep™ has you covered. 

Dawn also expresses her concern with other apps on the market, and how many of them lack functionality to properly account for and manage sales tax, and how these can set business owners up for failure in the event of a sales tax audit. Jason agrees and says he didn’t even know about sales tax audits until he met Dawn. Jason discusses how difficult it is to keep track of all the different fees and rules that each payment product possesses, and how bookkeep™ will keep your balances in sync and ensure you are recording your sales taxes properly. 

bookkeep™ and Their Plan for the Future

Jason also talks about bookkeep’s™’ plans to integrate apps like UberEats and DoorDash into their automation software, and how many of these apps make it difficult for bookkeepers and accountants to access their client’s data. Jason says he encourages other accountants and bookkeepers to reach out to these applications, and express the need to access these records. bookkeep™ is alwayways looking for new ways to integrate with new products, and strives to move forward with new technology so that you and your clients can run your businesses easily and efficiently.

 

Learn more about bookkeep™ Click here!

 

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Transcript

Dawn Brolin
Hi, everyone, my name is Dawn Brolin. I’m a certified public accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner and president of Powerful Accounting Inc, and the author of the designated motivator for accounting professionals. And I’m here today to talk to you a little bit about a new application that I found. Actually, it’s a hosting solution called Swizznet. And what’s awesome about it is if you’re somebody who’s looking to continue working in a desktop environment, but you want to be able to work securely from anywhere, and have your clients also have access to that data file. Swizznet is a great resource for you. Now, one of the key things I always tell people is, when it comes to a hosting solution, the number one, well, the number one thing is that they’re extremely secure. So we have that solved with Swizznet. But not only that, but the support that they can give you as you go through your day or through your year, we need to be able to have that access to support. And the great thing about Sizznet, it’s 24/7. If you’re working on the weekends or checking in at night, and you have an issue for whatever reason, either logging in, or an application isn’t working properly within the hosting solutions site. They’re there to help support you. So if you have not figured out that having a hosting solution is absolutely critical to your success when it comes to your tech stack, now’s the time, check out Swizznet, Swizznet.com Thanks so much for listening. Keep your data secure.

All right. Hello, everybody. And welcome back to the DM Disruption. I’m here today with one of my favorite apps ever. And my favorite people ever. Jason Richelson with bookkeeping. And I’ll tell you what, we’re we’re here today to give you the message that this app is out there fighting for our lives, we as the county professionals, and I would take it even a step further to say that they are out there trying to service and fight for small business. Because small businesses are the ones who are using or need to be using apps like bookkeeper to automate their bookkeeping in a way number one, it’s accurate. And number two, that we get the books done, we get them done right so we can service more people. So Jason, thank you so much for coming today. Introduce yourself so people know who the heck you are. Because everyone needs to know you!

Jason Richelson
Yeah, yeah, my name is mine, I’m Jason. I started bookkeeping about four years ago, as a bookkeeping and accounting firm. And we actually still have 50 clients. So we have three full time bookkeepers on staff. But as part of that bookkeeping and accounting that we did, I started automating a lot of the work that didn’t need to be done manually. And through that effort, we ended up launching apps in the QuickBooks App Store, which helps you automate your sales reporting and your deposit reconciliation, which is something that is still done manually. And usually incorrectly by I would say, at least half the accounting teams out there, even in big companies.

Dawn Brolin
Yes, and I will tell you, I’ll give you a great example. Because today, I was working on a tax return. And I’m looking at the balance sheet. And I’m like, this isn’t right now like now I have been held up. Yeah, I have to stop. I have this and like you’re saying there are so many people who are still doing things manually, or what’s even worse, I think, is that they are trying to automate, but the solutions they’re choosing are not ideal. So the information isn’t coming in correctly. And that’s where they always say well why would Intuit put an app on their site that if their integration really isn’t that good? Well, I love I would love to know the answer that but I can tell you bookkeep™ has it nailed because I use them with clients. And it’s really about its year end and we’re trying to get books done so we can get tax returns done. So instead of just rushing through the process, stop for a minute and say hey, is there something out there that can help me? And bookkeepers one of them?

Jason Richelson
Yeah, we try. We do proper accrual accounting. If you’re in retail restaurant ecommerce, even, you know, donations is there’s a bunch of industries as well. Ticketing, you need to do proper proper accounting entries when payments are received. So leave ticketing aside because because that’s a little different, but but we post proper accrual daily sale summaries on the day they happen and help you reconcile the payment deposits. And when you think of why this is so important, if you’re just using Square, our app works very well, better than the QuickBooks one because our app takes the full summary and and puts it into QuickBooks and then we match the deposits when they come as well. That’s pretty simple. But when you think about something like a Shopify store, and where they’re also selling on Amazon seller, but also on Shopify, they’re taking Sezzle. And they’re taking Shopify installments, of course, because you have no option, they just it just happens, as well as a bunch of other payment types that are your opportunities that you can use on Shopify, you really need to have that full summary of the whole day posted. And then those payments deposits are going to come in. So you need to have that balance reconciled and synced to Shopify or whatever payment system is. So you want your Sezzle balanced in Shopify in QuickBooks to match what Sezzle is going to pay you, including the fees, or net of the fees so that when that deposit comes in, we can match it up and your balances stays in sync in QuickBooks to Sezzle. If you’re using Shopify installments, the same fusion Shopify payments, Amazon seller, you probably also have PayPal, you probably also have Stripe, you might also have Venmo. And all of these balances are money that you have like your bank account balance, like your credit card balance, you must keep those in sync. It’s part of your job as a bookkeeper. But there’s up until now not been any automation that lets you do that. So and as apps keep coming up with new ways to take payments, new ways to sell you can sell on Facebook, you can sell on Instagram you can sell on Tik Tok, it gets ready for the the what I call the voiceless bookkeeper and accountant who have no say in it your clients selling on Tik Tok. Great, that’s another deposit in the checking account that I have to figure out what are the fees? You know, so we don’t automate that yet. But we’ve we want to basically automate all of that just like your banking feed. So you can just connect all these apps, we will post the proper accounting entries, we will match it to the deposits and make sure that your books are accurate. So you can close those books days after the month is ended.

Dawn Brolin
Right. And so one of the things that I know that I get really frustrated with is people tend to accept the bank feeds and QuickBooks as the Bible. Right. So then like, Oh, we got bank fees we don’t have what do we need this app for? We get it all through the bank feeds. Well, you’re not getting the right numbers for the bank feeds. And, and of course, one of those big things is tax return. The sales tax returns are not being prepared correctly, because the reports coming out of QuickBooks are not..we don’t have gross sales. We have net sales. Yeah, that’s not okay. You’re setting yourself up for failure in the event of an audit.

Jason Richelson
Exactly. And and I until I met you, I didn’t even know that about that potential issue. I know that you’re not paying your sales tax, right. Yes, audit. There’s IRS audits, but there’s also sales tax audits. I do think I mean, I work with so many accounts and bookkeepers, I see so many books, and even, I’ve worked with companies that are doing millions and millions of dollars a year in sales. And it always I just can’t believe that so many accountants and bookkeepers still take that deposit and post it to income. That is completely wrong. You cannot, you could do that many years ago, when your credit card deposits were like the only thing you got, and they were gross, it was exactly totaled. And it didn’t have fees taken out. But those deposits include sales tax and tips. So still, you can’t look at the income unless you know what those are. Now those deposits include sales tax and tips. But they they then take out the fees. If you’re on Square, right, taking out your loans. If you’re on Square, they’re also potentially taking out a savings amount that you might have, as well as any debit card transactions from that balance. So the world has changed. And if people start using these debit cards on their payment balance, like Square, you know, PayPal has had that we know and a lot of bookkeepers are like I won’t touch PayPal. But now squares going to become the same thing. Shopify is going to become the same thing with their debit card. It. So anyway, our system will help you automate that so that your balances stay in sync and you don’t really you know, you don’t have to worry about it.

Dawn Brolin
Right. And so I think, you know, part of the part of our conversation today the I think the biggest message to the accountants are, hey, listen, we’ve, you’ve had businesses in the past, I think that that makes a big difference to you’ve had this doesn’t mean you have businesses still but I’m saying, you know, you’ve had retail, retail, I’ve had to deal with retail, and you’re dealing with the this whole process of the bookkeeping, when you were looking likely to an accountant to solve the problem, and they couldn’t solve the problem. So if they could, it was expensive. You’ve created a tool that we the accountants can use to help our small businesses. And I think that that’s one of the pieces sometimes we as accountants have to understand. Like, yes, it’s about us, right?We want everything to be about us, right? Yeah. But really, at the end of the day, it’s you properly, being a trusted adviser and using tools that ensure that the books are correct. And we talked about that a little bit before I started the session today, but come on, man do the books, right? I mean, I don’t do bookkeeping anymore because I’m not good at it. Right? So just focus enough to do it. So, you know, we want to be able to have these tools. And this is what you guys are you’re providing like yours, let’s talk about how, you know that advocating with with company saying, Hey, listen, we need this done this way because of this, and they don’t care most. Right, right.

Jason Richelson
Yeah, that’s where, you know, we built we have about 25, maybe a few more connectors. So you know, Sezzle, Shopify, Square, Stripe, PayPal, Amazon seller, we got a bunch of them. And then some cannabis point of sales and bunch of a bunch of different apps. The ones that we want are like an Uber Eats, or DoorDash. We do have a GrubHub connector, but it doesn’t work as well as we want. But the reason that we don’t is because those those apps, those sales apps don’t provide access to the data in an automated fashion. So and and as a bookkeeper, I mean, I know why do you book those deposits? Say you get a deposit from UberEATS? Why do you just book it to income? What cuz I don’t know what it is, and that my owner hasn’t given me a login. I’ve asked him 20 times, and I still don’t get the login. So what am I supposed to do? Right? And honestly, if you had, if you had to tell that owner to provision an Uber Eats login, so you could log in, you wouldn’t be able to explain it. And it’s really hard, actually, I’ve done it for my own business. So UberEATS needs to make it easy to make they UberEATS is just an example of all a lot of these apps, they need to think about the downstream implications of the data that they’re creating for accounting purposes. And so I want to help advocate for the whole accounting community, like, you know, I want to we’ll figure out ways, but we’re gonna, we’re gonna probably start a nonprofit to just sort of advocate for accountants and bookkeepers that hey, UberEATS, we need to talk to you about making this data available, it could just be a spreadsheet attachment, you know, Uber Eats, they, what they do is they send out an email with a link that you have to log back in to download the report. Well, if you don’t have a login, that doesn’t work anyway. So there’s different ways that it can be done. It doesn’t always have to be through API’s, but we want to help advocate for that make the problem known to cause some of them, they just don’t know where UberEats is probably like, I, we’ve never talked to accountants, they never talked to us, they don’t buy our software. So we need to make it known that, hey, there’s other people involved. There’s other stakeholders involved.

Dawn Brolin
Absolutely. And so, you know, as we’re, as we’re having this conversation, if, you know, we’ve just gone through 2021, we’re all done, you know, we’re getting these file we’re getting, we’re in contact with the business owners again, of course, some of them are those, we just see him once a year, you know, and I don’t prefer that I would like to see them throughout the year. But one of the things that I was excited about as these one once a year people are coming in, we’re able to set them up with this connection between their QBO file and and their whatever it is maybe Square a lot of people have come in this year, we’ve got to get new Square accounts. Now how do you determine if you square or not? Well, here’s the secret look at their bank statement, the bank is gonna say or even your bank fee that you’ve been, you know, committed to for, you know, like you’re married to it. So you see that there are some square transactions. Now, it’s immediately time to have a conversation. Because what’s great is bookkeep™ can actually go historically and pull in historical data. I think that’s a game changer. Honestly, the fact that you can pull that historic data.

Jason Richelson
Yeah we can pull…we ran a bunch of stuff in January, we did a bunch of history, as people are trying to catch up on on multiple years. And we do and remember, we don’t post transactions, we post accrual summaries on those days. That is how proper accounting is done. Going back 20 years before Silicon Valley thought that transactions and data and more data. If you’re a bookkeeper, you would like a perfect little summary of what that day entailed that’s going to match to your payment deposit well or somewhat match. It doesn’t really match anymore. Exactly. But but we do proper summaries and we can run all the way back, yeah, as far in history as you need to go for for Square, Shopify, and the others.

Dawn Brolin
And so what a lot what that does is you do that one time connection. And now it’s set it and forget it, which we did a webinar last week about that. So set it and forget to set it up once you’re done. And what’s great is if you think about it, let’s talk about making money. All right, I’m pretty sure that everyone listening enjoys making money. Okay? That’s we’re not in business to break even just as much as our clients are. If you have people and a lot of people do value pricing on bookkeeping, so they’re gonna say it’s going to be 1000 bucks a month 1000, whatever it may be, and the price may be high, because you have had to manually post all this stuff. Right? So one of a couple things can happen. One, you can start servicing more clients because you’re not spending all your time hunting and pecking. That’s what I call it, with your fingers entering data. So instead you set and forget it, you now can service more clients. And guess what no one said you had to lower your price because you’re not necessarily doing that manually anymore. So you’re gonna make more money, the same money doing less work, and you’ll make more money because you’re gonna be able to bring on instead of 50 or 100 clients, you’re gonna have 500 client. I mean, maybe that’s crazy. But I’m just somebody who has three employees, we are cranking, cranking on revenue, because we’re automating, right? That’s the answer.

Jason Richelson
And yet, right, and you need good automation. I mean, you can, you can have one app in the App Store that does Square, there’s another app that will do Amazon seller. And but then you’re still managing all these different apps. I mean, what we’re trying to do with bookkeeping is in a single location in our app and a single app, you can do all the settings for all the apps that your clients use, we post proper accrual accounting entries, we post proper entries for the deposits, and you don’t have to go to different places. The other thing that saves you time, is that as everyone knows, who’s done any bookkeeping ever, you know, hey, owner, you change the password, I need the new password, or, Hey, I need you to create a password for me, what do you mean create a password for me? How do I do that? What and then they never do it. I mean, even my I’m the same. My bookkeeper is the last person that I respond to, I just don’t care about what happened in the past. Like, I just don’t care. You know, I only think about the future. So I know how difficult it is for accountants and bookkeepers to get to deal with those things that I really I think takes up 20 or 30% of their time, just like I need access to this data that I just lost access to, or you still haven’t given me access to. So we we speed that up, we allow you to then have more clients, we hope our pricing is based off of your time savings. It’s not based off of what the clients doing, the client is doing $10 million a year in sales, or a million dollars, our pricing is the same. It’s one summary entry. You know, we charge based on how many summaries and how many different apps you connect. So it’s not based on the underlying revenue. So that helps you save money, as well, or you can pass it through your client. But, but yes, we we. The other thing that I see about the industry in general is there’s a lot of very sharp accountant/bookkeepers who know what they’re doing. But there’s not enough for all the businesses out there. And there’s probably even more unsophisticated bookkeepers and accountants who don’t know what they’re doing out there. And I mean, every business is looking for that sharp accountant. And there’s a lot of them out there, but they can’t handle all the business. So they those are the ones that we want to help with the automation. And by the way, if you don’t know how to do accounting, our automation is going to show you how to do it properly, because we do it properly. So, you know, a lot of when I started my first wine store, I had no idea how you ring up sales or keep track of anything. So I bought the Microsoft point of sale system, and I bought QuickBooks. And that’s what I learned how I learned how to do accounting and bookkeeping, you know and point of sale. And, and the buyer. They all had proper accounting system set up paparazzi reports, so so you can learn from the software and how to do it. And we hope that you can build a big, much bigger business office automation. I mean, we’re just getting started. We want to do more over time, but but this is a huge time sink in the stuff that we’re solving right now.

Dawn Brolin
Absolutely, absolutely. So Jason, any last thoughts that you want to leave with the listeners today?

Jason Richelson
I just wanted to, you know, say you don’t, I guess I think the big thing is that don’t be afraid of E commerce. There’s automation tools that can help you do it. And don’t be afraid of E commerce because then you’re gonna be out of work. Everything is ecommerce. Everything is ecommerce. It doesn’t matter if it’s a restaurant, or a retail store, if brick and mortar. They’re using online payment systems and they’re probably also selling online and restaurants, half their business is online sales systems. So you have to learn how to do proper accrual sales summaries for all these systems match the deposits there’s really no way around it. If you want to do a write for your clients and but our tool can help you do it and and you know, it’s not that hard to learn it’s pretty simple keeping track of balances and and I recommend you you don’t don’t worry about it and just dive into it.

Dawn Brolin
Absolutely, yeah, it’s a set it and forget it system, you guys and tell you right now, it may it’s made a big difference for us and what we can provide for services to our clients. So let’s just, you know, keep the conversation going. We do webinars, often you’ll see it on the website, we’ve got, you know, all kinds of stuff coming up here in the next few months. Some great opportunities at some events like accounting, web, counting web, live and scaling new heights and engage and all these other places. So keep your minds open. That would be my last thought is keep your minds open to doing it better. Doing it accurately get better. And being the best trusted adviser you can to your clients, which means getting the right tools in place and utilizing them so that the accounting is, is automated and done so you can have bigger conversations with them. And I think that those are just a couple things in my thoughts. But thank you so much for coming to the DM Disruption and listening to us today. We look forward to seeing you on some future webinars and some future podcasts. So Jason, thank you so much for coming bookkeep by the way, really nice jersey with Pittsburgh, so thanks again and talk to you all next time.

Jason Richelson
Thank you.

 

This episode is sponsored by Fishbowl. Learn more at here!

Summary

Tyler Hickman from Veem sits down with Dawn Brolin to chat about how Veem can help your business send and receive payments electronically. Say goodbye to paper checks, and say hello to easy ACH transfers, excellent customer service, and top-notch security that will help keep your and your client’s information safe. 

Show Notes

Tyler’s Introduction

Tyler Hickman is the Team Lead of the accounting channels at Veem, and sits down with Dawn to discuss the benefits of switching over to a digital payment platform. Tyler expresses that Veem is committed to helping small and medium sized organizations manage their bills and invoices more easily, and how converting to an online payment service can save business owners hours of time every week. 

The Benefits of Veem

Dawn says that she first learned about Veem at Scaling New Heights last fall, and talks about how excited she was when she learned about all the products and services that Veem had to offer—especially for accountants. Oftentimes, vendors can request specific forms of payment—such as an ACH transfer, check, or card payment—and it can be difficult to keep track of your client’s preferred payment method. With Veem, Dawn can securely send a payment directly through email and vendors or contractors can choose exactly how they want to get paid. Dawn also shares that Veem has integrations with QuickBooks, and how this makes managing her payments and invoices much easier. 

Tyler agrees, and says they have seen a huge increase of businesses switching to an online payment platform since the start of the pandemic. However, Tyler also talks about how many small business owners don’t want to adopt an online payment system because of the fees associated with many of them. Tyler points out though that although sending a check may seem cheaper up front, the actual cost to send a check can be close to $18.00, and how switching to an online platform can save them time and money in the long run.

The Importance of Getting Off Paper + How Veem Keeps Your Information Safe

Tyler also discusses the security risk of sending paper checks through the mail, and how this can lead to a client’s account information ending up in the wrong hands. Dawn agrees and says she rarely sends or accepts checks, as she does not want to be responsible for keeping a client’s data safe. 

Tyler also discusses how important it is to not send ACH or banking details over email. He shares that he’s personally seen over a half a dozen account takeovers happen to clients who shared their credentials through email, as opposed to using a secure payment portal like Veem.

Tyler says that Veem has multiple levels of security and verification, and that they verify all parties of the transaction. Not only do they verify the sender of the transaction, but they also verify the receiver to ensure that your payment is being delivered to the correct recipient.

 

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Transcript

Dawn Brolin-Fishbowl Ad
Hello 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 today just to talk to you briefly about an awesome inventory app called Fishbowl. What I love about Fishbowl is its ability to sync seamlessly with QuickBooks Enterprise. And what’s even better about it is, we as accounting professionals don’t always have to be the best at everything. I find that you know, if you think about softball, which is what I always like to talk about–not everybody is a great pitcher, not everybody’s a great outfielder. And so as accounting professionals, we all find those areas of accounting that we are really good at and that we are really passionate at and we love. I love my clients, but I’m not I don’t want to have to implement an inventory system for my clients. It’s not in my what I call wheelhouse, okay? But what’s great about Fishbowl is they have someone on their team named Beverly Lang, and Beverly is an accounting professional. And so she’s able to make sure that the inventory system is set up properly, and that most importantly, the counting is done. And the integration from Fishbowl inventory into the QuickBooks Enterprise system is seamless, and accurate. So myself is the accounting professional, I want to make sure I’m referring the best of breed solutions for my clients, especially when I’m not I don’t have my hands in on that. And so I trust Beverly, and I trust Fishbowl that they’re going to do the job, right? I’ve seen it firsthand. If you want good inventory, great inventory, easy implementation, and have someone who knows the accounting side of it, Fishbowl is your solution. Thanks for listening.

Dawn Brolin

Well, hello, everyone. And welcome back to the DM Disruption. I’m here today with one of my favorite people, Tyler Hickman, who is the lead of the accountant channel at Veem. And Tyler have been working together for quite a while he’s, he’s more than just a team leading the accounting channel, in my opinion, he’s the magician at Veem, who makes everything work. So Tyler hello, say hello to everybody. Let us know who you are what you’re all about. And then we’re going to get into some fun q&a and some answers about what Veem is doing for us all, certainly all of my clients and in many other small business owners across the country, in the world.

Tyler Hickman
Yes, yes. Well, thank you. First of all, thank you, Don, for having me on. It’s it’s been great being a part of the the starting lineup and being on the team here. So like you said my name is Tyler Hickman, I’m the team lead from from Veem accounting services here. And and really what what I do on a day to day basis of what we do is, you know, we’re really focused on working with with small, medium sized organizations here in the US, but as well as internationally to help them with their AP and arrow processes. Of course, it’s a little bit more complicated than that. But at the end of the day, we’re just trying to, you know, save time and money and, and give a little bit of a better tech experience to businesses at the end of the day.

Dawn Brolin
Yeah, and so, you know, I discovered Veem at back in, I think it was at Scaling New Heights last fall, where I started to learn more about what you do. And of course, there’s a lot of options when it comes to AR and AP, I’ve been searching for, I guess I would call it like a home base, a place where I felt comfortable all around between the payments, the timing of the payments, of course, are super important. Any fees associated with payments, everybody wants to, you know, try to save as much as we can, in that fee area, right. And I just, I found that the it was so easy for me to implement, which for me, it’s like I just needed to be implemented and start to work immediately. And I was kind of tired of paying wire transfer fees, which is what I was doing. I don’t I don’t have checks anywhere. I just don’t have checks. So when someone says I need to make a payment, it’s like, okay, well, where are you living? You know, customer or client or vendor? Where are you living when it comes to that? Oh, well just send me a check. Well, I don’t have checks, I don’t do that. So I guess what I’ll do is I’ll add you to my Veem account, send you an email, you get to choose how you’re going to interact with me when it comes to that. I just want to go to one place, make the payment. You want to get it by check, you want to get it by, you know, Ach, you want it on a card, whatever you want to do, well, that’s on you. I don’t want to deal with that when it comes to paying someone else. So we found it just so easy to work with. And of course the sync with QuickBooks–you got to be able to sync with QuickBooks people. That’s just at the end of the day, the AP and AR QuickBooks better match what’s in Veem. And then we have that implementation of permissions and you know user permissions and who can approve a bill and who can actually enter a bill? Things like that, which I think are really awesome. So what have you seen in the industry? Let’s just even say over the last year with regards to people’s concerns about payments and and how payments are being processed?

Tyler Hickman
Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean, you brought, you brought up a lot in there. And really, and I can even take it back a little bit further, the the industry has changed so much in the last 24 months, right, we’re middle of March, you know, you flipped back, you know, two years ago, to when COVID was starting. And that was really, when we start to see that the big change, there’s a lot of businesses that really at that point, started to adopt cloud software’s and technologies because their businesses needed to change and adapt. So they were not in brick and mortar stores or other office buildings, where they’ve got the pile of checks and, and they can walk over and get, you know, signatures done all that. So there was a huge amount of adoption that needed to take on like that. It just needed to happen overnight. And it was a great spot for Veem as well as a lot of the accountants and bookkeepers that we work with because there was a sudden kind of just rush of people looking to implement solutions. And I feel for people because there’s, there’s a lot of there, there really is like there is you know, we operate in the the FinTech space for some of you might might know it, there’s a new FinTech company popping up in the US every day. And, and it can really, there’s a lot of noise. There’s a lot of buzzwords here of integrations, and automations. And there’s a ton of different things going on out there. And, and that’s why, you know, a lot of SMBs in particular rely on accountants, such as yourself, Dawn, but I mean, 1000s of others across North America, the US and bookkeepers to be that source of truth, a lot of the concerns like you’d mentioned, security is one of the big ones. How do I do this in a better way, costs are huge? But you know, when we talk about costs, in particular, we try to focus on on some of the maybe soft costs that that people aren’t always thinking about, right? Like everyone’s focused on the hard cost. My bank cost me this, a check is cheap, because it only cost me so well, that’s not true. We know in reality, right? SAP has done a huge study on this, it costs an organization almost like $18, to send a check when you actually factor in a lot of the soft costs that people aren’t thinking about, you know, outside of the envelope and the stamp and all that kind of stuff. A check is a very expensive, you know, method to send a payment, it’s not cheap, because there’s a lot of manual work that quite often needs to go into it. So what people are really looking for, and like I said, especially in the SMB market, they want something that, as you mentioned, can be implemented day one work very easy, and really help them from a processing perspective, we want to take the payment process, which was usually disconnected from the accounting process, right banks, you know, some of them have direct bank feeds, there’s some reconciliation there with someone like your QuickBooks Online, but it’s typically not great. And potentially, you might actually need to subscribe to a higher package business plan with your bank to get access to some of those bank feed integrations. So is it worth the trade off? Probably not most times. So we really want to connect things together, we want to connect that payments process in with your accounting process through like that QBO integration, which is very simple in its operation, but it can really add that value. And be able to implement that in a way where you know, we’re not having to capture everyone’s ACH details, you can send a payment out, you know, Dawn, I could send you a payment, like you mentioned right now with just knowing your email address, and and then you own your information. And that that’s been always a concern. In particular, small businesses, they don’t want to own all of this information. What do I do with it? Is those questions we hear all the time, like, how do I capture it? How am I storing it safely? Because you’re responsible for storing this safely, right? You can’t just capture it, and it can’t just end up in a file somewhere. And I know it happens, right? But, you know, we’re responsible as a business to this information. And using a tool like Veem allows that separation of that information where we’re not sharing ACH details over the internet. You know, account fraud is something like 300% for the FBI last year, takeovers are very popular. So if we can remove that, that transfer of just sent really sensitive information over things like email and other instant messaging, and have that encrypted in platforms, it’s really huge benefit.

Dawn Brolin
You know, and the I can even just snowball off of that whole entire comment because if you think about the sensitive information, exactly what you were saying. Think about what a check looks like. So close your eyes, right? Just think about what a check looks like in the upper left corner, it’s your business a–we’re sticking with business–your business name and address. Then you go down to the bottom you can see the routing and account number. Now if you’ve ever been a business owner who has manually entered someone’s credit card information or ACH information, that’s exactly the information you need in order to process an ACH yourself. So manual ad, if you will. When you mail a check, and we know that there’s been there’s there’s mail fraud mail fraud is illegal doesn’t mean people don’t do it just because it’s illegal. We know there’s so many things illegal your not supposed to speed on the road. How many of you have sped ever before in your whole entire life, there’s not one person who is not actually going over the speed limit. It’s not possible, in my opinion, which I think my opinions correct, of course, but if you think about it, the laws are there to minimize and prevent something bad from happening. It’s a way of minimizing the risk of a potential crime, or a fraud if we’re talking about fraud. And because a check publishes everything a fraudster needs in order to steal information, we know we have a problem. Think about this very simple. I still see businesses or have a mailbox at the end of the road, they got their office, they have a mailbox, maybe on their on the wall, it’s not all lock and key mailbox. Somebody drives, people know when the mail is delivered. They’re a fraudster. They’ve done their work. They’ve done their studies, they know when the mail is delivered. They know typically, when people pick up the mail, they know when they can intercept an envelope of any kind, you can kind of tell when you get an envelope, whether it’s a bill or a payment, or whatever, because they’re kind of they differentiate them for a reason. So you don’t throw it out as junk email or junk mail, right. But the information that’s on the front of that check is extremely risky. And so for those that are still mailing checks, I can tell you, I know major corporations who are traded on the stock market, who have mailed me a check. And I’m just like, whoa, like, why are you still mailing me a check? I’ll give you every method to pay me securely through Veem? Why are you mailing me a check? And it’s because they just haven’t you know, that’s not important enough. Do you know when it becomes important, Tyler? It becomes important when it when they are compromised?

Tyler Hickman
Yes.

Dawn Brolin
Where a check has been stolen, or some kind of payment or whatever the case may be. It’s important when there’s an emergency and that’s most cases for life. Unfortunately, you know, who I don’t believe Tyler, there’s an accounting emergency before. I have some clients who think there are, you know…

Tyler Hickman
All the time! Friday afternoons especially.

Dawn Brolin
Yeah, exactly. Friday afternoons, there’s always a an emergency, for some reason. But you know, so those are the things Tyler that making a conscious and purposeful change, I know for me as an as a business owner, I wasn’t accepting checks. Now, we do have probably 20 clients who pay us in a check. It’s only during tax season, they come in, they get their return, they pay with a check. I don’t have a problem with that. But I still tell them, you know, you got to just think about the security of what you’re doing. You’re handing the check to me, which is great. But do you know what my Destruction Policy is? I know what it shouldn’t be. But am I properly, number one locking up those checks in the safe for 30 days? Are we or are we not? You don’t know that when you walk out? So obviously, accountants, were trusted advisors, but I mean, what, what kind of horror stories Tyler have you encountered or things that you’re like, This is the reason why people need to make that conscious switch over to a secure system.

Tyler Hickman
Yeah, you know, you know, like you said, we we’ve been picking on on checks here. And and it’s, it’s, it’s one of those, you know, again, ones where it’s been around since the Roman Empire, right. Like, it’s a simple platform, and everyone’s got it, you know, there’s probably too many accountants to count out there that have signed blank checks sitting in their desk, or they’re safe somewhere. And that’s really, you know, in particular, that’s the stuff we really have to weed out. And I know, you know, you always talk about it, accountants talking to, you know, their head drops, and they admit, yeah, you know, I do have a couple but, you know, I think there’s, from an industry standpoint, we’re getting away from that. But, you know, the horror stories, honestly, actually, on my side are a lot of times, you know, that their bank account takeovers, it happens all the time and others, the typical situation, and I’ve heard this, you know, worked for Veem for two and a half years, probably half a dozen times or more, where an email comes through from one of your vendors saying, “Hey, we’re switching our banking details, here’s the new credentials to our HSBC account,” or whatever. And of course, the vendor trusted came from that email, you know, they go in change the wire template details in their bank, there’s no additional level of verification, of course, the bank doesn’t really care, you enter the details, send the payment off, and then of course, month later, you know, get a call, or you might get a note or email saying, hey, our email was hacked, or, you know, whatever the situation might be, or hey, we didn’t receive that payment. And of course, they’ve just went through and changed it. So you know that that’s the situation we come up against all the time. And that’s why in particular, even even modern day solutions, like even email, as example, are not great. You know, right, there’s no additional level levels of security. There’s no verifications in those process. There’s no background checks. And this is honestly, where banks fall short as well. You know, ACH isn’t perfect wires are not perfect. There’s no additional layers at the bank does to verify that I’m sending this this, this these funds are this deposit to this, this vendor customer that you guys might have? You know, is this right? Are these details going to the right way. And there’s a lot of new new tools, Veem is among one of them, that has a whole list of background checks. You know, just as an example, from a from a top view level, we verify all parties. So we actually represent not only the sender, but as well, the receiver on all of our transactions. And that’s really key from just a very base fundamental, that we’re able to verify that the details that not only were provided to, you know, are correct, but they match the party that that they’re going towards to make sure that it’s a secure transaction and end.

Dawn Brolin
Right. And I think, I think that that’s, so we talk about differentiators and ways that people are when they’re making their decision on a payment solution, whether it’s a payable or receivable, right, because some systems only handle receivable, some handle only payables. And then you have those that are combos, I think that that’s critical when we’re looking at the security and understanding that, you know, you have those telephone people who call the elderly typically, and they’re like, “Hey, I’ve got 10 grand for you, but we got to verify your bank account.” So if you give me that you’re gonna see a debit and a credit, and then we’re gonna go ahead, and then they just go suck money out. And that’s because they don’t have that I’ll call it dual, you know, system of processes that we verify both. And so I think that that’s something that people need to hear, because that’s super important. And if you’re working with a system, or you’re working within a system that doesn’t have that process, and it’s just relying upon a one way transaction, so I’m paying out, and good luck on the other end, right. And that, and that’s troublesome for the payor and the payee both, so I love that you brought that up. So, you know, I know that we I’ve encountered and I encounter my clients where they’re, you know, they come to us. And I feel like we just always seem to get problem children who, who come to us and they’ve got no systems in place whatsoever. And so as a trusted adviser, I’m sitting there looking at what this clients doing their multi, a lot of a lot of times multi million dollar companies that are, you know, out there just transacting and not realizing the implications of their decisions, or clients that have multiple entities where we now have, you know, cross patterns of things that are happening, and we’ve got to keep it straight. And so Veem allows those companies who have multiple entities, we just, we just sent a client over a couple of weeks ago, who has multiple entities, and it’s like, you’ve got to have that separation. So we’re not piercing corporate veils, that we’re not just having this mosh posh of transfers all over the place, but rather having true transactions that are occurring. And so you must see a lot of that.

Tyler Hickman
Yeah, it’s you know, and there’s every every side of that spectrum, we’ve got, you know, many businesses very clean, but you know, just as many that are, you know, the books are messy, the, the, the boundaries are messy, but, you know, I think, like you said, if you can implement a tool, and if we can kind of clear out the clutter, and really kind of help them develop a path that that really makes sense and develop the rails for them to really kind of drive in the right direction, it can be quite easy for them. I mean, we have a number of tools, that that can help with that. But you know, we work with lots of organizations. And, and more frequently, you’re starting to see this a lot with different businesses that have subsidiaries or sister, you know, brother organizations, that all have some similarities and overlap. But tools like Veem, among others, I mean, QBO helps a lot with this as well. But to keep everything kind of separate and neat and organized and tidy, that these transactions these are owned by, by this business, this LLC alone, and we can kind of separate it and cut out the noise of going through this and make it you know, ultimately the other aspect of this is put it in a day to day process that can be standardized across one organization or multiple organizations for not only the internal employees, but as well as any bookkeepers any outside or outsourced accounting firms, and one that they can operate on a day to day basis very seamlessly.

Dawn Brolin
Yeah, and one other thing that I kind of want to throw in there for the accounting firm themselves, you know, I know that there are a lot of accounting firms who don’t want to accept electronic payments because of fees and things like that. With Veem, having that ability to first of all sync with your QBO file and upload all your customers you have all your clients all in all already imported into Veem and able to send out their invoices through Veeam where they go ahead and they make payment to you and eliminate the ACH and the merchant fees for credit cards or other things like that. Because really what what Veem is doing is capturing the end transaction and then transfering that. Is that am I saying that right? I’m saying it in the in the Dawn Brolin version!

Tyler Hickman
Yeah, well, yeah, no, absolutely. And that is what we do and receivables in particular, like you said before, there’s always been this kind of chasm so to speak, not too many, you know, businesses operate on both sides. But receivables is actually a focus of ours, you know, for this year, and, you know, we’ve got a number of new features on that side, because everyone does payables. There’s, there’s a million companies that do payables, right, they’re easier, but they’re not quite as sexy, right, like, no one likes to send money out, you know, there’s not quite as much of a focus on getting that those funds in, in a way. So. So you’re right, we focus on, again, true process improvement through automation and integrations and, and having that information come over your invoice that’s in QBO, come over being able to get automatically sent out, or manually sent out based off if you would, like, have a client be able to pay that in whatever way they want to pay it, essentially, and then that, that that whole system from the funds and the information, data flow back into QBO and your bank afterwards is really powerful. There’s a lot of other tools we actually just brought out here last week, it’ll be getting marketed out, but our first version of pre authorized debit, so PAD agreements, you know, there’s a lot of people that are interested in that for those day to day, you know, recurring transactions, you know, if if a client has an example of $500 bill on the first of every month for the next 12 months as your scope of work, why not automate that process? Right? Why manually go in and do that for 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 clinets, whatever the situation might be. We can all look in a number of areas in our lives, but that’s one where we can get time back. And really the question ends up being what else could you do with that time every month?

Dawn Brolin
Right? So yeah, so that’s something that as we and I’m always talking about reassessing your success, that’s what’s something that we’re doing. Is it is it a potential potential for us to save on those merchant fees, for instance? That we’re looking at to say, okay, so for next tax season, we implement part of our process to I’ll call it for lack of a better explanation to onboard the client to Veem, to say, hey, listen, this is how you’re going to pay us this year, go ahead and put in your payment information so that when we’re ready to process the invoice, it’s automated, we don’t have not necessarily automated but we can, you know, pull the trigger on processing that payment, as opposed to through the avenue we’re using now, where we’re getting charged those fees. So that’s something that I think is super important for the accounting professional to take a look at, you know, maybe again, maybe after tax season as you’re doing a reassess your success from the previous, this this 2022 season, if you will, and looking back and saying, hey, yeah, I really do need to implement a new system. And I would love to be able to receive payments from clients, and have them implemented the beginning, which is what we do, we do a lot of, here’s how we’re going to run this tax season, just so everyone knows, we kind of start that process in December, and then throughout January to say, hey, we want it to be a smooth process. But this is an opportunity for you as a firm, to save some money on those fees, or implement a system that you didn’t have before that you just refuse to participate in because of those fees. So that may be something Tyler that that they can look forward to as they transition out of this season into the next one.

Tyler Hickman
Yeah, I mean, we always we always see a kind of an influx, of course of people having conversations and, and at minimum, we want to, you know, just evaluate, just have a look at what’s out there, of course, for your firm as well for your clients, right, that that mentality of that it ain’t, you know, broken, don’t fix it sort of thing. You know, that’s, that’s such an old school mentality, there are improvements for working systems today that can be implemented. And, and you know, what, you might even be shocked to say this, you know, Dawn, you know, look, look at Veem look at other, you know, look at Melio look at Corepay, I mean, there’s a bunch of competitors, we all do slightly different things. So you do need to do a bit of an evaluation, because certain tech and tools will work better with certain different technologies and customer set. But but spend some time go through it. Because you know, you know, we’re here on on the the side of improvement, and there’s still a lot of the folks that are on the banks and checks, right? Like, any any solution on this side of the fence is an improvement at the end of the day, even if it’s not Veem would love for it to be Veem, of course. But there’s a lot of improvement that can be done but but do the evaluation, take some time for yourself and your clients and see what’s out there.

Dawn Brolin
Absolutely. And that’s that’s the whole point of DM Disruption is to motivate you to take a look at something different. And you’re right. It’s not always because there’s something wrong. It could be that you’re doing something that seems to be working and things are flowing well. But could they be better? I’m always striving for perfection. I mean, I think anyone who’s an entrepreneur, that’s that’s your goal is for as much perfection as you can obtain. So here’s an opportunity, another opportunity for you to do that. So, Tyler, I really appreciate you coming but are there any last thoughts that you want to leave with people? Where can they go to get to become a part of the account channel at Veem and those kinds of things.

Tyler Hickman
Yeah, so if anyone’s looking for any more information right on our website Veem.com, we’ve got an a hole accountants page right along the top banner, you’ll see it as soon as you get there, click on it, there’s a lot of information about what we do and what not. But you know, of course, we’re always looking to have individual conversations as well. So there’s direct links on there to book meetings with members of our team or speeches search out information so they can always reach us there but yeah, like, you know, just you know, spawning off what Dawn says, you know, just have a look see what’s out there, poke a couple tires at very minimum have a conversation with a couple different businesses, because you might be surprised as to what what what advancements have been out there in the last couple years and the number of different areas that companies like Veem and others could could offer some some help and…

Dawn Brolin
Yeah, absolutely. And, and definitely, like I said, just check out Veem we I’ve really enjoyed it we’ve implemented with clients. Tyler is like my go to, so Tyler Hickman at Veem.com certainly reach out to him personally, that’s also fine. But he seems to solve any of the questions that I may have. He’s my go to, but but the people that beam are very supportive. They’re there to help. Super responsive when it comes to support, which as I always say to you, guys, is very important to me, you can’t get support, why are you working with that app? You got to be able to get answers, you got to get them quick. So Veem is providing that support, certainly to Powerful Accounting and to the clients that we’ve introduced so far to the Veem family, if you will, but definitely want to thank everyone for listening and Tyler for being here today. I know we’ll be have you back on as Veem is again, continuing to improve and bring on new features and things like that, which again, is super important when you’re selecting a an app. If they look the same, feel the same, then they are the same because you can’t be… listen, if you’re standing still and doing the same thing, you’re actually going backwards, something that a lot of people don’t realize you’ve got to be moving forward. And these apps have got to be moving forward and growing. And I can tell you Veem is doing that. So thank you, Tyler. Thank you everyone for listening, and we’ll see you next time on the DM disruption.

Tyler Hickman
Thank you so much, Dawn!

This episode is sponsored by Liscio. Learn more at www.liscio.me

Summary

Katie Thomas, CPA and Founder of Leaders Online, joins Dawn to talk about her motivations, how to find work life balance, why your firm needs to have an online presence, and more! Listen now to learn how your accounting skills can benefit you in other aspects of your career, and how you can achieve both personal and professional success!

Show Notes

Katie’s Beginnings

Katie begins her conversation with Dawn by sharing her background in accounting, and shares her experience as a CPA and a public accountant. She shares that although she doesn’t practice accounting now, the skills she gained as an accountant have been invaluable to her.

“I didn’t realize that, with an accounting degree, you could really do a lot…those skills are really transferable and they also give you a lot of credibility.”

Katie started her career in accounting at Ernst & Young, but quickly learned she wasn’t finding the fulfillment she was looking for. She knew she had a love for marketing, and was hoping she could pursue that at EY, but unfortunately was not offered the position.

It wasn’t until she experienced a health scare where she really began to reevaluate what she wanted her career path to look like.

Katie also encourages listeners to take that leap of faith if they want to make that career adjustment or change, adding that there is no “right time” to make one.

“And then I realized that there’s no, really, ‘signal’. It’s like, it’s got to be up to you.”

Katie’s Motivation and Developing Leaders Online

Katie eventually left EY, and pursued a career in marketing—specifically in the accounting/business industry. She also shared that shortly after she quit EY, her husband ended up needing a major surgery, and that served as a huge motivation to get her business off the ground. 

Katie also shares that she’s always had a passion for marketing. She even helped market her father’s business when she was just 16 years old, and talks about how that experience helped bolster the trajectory of her business. 

While she loves the accounting industry, she did not find joy in tax returns and bookkeeping, but knew there was a market for the services she could provide to practitioners, which ultimately led to the creation of Leaders Online.

Why Your Firm Need to Get Online

Katie’s business, Leaders Online, is a marketing and consulting service that can help businesses increase their online presence. She can help with developmenting a social media presence, creating a new website, branding, and much more. 

Katie says she often finds that accounting firms are hesitant to share their achievements online, and prefer to rely on references to gain new clients. The problem with only relying on references is that your pool of clients can remain quite small. By putting yourself and your firm online, you are able to reach a wide range of clients, and you are able to choose exactly who you want to work with. Even if your firm is not looking for new clients, putting your firm online can even attract new staff who may want to work for your business.

Importance of Work Life Balance

While it is important to find joy in the work you do, Dawn and Katie both agree that it’s important to have goals outside of your work life.

Dawn shares that even though softball season is during tax season, she always makes time for it because it gives her something to look forward to, and ensures that her work hours are productive.

Katie agrees, and shares that she started scheduling horseback riding lessons, and that it’s important to find other activities that you can define yourself by, rather than just your career.

 

Want to connect with Katie Thomas? Find her here!

www.Leaders-Online.com 

 

Want to listen to this episode? Click here!

Want to hear more episodes? Listen here!

 

Find Dawn Brolin’s Latest Book, The Designated Motivator for Accounting Professionals, on Amazon!

 

Follow Dawn Brolin!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheDesignatedMotivator

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheDesignatedM1

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LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dawnbrolin/

Subscribe to Dawn on Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp1-…

Check our her Website – https://www.dawnbrolin.com/

 

Transcript

Dawn Brolin – Liscio Ad

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 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 was it 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 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 was 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 really 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 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 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.

 

Dawn Brolin

Alright, everybody, hello, and welcome back to the DM Disruption. My name is Dawn Brolin, and of course your host and I’m here with somebody that I just met really like a handful of months ago through you know, the electronic world, we’ll call it. But I was Katie Thomas here now it is…lifetime online co– help me,

 

Katie Thomas  

Leaders Online.

 

Dawn Brolin  

Leaders Online! I’m such an idiot. But really Katie has one of the sweetest souls of people you know, you know, you come across people in your life and you’re like, is she really there’s no way she’s this sweet and nice, but yet she is! And she’s intelligent. She’s got motivation. She’s got drive, her story is so awesome. I’m excited to share that with you. So, Katie, thank you so much for coming today. I mean, you’re out there changing the lives of accounting professionals, and we want to hear all about it. So tell us who you are, what you’re doing, why you started what– your story is so great! And tell us just about yourself.

 

Katie Thomas  

Well, thanks so much for having me on done. I’m super excited to be here. And I’m a CPA, an accountant like a lot of people who tune in, so I can relate to a lot of what you guys are going through, have gone through with school, and if you are a CPA and took the exam, I feel you but I took a little bit of a different path, once I had worked in public accounting for a little bit. So this is an interesting part of my story because I didn’t realize that with an accounting degree that you could really do a lot and that just the foundation of those skills are really transferable and they also give you a lot of credibility. So that’s something I want, like all accountants to know is like, there’s so many options for me. I do marketing and public relations. But you can go into technology, you can go into consulting, you can go literally into anything. And if you have a background in this industry, people automatically–they want to hear from you because you understand businesses.

 

Dawn Brolin  

Right? Absolutely. And so being a CPA yourself, I’ve always said, I try to tell this to like the application providers and the different companies of vendors that we work with that listen, honestly, I’m going to listen to Katie, before, I’m going to listen to maybe one of your salespeople, or one of the people that are in your marketing department. Because I trust Katie knows where I stand. She understands she’s been through the CPA exam, which is one in and of itself. I was watching on social media this weekend. And a young man had you know, passed the CPA and I was just…it brings you right back to when, if you remember, Katie, I don’t know about you, but I don’t even know how I passed this thing. Right? And so the last exam comes through and you’re like, Oh, my goodness, if I pass this I’m in. I’ve done it, right? And you’re, you don’t want to push that button. Right? It’s terrifying.

 

Katie Thomas  

Oh, it is. Every time you feel like you failed, at least I did. And then you’re like, okay, yes, I passed.

 

Dawn Brolin  

I will tell you okay, this so funny, because you’re just a little itty bitty baby. I mean, in very respectfully, by the way, your experience and what you do, but compared to this old lady, you’re just just, you’re just, you’re just a beautiful young lady. Anyway, I don’t know about you. But when I got my first result, my first exam, I got a 75. And I was like, 75 is passing, I swear, I printed 100 copies of it. I’m like, they can’t take it away from me print print print, like I was freaking out! Like, there’s no way they could take this away from me. And, you know, being able to encourage other accounting professionals as they’re going through that journey, because that journey, and I don’t know about you, when I when I took the exam, which wasn’t really that long ago, honestly, I think I think it was 2012 when I finished up. And so it was later for me, right? So I didn’t do it when I was young. And I just remember that process, it was a two year process, and every weekend, my husband would take the kids somewhere and either take him to his brothers, or they would go hiking, or they go to the playground, so Mommy could study. Right? And that was my big thing. So but to the encouragement now, there’s the social media areas with either whether it’s Facebook, or LinkedIn, or Twitter or whatever it may be where there’s these groups that encourage each other, right?

 

Katie Thomas  

Yep. Yep. Lots of encouragement and collaboration and just basically a community.

 

Dawn Brolin  

Yeah, it really is. And we need each other support. And so I remember I read through your story, which I think is fascinating, by the way. And I love the fact that you felt like you were kind of in a corner on your, I want you to tell us the story because it just shows the the true result of being motivated. And whether it’s a negative motivation, or positive motivation, or whatever it may be, or just this, I love that you have a dad like I have, I had a dad that passed away. But his inspiration, his work ethic that laid the path for where I knew I needed to go professionally. So I want you to tell that story, because it really is inspirational, and it’s motivational, and so tell us about that story, because I really enjoyed reading it.

 

Katie Thomas  

So I was–I had just gotten married at this time, and I was working at one of the big four firms. And for me, I always knew I wanted to go out and do something in like, the more creative space. So I did marketing for–it actually my father’s small business growing up–from time I was 16–I was working with them, and really helped them all up until I started at EY. And so I was super familiar with that space, and I loved it. But then I got into accounting because people said that’s the Language of Business, and long story short, I was at EY, I had just gotten married, and I came down with this weird sickness that I was in the hospital for nine days, the doctors were telling me that my heart could stop at any minute. I mean, I was perfectly healthy. And then all of a sudden I wasn’t and people are, you know, doctors are like, we don’t know, really what’s wrong with you. And when I got out of that, I really realize that, whatever you want to do, there’s never going to be a time. So I remember I would sit at EY, and I was like, I know, I’m being called for something else, like I feel it in me. But you know, am I too young? Am I smart enough? Is anyone going to take me seriously, I have a good job. And so I was just kind of like waiting for a signal. And then I realized that there’s no really signal. It’s like it’s got to be up to you. And so I was like, Okay, I went back to EY and I went to one of the partners and I was like, you know, I love doing business, business development. I love doing marketing like, is there a role in this company for me? And they basically said, “Hey, no, like you’ve got to be you know, a lot further up in the company.” And I totally respect that, so I said, okay. I see this with accountants, like, I know accounting, I know like what we do, maybe there’s a spot for me in the accounting industry doing this. And so I left. And I thought, okay, we’ve overcome one challenge. Well, just a few short weeks later, not even a month, my husband found out he was going to have to get a 13 disk spinal fusion, going to be off work for many months, the foreseeable future, and we’d have to go to New York for this. And so it was a crazy time, but it was, so it was exactly, I sometimes I feel like things just happen for a reason. And this one, it was like, Okay, you made this decision to go out on your own. Now you have an even bigger motivating factor, because your husband’s not going to have that second job of income, you’ve got to produce and provide for yourself and your husband, and we’re gonna find a way to make this work. And sometimes when your back’s up against the wall, that’s when you’re like, it’s go time, I’ve got this, I’m going to find a way. And so that was like, for me, that was like my motivation success story, and here we are today.

 

Dawn Brolin  

I love that. And so I and I truly believe that. And so, I think I totally believe things happen for a reason 100%, you close one window, and another one opens, a door doesn’t matter, right? And that’s kind of how we’re, I think a lot of it too. Like, I love the fact that your your dad has his own business. And, you know, you were in the weeds of that when you were 16, which I feel like, you know, I’ve been in business when my kids have seen you know that what that work ethic takes, because it’s one thing, I just I do this as my total opinion. And you could tell me, people could tell me, I’m nuts, which I kind of am. But to say that, you know, when you work for yourself, and you’ve done accomplish something like passing the CPA exam, I believe the CPA exam is part of what prepares you for the future for success in a profession, even if you don’t follow through and do traditional CPA work, right technical work. But that does the discipline, and the commitment, and you know, just that 18 months, or however long it takes people, some people takes less, it took me the exact I mean to the day 18 months, which because I’m a risk taker, apparently. And so but you know, you’ve learned that discipline, through that process, it gives you that ability, like you said, you had no choice girl, you were gonna bust out, and it was there was your backs against the wall. And guess what, you either have two choices, you can give up, cry about it and stay miserable at EY. Or you could bust out and say, you know what? I’m going to fall down, I already know it get a bunch of band aids and a bunch of bags of ice, because you’re gonna fall in your face, you’re gonna get beat up, you’re going to doubt yourself. And that’s what the CPA exam to me, that’s what it did. It prepared me to understand I failed one part right? Out of the four I failed when I had to take it again.

 

Katie Thomas  

That’s good!

 

Dawn Brolin  

Right? It’s not, there’s nothing wrong with that. And so where you are right now, you’re advising and consulting and working with accounting professionals, you have a book club, as a matter of fact, and other things. So tell me like, what’s, what are your clients telling you? What are you seeing in the profession? Like what is our biggest need? What are people screaming for?

 

Katie Thomas  

So it’s interesting, because as accountants, we’re really competent, and what we do, and how we help businesses, and our our set of skill set. But whenever you’re, you take the a lot of these accountants and I’m speaking generally not for everyone, not like you, Dawn, if you ask them to start sharing about that online and putting yourself out there and talking about some of their accomplishments, how great and awesome they are taking some of those skills and just putting them out to the public, they clam up. They’re not confident in it. And the thing with this is, they’re really, one, they’re not attracting as many like clients for their firm or some a lot of firms actually, you know, they’re like, “We don’t need any more clients right now, after COVID, we’re busy”, but they want new staff, well, they’re not putting their self out there and their brand out there, so then they’re not attracting that talent that they really could be. And it’s, it’s so cool to witness someone that is so awesome, and they’re lacking this confidence to really put themselves out there and help them do that, and then what comes from it, like more clients, more staff, maybe it’s they get an award like Top 100 Accountant or 40 under 40. It’s it’s really cool what comes from that and it’s not, they’re not conceited, they’re not bragging, it’s just creating a brand and a voice which they have. They just need to expand that and make it louder, put it on the microphone.

 

Dawn Brolin  

Yeah, and that’s such a good point too, because people will say to me, “Well, how do I get this type of work?” I want it you know, in in the in the new book, that Designated Motivator for Accounting Professionals, we do this reassess your success conversation to say, listen, are you even servicing the right clients? Are you actually performing services that you love? Or are you just doing it because it feels, you know, fills the payroll bucket when you need to pay payroll. And I found and I try to tell people listen, you’ve got to find something you love, because you’re going to work for a long time. And you you at least, and you may not, you know, I started out doing bookkeeping, you know, I didn’t go to EY or to a bigger firm, that just wasn’t the route, I stayed fairly in the smaller firm size. And then I love you know, kind of love them, like, Oh, I’m really good at this. I feel like I’m really good at it. And then I was like, I feel like there’s so much more I can be doing. And then I kind of shifted to tax and now tax resolution, a lot of that’s because of Eric Green. I hope you’ve heard there.

 

Katie Thomas  

Yeah, of course!

 

Dawn Brolin  

Eric is…Eric has steered me in a direction that I can’t be more thankful for. I kind of feel like if I had him, when I just graduated college, my life would have been very different. Not that I would change anything, because I wouldn’t, but he really helped me steer in this direction of passion of motivation, what I want to do to help people. And so I think that you’re right, like, be loud and proud. And you know, you don’t have to be like, it’s not even about being cocky. It’s about being knowledgeable and sharing that knowledge with other people who need to hear that knowledge. And when you do that, you make that loud voice, people are gonna go, oh, I need somebody for a QuickBooks data cleanup. Oh, I know who that is. Because I see them on social all the time, or somebody to do you know, employee retention, credit calculation, right, or r&d, or whatever. When you make yourself known that that’s what you do, you will get you will get referrals, and you will get clients that you’re looking for, right? And I’m sure you’ve seen that with people, right? They’re there. Are they servicing clients? They maybe maybe shouldn’t? And are you having those conversations with? With your people?

 

Katie Thomas  

Yeah, it comes up a lot, because a lot of times they are not currently serving exactly who they want. Or maybe they’ve made that transition, but they still have, you know, a handful of clients over here that they’re like, I need to replace that revenue. And it’s like, okay, but if no one knows you, then you are just relying on your existing clients to pass along the referral. Whereas if you have an online perception and brand and people know you maybe those people seeing you all the time, those aren’t your clients, but it’s like, “Hey, my friend over here, who has a similar business is looking for this. Have you seen Dawn online, she clearly knows what she’s talking about. Like you should check her out.”

 

Dawn Brolin  

Right? Yeah. And I think as you would probably can testify to this, too, there’s, there’s enough work for everybody. I kind of every once in a while I giggle I’m like, trying to remember the last time I went into my office, and I sat down in my chair, and I said, Boy, I just don’t really have anything to do today. Like, I kind of, I kind of have that as a goal personally, is to be able to like work myself out of work, which is what I try to tell my clients, listen, I don’t want to be on your dime, 24/7 I want to get in, I want to do really good work for you, give you great advice, and help you move your business forward. But at the same time, you know what? I someday would love to catch up. I would like every November and December, that’s my goal, right is to catch up on my work. So I can maybe take a couple weeks off, imagine. And so so with that shifting a little bit to helping people that you’re working with these these CPA firms, CPA owners, a firm owners and things like that, that’s your primary people in the firm owners that you’re talking to?

 

Katie Thomas  

Yeah.

 

Dawn Brolin  

And so to help them understand that, you know, there can be work life balance, and people throw “work life balance” around. Now, there’s never, I mean, I just don’t see us on a teeter totter words ever even. I think that we have tax season. And we’re doing a lot of that. But I also find like for myself, and you read the first book the Designated Motivator, taking the step, a leap of faith to say, “You know what? Yeah, I know softball is during tax season.” And so what is that? Is that the end of the line for me, because I’m a tax preparer, and I can ever be involved in something like that, right? So for me, it’s it’s not equal. I don’t not at softball the equal amount of time I’m working, but it gives me that ability to have a clear mind. And I think it’s really helped me focus better. And so are you finding your practitioners, the firm owners that you’re working with that they really struggle with that with being able to do something they love to do outside of the office?

 

Katie Thomas  

Oh, yeah. I mean, I think that for a lot of us, too, just the personality of our profession. Again, I’m generalizing here, but we’re very motivated, very dedicated to what we do, and to our clients and our, our team members, that it’s a challenge for us. Um, and I think though, for a lot of people, it’s like, it takes something significant to pull them out. For example, I know one firm owner I work with, she realized that her son was graduating this year and she was like, “Oh, my gosh, like, I’ve been working his whole, you know, high school” and so she way pulled back I was just like, I don’t know why this just hit me. So I think it’s really cool like you telling that story that you know, you took on coaching the softball team and stuff. And it wasn’t like that was something you know you had to do, but it kind of it was a moment to like, pull you back and make you realize, like, okay, I can do this. And I can rearrange my schedule, or sometimes I think, too, when you put something like that on your schedule, at least I’ve just found personally, it’s like you, you make it work like time just expands how it needs to expand. And that’s not to say you can only work one hour a day versus like, you can kind of give yourself deadlines and speed things up or move things around to just make it all work.

 

Dawn Brolin  

Yeah. And I think too like, for me that it’s one of my examples is okay, I know I have practice at 3, and I don’t want to miss practice. So I know I have to shut my email off and shut my phone off, and I need to focus on these five tax returns, however many it is, in order for my reward to go to practice. Now, if I don’t hit the goal that I know after practice, I’m coming back to the office because my my goal for the day was these five tax returns. And so when you set in, you’re right, that it’s that that sense of urgency, where if you have listen, I can fill a 14 hour day with work, no problem. But how productive am I really being?

 

Katie Thomas  

Yes!

 

Dawn Brolin  

Because I have this big expansion of time, right?

 

Katie Thomas  

Exactly. And I know I do the same thing, even though I’m not doing tax returns now. I, I’ve always been into horseback riding and I kind of especially when I started my business, like, let that not be as much of a priority. And so like as soon as I put it back on my schedule and scheduled lessons again and like really devoted myself to being committed to doing it. It was like, you have that reward and you’re going to work towards it and take the time away.

 

Dawn Brolin  

Absolutely. I feel like you know, I just what I have another thing that I can go and it’s like clearing your mind really the other day and I love that you horseback ride a very dear friend of mine. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Heather Satterly, she’s out of Rhode Island. Heather is she and Liz Scott run the Appy Hour?

 

Katie Thomas  

Oh, yeah. Okay, of course, Heather!

 

Dawn Brolin  

Yeah, you Heather. She’s, she loves horseback riding. And so she started to, yeah, she you got it, you guys would say oh my goodness, you guys would love each other. She started horseback riding, you know, maybe six months ago, maybe I don’t know if it was longer than that. She was renting a horse. She now has bought a horse. And she goes horseback riding. She’s got this group of friends and everything. And it just you can see a person’s world change when they are embracing something that they’re passionate about outside of work. I mean, we all love to where people pleasers accounting. Sorry, you are. We do have this stigmatism. And I think you alluded a little bit to it, where people are like, “Oh, well, I’m in the accounting profession, and so I’m supposed to be professional and I’m supposed to be in my suit all the time. And I’m supposed to be doing tax returns. And don’t talk to me during tax season.” And even at Scaling New Heights, I have to say, I think it was Veem had the best t shirt award at Scaling New Heights and it said “I’m sorry for what I said during tax season.” And that just like, righ?, I thought was that was creative. Um, but to think about that is the attitude. It’s like, well, we just don’t, you know, like, my friends will be like, “Oh, we don’t bother you during taxes.” I was like, Dude, I’m still a person. Yeah. And you know, I can still go out to dinner. I can still eat.

 

Katie Thomas  

Right!

 

Dawn Brolin  

So you can’t let–people go ahead…

 

Katie Thomas  

Oh, I was gonna say you can’t lose your identity to a job or profession. And it’s hard to not lose it sometimes, which is sad. You have to be intentional about it.

 

Dawn Brolin  

Absolutely. And I love what you said about your client who realized, oh, my goodness, my kid’s going to graduate. And I feel like the like was in softball. I always try to teach the kids and I try to drill into their heads, listen, do not have regrets. Life is shorter than you think it is. And it’s busier than it’s ever been before. But if we don’t stop for a hot second and say, Listen, the work will be there, you’ll get the work done. But to understand that you don’t want to look back and go, Oh my goodness, I wish I’d done this or my kids now off to college. Now they’re gone by, you know, they’re out of here. And it’s like, I missed that whole opportunity to be a part a big bigger part of my, my kids life. Now listen, I understand. There’s some people that listen, this is what you do. I’m not this is not a judgment. So let’s, right Katie?

 

Katie Thomas  

Right!

 

Dawn Brolin  

So let’s, let’s you know, preface the fact that we’re just trying to give you some motivation and some encouragement to stop for a minute. I mean, either just sit for five minutes and be like, what do I really want out of this life? I mean, I’m 51, okay, I’m not on the upslope I’m not on the upslope, okay, I’ve hit the peak, coming back down. But what do I want that ride to be like? What do I want that exit strategy of life, which nobody wants to talk about? Because it’s, you know, gloomy, but really, at the end of the day, there’s only two things you have to do you have to die, you have to pay taxes, right? Those are the only two things you have to do. So if those are the two things that are not really that pleasant, right, let’s see how we can fill our lives, even if it’s just an hour a day, an hour a week, two hours a week, that you can really feel good about something for yourself. And guess what? Here’s the thing, Katie, I’m sorry, I’m talking probably more than I should know. But I just I just connect, I really connect with you. Like, it all makes sense to me. And I look back and I say, what if? What if I had done these things? And what if I took some time to myself? Because I know it re-energizes me. And I know that listen, I’m going to have regrets. There’s no doubt everybody’s going to have them that’s inevitable. But can we minimize the regrets? And what does that mean for you, there’s a commitment thing, or there’s a, you know, continuing education, whatever that may be, but to look outside of all of this professional work, and I’m a CPA and all this stuff, and say, “You know what, I’m also a person,” and you’re going to lose, I lost staff for when I made that decision. People quit people, they were like, you’re not in the office enough. I mean, I don’t know if this is the truth, because I never really told me, but it’s like, why, what was the problem? I wasn’t in the office 16 hours a day, which is the you know, that’s what we’re supposed to be doing. Or, you know, you didn’t feel like I was I was working as hard as you were, it’s like, okay, and you’re gonna have that negativity, you just have to be willing to accept it. Right? At the end of the day.

 

Katie Thomas  

Yeah. Yeah. And I think something that about that is like, so powerful to do, and then have grace, if that changes, because like what you think brings you joy, like maybe right now, you are really focused on your career, and like, the thought of doing some sort of project or taking on extra work is like, that really does give you a lot of joy. That’s great. But then you, you know, a year changes, and now you’re having a family or something like that. And it’s like, Okay, I’ve got to take a step back. And maybe your life looks different, or your view of joy looks different now. Like, that’s okay, too. I know, that’s been something I’ve experienced is like, accepting that your wants needs, desires are going to change. And that doesn’t mean that you as a person aren’t as committed, or anything like that. It’s just like, no, like, you’re in a different stage in your life now, and priorities do change. And that’s okay. You’re still a committed person to your job and your profession.

 

Dawn Brolin  

I love that. It’s like I say reassess your success, but reassess your joy. Like it sounds corny, but it’s true. Like, you don’t want to be that person who’s on this shirt that said, “I’m sorry about what I said, during tax season,” you don’t want that to be your message.

 

Katie Thomas  

No, you don’t.

 

Dawn Brolin  

It’s funny, but that is not what I want to be perceived as is like a tax season we’ll ever we will see Brolin for three months. And yet I’m like, so you know, and this is super funny, too. And then maybe you go out, you know, to watch a game in a bar with your buddies, like on a Friday night or something and you go, you show up and they’re like, What are you doing here? It’s tax season. It’s like, what?

 

Katie Thomas  

I’m a human!

 

Dawn Brolin  

I’m still person. What do you mean? And it really is powerful when you can, you can determine and in like, set the stage for your success in whatever that some people are like, Listen, I’m going to work. I want to work 60-70 hours a week, 80 hours a week, and I’m just this is my time to shine. And I’m going to pump through it because then I take the other seven months off eight months off. That’s okay, too. Right? And and like you said to you, mate, I grinded man, I was the breadwinner. I had just like you were when you had your husband, right? And laid up, which by the way, when you wrote that up, it said, so my new husband, and I gambled about that. I was like, Oh, she got rid of one!

 

Katie Thomas 

(Katie Laughs) Nope! Still same one!

 

Dawn Brolin  

One and done. I always say I don’t want to retrain man, I have my one guy. I’m gonna keep him. I don’t have to retrain. But but it just, it just is. And it’s something that you just have to reflect back on and say, I think this is what’s best for Dawn Brolin. And that’s where I think it’s hard for us because we do want to please everyone else before ourselves, but over time, that can beat you down. So tell me about what are your what are the things that you can offer to the to the people that are listening now, what you you are doing coaching with these firms, you’re helping with marketing, you’re helping with branding, tell us about what you’re doing. So we can you know, people have a need for what you’re doing. So tell us a little bit more about that.

 

Katie Thomas  

Yeah, so if you’re a firm owner, and you feel like right now, you aren’t being seen online as the expert you are, then that’s where you’re the perfect candidate to get some help. So maybe you don’t like your current website. Or maybe you feel like your social media presence is lacking. Or maybe you see people getting featured in articles and you, you want to be featured to you want to share your knowledge and your expertise, then that’s exactly where we can help you and we can come in and work together to create a plan on how to take you from where you’re at now to where you want to be. And we’ll work together and do it. It’s we need a little help from you as the practitioner because you’re the only one that knows your story, your voice your brand, but we try to do all the heavy lifting like all the content, writing, creation, all that’s done for you.

 

Dawn Brolin

And I love that and we need that. And I love the fact that you’ve been a CPA and you are a CPA and that you’ve been in our industry and worked for the bigger firms, you’ve, you’ve worked with accountants, just in general and clients, you understand what the client needs to hear as well. So, so what what let’s just because we’re gonna wrap it up, but what’s the website that people can come find you?

 

Katie Thomas

You can go to Leaders dash, so little hyphen online.com. And you can learn more about what we do there schedule a time to talk. And then I’m on social media, Katie Thomas, CPA pretty much everywhere. So you can I send me a DM.

 

Dawn Brolin  

Definitely. So well, it will post the link, the link will be right there on the on the homepage of the podcast, you’ll be able to click links and go listen to Katie, I just have to say that I I’ve met you for a very short period of time. And it was almost like an instant connection that I felt like you like got me like you figured you understood me and I and you could hear me and that kind of thing. And I think we as practitioners need to get that voice out there. And if you do want to be someone who wants to get on the stage, and you want to, you know, teach and speak and write and be part of the community educational program, which is really what we’re all there to do, especially the online presence, let people find you people need to find you. You want them to hear your voice. And so Katie is a phenomenal human being number one, and number two, just she’s got it figured out. And I think you know, definitely take a look. Get on a call with Katie and see how she can help you improve that online presence in your voice. So Katie, I just want to thank you so much. Like I said, I really enjoy just interacting with you at any time. And if there’s anything we could do, we’ll probably have you back cause I want to hear more about how are your obviously your clients, we don’t know who they are, but what are they doing over the next six months or so and so we’ll we’ll definitely have you back on the show. So any last words you want to leave with people?

 

Katie Thomas  

Well, I just wanted to say thanks for listening to this episode and you could have been doing anything with your time and you chose to spend 25 minutes hanging out with us so I really appreciate you.

 

Dawn Brolin  

Awesome, Katie, thank you so much. And we’ll be seeing everybody again on the DM Disruption next time from Dawn Brolin from Windham, Connecticut, everyone have a great rest of your day. Thanks so much!

 

 

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