I started my practice over twenty-five years ago, I chose QuickBooks. Today it’s still the backbone of my accounting system, throughout the years (decades!) Intuit has kept innovating based on the insights of their users and the needs of the clients that we as practitioners serve.
One of the most pivotal strategic moves that Intuit made in the QB ecosystem was the decision to keep their API open, that means, allowing other apps the capability to build products that integrate directly with QuickBooks. This allowed what we know today as the QuickBooks marketplace to not only exist, but to empower us as practitioners to keep pace with our clients’ needs to drive maximum efficiency within our own practice.
I credit David Leary, co-host of the Cloud Accounting Podcast and QuickBooks technologist, with helping Intuit see the future of the accounting profession and the need to allow accountants to have the freedom and flexibility to add other applications to their accounting software. I vividly recall The Intuit Hackathons,
is where the QuickBooks open API really started.
As we know, businesses don’t grow in a box, and if your accounting management software is inflexible, you’ll never be able to scale or serve larger clients because you will be completely limited in the tools you have available. Not to mention, your practice will be a patchwork of unproductive apps that don’t play together…that is a revenue killer right there. The integrated technology ecosystem that I have built using QuickBooks’ open API and third-party apps is the lifeblood of my firm’s efficiency, productivity and increased profitability.
The QuickBooks Open API levels the playing field for practices of every size
Depending on your sweet spot and growth plans, the QuickBooks an open API allows you to serve mid-market clients (10 to 99 employees).Though my practice is relatively small in terms of number of employees, I am confident in competing for business with larger firms because I know that with QuickBooks and Intuit as my tax system, I can meet the needs of any small or big client because my tool box is almost limitless.
Intuit has leveled the playing field for all firms with their open API system. If you look at the QuickBooks marketplace, you will find literally thousands of apps that you can integrate with to create a highly functional and financially viable tech ecosystem. In my Team Brolin Playing Field, QuickBooks and Lacerte are the hubs of my workflow. They are the powerhouses around which I have built a highly efficient and completely integrated system. For example, I utilize the following apps which integrate seamlessly with QuickBooks:
Bookkeep – This is an amazing automated e-commerce reconciliation direct to QuickBooks. It really could not be simpler, and the automation actually does what it says it does, so I trust it completely to sync all e-commerce transactions with my clients’ QuickBooks!
FinancialCents -for practice management Financial Cents has accounting practices covered, and it also integrates with QBO so you can sync contacts, service items, invoices and payments — all in one place.
Corpay One – I use Corpay One for payments and the integration for QuickBooks Online makes the whole process seamless. Corpay One automatically syncs document data to QuickBooks Online, including vendor invoices and payments. This is a massive timesaver!
Jirav – Provides the tools for financial planning and analysis, working seamlessly with QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Desktop. It pulls in your chart of accounts and account balances to drive your dashboard, reports and forecasts automatically. Jirav’s automatic and ongoing synchronization with QuickBooks allows you to build your forecast in the same way a business operates.
Liscio – This is my go-to app for client communications, but you can also create and send QBO invoices right from Liscio. Once paid, the QBO receivable is satisfied and QBO records can also sync with Liscio so your contacts are always up to date.
Smartvault is my secure document management go-to with seamless integration with QuickBooks to attach source files to entries in QuickBooks or QuickBooks Online.
Together, these two applications allow you to go paperless and stay audit ready because you can attach source files to entries in QuickBooks Online, including: bills, invoices, vendors, customer records – even transactions and list items! Once stored in SmartVault, files are available from QuickBooks or right from your browser or mobile device.
QuickBooks’ open API: Build the tech stack and the firm that works for YOU.
I can truly say my practice would not be where it is today without QuickBooks and Intuit. From the first day I came home with the iconic green box of QuickBooks and triumphantly declared to my husband I was going to hit a grand slam with my bookkeeping business to now serving clients across the country and beyond, the QuickBooks ecosystem has both empowered and enabled me to achieve so much in my business while still creating exponential efficiencies which means I have a life, too!
If you aren’t already in the cloud and leveraging QuickBooks open API, let’s change that. Check out the QuickBooks marketplace and consider the problem or pain point you want to eliminate based on the apps you are already using. I bet there are many that can integrate with QuickBooks to help you gain more efficiency, productivity and allow you to make more money by eliminating manual or inefficient processes as well as by freeing you up to serve your clients with comprehensive, advisory-focused services.
This is a paid partnership with Intuit.
The inaugural #AppyHour Camp came to a close a few days ago and I have to tell you, the experience was epic! A huge shout out to Liz Scott and Heather Satterley for having the vision to bring so many top-tier accounting profession educators, upcoming rockstars, and dedicated solution providers together.
It was an honor to be the MC for Appy Hour Camp and as The Designated Motivator, it was truly inspiring to see a whole new level of peer-to-peer motivation be ignited. I brought along my Starting Lineup of technology solution providers, too, in the form of these cool new #DesignatedMotivator blackout t-shirts. You can bet that Appy Camp is just the beginning of where you’ll see these!
As I mentioned prior to my departure for Appy Camp, I knew there would be some amazing takeaways from the talks given and the time spent unplugged for the most part, really connecting in the most human and creative sense with my peers. It was an amazing experience and I came back primed to do even more to support all of you and to help others in this profession do the same.
I know that there are so many #DesignatedMotivators in our midst, each day we have the opportunity to take on this role and lift each other up whether that is on stage, in our firms, or in other organizations we belong to (family systems included!). As we head into busy season I see it as my role to keep being #TheDesignatedMotivator and this includes working with my Starting Lineup of apps and technology solutions to share how they support a better quality of client experience, workflow, and overall firm management capabilities.
I truly believe that my partners including ADP®, Bookkeep, Canopy, Fishbowl, Jirav, Liscio, Smartvault, Swizznet, Corpay, RCReports, and Truly Financial are not only technology providers but motivators for us all, too, to keep us accomplishing more with less effort and enabling more balance on all fronts.
Let’s tackle the next quarter of the year like it is the last of 2022, because it is! And because with all of us in the accounting profession participating in the #MotivationMovement we can keep nurturing the spirit of collaboration that we started at events such as Appy Camp so they continue through #QBConnect and all of the other places we go in the next few months.
For those of us running public accounting and bookkeeping practices, we are continually called on to be a trusted advisor to our business clients, a credible conduit between the government and the rest of society when it comes to communicating and interpreting the tax code, plus a dedicated “doer” of the work. Oh, and that’s all before breakfast! Some days it seems that way, doesn’t it?
Here is what I know: this feeling of being overwhelmed and out to sea has become our new normal, and to me, that’s not the way anyone should live because life is too short. I’ve been there and done that, it’s stressful and soul-sucking.I know I am not alone in this view, but for too many other peer professionals, burnout is inevitable. Or is it?
If you are feeling like your options are to 1)keep doing what you are doing and burnout or 2) abandon the ship of an old-school firm I want to introduce youtube a different mindset. Engaging in a community of peers.
Does this seem too simple to work as a strategy for beating burnout? The truth is, we all need to have other people and perspectives to help us cope. Whether it’s professional or personal, or a mixture of both, having others to bounce ideas off and collaborate with can be life-changing. It’s not just a theory, either. A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information shows that the more we connect with others who have similar experiences in a supportive way, the happier, less stressed, and prone to burnout we will be.
In fact, this week as I am surrounded by other accounting professionals with similar goals and mindsets as mine at Appy Camp, hosted by two of my favorite peers, Heather Satterley and Liz Scott, I am reminded of this fact. I hope you’ll make a mission of finding yourself a supportive peer group this week, too.
Here are a few accounting communities to consider:
Ecomm As You Are, The Designated Motivator Community, the Woodard Membership Community, and of course, attending events online, connecting on social media and, if you can, going to conferences in person is another great way to meet new supportive peer professionals.
It’s so important for accounting professionals to remember that you are not alone. It may feel that way when you get mired down with work, clients, deadlines, and then the life you have to manage outside of your firm. However, you can make a choice to think differently and see connecting and taking the time to nurture relationships as a critical part of keeping your productivity high and purpose for doing what you do front and center. Both of these benefits of engaging in community will ensure that you beat burnout and achieve the goals you have for yourself and your business.
There are so many people who shine bright in this profession who are ready and willing to help you. This is why I fundamentally believe that the more connected we are as people in this profession the greater the opportunities are for each of us. So don’t wait on the sidelines. Reach out to someone, be human, be humble, ask for help if you need it. And always remember, together we rise.
I am super excited for Appy Hour Camp coming up September 19 to 21! Who wouldn’t be? It’s going to be a fun adult camping experience hosted by Heather Satterley and Liz Scott, and me, The Designated Motivator, as the M.C. Let me assure you, however, this isn’t going to be all s’mores and camp fire songs! In fact, what I am most excited for (beyond the fact that we are going to be staying at the same place Dirty Dancing was filmed!) is that it’s going to be a truly educational experience.
Liz and Heather invited many thought leaders and educators in the accounting space to support us as intentional educators and to serve as an incubator for the next round of aspiring educators in the accounting space. I know with the lineup of speakers and contributors this is going to be an awesome camp!
According to Appy Camp headquarters, “the entire educational, inspirational and entertaining retreat will be a co-mingling of established accounting industry educators, up-and-coming educators, and app developers. All camp attendees will be immersed in the sessions and activities together in a shared space to facilitate community and collective innovation.”
In other words, we are going to get some of the most brilliant minds in the profession together and learn from each other about new ways to engage and expand the knowledge base for all of us. From talk to technology, I am planning to come home with some really inspiring action items that I can share with all of you.
I know whenever I get together with peers like entrepreneur wizard Melinda Emerson, Ted Callahan from Intuit, Misty Megia (can’t wait to hear her speak!), Virginia Lacayo, a business coach for thought leaders, Dan Gertudes from GrowthLabs, Ian Vacin from Karbon, and Mariette Martinez, Accounting Strategist the learning opportunities will be immense!
I am so looking forward to packing up my camping gear and heading to Appy Camp in just a couple of weeks. I don’t travel light to camp, either! I will be bringing along my entire Starting Lineup of apps and technology solutions to share with everyone including ADP®, Bookkeep, Canopy, Corpay One, Fishbowl, Jirav, Liscio, Smartvault, Swizznet, and Truly Financial. These are literally the solutions that have allowed me to create a cloud-based firm that is so efficient I can actually take four days to go to Appy Camp and not feel stressed about it, knowing that my team can use the system we have created to manage the workflow and my clients are still completely taken care of.
While I’m away, I’ll be posting on my social channels so please follow me so you can be part of the whole camp experience, too!
The right tech stack can really alleviate stress, save time, and maximize your firm’s throughput, but only if you have a clear vision for each solution you are using. There’s a buffet of options out there, that’s for sure, and they all cost either time to implement or money to buy (or both) so it can be stressful to even think about which solutions to use. I get it and I want to help, that’s why I am sharing my softball strategy to help you build a tech stack that works with your firm not against it!
Imagine if hitting a home run when it comes to the profitability of your practice was as easy as watching a ball game. To me, it really is—running a profitable and highly efficient accounting, bookkeeping or tax practice is no different than coaching a softball (or baseball) team. Here’s a brief overview of how you can use softball strategy to knock it out of the park when it comes to your practice productivity and profitability, too.
You see, in softball, you have positions on your team that you have to fill. In addition, you have players that you need to recruit to fill those positions. Let’s stick with the defensive side of the game. You have a pitcher, catcher, first baseman, second baseman, etc. Imagine if hitting a home run when it comes to the profitability of your practice was as easy as watching a ball game. To me, it really is—running a profitable and highly efficient accounting, bookkeeping or tax practice is no different than coaching a softball (or baseball) team. Here’s a brief overview of how you can use softball strategy to knock it out of the park when it comes to your practice productivity and profitability, too. nd baseman, third baseman, shortstop, left fielder, center fielder, and right fielder.
As a coach, you need to know what the positions are and you need to seek the most talented players to fill those positions. From an accounting, bookkeeping, or tax practice perspective the game really is no different. You have certain positions to fill in order to run your firm, to create an amazing client experience, and to complete client work.
Every accounting firm has some positions that are necessary no matter what you provide for services. Then there are the tools you need that are specific to the services you provide. In other words, in order to pick the right software, you need to also accept that no one piece of software is going to solve everything.
Here are the solutions that I have chosen (Click on the name of each one below to get the overview of benefits):
However, you really need to choose your own based on your needs and by looking at the solutions and how they align with the problems you are trying to solve. Start by downloading the Team Brolin Starting Lineup Playbook here.
No two businesses are alike. That’s what keeps my accounting practice really interesting – even after 23 years!
Throughout my career, I’ve consulted and worked with hundreds of businesses on the technologies and systems they use. Every client has different needs, which makes every engagement a new adventure! Yet my first recommendation, next to having a cloud accounting solution, is usually the same: QuickBooks® Enterprise. I’ve been using it myself for 23 years, and I know from my own experience that you can shape this platform in so many ways!
In addition, QuickBooks protected cloud access lets clients collaborate and boost productivity because they can use Enterprise anywhere, using any device. Plus, they use state-of-the-art protocols to store data, so it really is the most secure and streamlined solution, giving all of us peace of mind.
The flexibility and customization available in QuickBooks Enterprise really make it the go-to solution for any business. That’s why I set up my business clients on it, and then we completely tailor it to their goals. Enterprise truly is designed for all, but unique for one. Read on for some key examples!