Here we are again! Another tax season is upon us. I invite you to take control of what I call “productive season” (not busy season!) by joining me February 13, 2023 for a webinar with Heather Sperduto, Vice President of Sales Operations, Accountant Channel at ADP. We will show you how to make this tax season different than any other.

Take away practical tips to help you improve your processes, including documenting pain points, changing the way you look at a tax return, and key technology considerations. Our learning objectives include:

Let’s look at this tax season as a time ripe with possibilities! I will show you how I am taking a new approach to tax season as a launching point for advisory, too, including relationship pricing. Join me at this webinar and make 2023 your most productive tax season ever! Register now.

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):









Truly Financial


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.

Episode Summary

Dawn Brolin, CPA, CFE, sits down with Erron Stark, Division Vice President of Channel Strategy for ADP, to discuss the current challenges many businesses are facing, specifically with hiring staff and employee retention. They speak about how ADP can provide data and solutions for businesses in these challenging times, and allow accounting professionals to provide their clients with a wide pool of information they can use to solve their current business pain points.

Erron’s Introduction

Erron Stark, Division Vice President of Channel Strategy for ADP, is in charge of putting together the program, products, and processes, and does so in a way that can provide value to the accounting community. He acknowledges his passion for helping the accounting community, and knows how valuable that relationship with them can be.

How ADP’s Access to Data Can Help Solve Pain Points

Erron speaks about his experience at Engage, and shares how different the conversations were this year following the pandemic. He talks about how people were hesitant to seek help from ADP, and didn’t want to experience change due to the overwhelming changes they had to overcome following COVID-19.

Dawn agrees, and briefly discusses how ADP can help with benchmarking, and uses restaurant owners as an example of this. She explains that many restaurant owners are having trouble staffing their business, and she explains that ADP can provide the necessary tools and information for business to see what the current hourly wage trends are; ADP has data from everywhere.

Erron adds he’s seen the same trends, and that hiring employees is one of the biggest struggles that many businesses are facing. He says that ADP’s benchmarking data goes off of real time data, and can give businesses accurate information in terms of how to retain employees and also see what local businesses around them are doing. 

Dawn also adds that partnering with ADP allows accounting professionals to give value to all of their clients, rather than just providing payroll. Only looking at payroll data is not enough to keep a business thriving in current times, and it’s up to the accounting professionals to make sure their clients have access to enough information to properly execute plans and procedures to keep their business afloat.

ADP’s Vision for the Future

Nate discusses how ADP strives to always improve the way they present data to their firms. He talks about how it will be a continuous evolution of development, and makes sure they are receiving feedback from the accounting community for how they can best improve. He also talks about how ADP is also striving to help clients with proper regulatory compliance, as this can be difficult for many clients to implement properly.

Dawn also adds that she appreciates how ADP has her back, and can notify her of issues that may arise within her client’s business, such as not properly providing worker compensation and liability insurance.

Erron’s Motivation

Erron shares how he finds his motivation in his family, and also strives to put them in a better position. He also talks about his competitive nature, and credits his experience in sales during college for providing him with his consistent drive. He also shares his passion for always striving to always improve his work, and gets a lot of motivation when he sees success in ADP and in his clients.


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Dawn Brolin 0:01
Hello everyone and welcome to the DM Disruption. I’m the host Dawn Brolin. I’m a certified public accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, and the author of the designated motivator. We’re here to help motivate you to take your practice to the next level.

Have you considered outsourcing your clients payroll? Well, I did and I went with ADP. The resources they provide, along with their partner program become the premier outsourcing Payroll solution. We as practitioners already deal with a ton of compliance. Keeping up with payroll isn’t a value added solution that I should be focused on. If you’ve considered outsourcing before, reconsider it today. Choose ADP to be part of your starting lineup.

Alright, so everyone, thank you so much. And welcome to the DM disruption. Super excited today to have Erron Stark from ADP on the show today. He’s just a great guy. We had a really good time at one dinner one time isn’t our best friends. And that’s just how it works, right. But, Erron, welcome to the podcast today. Introduce yourself. Tell us what you do and what you love. Go for it.

Erron Stark 1:12
Yeah. So first of all, thank you for having me Dawn. It’s it’s a pleasure. By the way last week is been a year and a half of being not in person with you is like the culmination of some good things to come. Right. So great seeing you last week. As you mentioned, my name is Erron Stark, division vice president of channel strategy for ADP is a lot of words. And ultimately, what that means is myself, my team, we are responsible for putting together the programs, the products, different processes, and how we can provide value to specifically the accounting community. There are other channels, we’re responsible for some of our executive bank relationships, we work with brokers alike, but over 60% of our business comes in through the accountant, community like people like yourself on so I think my number one responsibility is that came into this role about four years ago was Do not Mess That Up. This is such an important community to ADP, you know the value that we provide the service that we provide the products that we you know, offer to you and your clients, you know, our team’s responsibility is to keep that at a very high level, if not always exceeding expectations. So happy to be here to talk about what we’re hearing and seeing and feeling, you know, within this profession today. Um, and from there, you never know, with our conversations which direction I’m looking forward to.

Dawn Brolin 2:32
I know you know, we’ll we’re always entertaining Aaron, I haven’t have a blast all the time. That’s how we roll. And so ADP is part of Team Roland team role and having our full All Star tech stack of, you know, these are all the positions we have in our firm to run our firm. These are all the applications that we recommend to our clients. And of course, so ADP is number one. I’m disappointed a little bit the fact that when I asked ADP what they want, I’m not surprised by any stretch of the imagination, but which is your favorite baseball team. And of course, Erron and Amy, they’re all I don’t I don’t know what kind of drugs they take on a regular basis. But they’re all about the Yankees, right? Yankee Spanky. So we’ll just get that out of them.

Erron Stark 3:13
You can just grab yourselves and team Brolin, I think that, you know, it gives us a good start. So let’s not get into that, because you…

Dawn Brolin 3:23
It’s so fun. No, you know, and that’s one of the things like we just are trying to make this whole program, the podcast, all of the all star lineup. And that because we will we want to do is help my fellow accounting colleagues, my professionals realize that we have the ability to teach our clients how to run their businesses in a way that we run our businesses. And with that, we want to make sure that we’re implementing best practices, the most value add that we can provide to the client. And that’s one of the reasons why ADP is just a homerun, they’re, you know, they’re the homerun team, a homerun player on my team. I mean, they give me the ability to service my clients, monitor activity within my clients to analyze and things like that. And so I just for me, it’s not, there’s just no comparison to what ADP provides my firm and my clients for service. But, Erron, okay, we were at Engage, right? And we were, it was wonderful to see people that was like, so important to get around each other, to learn from each other to be a look in each other’s eyes again, you know, and so tell me a little bit about your experience at Engage and what did you see from the practitioners and what’s the what’s the hype?

Erron Stark 4:33
Yeah, so finally getting to interat in person, which was amazing. I think it’s, it’s interesting to see since the last thing that we’re in person, and obviously many, many conversations, virtual conversations over the last, you know, 16-18 months, however long its been, losing track, but the reality is everybody’s been talking about and like two different paths, right, you have this thing on top of it. legislative changes path, which you just have to as the frontline, the frontline for every SMB client that’s out there, and where they’re looking for advice and guidance on how to navigate through that. So you have that piece which you don’t necessarily control, which is very taxing and time consuming. And all the regulations regulatory compliance on this report, and then you have, you know, this continuous evolution of advisory services. And I put air quotes in here, because I feel like everybody’s got it like a different definition of it. But no matter how you define it, right, it’s a combination of leveraging technology, leveraging data, being able to present it in an articulate form to your clients that will help and enable them to grow. And hopefully, this is a, you know, a cocktail of all the different definitions that exist out there. But I think one of the things that I learned, and I’ve heard this in a couple of different conversations, not just an engagement leading up to engages, yes, I understand it’s right. And yes, I’ve started to see and learn more about what’s available to me. But I still don’t know how to actually capitalize on it, like, there still seems to be a certain level of hesitation on because people are in the sensitive state, like, how do I profit from the cutaway product? Guys? How do I monetize it. Um, and I think that’s something that, you know, the firm’s that we’re working with, some have figured it out that, you know, definitely on the more progressive side, because they understand the value to it, and how it differentiates them from, you know, the accountant, the advisor, the practitioner down the block, and then there are a lot that just don’t understand how their clients are going to react to it. And it’s giving them a little bit of pause. So, you know, from an ADP standpoint, I think that, you know, we help definitely with some of the technology elements and the tech stack that we can provide to give that data that intelligence, but we’re we’re looking to continuously evolve based on the feedback that we’re hearing is, how can we either develop or partner with, you know, those entities, and that can actually help a firm understand how I can monetize this, how I can introduce it to my clients, where they don’t feel threatened by it, where I’m trying to gouge them during a very sensitive time, versus this is a valued service that is going to enhance your business. And as you are trying to grow your practice. So am I and we’re in this together. Right? Like, I think that that’s something that we’re still trying to figure out. I don’t know if I have it fully laid out just yet. But hopefully, that’s a good summary of what we’re seeing what we’re hearing.

Dawn Brolin 7:28
And you know, Heather and I talk a lot when I spoke with her the other day, we were talking about, you know, the whole concept of the benchmarks of what are other and we use restaurants as an example. We know right now that employers are really struggling finding employees, finding people who want to work, we won’t get political about it, but it just is what it is. Right? So with saying that, what the solution or a resource that ADP is able to provide you as a practitioner through the accountant Connect portal, is that benchmarking? What are people getting paid in Boston, Massachusetts as a server? What are they getting paid? And, you know, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, wherever, wherever your clients are with loves, ADP has data from everywhere. And I think that that’s one of the things right now, when you listen to your clients say, Hey, listen, I’m struggling with hiring employees, I can’t get people. What do I do? Well, one of the first things you can do is go into your account, connect resource and go check and see what the comparatives across the country or wherever your clients located for the similar for a similar type of business, and figure out maybe your way underpaying people, it’s totally possible, but you don’t know if you don’t have the resources. And that’s, I think the most important thing to me are the resources that I can tap into the PPP loan, you guys crushed, that, you know, the reporting and the things that we needed to report in for forgiveness, and things like that. And guess what people that’s still going on today’s PPP loan close with it was end of May the second round, there’s still reporting requirements that you’re going to be required to provide. And if you’re just not able to pop those reports out, you know, I’m sorry, but you got to you’ve got to look at something to do something different. And so, you know, talk about if you can era just talk a little bit about what you’re seeing from a hiring perspective, because you guys obviously see all of the industry statistics and the reporting that comes out about that. What are what are you seeing out there with regards to employee retention or even hiring.

Erron Stark 9:27
I want to be really, cause I feel like media, medium without hearing and seeing some of the statistics and the sensitivity around you know, having to retain employees and the taxing exercise that that that includes and listen to the bits that are most important asset are people but people are calling this current time the Great Resignation, 40% of employees are considering leaving their current employer because there’s a there’s a premium out there. cause the amount of jobs that continue to stay open 9 million jobs, right that they’re open right now in the economy. And as good as the jobs reports have been as far as filling them, like there’s an attrition that’s taking place, it’s opening up more, and then there’s just been this big void. And they can see that has built over the past year and a half, that is going to take some time for us to get back to. So employers are taking extreme measures to offer hiring bonuses, premium benefits, different experiences, whether that’s, you know, hiring bonuses or equity within their firms like there is a variety of different tactics that they need to differentiate themselves from the competition or attract them away from their current employer. So everybody’s playing this offense defense game. And to your point that comp benchmarking is what really does differentiated versus some of the other datasets that are out there is that it’s it’s built off of real time intelligence, where you can go look at some of the job boards, and you can go and look at some of the other datasets, but they are an aggregation of information that took place last month, last quarter or last year, based on those different jobs, or potentially what people are being offered in a job board. Right, like what’s on the actual adopters. But that doesn’t necessarily correlate to what people are getting paid and offered at the end state. So what our information does is we’re aggregating and anonymizing 30 million plus employees across the domestic US. And then we’re pulling that in by industry, by geography by job tied by tenure. And that’s what people are getting paid right now. Right? The second and if you take that, and you start to expand it with this, you know, another piece of attracting and hiring talent right now, is the flexibility optionality, when it comes to where you’re going to work, and how often you’re going to work, right? Like you’ve seen many companies instituting four day workweeks, or your instance being you only have to come to the office three days a week, or not ever come to the office at all. So people have relocated from New York, Florida, from Florida to California, from Texas to wherever. And just heard about somebody moving to Montana sounds glorious, like the reality is, what what you’re paying for talent that used to live in New York City, the cost of living is not the same in Montana, right, and being able to have the tools to pivot quickly are, I mean, you could say that that’s important, right? And a differentiator for not just us for the firm, but the firm to that client, right to be able to, you know, identify that. And then all these pieces to get off this model up here, I guess, is also taking a look at the clients that are reaching out to you or one cohort, right? Like that’s one group of people that are proactively reaching out to their advisors, and asking them for a level of consultation and how to navigate this. Is it every client? I promise you, it’s probably not right. It’s not like you have 100 clients, maybe 50 are doing that. Me too, right. But the other 50, the other 98, you have to assume that some of this is taking place within their organizations as well. And if they’re not reaching out to you, it’s either a, they don’t know the questions to ask, ie, they don’t know that you have services or solutions to help me or see the worst answer. They’re going somewhere else for, right. And it’s that some or else that should be just something top of mind for the accounting profession, because everybody’s trying to create these robust suites, where I offer this, and this This, in essence, right. And some of those other this is, we hope and fingers crossed that they’re not going to be accounting services. So Right. So and what we’ve done to take offense to that with our accounting partners in accounting Connect is the new insights application, which actually shows you which clients are adding employees, which clients might have attrition, which clients are opening up or have multiple jurisdictions that they’re adding to their payroll, who should be leading indicators that you could take a proactive measure with your clients pick up the phone and say, I just saw that you added 35 employees over the last 90 days, that’s awesome. But are you putting in the infrastructure to help support them to help retain them, right? So you can stabilize this growth if not accelerated, moving forward? Or the adverse which is, hey, I’ve seen that you lost him people over the last month or two, what’s causing that? Maybe it’s the compensation piece to your point where I’m overpaying, which, you know, maybe that’s not the worst thing, but what if you’re underpaid? And now they’re talking them off the right because you were going off of a different model that 18 months ago made sense, but today is not the same.

Dawn Brolin 14:50
Yeah, and I think that that again, we always talk about adding value, which everybody always talks about adding value and I think, in our accounting profession now, we’ve got to do that more than we ever need. And did before more of thinking outside of the box, not doing the same thing where, like you said, somebody is adding employees? Are they, you know, should they be adding different benefits? Are they let’s say the add employees they have 401k? is did you offer the 401k? To your new people? Did they sign up? Do you have the, you know, they don’t want to sign up? So did you have that letter that says no, I’m opting out? Those kind of like labor force issues that the client may not be thinking of as they’re growing? That Okay, listen, we got to take a look at this, or we got to take a look at that. We got to say, Hey, listen, wait a minute, what if we have employee retention, tax credit, things that we need to address, things that they’re not necessarily thinking of? And, you know, maybe sometimes we’re not thinking of them. But when you relieve yourself from performing services, that are not a value add, and you stop doing those things, and you start moving over to, hey, we got to take a look at this, you know, maybe they’re a new client, maybe they’re, you know, we I got a lot of new clients last year, did I sit down with every single one of them and go, Okay, do you? Do you qualify for the employee retention credit? Do you have tip credits, you have this, like, those have to be in the forefront of our minds. But if I’m focused so much on the performance of payroll, or the integration, or the journal entries on making, which that’s a whole nother ballgame, I lose sight of the value added things I could be doing for that. And I think that that’s my point about about partnering with a solution provider that gives more than just that payroll, blah, blah, blah, it gives you that bigger picture to have conversations with your client that they need to hear. They don’t even know they need to hear them, but they do. And so I think that that’s, you know, been a really great thing. So Aaron, so tell me, for the next, let’s say a year, what is the plan to help to help put these other types of tools in place? And what’s the vision of ADP from a solution providing perspective or support perspective for accounting professionals? That you can tell us about?

Erron Stark 17:01
Yeah, yeah, year, for sure. We keep a couple in the vault. I think it will just continue to be released. We serve up our information to our firms, right. And the feedback that we go we that we’ve already heard. And by the way, it goes without saying, but all of the tools and resources that we develop that we partner with us is is all from solicitation and feedback we get from the kind of community like so our Advisory Board, which you are obviously in the member of, but just the general accounting profession, you know, we continuously reach out to ask, what are the things we can continue to do in order for not just the graded need to be to be the preferred provider, but also to add value, right like to help us professionally and you saw that in what was done during the height of the pandemic and the PPP that you mentioned before. So, you know, we have those tools and resources, feedback through accountant connected, if you see something, say something, right, like we’re always keeping our eyes and ears open. But I think where we’re focused on right now is, again, making sure that we have some of those tools and resources readily available to help navigate the regulatory compliance, because we don’t see that going down. Unfortunately, or fortunately, anytime soon, like some people do benefit from this ever changing landscape, right? You know, it sometimes leads to profitability. But then on the flip side is what am what we really excited about? How do we take this data? How do we take this intelligence and make it actionable, right, where we can actually take that information as opposed to looking at it and looking for it, which is step number one, and we’re there, which is super exciting. But imagine a world where we can take that and proactively provided to you to then proactively provide it to your client. And I’ll use just a quick example. employer hires an employee in a state that has a required mandate for a retirement vehicle. And they do not have one in place today, imagine that a notification goes off, which again, you can look and find this data today, but you’re gonna have to search a little bit. But imagine if just with a snap of a finger ADP is notifying you to say you have a client out of compliance up the hero. And by the way, here’s a solution set that you can easily tap into whether or not you want to use it or not, doesn’t matter. Like, here’s what’s happening, what they should be doing, and solutions if you’re not looking to scour the internet.

Dawn Brolin 19:34
Yeah, and you know, honestly, that’s, that’s the type of thing that, you know, I complained one time I had a client who didn’t have workers comp, they were in New York City, and if you are from New York, and you don’t have workers comp, you know, I got a bill comes through the New York State kind of like goes right at you right for your jugular. But it was like she added one employee and I wasn’t really thinking like, I’m not their insurance agent, right? And so later down line, they get the notice they’re like, you know, you set up payroll, why didn’t you set up workers comp? And I’m like, oh, like it was like a light bulb came on in my head that Oh, I do have to be the insurance agent. Not really. But I have to be the one who says, hey, you know, do you have workers comp in New York City for New York for this employee? Because New York’s pretty, pretty rough about workers comp. And so really, it was at the end of the day, it was my failure in a way that I wasn’t paying enough attention. But, but having ADP say to me, Oh, hey, so and so just add an employee in New York? And hey, do they have workers comp? Do they have you know, do they have a withholding number set up? Are they registered in New York to be able to pay in New York employee? Things like that, that we need to be that person who is thinking forward for the client? And not just be the person? Oh, yeah, they’re on, okay, they got somebody on payroll looks like their payroll went up. And oh, that, you know, it’s in the accounting, who cares? Because really, the clients need us for more than that. And so the more that we can, again, not set them up on insurance, necessarily, unless you’re doing a worker’s comp pay as you go. But even just liability insurance or things like that, that the client has no clue they need this stuff. They don’t have any idea. They go to an attorney, typically, the attorney sets up the entity. And then that attorney is all done. Well, the attorney didn’t think about that they have liability insurance, do they have this all their job was to register their you know, entity, and get them an EIN, they think that’s where it ends? Well, that’s where it begins. And so the more tools and things like that when it comes to the payroll regulations that ADP can provide to the practitioner, and that’s what ADP has been doing. And I think, from a motivation perspective to take action, which is really what this whole podcast is about motivation, turning into action. And that’s what we want, I don’t want to motivate you, and then I’ll be your goal. And you’re like, Oh, that was great. No, it’s like, okay, what am I going to do with the information I learned? I’m going to go do something about it. And so I think that you know, what ADP has in the pipeline is exactly what we need. But I want to I want to go a little bit to your personal side, Aaron, a little bit over here, which will be unexpected, that’s fair. But I want to hear about what motivates Aaron Stark, what, what motivates you to get up every day and do what you do? And I know, you’re gonna tell me, it’s because of people like me, and you love us. And I get all that what I’ve thought about Erron Stark, like, tell me a little bit about that.

Erron Stark 22:17
Yeah. So there’s, there’s two sides of me, the get me up every day and push me probably more than anything. So it’s, what is obvious is my family, right? So father of three, my wife of going out almost 12 years come September, you know, there’s really nothing that I wouldn’t do to put them in a better positioned than I ever had growing up. Um, and, you know, so that’s, that’s first and foremost. But I’m also a very competitive individual, like growing up in a sales organization, put myself through college doing sales. Like, I am always looking at ways in which, you know, myself, my team is exceeding expectations, like when I put on my GPS in the morning, and it says, I’m gonna get to the office at 7:30, I kind of look at it and I drop an expletive. And I say, I’m going to be there at 7:15 right? Like that. That’s either my competitive nature or my psychosis, I’ll let you choose. But you know, it’s just that drive of, you know, never been content with, you know, what it is that we’re doing. And part of what attracted me to ADP is that I think it’s built into our DNA and the fabric of organization, but it’s only five years in the business of, you know, always looking to exceed our expectations and outperform, you know, what our partners, our clients, you know, are looking for an ADP, are we always perfect? No, right? Not, nor am I as a as a human being. But I think when you balance those two sides of the equation, right, having something that grounds you in my family, but then this this, this desire to always be getting better, right? Like, no matter what that is, those are my motivational factors.

Dawn Brolin 23:58
And I love that that’s, you know, that’s, for me, it’s my big motivation right now, at least in my in my professional world is to help other practitioners, but also my clients, I got an error. And this is actually kind of like a timing thing. But I had a client email me this morning, and I finished their tax return and they’re like, can you please split the cost of the taxpayer and two payments, and I’m like, not a problem they’ve been a client for many, many years. I know, you know, I know, they’re good for it type of thing. And I, you know, I make very, very few exceptions to that to the rule of getting paid. But she emailed me and she said, I’ve not told anybody this, but I can’t tell you how much I’m struggling with my family doesn’t know. Nobody knows. My family has been depending on me for 20 years to provide for the family. And I’m just burnt out. I don’t even I can’t sleep at night. And so from a motivation perspective, immediately going into the DM mode, mindset mode. That’s where I go immediately when I hear something like that. It’s like whoa, stop everything. Right, we’re here for a bigger purpose than to process payroll. What we are here to do is to serve clients and give them value, but also understand their where they are as a human. And the work. I mean, I can’t say enough, it’s the worst time from a mental perspective for people. And so the more that I can streamline production in my company, whether it’s through tax returns, things like that, but having the streamlined technologies that I utilize, allow me to stop and say, hey, when can I call you like, this is too important. I don’t care about your money. None of that matters, but the people do. And that’s, at the end of the day, what we’re really about. And so yeah, your family is your motivator, were you and I, Aaron, we are both competitive, we will, we will fight til death bleed to death. We don’t neither of us care, we’re competitive. But at the end of the day, it’s that human that I’m sure you’ve had so many interactions with practitioners who are in a position that they’re just struggling mentally, or from whatever perspective and I think, you know, hopefully, this DM mindset will help people step back a little bit and treat each other more like humans and not robots, and, you know, the efficiency and the resources. And all those things are great, we need them in our practice, so that we can address the more important things which are each other. And so, you know, that’s kind of, you know, I’ll give you I want you to give me last thoughts on that, just kind of on that concept.

Erron Stark 26:27
So, I, I love your, your mission right now kind of find the right word to encapsulate what it is that you’re doing. But it’s a mission, right like this, you know, this motivational elements of what you’re trying to bring is probably a little bit different than what you’ve heard or seen within your profession, right here for many years. Tom, from a historical lens, you naturally get into this proactive lens, but you’re adding in this different dynamic of that motivational factor, which brings in that human component to it. Because I do think that everybody needs a reminder of like, when you ask him this question, what does motivate you had? Because there are some challenging times right now, like we’re still working from home in certain instances. And, you know, not every conversation has this positive outlook on it, there’s probably more of those than we care to admit in certain instances. But like, honing in on what does motivate us, right? And what got us to that point where we were happy and potentially not, you know, reminding ourselves every day, I think is a testament to you know, what you’re bringing to market right now. And you know, the conversations that you’re having, I’m happy, I’m privileged to be a part of it. So thank you for letting me here today. Looking forward to the next one. I remember the first time we did this was in that dingy conference room with a microphone in front of your face, and I wasn’t sure what was happening. But here we are a couple years later, and the conversation just keep getting better and better. Dawn, so goes out with Thank you, and, go Yankees. And just kidding. I look forward to speaking to you soon. This is awesome.

Dawn Brolin 28:01
Absolutely Erron, thank you again, so much. And thank you everybody for listening to VM disruption. We’ll be back again next week for another episode. We’re here to just try to support all of you in whatever way we can. And ADP is definitely a partner that I call my family as part of my team. And critical toast to the growth of powerful accounting. So thank you again, Aaron, and we’ll be talking to you soon so stay out of trouble. Go Red Sox.

I hope you enjoy this podcast. Feel free to visit in order to motivate you to improve your practice. Wishing you all the best. Have a great day.

Transcribed by

Episode Summary

Jirav’s Martin Zych and ADP’s Rhonda Shurter discuss their recent partnership on this week’s episode of The DM Disruption, LIVE from the ADP booth at Scaling New Heights 2021! Tune in to hear more about how Jirav’s forward thinking of financial planning and analysis will take advisory services to the next level, with ADP.

Martin’s Introduction

Martin talks about his experience as an outsource CFO and controller and how he would help companies build financial models to better understand their business. After a few years, he realized there was no platform to leave Excel, and wanted to find a way to move programs to the cloud.

What is FP&A?

FP&A, Financial Planning and Analysis, helps people understand the unit economics of the business. 

Martin talks about his goal with an FP&A is for businesses to have the ability to see where your business may be next month; this includes being able to see cash, revenue, hiring costs, and other areas of financial assets to allow companies to make the right decision to ensure financial stability. 

Martin also explains how using an FP&A allows businesses to spend less time in Excel, and more time on improving the success of their business.

Jirav’s Analytics Around People and Workforce

Martin talks about how expensive it can be to hire new employees, and how many business owners don’t have the ability to foresee the additional cost even one new employee can have. Jirav allows companies to access this information, and delivers accurate financial data so business owners can make informed hiring decisions, whether that means they should hire more staff, or focus on employee retention. 

Jirav’s Partnership with ADP

Rhonda discusses how ADP strives to empower practitioners to be better advisors, and supplies them with the data to do so. Partnering with Jirav allows ADP to take their services to the next level, allowing them to deepen the amount of data they are able to provide to their clients, which in turn allows businesses to make better choices to help them succeed in the future.


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Dawn Brolin 0:01
Hello everyone and welcome to the DM disruption. I’m the host Dawn Brolin. I’m a certified public accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, and the author of the designated motivator. We’re here to help motivate you to take your practice to the next level. Have you considered outsourcing your clients payroll? Well, I did and I went with ADP. The resources they provide, along with their partner program become the premier outsourcing Payroll solution. We as practitioners already deal with a ton of compliance. Keeping Up With payroll isn’t a value added solution that I should be focused on. If you’ve considered outsourcing before, reconsider it today. Choose ADP to be part of your starting lineup.

Well, hello, everybody and welcome to another episode of DM disruption. We’re here live at Scaling New Heights. 2021. Super excited. And today we have on the most amazing Martin Zych .You know, I practice before I kicked it, but this time I did not. It’s all good. I’m excited to have him on today from Jirav. And we’re here also with Rhonda Shurter with ADP. And we’re excited to talk to you about how Jirav is now working with ADP. But before we do that, we want to learn a little bit about you, Martin, tell us how you got started and why draw what happened.

Martin Zych 1:22
So like many people here, I used to be an outsourced CFO and controller, so it helps companies build financial models and understand your business. You know, I was doing this for years. And, you know, there’s a point where I realized that like, there’s no platform to get out of excel and to do this delightfully in the cloud. So kind of fast forward a couple years, we’ve now built up this great platform. And we’re excited to partner with ADP as well, because that’s a key part of doing the financial forecasting.

Dawn Brolin 1:51
Absolutely, we’re definitely gonna get into that. Now, as far as job goes, like you said, people are still in Excel. And you know what, I’m sorry, but I’m just not an Excel expert. I can do some formulas here and there, maybe a little separate the text if I have to add other columns, but really, it’s cumbersome. And because of open API’s on like with ADP, and with QuickBooks Online and all these other applications that you’re connecting with, you’re able to get that data faster, and more efficiently. Now, certainly F PNa. Right. So we talked about FP and a lot of people don’t know what that means, right? So why don’t you explain to us what is FPNA?

Martin Zych 2:27
So FP&A is financial planning and analysis. And the whole point of this is really understanding like, where you know, where accounting ends is where finance starts. So that’s like a really good definition for finance and finances all the forward looking inside of that. So within an FP&A, we help folks understand really like the unit economics of the business, all the things that, you know, happen before it hits the bucks on that side. So these are things like personnel, customers, you know, all the unit economics around that, understanding the ratios, the KPIs, and how this all ties together in the whole business.

Dawn Brolin 3:02
One of the things I love, you know, as I’ve gone through some presentations with you, and seeing how Gerard is working forward. So we do look a lot historically, in accounting, we’re always looking for what just happened the last year, and then can we figure out what might happen? You guys are really forward thinking, right? And so that is an area that is so important to the accounting industry, because clients already know what happened in the past, and they don’t want to hear about that anymore. What they want to do is have something to look forward to. And so what are we projecting from revenue? And that’s, I think, one of the key things when it comes to advisory work, right? And so that’s what you’re focused in on.

Martin Zych 3:36
Yep, exactly. Like, our whole goal is to help you be able to see, you know, where’s your business can be next month, next quarter next year, and really have that clear line of sight on that. And that, you know, that’s across revenue across cash across everything, every single aspect there.

Dawn Brolin 3:51
And so when you’re working with practitioners, right, like myself, and you’re saying, Hey, listen, this is a tool that you can use to do those types of things. Because at the end of the day, the industries are changing the industry itself. It’s not keep punching transactions anymore. And we need to move into and we, we sometimes get, like, I don’t know, stuck in our own world that we’re like, well, that’s how we’ve always done things which Hello, that’s the definition of insanity. Just in case you’re wondering, because you’re certainly expecting different results. But here, what you’re providing is an ability for practitioners to take the step to advisory without having to put this whole you know, Excel spreadsheet together and put these man hours or woman hours. I don’t care who you are. Right. So to put that in, you already have that in place for us.

Martin Zych 4:35
Yep, exactly like you now in order to build up like a financial model, which is already hard. Like, I think all of us in the accounting and finance profession. We’ve seen the big 15 cab crazy Excel file. You’re bringing in all this different data. There’s like only one person at the company who kind of knows how it works, right to do that. We just walked it off the plank. You never have to see that. Again. We’ve really democratized finance right taking care of all the hard parts and then let you just focus on the input so that you can project out your assumptions on business.

Dawn Brolin 5:06
So tell me about the cost of our people. Right? So we have, in most, almost every service industry, people are the most expensive and, and I know that, you know, we talk about how the machines have done the work with the people behind it. But now it’s people in technology. And so you do a lot. And we’re gonna get into the relationship that you have with ADP, which is just mind blowing, the amount, the ability to have those financial forecasts and analytics right at your fingertips. So tell me about how Jirav is gonna, how you guys are gonna just put that right out for us. And so we can help analyze that workforce, the cost of the workforce itself?

Martin Zych 5:41
Yeah, so like, the analytics around people is really interesting, because, you know, there’s so many moving pieces in our business, and especially in small business, you know, like, the impact of having a few more heads here or there can you know, make or break whether you’re profitable or not? And really understanding when do you hire, and when’s the right time is critical. So like, one of the key things that we found really successful. And this is, you know, even if you’re just trying to like delve into, like, how do I start advisor how to get into the very basics is make like a human income statement. So I take like, average revenue per employee, average cogs or gross profit per employee, average optics per employee in average income, and when you start showing it in that, that level, and if you want to get fancy, maybe you do it by team or department Sure, you normalize these KPIs like that, and bring it all together. And people can really quickly see like, like, Oh, my, you know, I hired too much, my average revenue per employee is too low, and I’m going to start dipping, if I get that one extra one really upside down, or maybe your your staff is working too hard, you’re getting, you know, your average revenue per employee is too high, that actually isn’t always great. It can mean you’re working people too hard, and you should hire people. And understanding that that’s like a really, really good post on the business that you can do really quickly and have a good strategic discussion.

Dawn Brolin 6:59
And I love that because I did read your blog posts about that. And what I found intriguing about it was, I know for us when the clients like I think I need to hire more people, this they say to me, I think I need to hire more people, I don’t know, I need to hire more people. And with this ability to get these analytics will not just tell you, Oh, it doesn’t feel like I need to financially, I can see where I do, I need to increase or reduce my staff. And so that’s what you’re working with ADP. So let’s let’s shift over to this, because this relationship is like, gets me giggly, I’m not going to lie. Because I think what ADP has to offer, what we can pull out of it is even more powerful. And we know that knowledge is power. Right? So Rhonda? Yes. Tell us about the strategic partnership with your OB, you know, what are your thoughts behind that? And what was the drive to do this?

Rhonda Shurter 7:47
Yeah, so you know, client insights and insights and driving data that can empower practitioners to be better advisors be more proactive to help interpret the data has been, you know, part something that’s really important to ADP and something we’re pushing forward in accounting, connect more and more and partnering with durab. And other partners, is another way for us to take it to the next level, right. So we can provide the compensation benchmarking industry insights and information about the payroll data and what’s going on with the client. But you’re asking to get to the next level, right to really deepen the data that you get, and you can advise your clients.

Dawn Brolin 8:34
And I love that because really, at the end of the day, you know, I’ve had this whole theory that we’re all playing in the same sandbox. And for those that do best at payroll solutions, and, and you guys have gone above and beyond a payroll company, because you offer like you said, benchmarking industry, reasonable compensation, those things that we need that data to be the best trusted advisor we can be, but you don’t have to do it all yourself. And so this strategic partnership says, Hey, Rhonda, his team doesn’t have to write this analytics tools and stuff within accountant Connect, you go right to giraffe, even right from accounting connect as a matter of fact, and you can get to the tools you need to analyze your data.

Rhonda Shurter 9:13
Exactly. So just another way to make it seamless and integrated and easy for you to really take the data to the next level and leverage it the way that you need to deserve your clients.

Dawn Brolin 9:23
Absolutely. And so So how is this relationship working out for you? Okay?

Martin Zych 9:27
it’s going awesome.

Dawn Brolin 9:28
It’s going on. So you must love the collaboration. So you’re not just having an internal team collaboration. Now you have an extended part of your company technically.

Martin Zych 9:36
There’s so much like energy surrounding all this. I’m like, super, super excited about everything. Yeah.

Rhonda Shurter 9:42
Yea, very excited about.

Dawn Brolin 9:43
That’s awesome. Well, I’m thrilled to have had you on this podcast today. These guys are making it happen. All you have to do is ProAdvisor which by the way, how’s this lady doing over here? Look how funny she looks right next to my head like she’s sitting there. But anyway, I mean, just this is a relationship that we all need to capitalize on because at the end of the day, The transactional accountant is not going to be around much longer. And so just like the wave of getting in the cloud and all this stuff that we’ve been talking about for 10 or 15 years, if you miss that don’t miss this one like, this is where it’s time to take advisory to the next level. And if we’ve learned nothing over the last 18 months with COVID, the business owners need us to be able to predict the future as best we can. With data that’s live time. And that’s what drove and at peace partnership is going to do for you. So for everyone that’s listening, I’m telling you right now, you better get on this train because it’s leaving the station. So now’s the time. But think Martin, thank you so much for taking your time CEO of Jirav, Rhonda Shurter, who basically does everything at ADP and runs it. That’s what I say you know if you want something done for Rhonda, but again, so thank you everyone for listening, and we look forward to seeing you the next time on the next em disruption. Thank you so much for being here. I hope you enjoy this podcast. Feel free to visit in order to motivate you to improve your practice. Wishing you all the best. Have a great day.

Heather Sperduto, VP, Accounting Channel, ADP , Talks About the Power of Partnership on The DM Disruption

Heather Sperduto, VP, Channel Sales, ADP, joins Dawn Brolin, CPA, CFE, to talk about motivation, her family’s deep roots in the accounting profession, and how ADP, Team Brolin Starting Line Up Member #5, continues to strive to be the profession’s premiere payroll provider as the landscape for client services evolves.

Heather and Dawn begin their conversation by discussing the importance of finding a partner to assist in payroll, and bring up key pain points that can be solved with proper allocation of payroll.

“We need a partner in payroll, doing your own payroll is almost virtually impossible,” says Dawn. Heather agrees and acknowledges how the landscape of accounting has changed. She also discusses pain points that both clients and tax professionals have been trying to work through, and how ADP can assist in easing stress.

Making Data Meaningful to the Client and Guidance

“The data is out there, but for the accounting professionals, it’s how they make sense of the data, and how they make it meaningful to the client,” says Heather. She specifies that ADP’s goal is to serve their clients data in a way that is actionable. 

She then begins to talk about how not only can ADP assist their clients with payroll, but in other areas such as compensation; because they have access to a wide network of data, they are able to provide their clients with a variety of answers to issues many businesses are facing.

How ADP Benefits Accounting Professionals

“One of the really great tools that just came on board was the ability for us to go ahead and get our clients started with payroll” says Dawn. “I love that tool because we as the practitioners want to be able to be proactive.”

Heather agrees and talks about how ADP allows you to mold the way in which your representative assists you. “[You can design] the way you want to interact with a partner, and have the flexibility that suits your needs in the moment…you [also] have the flexibility to really design your interaction that’s in your best interest, and the client’s best interest.

What Motivates Heather

Heather talks about her father’s career as a CPA, and speaks fondly about her experience watching him win the “Educator of the Year award” at the New Jersey CPA Society. 

“I’ve always admired his passion to make people better, and it’s just ironic that I happen to do the same thing,” says Heather. 

She also says she finds her motivation in all of her family members, including her siblings. 

How ADP Benefits Dawn

“I need their support. I need to know that when something comes up [they are right there,]…it’s like I have a teammate, it’s more than just a referral relationship, it’s really something where without ADP support, I don’t think I could do things that I’m doing now,” says Dawn. She credits ADP for allowing her to gain back valuable time to work on her passions and to achieve important goals for her business.

How Peer to Peer Recommendations and Partnerships Are Changing the Game

“We are seeing more peer to peer recommendations…[and] we are seeing more and more accountants join forces,” says Heather. She says this allows all accounting professionals to gain a wider scope of knowledge from each other, which in turn allows them all to better assist their clients. 

Heather also says, “We are seeing firms that are moving massive amounts of clients over to an ADP.” She discusses how moving payroll over to ADP allows accounting professionals to service their clients faster and be more productive.

Only Providing Payroll is Not Giving Value

“You as a practitioner need to take control over your practice; what you offer and how you guide your clients…[just] providing payroll is not giving value,” says Dawn. She specifies how adding value to your clients is in your ability to analyze them and their situations, and to provide them with the best resources and solutions, even for problems they may not have been aware of.

Don’t Underestimate Your Value as an Accountant

“Don’t underestimate your value,” says Heather. “You all have truly earned that title of the most trusted advisor, now so more than ever before.” Heather finishes her thoughts by discussing how it’s important to always be thinking ahead, and to always strive to help businesses reimagine, and take their goals to the next level. 

Dawn recently celebrated the success she’s had with ADP as a result of her participation in the ADP Accountant Revenue Share Incentive Program with her local representatives, too. 

As Dawn says, “This personal relationship means so much to me as an accounting practitioner because ADP is more than just my payroll provider—I decided years ago that doing in-house payroll was not the best way to serve my clients—but outsourcing it to a trusted company is. The people I work with at ADP are invested in the success of my practice. They bring me new ideas and solutions to help my business keep growing and to ensure the success of my payroll clients. It truly is a win-win relationship.”


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

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Subscribe to Dawn on Youtube



Dawn Brolin 0:01
Hello everyone and welcome to the DM Disruption. I’m the host Dawn Brolin. I’m a certified public accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, and the author of the designated motivator. We’re here to help motivate you to take your practice to the next level. Have you considered outsourcing your clients payroll? Well, I did and I went with ADP. The resources they provide, along with their partner program become the premier outsourcing Payroll solution. We as practitioners already deal with a ton of compliance. Keeping Up With payroll isn’t a value added solution that I should be focused on. If you’ve considered outsourcing before, reconsider it today. Choose ADP to be part of your starting lineup.

Well, hello, everybody, and welcome again to the DM disruption. I’m super excited to have a great friend of mine, who works with ADP, but really more than anything, just a great person, and somebody who I think is a motivator in our industry, when it comes to working with professionals like myself, and she’s done so much for us. So Heather, introduce yourself, let’s let’s talk about, you know, what’s your role at ADP and what you’re kind of seeing out there in the industry. And, you know, we’re gonna rock some worlds here today.

Heather Sperduto 1:19
All right, here we go. So I run point on the design and execution from a sales operation perspective, and I have the fun job of all of the energy that I use up is spent towards the accountant community. So how it is that we help accountants better serve their clients. And it’s been a cool ride for me because I’ve been here since literally even before I graduated college, I was an intern at ADP. And I spend more than two decades really trying to go after this market, and just give like the best support we can to the accountant community.

Dawn Brolin 1:54
Well, it sounds like you started when you were 10? Yes, you’ve been working for two decades with in this area in the space, but so you know, payroll is payrolls payroll, people think but I think it’s just so much more than that. I think that we as the trusted advisor, making sure that we’re recommending the right Payroll solution for our clients is critical. And with the landscape of accounting, and payroll, and labor, and, you know, the last year and a half of the pandemic, the landscape has totally changed. And I think that, you know, I don’t find, at least for myself, in my industry, as far as you know, how payroll works, is that we need a partner in payroll, doing yourself doing your own payroll these days is almost virtually impossible, because of the filing requirements and the different credits that you can have. And so what are you seeing, as far as pain points in the industry, with practitioners like myself, or like trying to maneuver things? And there’s just so much and so overwhelming? What are you seeing?

Heather Sperduto 2:51
I think it starts with just the overall complexity, like you mentioned, the landscape from a compliance perspective, has skyrocketed, and of course, there’s no good time to make changes. But unfortunately, when the world started to unfold at a feverish pace, was a heart attack season, right? So the accountants, and they pivoted on a dime, and they went from cranking out tax returns to how do I help? Right? Like, how can I be that calming effect that works with my clients? To let them know that it’s going to be okay, right? And how could How could I sift through some of that complexity and make it simple, so that their clients truly understood? Am I a physician that I need to close my doors? Am I going to reimagine how it is that I work with my customer, my clients today, and even for the firm’s themselves. So you know that complexity was probably something that accountants haven’t seen throughout their entire career. And hopefully, you know, we don’t see anything like that going forward. But just the pace. And the area of expertise that was sought out from the accountants was, has been in my horrible it’s been truly truly admirable.

Dawn Brolin 4:07
Yeah, and I see certainly, you know, what ADP has done, because of the landscape and the way things have changed, to allow us to obtain information that maybe historically we weren’t really looking for, or weren’t really relying upon. And having that ability to, I mean, the resources with accounting connect, we were even just to start there. And again, this is what we what I want to deliver in this pot in this episode of this podcast is how can we help my fellow practitioners and people to make the right decision when it comes to payroll because payroll was payrolls payroll, like I said before, but with the landscape now in the in the reporting requirements and the compliance requirements are so overwhelming, that like for myself, I can add value by a by providing a great service through ATP, but also the resources of You know, I always say there’s a notice as the old notices are coming no matter who’s preparing payroll, it’s irrelevant. The IRS states, the states are so far behind right now we’re seeing notices coming in. But being able to, let’s just take, for instance, the pain point of notices being able to upload those as service requests through accountant connect and follow the the results of that notice by the staff at ADP by the by the representatives who are solving those problems. So if we think about it, yes, that the accounting industry, Heather, like you were saying, it’s just been like, whoa, what has happened? And so many practitioners are like, do I want to keep doing this? And so one of my biggest recommendations is, hey, take a look at what you are providing for services today that maybe you don’t want to be providing tomorrow. And so are you being tied down by that compliance work through payroll? And if so, account Connect is a great is an absolutely phenomenal solution for professionals. So those types of pain points are what you guys are looking to solve for, you know, the running of payroll is what it is, but it’s the other resources, like managing notices, or having the access to business valuation tools, which you guys have just launched here recently. Right? So that’s what you guys are looking to do at the end of the day?

Heather Sperduto 6:17
You know, don’t it starts with the data, right? Like, the data is out there. But for the accounting professionals, it’s how they make sense of the data and how they make it meaningful to the client. So yeah, like Dave is our middle name at ADP. But I think what we have been trying to do is serve up that data in a fashion that’s actionable. You know, so we were talking a little earlier about one of the, the issues out there with business owners today is how do I get really great people? Like, how do I get them in the door? And when I get them, how do I keep them? Right? So what we’re trying to do is say, okay, like, like, let’s start with the clients, the mutual clients that we share. And when they hire people, or when they terminate people, like, let’s put that data front and center, so that as an accountant, you can see that and have conversations with your clients, that if they’re struggling to get talent, what are some of the tools and resources that could be tapped into, like, as an example, analyzing compensation, you know, like we provide and look at 30 million records, spending 90,000 organizations, and if I’m an account, and I can look at a map of the country and say, okay, you know, I have this restaurant, you know, I’m here in Cape May, New Jersey, on vacation with my family right now. And the restaurants are struggling and I walk in, and there’s tables open, but they won’t see this, and it’s a half hour away, because they don’t have the staff. Right. So I could go in to that map of the country, I could pick New Jersey, I could I could pick down to a certain county level, and say, Okay, what does good compensation look like in the restaurant industry, for cook for a manager for server and give that guidance? I mean, compensation is not the end all be all. And that’s a whole nother conversation when you look at why employees are attracted to the organizations that they work for. But it’s a given, right? Gotta pay your people? Well, if you want to be competitive in the market, and you want to keep them talent. So I think it’s about how do you make the data meaningful? And then what are those tools or resources that will allow you to expedite the conversations and help dream build and forward thing with clients?

Dawn Brolin 8:29
Yeah, absolutely. And I think, you know, again, when we’re talking kind of about pain points that are both from an accounting professionals perspective, but the clients of course, most importantly, that’s who we’re all serving ADP, you know, and all the accounting practitioners. But you’re right, and I think I just actually was on a call for a couple hours this morning with with a great client from Pittsburgh and, and we’re sitting there trying to figure out, she can’t get staff, she can’t get people, she’s got an 8000 square foot restaurant, she’s probably utilizing 2000 square feet, because she doesn’t have the people, enough people to do the serving and the cooking and all the rest of it. And that’s a really big problem across the country. Right now is everyone very well knows this is not a secret. You know, there are various opinions on you know, how, how can we make this change when we don’t pay more? Okay, well, that’s great, you’re gonna pay more for your meal. Like, you know, at the end of the day, the restaurants have already suffered enough. You wanted to suffer more by paying more I get that. We do see how they’re which I think is great. We do see the people going out to these restaurants tipping more than they’ve ever tipped before, which I think is, you know, if you want to look at the citizens of the United States, I can say for myself for somebody as a client in a restaurant. Thank you. Right. Thank you for understanding that these servers. We’ve got to supplement the servers pay because the restaurants just aren’t just can’t afford to pay 14 $15 An hour plus tips. And so we’re definitely seeing that. So ADP what what are the things as far as ADP is motivation to the accounting professionals. Listen, we’re here, we provide a great payroll service cool, right? payroll service, payroll service. But what you guys are doing for the pain points in the accounting industry is, as you’re handling the design and the delivery of, of how we interact with ADP is that you’re providing us with that benchmarking, right. So that’s, you know, making sure that we have real a real realistic salaries and things like that reasonable salary calculations that S corporations have to perform, you got to make sure you’re paying yourself a decent amount, an amount that the IRS would accept to allow you to continue being an S corp. And I think one of the really great tools that just came on board was the ability for us to go ahead and get our get our client started with payroll, without needing to use our direct rep who believe me, I got the best in the country, I’ve got page, so sorry to everybody else, but I do have the best rep. And so I love that tool. Because we as the practice, you want to be able to be proactive. And I think that that’s another piece that I’m sure that you found that we were all asking for, hey, let us get this started. Yet, you’re still going to kind of monitor at the end, you know, the end game, right.

Heather Sperduto 11:08
But I think it’s about designing the way that you want to interact with a partner, right? And having that flexibility that suits your needs in the moment, right, like you mentioned, Paige, dedicated associate, like, she’s amazing. And very often, you probably want to interact with Paige. But there are other times when you’re like, hey, you know what, this is probably easy enough that I could figure it out on my own. And I could get the proper authorization and get the client up and running. So you have that, that flexibility to really design your interaction that’s in your best interest. And the clients best interest. And I think innovation and technology has allowed us to accelerate the pace in which we offer that flexibility, right? Like that wasn’t always the case. I mean, when I was running around, selling payroll, and working with accountants, if you open my trunk, like, massive amount of files, and getting everything ready and organized, and you know, now just the way of the world and just technology, it allows us to work differently.

Dawn Brolin 12:11
Yeah, definitely, I think, you know, as, as I go through as a practitioner, and I want to say we’re gonna take a sideways move here in a second, because I want to hear a couple things about Heather’s produto, personally, and how Heather, what is Heather’s big motivation to do you know, everybody wants to service their clients, we’re all people pleaser, we’re gonna get to that in a second. But I definitely find that one of the most important things is integration, okay, and having a Payroll solution that can integrate with other applications. And so if you, if you go to dawn, you’ll see our starting lineup, and you’ll see, there’s a map of exactly how our technologies all integrate with each other. And I think that that’s something that we again, in the accounting profession need to really analyze, because having that integration removes the manual and journal entry. So if you’re listening to this, and you’re still manually entering journal entries for payroll, stop, go to ADP get get, start moving your clients over there for the automatic sync and integration between not just cubio or zero, or the online solutions, which are great, but it still has also as if transactions for those that are in QuickBooks Enterprise, or QuickBooks Pro Premier or a desktop solution. So that integration is so important. And so you know, I think I just want to make that point. Because I think sometimes we miss the end game, the end game is to have good payroll, compliance, everything under compliance, but then having that ability to get the reporting out of ADP and into the accounting software seamlessly, without manual entry, and my restaurants a great example, we have it all mapped where the back of the house versus front of the house versus managers versus officers. And we have the all of that payroll mapping in so we do weekly budgets with them. And so we are able to say, Okay, what happened with labor. And of course, it’s typically the front of the house back of the house that ends up being either up or down, depending on what happened. And so we can analyze it so much better. So I just want to make sure that people are listening, if you are doing anything with payroll manually, shame on you stop it, stop it right now, and do something different. And get that going now, so that next tax season things are running seamlessly and smoothly, you’ve got to make the transition, it’s going to take some time, you’ll have a dedicated rep, it’ll be awesome. But I want to shift over to the Heather’s Sperduto of the world. And I want to know a little I want to get under your hood of your car which is the Heather’s Sperduto kick butt mobile vehicle. And I want you to tell me a little bit about like what is motivated you to you know to be me are amazing at paid well, you have a reach you I don’t know if you sleep ever, but what is your motivation? There’s in your life in general, tell me about you.

Heather Sperduto 14:52
Listen, I don’t think you could stay with the same company as long as I have if you weren’t motivated on a regular basis. And for me, I always say if hey, if I wasn’t inspired, and continuing to learn every day, like I would have jumped ship a long time ago, right? But if so I have that professionally within the culture and embracing like our newest associates. So that would be like on the professional side, but on the personal side, my dad is a CPA, right? Like he’s an accountant. And one of my proudest moments of my life was, we went to the New Jersey CPA society, and he was given an award as the Educator of the Year. And he’s a chairman in the accounting department for years at a college here in New Jersey, he teaches review class for the CPA exam, I swear all the tax returns he does are complimentary to friends and family, right. Um, but he gets this award and he says, imagine giant stadium and every single seat filled. That’s how many students I’ve taught in my career. And for me, I’ve always like, just admired his passion to make people better. And it’s just ironic that I happen to do the same thing. I might not necessarily be the CPA, but I’ve embraced the CPA, Accountant channel, bookkeeper lane, at ADP, so there’s some synergy and consistency there. So that’s really been a motivating factor. And then just like family in general, like my two brothers, they were collegiate athletes. My older brother took that passion. And he was a big track runner, and now he owns running stores. But his passion is coaching. So he coaches high school and every year his his kids go to the state finals and championships and he sends a few of them to Ivy League. But then on my younger brother side, he and his wife are professional triathletes. And that is their passion, and they travel and they compete in the Ironman, and my sister in law is so good. She’s ranked one of the top 10 in the world right now at 40 years old. So when I see them on a Saturday morning, I’m getting ready to watch TV and put my feet up. And they’re going for a run for like three hours. So that dedication and motivation, hey, just surrounds my world, I happen to apply that energy to what I do in the corporate world. But I see how my family has done it in their respective outlets that complements their style and where their passions are.

Dawn Brolin 17:23
Well, that’s just amazing. And I feel like I should go running right now I’m not going to but I feel like I should. Right? And I guess and you can see, you know, I do relate a lot of things. And not everybody’s an athlete. And you know, some don’t even realize that they are athletes in whatever way they are. But definitely in athletics that that team philosophy, having the ability to like for you selling your family is a really great big, wonderful team where you’re all obviously supporting each other, and things like that. I think, you know, right now in the accounting profession, as we’re working on the book, right now, the the designated motivator for accounting professionals, looking at that ability for us to reach out and pick each other up is more critical now than ever. And I think that’s part of why my relationship with ADP is so important to me, because I need their support, I need to know that when something comes up, I can reach out and go, Hey, Paige, something’s happening with this, and I don’t know what to do about it. And what do you think and it’s like, I have a teammate. And it’s not, you know, it’s more than just a referral relationship. It’s, it’s really something where, without ATP support, I don’t think I could do the things that I’m doing now. Right. So I’m, whether I’m writing a book, or I’m doing tax returns, or I’m doing whatever I’ve taken that. I mean, it was, I would call it painful payroll, it just, you know, four months of the year, I’m tied down, I’ve got to deal with all this regulation changes in the reporting and with the PPP loan, the PPP loans in and of themselves. And what ADP was able to do to support the practitioner was critical for me. So I want to make sure when I choose my solutions, and the people on my team, the players on my team, you know, everybody has a positions ever, you know, you got to have a workflow management, you’ve got to have this and that you’ve got to have a Payroll solution that you can rely upon. That takes that four months of compliance work out of your factor, you know, I don’t value add for me is not payroll is not a value add for me to get paid. But but with the accountant with accountant connect, and with the ability to have the accountant referral program where there are Commission’s being paid out, that supplements the pain that I have to when if I get a notice from a client, I’m like, oh, I want to deal with this. And I’m like, Oh, that’s right. ADP pays me a portion of their fee to take that to take that form, scan it, uploaded it to the service center and do a service request. Now it makes sense to me. And there’s not a lot of other solutions that are providing that type of support. And I think that that’s, you know, to me, one of most important things but I do love that story about your family and how they’re, you know, cheesy motivate, that motivates me just hearing that…

Heather Sperduto 19:56
You know Dawn, I would give you an observation too because so much of what I do is I’m and out of accounting firms, right on a regular basis throughout the course of the day, I could meet with a firm in Chicago, California, Florida, you know that. I mean, I used to be on the road every single week, right? We’d be at the shows and whatnot. But an observation is we are seeing more peer to peer recommendation. So like you talk about the team, right? Yeah, yeah, we have our sales and marketing efforts. But we are entering into relationships, because Dawn is sharing her story with Jill somebody in her network or down the road there locally in the community. And we’re seeing more accountants like really joining forces to just have dialogue and understand what is best in class, what is everybody doing, whether it’s through their state society or local organizations that they work with, and we’re seeing people go all in. So you know, as an example, like, oftentimes, not so much on the accounting software side, like a firm, if they’re all in in Xero, or QuickBooks or whatever that looks like when they gain a new client, you know, they say, Okay, this is the accounting package that we use at our firm. And here’s what you’re going to do. Traditionally, we hadn’t really seen that on the payroll side, it was almost as if firms would leave it up to the client, if they were using a software package, and it was working, okay, if it’s not broke, we’re not going to fix it, right. But in recent, you know, years, that next gen firm, they are going all in on their tech stack recommendations. And we’re seeing firms that are moving, like massive amounts of clients, right now over to an ADP for all the reasons that you said, right? They they’re embracing the award winning accountant connect the access to the report, but it’s making them more productive. So when they master their accounting software, and they master whatever’s going to be their engine for payroll, right. Mm hmm. It allows them to service the the clients faster. And when we look in the dashboard, we keep doing this analysis that says, Okay, let’s talk about your book of business. We know that we share 23 mutual clients, what’s going on in your world with the rest of them? And we’re uncovering like, Okay, well, I still have a handful of them that I do in house, is that really the best answer? Or I’m using a couple local companies and other national provider, but we’re seeing more and more firms that are really taking the time to analyze their entire book of business, and make decisions that are putting them in lanes with the best technology and service, right? Because you need both. You have a technology, but you need the people on occasion, you got to ask a question. So you need the people that are going to have the answers for you, to put you in that position to win.

Dawn Brolin 22:46
Yeah, and that’s definitely just again, for food for thought for those that are listening is is to those decisions have to be made. And we and we were historically like that, Oh, okay. You’re on gusto, okay, oh, you’re on this, you’re on Intuit. Okay? You’re on this, okay? And now it’s just like you said, if you’re going to be in QuickBooks, number one, if you’re at let’s say, a desktop, you’re going to be on a hosting solution, you’re not going to have the QuickBooks file, local. That’s how we operate. That’s how we work. There’s no sense in sending data files back and forth. And so I think it’s, this is probably the biggest point of this whole episode, right? You as the practitioner should need to take control over your practice, what you offer, and how you guide your clients. And I liked what you said, as far as you know, I can go in to my client base and see who has 401k People have workers comp pay as you go, or do I have a contractor on ADP payroll? Who’s paying that $10,000, worker’s comp payment up front? You know, what are the things that I’m able to advise better. So when you have that, I will call it consolidation into one platform where you can see everything in one place, the analytics that you can come up with, and the way that you can have different conversations with your clients that give that value that we’re all talking about. Everyone’s talking about giving value. Well, providing payroll is not giving value people, okay, actually punching the numbers and issuing checks and doing all that stuff. That’s not a value add. What’s a value add is when you can analyze your clients and say, Hey, I noticed you’re on workers comp pay as you go. What I you know, because I don’t necessarily know what my clients do for workers comp, that’s not necessarily something I asked them all the time. But now I do know, right? Are you one of those guys who pay up front, and then you have your audit, and then maybe you get some money back? And maybe you don’t like, now I’m giving value to that client to manage their cash flow in a way that they weren’t doing before? And I think that that’s the whole point of what this conversation has been on the motivation side of Listen, gain control of your clients, and you’re not going to lose people that you know, you’re the trusted advisor, they’re going to believe in what you’re saying. And I think that that’s what the message that Heather and I are trying to give you is find a solution that’s going to give you more than just payroll prep, and tax filings because that’s just Anybody can do that. But when you can bring in a whole new conversation of 401k and workers comp, and, you know, hey, listen, you’re like you said a restaurant Pittsburgh, you know, let’s see what the average pay is we’re having we’re struggling hiring people. Okay, well, then maybe we want to pay people more than all the other restaurants, maybe we’ll gain some, some people from that whatever, whatever your analysis and your consultation with your client is, I think that’s what we have. So Heather, why don’t you wrap it up? And give me your final thoughts on where, you know, as far as your recommendations to the accounting industry in the in the thought process of a really managing those clients well.

Heather Sperduto 25:33
I would say to accounts, probably already know this, but don’t underestimate your value, you know, you tell your clients to jump in, they say how high and you know, you have all truly earned that title of the most trusted advisor now, so than ever before. So, you know, I think everyone is truly looking to the CPAs, the accountants and bookkeepers, and I mentioned it earlier, which is a level of admiration and respect. But I think it’s that forward thinking lens, that has to be apparent, right, it’s one thing, it’s one thing that, you know, everybody gets situated here, but it’s another thing to help businesses reimagine and take their business to the next level, right, because there have businesses that have struggled, and there have businesses that have thrived. And there’s, there’s a market for those thriving businesses. And I think we all just need to think differently, right about the services, we offer the product line. And that holds true not just for our clients, but for ourselves as well. Because if we’re not thinking differently, then the firm down the road is probably going to think differently and offer something that maybe hadn’t been brought to the table. And businesses are all in and trying to self reflect and figure out where they go next. And the accountants are really the ones that should help them dry that scenario of where they take their business and the not so distant future.

Dawn Brolin 27:05
Yeah, and that’s a great, that’s a great final thought, because that’s true, like the clients are going to shift. If you’re not shifting, they’re going to shift this way. And you’re gonna be shifting that way. And you’re gonna be going in total opposite directions. And so we’ve got to be those forward thinkers, we’ve got to be in front and ahead of the curve, and not just trying to catch up. And so now’s the time to do that, because you never know what tomorrow is gonna bring. So it’s just time right now. And you know, that’s what we’re here to encourage you to do. Make some changes in your firm, make your work life balance a lot better, and now’s the time to do it. So, Heather, thank you so much. Heather’s produto with ADP, an amazing woman. If you ever see her at a conference, you got to get around her discuss so much knowledge is so great. And now we’re going back in person a little bit more. That’s wonderful too. But again, thank you, Heather, for joining me here on the DM disruption. And thank everybody for listening. And we’ll talk to all of you soon enough. I hope you enjoy this podcast. Feel free to visit in order to motivate you to improve your practice. Wishing you all the best. Have a great day.

Transcribed by

Here in Connecticut, I feel like we are starting to emerge a little bit into a “new normal” when it comes to being able to be out and about doing our regular routines—and even better, being able to connect personally with people again!

I believe that being in the same physical space and having social contact with people is fundamental to our health, well-being, and the quality of our relationships—this goes for both personal and professional interactions in my book! Sometimes our geographic proximity makes having virtual-only interactions necessary, but when you can really connect in the flesh with the people you do business with, that’s when the ideas and power of a partnership can really flow!

This is why I was so thrilled to get together with my local payroll partners from ADP —Paige Mazrek, my dedicated representative and A.J. Gemmel, Paige’s Manager. I also brought along two of my teammates who rocked the Team Brolin Starting Line Up jerseys with me! (ADP is #5 in the Starting Line Up Tech Stack that I use to run my accounting practice.)   

We had a delicious lunch and celebrated the success we’ve had together as a result of my participation in the ADP Accountant Revenue Share Incentive Program. This personal relationship means so much to me as an accounting practitioner because ADP is more than just my payroll provider—I decided years ago that doing in-house payroll was not the best way to serve my clients—but outsourcing it to a trusted company is. 

The people I work with at ADP are invested in the success of my practice. They bring me new ideas and solutions to help my business keep growing and to ensure the success of my payroll clients. It truly is a win-win relationship.

Thank you Paige, AJ, and the whole ADP Team—you are Rock Stars!

It’s Dawn here to share with you my new podcast, The DM Disruption!

The podcast features practical advice and insights from yours truly and a wide range of guests from across the accounting profession who are focused on sharing motivation and strategies to help us practitioners achieve greater levels of professional and personal fulfillment and reward.

I decided to create The DM Disruption podcast to offer my fellow accounting professionals and colleagues from different areas of our profession with a forum for sharing our successes and challenges as well as the motivation to fuel greater a better way of doing things in your firm.

On The DM Disruption podcast I’m interviewing you, my peers as well as changemakers and thought leaders in the accounting profession. If you have an interest in making our community as a whole stronger and more successful, let’s talk!

Listeners can listen to The DM Disruption podcast here and watch it on The DM Disruption YouTube Channel.

New episodes of The DM Disruption podcast will be published weekly. To date, I have recorded podcast episodes with:

· Best-selling entrepreneurial author Mike Michalowicz

· CPA, James Upton of Upton Accounting in North Carolina

· Jody Padar, The Radical CPA

· Robin Hall, President & Principal Consultant, VARC Solutions

· Heather Satterley, CPA and Owner of Satterley Training & Consulting

· Dan Hood, Editor of Accounting Today

· Seth Fineberg, Editorial Manager/US Team Lead,

· Chris Farrell, CPA, Founder of Liscio

· Ariel Sandell, CISRCP, Cybersecurity Compliance Consultant

· Erron Stark, DVP, Channel Sales ADP

· Heather Sperduto, VP, Channel Sales, ADP

· Kathy Grosskurth, Owner, Bookkeeping Clean and Simple

· Melinda Emerson, Founder, Quintessence Group

· Nate Flake – VP of Operations, Fishbowl

If you have a need for motivation or are involved in supporting the future success of the accounting profession, I’d love to have you as a guest on the show! Let me know by using this online form.

Looking forward to talking with YOU and helping everyone shake things up and achieve their goals!


The AICPA Engage Conference was phenomenal this year! Seeing all of my friends and meeting new professional colleagues is one of my favorite things to do. Whether I’m speaking, hanging out with my Starting Line Up peeps at their booths or attending a session to sharpen my own knowledgebase I always come back highly motivated to do more in my own accounting practice and help other professionals—and my clients—do the same!

I had a great time at Engage and picked up many nuggets of knowledge to put into play in my practice—but before I do, I wanted to share with you what has me so motivated from the experience in the spirit of inspiring those of you who also attended—and anyone else who didn’t—to really maximize the momentum and motivation to do more to fuel your own success.

First Stop: The AICPA Engage Exhibitor Hall

One of my first stops at any professional event I go to (after the ladies’ room, of course) is the exhibit hall. That’s exactly what I did at AICPA Engage, I headed there first! It was great to see my longtime friends and peers to share new ways to maximize my productivity and profitability and catch up in person after being virtual for so long!

I was equally excited to share my new book, The Designated Motivator  and the players in the Team Brolin Starting Line Up. Having a valuable tech stack is one thing, however, the energy behind this collaboration of industry leaders who all share a passion to help accounting firms achieve higher levels of ROI and be able to serve clients with maximum profitability is amazing.

Next Up: The Festivities Begin with Fishbowl and Friends!

I never like to show up at a party without a gift for the hosts and hostesses and attending Fishbowl’s AICPA Engage event was no exception, so I brought along with me The Designated Motivator for Accounting Professionals Activity Book along with some crayons—to keep everyone in the motivation mindset and provide a little relaxation as they sat through all of the conference sessions!

The Fishbowl team not only provides the #1 Manufacturing & Inventory Management Software for QuickBooks® but they also throw one heck of a party! Kudos to Fishbowl for kicking off the first day of the AICA Engage Conference with the perfect level of networking and a good time. In my opinion, any time you can play cornhole and connect with all of the cool people in our profession it’s definitely a win-win.

My Assistant Kamdynn Moroney and I had chance to snap some selfies at AICPA’s Snapbar booth. What a riot! Here are a few of my favorite pics from the conference!

Day Two: Getting Down to Business! Learning and Laughing with My Peers

Day Two of my Engage! experience included attending a fantastic session by Kacee Johnson on Advanced Personal Financial Planning and plus reconnecting with familiar faces. I had such a great time hanging out with Eric and the Corpay gang.

David Leary one of my dear friends gave me a few pointers for my new podcast The DM Disruption. Sign up here if you would like to be a guest!

Avalara has been such a great resource and I always appreciate time spent with their team. It was a wonderful surprise running in to Jim Leffel after all these years since sitting on the Intuit council together in 2008-2009.

I also enjoy being a member of the ADP Council [LINK] so it was amazing running into Sean Duncan and Sharrin Fuller who are also involved in it—ADP is another awesome Starting Line U player! I was also able to chat with another valuable starting line-up player, Rachel Montana and George Addlmessih from SmartVault.

Day Three: Sharing my Experience with QuickBooks® Enterprise

By this point in the conference, I was certainly feeling my Designated Motivator energy kicking into high gear so it was perfect that it coincided with the video production and photoshoot for a brand new QuickBooks Enterprise campaign—coming this fall! Wow, I feel so fortunate to have this opportunity to do more to help my fellow professionals by sharing the tools I have found vital in growing my firm and my ability to serve my clients as efficiently and expertly as possible.

Engaged and Empowered to Power Up My Practice and Help My Peers Do the Same!

The AICPA Engage! Conference was amazing—having the opportunity to gain new insights and network within our professional community is so incredibly valuable. I believe that connecting with each other on a personal level at events like this really does strengthen our profession as a whole. As we continue to navigate the future—still impacted by COVID, never-ending compliance changes, the unpredictable IRS actions, client expectations and demands, as well as the need to manage our firms effectively we need to support each other. I know the relationships I have with my peers and all of the entities who provide the tools and services we depend on to serve our clients are often the lifeline I need to keep motivated and to keep reaching for higher levels of success.

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