Meet My New Employee, AI

Meet My New Employee, AI

Recently, I reviewed an analytics module added to FloQast, a cloud-based closing system for accountants. While there are several analytics systems accounting firms can use to report on the health of the firm's business clients, FloQast is different. It is made for accountants by accountants to answer the question: HOW IS OUR FIRM DOING? The module is simple, and if you use the workflow, you can get detailed real-time reports on WHO, WHAT, WHY, HOW each client's’ close, whether it already closed or is in process.

Read More

What was that deposit?

What was that deposit?

Insourcing your clients' bookkeeping and accounting has become rather commonplace. The first step was to take over the payroll, then AP and expenses. Those two areas have become rather easy to manage and run virtually thanks to a variety of accounting apps, but there are still two issues that slow down the accounting and bookkeeping work and eat into the profit of flat-rate billing: handwritten checks and mobile and counter deposits. 

Read More

The Need for Legal and Accounting Professionals in the Cannabis Industry

The Need for Legal and Accounting Professionals in the Cannabis Industry

April 20th is a day of celebration for those in the cannabis industry. States and countries are changing the laws on the growing, selling, and using of cannabis almost weekly. A confluence of dedicated lobbying by groups such as norml.org and the Marijuana Policy Project, along with a generational change, the understanding that opiates are killing people, and perhaps finally a recognition of the original reason for its Schedule I status --racism and cotton -- are pushing sanity on cannabis.  

Read More

Change is Inevitable

Change is Inevitable

There have been a plethora of articles on the changes technology is bringing to the workplace: how accountants and bookkeepers need to integrate these technologies into their firms and utilize them for the added value sale, to increase client retention and client relationship, and manage internal workflows and employees. “So many apps, so little time” is now the mantra.  Yep, the accounting industry is now in full Cloud mode.  

Read More

Competing with the Big Four: Outsourcing as the Leveler

Competing with the Big Four: Outsourcing as the Leveler

Many companies find that having data entry work done by staff in India is very helpful not only to the bottom line, but also to the internal staff that is dealing with incoming calls, clients, and the day-to-day activity.  The India teams accomplish their work during the US evening. I have workers in several locations: Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, and Pune.  All of these off-shore BPOs handle sensitive financial data within a safe and secure connection to servers based in the US. Most often, the server is at a managed server facility ensuring that SOC II security compliance is in place. 

Read More

Should You Pay for Your Client's SaaS?

Should You Pay for Your Client's SaaS?

Many years ago, back in the previous century, we recommended that accounting firms, wanting to become more efficient and promote themselves as forward-thinking, should use ASPs when managing their business client’s accounting software.   That is still a viable option for quite a lot of businesses and firms.  We even went so far as to tell the accountants and bookkeepers that they should pay for their client’s access to the ASP.  The gasps were always audible.  With value-added pricing, the cost could be written into the monthly invoice as a line item or included in the flat fee.   Some savvy accountants did just that while adding on a few dollars every month to cover their handling costs.

Read More

Re-Engineering Your Accounting Firm to Maximize Time and Profit

Re-Engineering Your Accounting Firm to Maximize Time and Profit

A large national accounting firm, located in Dallas, saw that their non-profit clients were struggling with the expensive cost of the services the firm was providing.  They had MoneyPenny come in and look at the current processes they were utilizing.  The head of the non-profit division brought in her team and described to them the dilemma.  Their clients saw that the work performed could be done just as easily and more cheaply by smaller firms.  This was not a good situation.  The large firm had significant overhead and higher payrolls.  Cutting the pricing with the same systems would not work, just as increasing the price would mean current clients may leave and new ones would not come on board.

Read More

Is Software the Answer to Value-Added Billing?

Is Software the Answer to Value-Added Billing?

When you started your firm, you knew from your early internship and years spent getting your feet wet, how to do billable hourly tracking.  There is a plethora of software on the market, many tied into practice management software, that assists you in that endeavor.  Well, Dorothy, the software to get you to value-added billing and consulting rather than billable hours is not in the bag the Wizard is holding. Just like Dorothy, to get where you want to go, you need to take a different path altogether.

Read More

Consulting for a Back Office Accounting Solution

Consulting for a Back Office Accounting Solution

As a listed professional advisor or network member on several accounting solutions, I often get requests from businesses to assist them in fixing their current usage of the back office software, setting up a new company file, training the staff on best usage of the software, or, more often how to integrate with add-ons. Most recently it was a new start-up that sells surf and skate gear (sometimes it can even involve an industry that is part of my pura vida). In this case, the lead came from Intuit’s professional advisory network.

Read More

Is Your Accounting Firm Ready to Offer CFO Services?

Is Your Accounting Firm Ready to Offer CFO Services?

What are the core functions of an accounting firm? The first thing that comes to mind is taxes. We all depend on well-trained and highly educated tax preparers to take on the onus of the annual Uncle Sam Pay Day. Whether you’re a business or personal tax client, your preparer requires all the financial documents obtained by the business or individual for the year. Through research and knowledge of tax code, those source documents are used to create a tax return. Knowledge is the key here, knowledge that the accounting firm specializes in to make that tax return happen quickly, efficiently, and in the best interest of the client.

Read More

The Importance of Client Transparency

The Importance of Client Transparency

I do not often write about what is occurring in the accounting community.  I leave that to those with better credentials.  However, over the last few months, a long-time aspect of the industry has been pushing me to write.  Several conversations with accountants have driven me to write about client transparency. 

Read More

7 Steps for a Value-Added Advisory Practice

7 Steps for a Value-Added Advisory Practice

A research of Small Accounting Practices by Black and Thompson of Accountancy SA found that accounting firms could no longer rely on traditional accounting services as their main source of revenue. The needs and demands of SMEs are leaning toward “value-added business advisory services.”  What is striking in this report is that the need for a change of service types was not limited to one country. The United States, Great Britain, European Union, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa were included in that research. The findings reported that CPAs and CAs could attract SMEs to their new CFO model services by instituting the following changes in their practices:

Read More

The Skill Set You Need to be Your Client's CFO

The Skill Set You Need to be Your Client's CFO

New technology is very exciting and having a penchant for it in your skill-set is a good idea. Maybe you are secretly a geek, so you end up spending your time finding out the latest and greatest technology tools for your practice management. Or better yet, you design and build it yourself.  All that research gives you little time for the face-to-face client interaction, but that is okay because you will have the best technology and a multitude of options to handle any prospect that comes in the door. Secretly, that is where I would hang out if I could.

Read More

The First (and Most Important) Step in Becoming Your Client's CFO

The First (and Most Important) Step in Becoming Your Client's CFO

Seeking Degreed Professionals, Part-Time Accounting & Customer Service, Telecommute

We are in the business of helping our clients start and grow their ventures, develop net worth, and then retain or transfer their accumulated wealth. Over the last 20 years, we have enjoyed ongoing success serving (location removed by poster) clients who typically are in a broad range of industries and have annual sales between $300K and $5 MM. We are looking for degreed professionals to work on a part-time basis in accounting/customer service. The schedule is flexible. You will work from your home office and the client’s site. Knowledge of accounting principles, computerized accounting software & spreadsheets is essential. Familiarity with taxes a plus.

Read More

Re-Engineering Your Firm for CFO Services

Re-Engineering Your Firm for CFO Services

Ken Shultz, founder of Calgary-based accounting firm Integra Solutions Group, recently commented on this blog that the services his clients are asking for have changed. He mentioned that while it is true some still want just the standard financial and tax-related assistance he has been providing for some many years, he is now receiving requests for more “advice and commentary.” To be exact he wrote: “They have gone beyond, 'What is the best thing from a tax perspective?' and have arrived at, 'What do I need to know and what do I need to do to achieve my strategic plan?'" Ken also went on to mention that he enjoys this type of work. The challenge came in re-engineering his staff to become a strategic team in order to fulfill these requests.

Read More

Finding Your First CFO Client

Finding Your First CFO Client

During a consulting session with a bookkeeping and technology firm, I was once again reminded how often we forget what we know.  Sound strange?  Have you ever worried about how you can create managerial reports when performing value-added CFO services?  Does that concern allow you to default to financial compliance reports, or worst still, fall short on the deliverables you promised?  Do you sit in on webinars showing how accounting data can be extracted to produce great reports, then worry if your clients would pay enough to justify the cost of new software in addition to the learning curve?

Read More

Research on Objection: "My Clients Won't (Insert Objection Here)."

Research on Objection: "My Clients Won't (Insert Objection Here)."

More often than not when I am speaking with Accountants and Bookkeepers I hear, ‘My clients won’t …’

In the past, I have put on my bookkeeping/accounting disguise and verified the validity of this type of response myself. And lately, since firms have hired me to go out to their clients and set them up for those processes that would allow the firm to become the virtual CFO or value-based biller, I have been able to do this verification across the nation, business types, and personality types.

Read More