Why an Accountant Makes a Difference in Small Business
For those who don’t know me, I’m part of the Strategic Accounts team at Intuit. As a Business Development Manager, I spend my life helping accountants help their small business clients. I’ll often tell my partners that while they are supposed to be their clients’ trusted advisor, I will be their trusted advisor when it comes to selecting different solutions (like QBO and the 3rd party apps that make up the QBO ecosystem).
One of my favorite things about my job is getting to hear stories from my partners about their clients. From taking small businesses on the brink of failure and turning them into profitable, successful, thriving customers, to helping them implement technology that automates some of the most daunting, manual, tedious tasks. The pride my accountants take in helping their clients is obvious, and I, in turn, am proud too.
The consistent theme in most of the stories I hear is that small business owners are always best at one thing: running their small business. They’re not accountants. They’re not bookkeepers. QuickBooks Online was designed with the small business owner in mind, but the thing that makes QBO most powerful, is an accountant.
I often compare it to handing someone a bunch of tools and telling them “go build a house”. Of course, with enough time, research, and effort, just about anything could be accomplished, but why would someone with no homebuilding experience choose to build a house? Instead, by finding a contractor, they can ensure that they do everything properly – the first time – and be confident that their end result will be a beautiful, sturdy, safe home.
I recently had lunch with one of my firms, who shared a story about a client that absolutely touched my heart, and was such a great reminder that finding the right accountant is critical. My partner got a message through Intuit’s Find a ProAdvisor site asking for help with some pretty urgent tax issues with their family business. However, the message was entirely in Spanish. My partner doesn’t speak any Spanish, but luckily, his wife (who works part time for the firm doing Social Media) is fluent. After she saw the message, it was obvious what needed to be done. She drafted a message back for my partner to send, and the next week they all met to discuss the situation.
Apparently, this family had reached out to several ProAdvisors in the Southern California area with no luck, as the family didn’t speak English and weren’t able to find a Spanish-speaking advisor to assist. They were desperate, and had finally come to the right place. With his wife translating, my partner was able to onboard the client, help them through this crisis, and retain them as an ongoing bookkeeping and tax customer – simply because he was able to think outside the box, and show this business that he cared about their success. He proudly related to me that the family’s business was completely turned around, and that they were beyond thrilled to be partnering with his firm.
Going back to the construction analogy, I tend to think of QBO and the apps ecosystem as tools, and my accountants are the contractors. So as a business owner, don’t forget that just because you have the tools, doesn’t mean you’ll know how to use them. Remember that your strength is in running your business, not in tracking debits and credits. And as an accountant, what are you doing to be the right accountant for your clients? Are you making an effort to learn their business, or going the extra mile to remind them how much you care? At the end of the day, there are lots of contractors out there, but only the right one will be able to help you build your dream house.