Cathy Iconis, CPA — 30

President, Iconis Group LLC

Atlanta, GA

Education: BS Accounting, Oglethorpe University

Professional Associations/Memberships: AICPA, GSCPA

Civic Involvement: GSCPA Task Forces (Real Estate & College Outreach);
Donates 5 percent of all revenues to help end cancer.

Hobbies: Photography, Motherhood, Baking

Cell phone: Droid, it’s incredible!

Favorite app: Dropbox because I can access my files from anywhere.

 

Are you using social networking (such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Facebook) as a marketing tool for your practice/business … or do you use such sites for personal use only? Have you gained any clients or seen other demonstrable benefits from the use of social networking? I’m big on Twitter and LinkedIn, and I write on my own blog at www.MyNumberCruncher.com. That is actually how I’ve been able to get clients. I think every client I have right now has somehow come from my efforts on social media. What I love about it is that I’m able to teach small business owners about finance and accounting. It is a really hard topic for owners, but I try to make it easy and fun … which, by talking to them in these forums, I’m really able to do. I also run AtlantaSmall.biz, which is a blog that provides advice to Atlanta small business owners on a wide range of topics. All of our contributors are experts in their field so we really have a source that is a one-stop-shop for small business owners looking for help.

What pitfalls or what unwritten rules of social networking etiquette exist, which are frequently missed by others in the profession? So many tax and accounting professionals talk at their clients and not with them. I feel like some people think it is important to throw in as many complicated words as possible. I throw that all out the window. I’m not as polished as the rest, but I’ll help you understand what is going on and won’t try to make you feel dumb in the process.

What ONE piece of technology could you absolutely not live without? Google voice. My little dark secret is that my main phone number is a Google voice number. I can have it ported to wherever I want, whenever I want. When someone calls that number and I’m working from home, I have it ringing my home and cell phone. And if I can’t pick up the phone, it goes to voicemail, which is then transcribed and emailed to me! It saves me so much time.

How many hours of the day are you plugged in and responsive to client needs? And what tools/products make it possible for you to have flexibility? I have a pretty flexible schedule, and most of my work does not involve one-on-one contact with my clients. This doesn’t mean that they don’t get excellent customer service, though. I focus on just one client at a time. I check email a few times a day and respond to everyone as soon as I can. This is a hard question to answer because I’m always responsive to my clients’ needs. That is the number one thought going on in my head. What will work best for them? What do they need to run their business better? I’ve just structured my business so that I’m not on the phone with them 24/7, but I try to make each and every one of them feel special.

Do you embrace cloud computing? 100 percent! I love the flexibility and added value I can provide. I use QuickBooks Online with clients a lot so we can all easily gain access to the numbers. I also use GoToMeeting for virtual meetings so clients can see my computer, and I can show them what we are talking about. Another service I use is Dropbox. I store all my files there, and I can access it from anywhere. A lot of my clients use it, too. This makes document storage and retention a breeze.

How is cloud computing changing the accounting profession, and how concerned are you with the security issues related to cloud computing? I think cloud computing will separate the new era of tax and accounting professionals from the old one. More and more business owners (especially small ones) will be using cloud computing in the coming years. If you aren’t aware of and using the technology, you might as well go back to using a typewriter.

Do you foresee the majority of firms still implementing servers for the majority of their computing in their offices five years from now or do you think they will be outsourcing this component to vendors who specialize in this area? I don’t know what firms will be doing, but if I were them, I’d be outsourcing. It’s cheap and, we aren’t in business to run and implement servers. We are in business to help our clients with accounting and tax issues.

Do you subscribe to a magazine and/or local newspaper? I get the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s online edition. That way I can pull it onto my iPad or read it on my computer anywhere.

What are some ways your firm/business has gone “paperless” and/or “green” in the last two years? I started my business a little bit over a year and a half ago, and I’ve tried to be as paperless as possible. My documents are stored electronically, and I use a variety of tools/software to keep everything online. I also try to limit the amount of paper from my clients. I ask for everything electronically whenever I can.

Do you use online resources like webcasts for CPE training? No.

Do you listen to podcasts? No.

What is an “old school” business practice or process you’d like to see changed in the next five years and why? I’d like to see far more accountants stepping away from the very structured, almost legal communication with their clients. I want to see those walls come down and really be able to communicate with our clients like people and friends.

What sports team/championship event do you absolutely refuse to miss? Chick-fil-A bowl is a big thing here in Atlanta. My husband and I love to go to the game every year on New Year’s Eve, except last year we had to stay home with our one year-old daughter.

What are some of your favorite books, movies, music, websites and TV shows? TV: “General Hospital”, “Top Chef” and “Royal Pains”

How many monitors do you have on your desk? Two

What operating system and version of Microsoft Office is installed on your work computer?

Windows XP and Office 2007

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