A look at how Matthew Patrick, CPA, is moving his clients online.
Not too many years ago, accounting professionals had a reputation for being stodgy, stubborn and even curmudgeons, especially when it came to technology. Most of the professionals I meet today agree that reputation was usually appropriate, but it was driven out of the conservative and skeptical nature that drives them to provide valuable service to their clients … and the constraints of time, of course. After all, what professional looks forward to retraining staff on new systems and workflows every few years?
As the reliance that firms and professionals have on technology grows, this reputation is quickly being discarded for one that shows the profession as a role model for the use of technology. Yes, accounting professionals are becoming, in many cases, technological trendsetters, particularly when it comes to helping their clients adopt many of the same tools and workflow practices that have helped their own practices become more efficient and productive.
The most recent evolutions in the professional practice have greatly revolved around adapting web-based/Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) programs and optimizing workflow processes. We write about these issues frequently in this publication, but how they are implemented into the real day-to-day work of a firm makes all the difference in the benefit that can be achieved in terms of growth and profitability. But to stay on top of the technologies that can help practices, it takes an almost constant review of practice methods and tools. While this may sound daunting, the return on investment can be worthwhile.
For Tennessee CPA Matthew Patrick, this has meant reinventing his accounting firm Patrick Accounting and Tax Services, PLLC (www.PatrickTax.com). The 10-person practice, which he started in 2003, has already transitioned between tax systems and other programs as the tech-savvy leader has implemented new workflow processes. One of his priorities is getting his clients fully online with regard to the services his firm offers.
Located in the Memphis suburb of Germantown, the firm specializes in write-up and virtual accounting services, with new growth coming from moving his clients to “BOSS,” a remote accounting service that stands for Back Office Support System. With BOSS, the accounting firm handles pretty much all of the internal accounting functions for business clients, including paying bills, recording deposits, preparing payroll and wage reporting, producing financial statements, handling tax compliance, and offering strategic consulting. The firm uses a flat-fee, value-billing model for its services, which it calls Integrated Accounting Solutions. This has been especially popular among clients in his core specialty areas of medical specialists and restaurants with multiple locations.
“By handling the day-to-day bookkeeping and accounting functions for our clients, they are able to focus more of their time on business activities,” Matthew said. “We want them to consider us a part of their team, invested in the success of their business, too. And as financial professionals, we can more quickly identify potential issues such as theft. Plus, having greater insight into their financial operations allows us to offer more valuable guidance in planning.”
The firm also has an active marketing program, including a full-time marketing director who helps identify client prospects and set up appointments. “We are trying to be more proactive in the services we provide clients. Instead of simply being reactive to client requests, if we help them identify a need that our firm can help them with, we’ve generated new business for the practice while strengthening our relationships.”