W. Michael Hsu - 2013 40 Under 40 Honoree

W. Michael Hsu, CPA.CITP, MSA — 29
Founder & CEO, DeepSky | Entrepreneur’s Accounting Department
Irvine, California


Education: M.S. Accountancy, Walsh College; B.A. Business Economics with Accounting Emphasis, University of California, Santa Barbara
Professional Associations/Memberships: AICPA, EO Accelerator, Young Entrepreneur Council
Hobbies: Travel, entrepreneurship, cycling, CrossFit, cars, technology, and generally having a good time with good friends


What are the key areas of your firm that have seen the greatest change in workflow over the past few years? Are you using automated workflow tools? With the increased accessibility of anywhere, anytime computing, DeepSky’s workflow had gone through multiple iterations over the past few years. Recognizing the need to include new technologies that shift our traditional processes online and the need to be more meticulous when all the parties are involved may not have any face-to-face interactions for a long period of time. Effective and efficient communication became a focus in the new workflow design and implementation. DeepSky currently does not use any off-the-shelf automated workflow tools.

Have you embraced cloud computing for your practice? Are you moving your clients to the cloud? At DeepSky, cloud is just table stakes. 100% of our customers have their entire accounting infrastructure on the cloud. One of the benefits of being our customers is that they rest easy knowing that we are in charge of talking, working, testing, and building relationships with some of the world’s best cloud computing companies and their products.

On a broader scale, how do you see new technologies changing the accounting profession in the near term (3-5 years)? Technology has given the accounting profession a chance at being relevant to the business world again. Many technologies we see today fundamentally changes the way we do our job while returning to the core purpose of what’s being done. The professionals will have to look past “how” we used to do things and start realizing the “purpose” behind each task we do. Those who can do that will find new technology to be a blessing at making their lives easier and putting them in a position to add real value to their customers. Those who cannot will become irrelevant.

How mobile are you regarding your work? How have mobile devices and apps impacted your productivity and work-life balance? Anywhere I am with Internet, my laptop, smartphone, pen, and my notebook can be considered my office. I am never bound to a single location to get my work done. My customers are the same. I’ve had conference calls with 3 people across 3 time zones and 3 countries – and it’s not amazing; instead, it’s expected. Mobile devices and apps have increased my productivity tremendously and, as a result, have a positive impact on my work-life balance. I work less because I can get more done in a shorter amount of time. I control my gadgets; they don’t control me.

Have you found business success via social media, either via recognizable ROI, new customers, marketing or networking? My greatest success in social media has to be all the new friends, teachers, and mentors I’ve gathered over the past several years. Social media allowed me to connect with brilliant people from around the world that I would not have previously had access to. It has gotten me into private parties, speaking engagements, and on the cover of magazines. Over the years, I think social media created a larger top of the funnel; it is still crucial and up to me to turn these virtual relationships into personal relationships. It takes time and effort.

What tips on social media do you think are essential, but perhaps missed, by professionals and small businesses? Social media had been glorified by the professional world for the last several years. Get over it! It’s just a tool that we have today that brings us closer to one another, like a telephone. Treat it like you would a (very powerful) telephone and you would be fine.

What single piece of technology do you find the most important in your professional life? My laptop. In the past I’ve mentioned that the Internet is the single most important technology in my professional life, but by today’s standard, that’s almost like saying electricity is important. My laptop, on the other hand, is my window into my professional world. It does everything I need from strategizing to down and dirty process mapping. Without it, my productivity is slashed by more than half even with all the other gizmos that I own. It is no doubt that my Retina MacBook Pro is the most powerful office I carry with me on a day to day basis.

Not including your current employer, what company do you most admire and why? People close to me know that I’ve always been fascinated by the business model of the Las Vegas Strip. Among all the brilliant entrepreneurs and companies who have created this magnificent experience in the middle of a desert, Steve Wynn and his Wynn Resorts had to be my favorite for their ambition and execution despite of all the odds against them. He started with the Mirage in ’89 that placed one of the first amazing experience of the live volcano on the Strip. Then, he built the Bellagio fountain when everyone thought he was nuts for wasting such a large prime real estate. Finally, the Wynn and Encore Resorts boasts two of the world’s best nightclubs that everyone travels to despite the remote and less desired end of the Las Vegas Strip. Steve Wynn and his Wynn Resorts are the best example of doing the (what seemed like) impossible.

What brand/model mobile phone do you use? Currently I use a HTC One. It is the first android phone I’ve used since my iPhone 3GS several years ago and I am totally stoked that a Taiwanese company was able to execute such a quality device under their own brand.

Do you use a tablet for work purposes? Yes. I use my iPad primarily for presentation and demo purposes. The advantage is that it can display a set of PDFs anywhere, even at a dinner table.

How many monitors do you have on your desktop workstation? My current set up at my workstation is two 24” external monitors plus my 15” Retina MacBook Pro.

Read more about this year's 40 Under 40 Honorees.