Kim (Hogan) Austin – 32
ECMp, CAPTUREp, Certified QBO ProAdvisor
Business Development Manager – National Accounts
Palm Springs, CA
What is the name of one book that has been a great influence to you?
The first time I attended an Ed Kless/ Ron Baker “Firm of the Future” event several years ago, Ron gave me a copy of Implementing Value Pricing. I soon learned the meaning of a “Ron Baker headache”. Years later, Ron’s words of wisdom are proving to be some of the most beneficial I’ve ever had. I love being able to talk value pricing (never value billing) with my partners, and a week doesn’t go by where I’m not blatantly using a Ron Baker line to a firm (occasionally admitting where I first heard it).
In what ways have you contributed to your firm/company to make it better?
Before I started at Intuit, I saw the company as a very big, corporate, blue logo…not personal at all. Since joining, I’ve been thrilled to see the company put such a huge emphasis on social, and finally showing the accounting world how many amazing individuals we have on our team. I know I’ve brought a big following on social with me, and I try to use that to not just represent myself, but always remind people how incredibly proud I am to wear Intuit Blue.
In what ways do you participate in the professional community to change/improve the accounting profession?
When I look at what we’ve done at Intuit since the forming of the Business Development team, what I’m most proud of is the role I’ve played directly in helping firms find solutions to make their jobs easier, and their customers’ lives better. Whether it’s identifying and vetting a 3rd party QBO App, providing tutorials on value pricing, or even coaching a firm partner on how to sell the Cloud internally to his or her fellow partners, I truly have felt that we’re making a difference as the profession shifts from a desktop-based/hourly-billed world, to the next level.
In what ways do you participate in your local community to help others?
Intuit has a huge emphasis on giving back. Through our corporately sponsored We Care & Give Back program, a colleague and I were able to team with a local Southern California firm, Kellogg & Andelson, and Granada Hills Charter High School, to teach QuickBooks Online to a group of high school students as part of a Summer Internship program. It was such a great experience, and we’re about to take it to the next level with an after-school program for students to enable them to get QBO Certified before they even graduate high school.
What changes do you foresee in the accounting profession of the near future (3-5 years)?
It’s a bit startling to me that we’re still talking so much about the “shift” to Cloud-based solutions, because it seems that 3-5 years ago, we would have answered this question exactly the same way. That said, accountants are not known for their lightning fast adoption rate of cutting-edge technology, so maybe we’re right on schedule.
How do you see yourself participating in shaping the future of the accounting profession?
It’s one thing to tell someone what to do – for example, “Move your practice to the Cloud”. It’s a completely different story when you roll up your sleeves (or trade in your stilettoes for sneakers) and ride with them. As my partners go through the sometimes daunting task of evaluating, selling, migrating, fixing, and moving forward in the new online world, I’ll be right there with them every step. Some of my greatest victories are when I know I’ve made a firm look good to their clients. At the end of the day, when the firm looks good, it’s a win for Intuit.
What is your career philosophy?
Warren Zevon summed it up for me quite well when he sang, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” I’m pretty much connected 100% of the time, thanks to technology. Whether I choose to respond instantaneously is dependent on what I’m doing in my off time, but that’s often work. I’m grateful that my personal life allows my husband and me to both be so passionate about our professional lives. Granted, it’s rare, but we’ve managed to both stay in a profession in roles that compliment each other so that a win for me = a win for him & vice-versa. Being a workaholic, this is vital to my peace of mind, because when we’re talking about work on a Saturday morning over coffee, neither one of us minds.
Describe one person who has been an important mentor to you and how that person helped change your life.
It’s rare that I publicly talk about how much of an impact my husband, Brian, has had on my career, but hands down, he’s the single most influential person. When I arrived on the scene in 2010, having come down to the SMB Accounting world after 2 years in the Enterprise ERP space, it was he who not only made introductions to so many critical people (which even included a road-trip to Shawnee, OK for a visit to The CPA Technology Advisor “house”), and taught me so much about my professional brand. Most of all, he believed in me and managed to finally convince me to do the same. I guess you can say the rest is history.
This doesn’t take anything away from the myriad of other role models who have seen enough value in me to choose to mentor me (even if we don’t always use that term). I’m so grateful for the time and investment that managers, colleagues, and partners have made in me (including CPA Practice Advisor’s Gail Perry), which has led to them all becoming amazing friends as well.