The power of QuickBooks, realized, with a ProAdvisor

We encourage you to get to know QuickBooks well beyond its name or the surface level. When you first embarked on “being your own boss,” we’re betting you didn’t sit back and say, “Yay! I get to spend every non-working, non-sleeping minute working on the books!” If anything, too many sleepless nights and stressful days probably led to your either: a.) hiring someone like myself (the bean counter) to take those complex, time-consuming financial accounting tasks off your hands, so you could get back to actually growing and improving your business, or b.) shopping around for a quality software program that handles the accounting information for you.

Instead of drowning under reams of data, the numbers are at your fingertips, and provide real-time insight into the amount of money that’s available now, where the “source” of that money is coming from, and where that money is being allocated. In fact, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports 82% of small enterprise owners in the United States use software to aid in their accounting. Just north of 33% of small business owners employ the services of a professional accountant. We can appreciate that, just as with human resource or IT personnel, such full-time expertise can be cost-prohibitive for small business owners. We’re actively working with owners who have transitioned from “doing it all,” to leaning on full-time accountants, to the hybrid approach: letting me, the QuickBooks ProAdvisor, “onboard” them effortlessly to the software program. They’re able to get the best of both worlds; the access to expertise and features that were formerly only accessible to the corporate giants, without the corporate giants’ price tag.

When a brand of soft drink comes to mind, many consumers probably still say Pepsi or Coke. When asked to name a sportswear company, I’m betting many people still mention Nike or Adidas first. When accountants are asked about software to support their essential functions and, in turn, their clients’ functions, QuickBooks immediately comes to mind in the same way as Nike or Coke come to mind as almost mythical brands. QuickBooks has been around for a long time, since 1998, and it’s the brainchild of a continued software powerhouse in Intuit. As with every other industry, some accountants “take” more naturally to technology than others, and this isn’t necessarily a generational thing. It goes back to personal preferences and how we’re wired. I, for one, have a mix of “left-” and “right-” brained personality characteristics. So, I’m often equally comfortable in the creative and artistic worlds as I am in the button-down, logistical, “just the facts, ma’am” arena. True to its maker Intuit’s name, QuickBooks has an intuitive and (comparatively) easy-to-use interface. Accountants and clients alike appreciate that they don’t need to be a baby-faced tech dynamo to embrace and optimize features. Unlike other systems that must be “fitted” to your organization, QuickBooks fits around your business and its needs. You can take or leave features based off of those needs or the nature of your organization. But that is also the “rub,” because there may be features that are left on the shelf that could be harnessed to improve everyday operations and productivity.

That said, many of us remember preparing hundreds of statements manually. I wouldn’t want to venture a guess as to how much time I and my former colleague spent just preparing these statements. Today, we can go online and the technology essentially does this tedious task for us. That’s the beauty of accounting information software – it’s literally at your fingertips, from your smartphone or tablet. Instead of pouring your energies and hours into creating invoices, rendering tax reports or processing bills, you’re able put that time and brain-space toward productive, strategic functions that improve how your business runs, and ultimately its bottom-line. The investment in good software, when properly used, is itself a great strategic decision, as it graphically illustrates areas for improvement, as well as strengths. When you have this information in hand, you’re able to make sound decisions – you can build upon and market the bright spots, and develop other strategies to effectively address areas of the business that present a much gloomier picture for your organization. There is also nothing more frustrating than hearing that two or more people have already taken on the same tasks that you just completed; QuickBooks helps to eliminate those redundancies. Coming from a farm family, I also appreciate the “green” nature of the paperless office. But I also appreciate how easy it is to quickly pull up data online when I need it, and the businesses I’ve partnered with appreciate that they no longer have moments of panic, fearing an important document was “lost” when it simply may have been misfiled or “hiding” in plain sight all along.

Plans for growth start with the ability to analyze performance.

If you have any volume of transactions, you know how quickly managing those transactions can spiral out of control. Unfortunately, if you don’t have a handle on that type of data, you are missing out on a lot of information that could benefit your business’s performance, and help you to avert potential disaster. Yet, you may not even know how close you are to the edge of the cliff if your records aren’t in order, as a means of pinpointing the red flags. We intimately understand how you got to this place as an owner. From the time you started your business until today, it’s been “go, go, go” with little opportunity for reflection. When you get so caught up on crossing items off of the daily checklist, and putting out the day-to-day fires that inevitably arise, mastering how to use systems like QuickBooks takes a very distant backseat. As a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, I’ve demonstrated an understanding of general accounting principles, as well as the program’s functionality. Before I was able to support businesses with QuickBooks set-up and its array of tools, I navigated product demonstrations, common “best practice” workflows, and had the opportunity to wrap my arms around the “end-to-end” accounting lifecycle. Now, that might sound like an awful lot of jargon, but what this exam on the front end taught me is to appreciate the big picture behind the key tasks within QuickBooks. So, I can best support businesses’ growth.

And, like any good software provider, Intuit is constantly improving upon its creation. With access to continuing education, I’m “in the know” about the latest product updates.

You don’t know how to best maximize the software if you aren’t aware of the latest improvements. As an advisor, I want to be empowered with this knowledge. So, I can then support my client’s growth – or empower them through my knowledge and training. Additional training also supports the different ways receipts can be added; identifies processes to review, edit and match receipts; acknowledges how to use mileage tracking features or reclassify transactions via new interfaces; and helps to get clients’ books ready for the tax preparer. Tax times goes smoothly, regardless of how the deadline falls. One of the most helpful features to master deals with troubleshooting, because at some point there will be troubles to shoot. The training that is available as a certified ProAdvisor allows me to quickly pinpoint and fix common problems that clients encounter with the software. I can also help clients make the most of their files, to get the best value from the powerful tools that are available.

For instance, as I transition one of our longtime clients over to QuickBooks, my hope is that in another year he’ll have the confidence to efficiently maximize all the program has to offer for his company’s specific needs. He’ll have the good records in place, and always have someone available to him (me) to answer questions and provide helpful tips. He’s not spending money he doesn’t have right now on a full-time accountant. Yet, he’s not buried under the avalanche of routine paperwork, which further exposes his business to noncompliance and other risks. We’re also intentional in setting up reviews as needed, quarterly or otherwise. Just as the use of all of the features can be fitted to your business, so can this consultative approach be shaped to the needs of your enterprise.

We’re not here to “sell you” on yet another product. We’re here to help you find more time in your day for value-added tasks. We’re here to help you regain the joy you had in your business back when you first launched. And we’re here to help you achieve the lifestyle that you desire. QuickBooks, in consultation with trusted advisors, can help you do all of those things. Not a game-changer. A lifesaver.

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