Sorry I’ve been a little absent lately from this blog, but it’s been for a great cause. I’ve been traveling the country, presenting Intuit’s “Find Freedom in the Cloud… Your Way” tour. Since I have a two week break from the tour, I thought I’d explain what the training is all about, share some feedback and point out the key differences in what accounting professionals are saying today compared to a year ago. Here’s a rundown of a typical one day event.
While we primarily focused on QuickBooks Online (QBO), it is clear that QuickBooks desktop (QBDT) products like Pro, Premier or Enterprise Solutions aren’t going away anytime soon. In fact, they can easily be incorporated into a remote practice using an authorized hosting service.
The morning sessions start by explaining what it means to work with client remotely – the different ways that it can be done: Mainly via hosting, with services such as UniData, or via QuickBooks Online. Then we discuss the why and the how – the benefits for us and our clients. Then we talk about what tools the attendees are already using in their business, and even personally, that can be incorporated into their practice to collaborate with clients. The attendees are asked to think about the who – current clients that would be a good fit to convert to remote, and the clients that they want to connect with. The where is easy – working remotely, you can do it anyplace – the office, the bus stop, an airport – as long as you have internet access, you’re good to go!
This part of the day is one of my favorites. No demos, we just work as a group to exchange ideas about different software applications people are using – SugarSync, DropBox, SmartVault for file sharing, Google Voice and RingCentral for inbound call maintenance, TimeTrade and FullSlate to make it easy for clients to schedule appointments. We discuss objections that current clients might have to moving online – “I don’t want to learn a new program” or “How will I know if QBO is right for my business?” – and the counterpoints to these objections, such as offering free training or running parallel books for 30-60 days so the client can see QBO side by side to QBDT.
The most exciting part of this exercise for me is the end. Asking the group to think about their “dream client”. Is it fresh out of college entrepreneurs? Non-profits? Business that are just starting out? A husband and wife team or family owned operation? I then ask them to think about some things they’re passionate about – both professionally and personally. What do they love to do, both at work and outside of it? Do they like reading? Biking? Working with kids? The “aha moment” is when they realize they can serve their dream client, AND pursue their passions thanks to the technology now available! My example is helping a small business owner streamline how they run their business – putting systems in place that allow them to not have to be up until midnight paying bills and trying to do a bank rec. I love to hear that sigh of relief and hear “We can do that?” when I show them QBO and how it integrates with other apps to eliminate data entry and create separation of duties between their employees. Then we talk about ways to combine these two things – their ideal client and their passion – and how to connect with these clients.
The afternoon session is devoted to QBO and QuickBooks Online Accountant (QBOA) functionality. We have attendees sign up or login to QBOA, create a new QBO Company, and ask that they use this new account to convert a new client. We talk about the payroll options that work with QBO and then some of the most popular add-ons from Apps.com that increase QBO functionality and really help small business run their back (and front) offices like a Daft Punk song: Better, faster, stronger.
Throughout the day, we talk about the ProAdvisor Programs, and teach quite a large amount of content that’s in the certification exam. I love explaining how the ProAdvisor program changed my life (give us 1-2 examples please), and the benefits of getting certified.
We end with everyone’s favorite game, “QBO Jeopardy,” a fun way to review the day, loosen up, and in the process… review for the QBO Certification Exam that is available. I love that even though there aren’t any actual prizes, people get REALLY competitive!
The most amazing thing for me is the difference in attitude compared to the QBO training I did a year ago.
In the summer of 2012, I presented QBO content for accountants and their small business clients What I heard was pretty much the same that I’d been hearing for the last few years: They weren’t familiar with QBO, didn’t want to be, only used it if clients insisted upon it, and worked at trying to get them to use QBDT products.
This year – man oh man! I’m hearing the complete opposite. Accountants are telling me that they have a couple clients on it, they can’t wait to learn more about it, they want to get comfortable with it so they can start recommending it to clients.
Of course part of it is due to the newly redesigned and reinvented QuickBooks Online, but part of it is that accountants are finally realizing that this is how their clients want to work. As consumers ourselves, we expect to be able to have anytime anywhere access – to our email, bank and credit card accounts, social networks – so why wouldn’t our clients want that same access?
Now we can give them that access, we can do it better than we’ve ever been able to before, and it’s only going to get better!
If you are interested in attending an upcoming Intuit road show, there are still plenty of dates left, so check to see if we’ll be in your area.