How did you start your business?
Scott: To start, my husband’s background is corporate enterprise IT systems integration – Essentially making things talk to each other, getting big company technology to work with his company’s technology. He had a lot of experience, and a lot of that happened to be financial technology, in billing, EDI, and AI, you know, all sorts of cool data transfer stuff.
He left his corporate role and we basically became a 12-year-old startup. We had about five clients that came with us from the old company, we had our HR and recruiting clients, that was fine. We literally just started networking, word of mouth, lots and lots of business development in terms of face-to-face interactions with small business owners. It was really confusing in the beginning, when we were selling to sell bookkeeping and recruiting because it didn’t really go together.
I’m a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 small businesses program. I graduated just at the beginning of COVID. My growth opportunity for the Goldman Sachs program happened to be instead of bookkeeping and recruiting, what if it’s finance and HR? That made a lot of sense and just when COVID happened to hit, all of a sudden, everybody needed finance and HR.
What’s the difference between a furlough and a layoff? How do I do this paid family leave thing? You know, what about the PPP loans? I mean, everything that was going on here in the States was crazy from a small business perspective. We grew a lot as a result.
There are two things that we’ve stood firm from since Well, before the Goldman Sachs program Well, before COVID, well, before any of that, and those two principles are people first, and technology forward.
Because that’s what bridges my husband and I, HR and IT and people first and technology forward were our two core values. That was it. We decided very early on, I mean, immediately, we were going to be 100% remote, which meant we only worked with cloud accounting systems. Because of his background with integrating technology and our motto, you know, our core value being technology, We were going to work to remove as much manual data entry as humanly possible. From not only what our clients need to do for themselves, but what our staff needs to do internally and that’s how we scale.
What do you see the future of the accounting and bookkeeping industry look like?
Scott: Skills can be taught. We hire professional bookkeepers that have years of accounting experience, years of bookkeeping experience, and some of them don’t, some of them are new, and they learned it, that’s fine, too. They’re all certified, they’re all qualified. I mean, no, I’m not touching anybody’s booked. So you don’t want me in your books. I promise to never do that. I might be in your HR stuff a lot.
But using something like payroll as a bridge to finance and HR was great for us. Being able to talk about benefits and compensation to a small business owner was huge. I’m taking an outside view, just a business owner view to the books, instead of just reconciling the books, has been a huge win for us. Being able to take a very different strategic view of here’s the story, your numbers are telling me. Here’s where you should focus on your P&l for this product line, this project line, or this service line. Just having a very different and very broad approach to how we advise our clients that isn’t monthly reconciliation.
How are your client’s expectations changing in regards to emerging technology?
Scott: Our clients expect us to be moving into those spaces because we lead with it. We are flat monthly rates based on the needs of the client. Everything is customized for that particular client so we don’t have packages that they fit into. If right now you need bookkeeping, and it’s weekly, and then it’s monthly reconciliation, and then you decide to hire someone, and you want help deciding whether or not that should be a 1099 or a W-2, a contractor or an employee, we can help you make that decision.
We scale and we’ll do as much or as little as the clients need us to do. But one of our key differentiators is that we go beyond compliance. If that’s what you want, you want to go paste that, you know, there, there are services that you can farm, your your, you know, go ahead and send your bank statements and your credit card statements in there, and they’ll do your books for you and kick you back a reconciliation, you’re never going to talk to a real person. But if that’s what you need, that’s not us. Yeah.
And we’re very particular clear about that upfront.
We’re not going to be the right fit for every business. They need to be looking to grow, they need to be, technology savvy, or at least willing to be they need to be willing to eat meat with us over a call just like this, but meet with us every week. We give Dext to every one of our clients because we won’t work with them if they don’t use it.
We’re not going to deal with your paper. We’ll do it once when we set you up. We’re happy to scan it and my dining room table works great as a big conference room table for picture taking.
Every single one of our employees works from home, we typically don’t meet with our clients face to face in person because I have staff and I have clients all over the country.
It’s just been our model from the beginning. Right. So so we are advisors. We’re not pencil pushers. We need the backup. Like one of the things that we tell our clients on the bookkeeping, side is that will basically audit-proof, fraud-proof, and disaster-proof their business. We disaster-proof by going paperless. So if there’s a tornado or a hurricane or a flood or fire your good your documents are in the cloud.
We’re fraud-proofing. Because we are literally checking every single receipt, every single invoice. We’ve got a three-way reconciliation not just reconciling your bank statement with what’s in QuickBooks because it doesn’t do a lot.
We’re just helping them free up tons of time. We’re advising them on ways that they can streamline their business because that’s what we do. That may not be what other bookkeepers do, but that’s certainly what we do. Having that global mindset, I think as a business owner makes a difference to be there as that trusted adviser.
To discover more insights from Jennifer, view his entire video interview here.