Chart your course   d1 - final submission
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Chart your course d1 - final submission

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Discussion on advisory level accounting services vs. low cost, high volume accounting services.

Discussion on advisory level accounting services vs. low cost, high volume accounting services.

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  • (description of the class) As more and more firms diversify into non-traditional practice areas, business
    advisory and low-cost accounting services are seeing a major rebirth. How are
    the strategies different? What are the implications on staffing, pricing, marketing
    and technology? Which model best fits your firm?
  • Intro of self

  • “Staying on course” = Nicole and Steve’s section on their execution of their model.
  • We just started the crafting of the message by starting w/ why. Now we are going to dig deeper. To be effective it needs to be consistent, filled w/ value to the listener and effectively communicated through the right channels.
  • Geoffrey Moore as identified the engine of growth and how outsourcing services that are outside the areas of specialty feeds growth….
  • Talking about the levels of service and how they differ. Speak to the different value each offers to clients.
  • Focus discussion on how this service offering could be valuable to your clients
    Continuous improvement – clients benefit from best in class process including documentation in the form of QRG’s
  • Expectations of Anytime, anywhere access. Businesses looking to collaborate and receive business intelligence not solely compliance work. They are looking to have expertise they don’t have on staff in their office.

    Top Reasons for Adopting Cloud Technology by Survey Respondents:
    Ability to work virtually/expand reach
    No worries on software upgrades
    Business continuity/disaster recovery
    Productivity improvements
    Better visibility into firm/client finances
  • The growth and investment in the cloud solutions available to you has changed what accounting services can be today. Cloud solutions have been available for well over a decade, and we are seeing how the growth of sophistication and wide availability is affecting the change in accounting services. Why accounting? Why not tax? Accounting is where client and accountant work together, where tax and audit the info is handed over and doesn’t change the clients’ perception of the service nearly as much.
  • This rebirth of accounting services and the tools used have muddied the clarity of engagements and who is doing what. This is why the SSARSs Exposure Draft has been proposed.
  • Lastly, part of this rebirth is narrowing the scope to a vertical niche
  • Two distinct categories recognizes: Niche specialization and defining ideal clients.

    From the survey: Nearly one-third of firms are pursuing specialization as a business strategy
  • So which model is a Fit for You?
  • Get to what your purpose is (asking the audience)
    Building your strategy needs to be about helping you execute on your WHY
    (perhaps some of these key words are part of the vision you have for your client service and relationship)

    Link to image:
  • We just started the crafting of the message by starting w/ why. Now we are going to dig deeper. To be effective it needs to be consistent, filled w/ value to the listener and effectively communicated through the right channels.
    It is key to marry the technology, talent/staff and your processes. And managing this change management as the service model as implications for the requirements of staff and clients.
  • Depending on the service model you choose will impact the best fit for your tools.
  • Firms have been focused on workflow for years, but now when it comes to accounting and having a vertical focus there is a fresh look at your workflow and that is finding the tools needed for those accounting needs that will help automate the deliverables you are producing.
  • Many cloud solutions have 3rd party partners they suggest so you can have an effective process to create the most value for you and your clients.
    When you select your vertical you get the selected add on’s.
  • The question isn’t about which is the right program, it is about what you want to do.
  • The real question is “What do you want to do?”
    That will drive the technology selection choice. And your staffing, pricing, marketing.
  • What level do firms want to be at: low end/transactional to Digital CPA?
  • Layout your org chart. The Advisory level service will have a slightly different structure than high transaction, low cost service.
  • As we talked about earlier selecting your vertical will narrow your audience which impacts your marketing.

    Your value will not be perceived the same for all. As well as not the right fit to all. We have now talked about what service fits your firm, the impact on your technology, staffing, pricing this will change who you market these services too.
  • Erik introduce choosing the course

    Link to image:
  • It isn’t Xero vs Intacct. Landscaper analogy – can use their tools or your tools…
  • Nicole, how it changed from prior accounting work to what they do now?
    Steve, model different on advisory vs high volume work?
  • (we could have people tweet their questions and have a moderator help feed them in during the Q&A. We could setup a # just for this session or use Digital CPA)
  • Digital CPA hashtag and all account manager Twitter handles, cpa2biz handle


  • 1. Aria Resort and Casino Las Vegas, NV D1 - Chart Your Course: Strategic Business Advisory or High-Volume, A Low-Cost Accounting Service June 9, 2014; 1-2:15 pm Erik Asgeirsson Panel: Nicole Ksiazek, CPA, Steve Chaney, CPA #PSTECH
  • 2. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Chart Your Course: Strategic Business Advisory or High-Volume, A Low-Cost Accounting Service
  • 3. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH is a subsidiary of the AICPA • Empowering CPAs and Businesses For the Digital Age • Provides marketing & technology services to the AICPA Erik Asgeirsson President and CEO, CPA2Biz • Industry leader with over 20 years of experience leading technology organizations • Consistently recognized as one of Accounting Today’s “Top 100 Most Influential People” • BS Electrical Engineering, George Washington University, and MBA in Finance, NYU Stern School of Business
  • 4. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH • Established itself as a leading portal for the profession • Delivering 85% of AICPA new product sales • Launched the Trusted Business Advisor training program • Emerged as a key thought leader on adoption of cloud solutions by firms Evolution of CPA2Biz
  • 5. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Empowering CPAs and Businesses for the Digital Age Announcing New Company Name
  • 6. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Agenda Rebirth of Accounting Services Which Model Fits you? Implications of the Selected Model Staying on Course
  • 7. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Rebirth of Accounting Services
  • 8. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH 21st Century Business Dynamics
  • 9. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH 1990 2000 Today Reclaiming Accounting Services Today’s Opportunity Cloud based  Integrated  Paperless  Dashboards  Real Time Firms back in control More Support Needed • Small businesses looking for more support from firms • Hosted QB market develops • Other online capabilities develop Firms Lose Control: • QuickBooks introduced • Firms provide: write-up, bookkeeping, payroll, etc Over past 20 years Quickbooks has significantly impacted the Client Accounting area
  • 10. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Bookkeeping/ Write-Up BPO Levels of Service Controller Virtual CFO
  • 11. Benefits of Offering BPO Clients Perspective:  Increased focus on Core processes  Greater efficiency  Cost reduction  Flexibility and scalability  Improved customer & vendor relationships  Better platform and controls  Continuous improvement Firm Perspective:  New business lead identification process is faster. The source of many new opportunities will be within the firm from existing clients and relationships  Source of year-round work in a traditionally seasonal profession  Build stronger client relationships and deepen our role as trusted business advisor  A large part of our client base is a sweet spot on a national basis Benefits of Business Process Outsourcing Focus on Core Processes Improved Relationship s Cost Reduction Efficiency Scalability Continuous Improvement
  • 12. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Key Drivers of the Movement to the Cloud A New Era of Capabilities:  Collaboration  Business Intelligence  Anytime, Anywhere Access  Scalable, More Efficient
  • 13. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Growth of Cloud Computing And Many Others Small Business Has Moved to the Cloud Network growth: >150% last year$150M recently raised QuickBooks® Online 500K users Paychex Equity Investment Efficiencies saving 90 minutes per employee per day Serving over 10k firms and top US banks $45M recently raised
  • 14. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH New Compilation & Preparation Standard Exposure draft period ending May 2, 2014 Key Driver: Cloud Computing has made it difficult to determine who has prepared financial statements New Compilation and Preparation Standard would provide a bright line between accounting services and reporting services New Financial Statement Preparation Standard • Would not require you to consider whether you are independent • Would not require a report – even when f/s are expected to be used by 3rd parties
  • 15. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Copyright © 2013 American Institute of CPAs. All rights reserved. 15
  • 16. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Engagement Letter Updates
  • 17. Establishing Vertical Niches
  • 18. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Drivers of Success Right Client BaseSpecialization
  • 19. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Which Model is a Fit for You?
  • 20. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Golden Circle: “Start with Why” Critical to Firm Success Source: Simon Sinek
  • 21. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH What is your purpose? Trusted Business Advisor compliance partnership support trust information exchange BIG data business insight innovation technology reporting growth security
  • 22. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Implications of Your Service Model
  • 23. What tools do you need?
  • 24. Best of Breed vs. Suite Best of Breed  Focus on what they do best  Increased speed to market innovation  Solutions designed in open API formats  Multi-platform support problematic Suite  Focus on one vendor eco- system  Innovation is tied to building a better integrated eco-system  Closed loop systems  Integrated approach makes support easier
  • 25. Workflow Overview BPO Platform Vendor Bills Deposit Slips Investment Statements Bank Statements Tax Planning and Compliance Dashboards Reports Bill Pay Document Management
  • 26. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Designing Industry Specific Workflow
  • 27. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH This is not the Question oror
  • 28. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH This is the Question
  • 29. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH What do you want to do? Business Advisory Transactional Workflow Using technology to support transaction processing Build digital workflow and standardization in processing Serve as clients’ TRUE TRUSTED BUSINESS ADVISOR Provide Business Intelligence
  • 30. Staffing Strategies
  • 31. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Staffing Strategies Outsourcing approaches Client/Accountant collaboration Workflow standardization in the cloud Education Training Approaches
  • 32. Assembling your Team
  • 33. How do you calculate your value price?
  • 34. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Factors Affecting Value Special capabilities, skill and professional expertise Degree of risk and responsibility assumed Value of services to the client The amounts involved The results obtained Priority and importance of the work to the client Acceptability of the price (for both) David W. Cottle, Bill What You’re Worth
  • 35. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH The Virtual Controller/CFO Value Struggle Most firms struggle to bill at the level of Controller or CFO Median National for Controller $90K (Glassdoor) Median National for CFO $145K (Glassdoor)
  • 36. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Value of Your Fee Your fee will come down to how well you understand the value you will provide to your client. worth of the skills of each person from your firm that will be involved in the engagement, your commitment to ongoing training and education, the fee you need to earn to feel positive about working with that client for the long-term, even during the stressful times in the engagement. “Cheap” does not ever need to be, and generally cannot successfully be the model/approach for a superior practice.
  • 37. Identify Who You are Marketing To
  • 38. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH H&R Block News “Xero and H&R Block formed a strategic alliance to offer Xero as the core small business online accounting platform in Block’s Small Business Program suite of services.” - Danielle Lee, “Block Acquires New River Innovation, Discontinuing Beyond415,” Accounting Today, May 8, 2014
  • 39. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Staying the Course
  • 40. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Staying the Course: Hearing from peers on their selected model
  • 41. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Nicole Ksiazek, CPA Sr. Manager, Fesnak & Associates, LLP Concentration: High End Advisory Services Technology: & Intacct Verticals: - Consumer Product Companies - Professional Services - Life Science Organizations Pricing: - Client Assessment - Step up Fixed Fee Scale
  • 42. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Steve Chaney, CPA Owner, Chaney & Associates Concentration: High end advisory services and low cost accounting Technology:, Xero & Intacct Verticals: - Faith based organizations - Higher education institutions Pricing: - Value added pricing
  • 43. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Selecting the Level of Service to Provide? High End Digital Advisor Low Cost Digital Bookkeeper
  • 44. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH How to choose the technology platform?
  • 45. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH How do you staff the different levels of service?
  • 46. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH How do you determine the Price?
  • 47. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Marketing: Niche Identification
  • 48. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Questions & Answers #DigitalCPA
  • 49. Continuing the Digital Journey…
  • 50. American Institute of CPAs® #PSTECH Staying Connected @CPAcom @stevechaneycpa @nmgksiazek #DigitalCPA #PSTech
  • 51. Copyright © 2014 American Institute of CPAs. All rights reserved. Thank You