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“The Radical CPA” Shares a New Vision of Accounting Technology


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Many accounting professionals know Jody Padar simply as “The Radical CPA” — a nickname earned for her forward-leaning stance on cloud, mobile and social technology. The CEO and Principal of New Vision CPA Group took her firm into the cloud nine years ago, when many accountants still eyed SaaS with skepticism. Her first SaaS app was a payroll product.

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“The Radical CPA” Shares a New Vision of Accounting Technology

  1. 1. “The Radical CPA” Shares a New Vision of Accounting Technology CCH Axcess™ helps New Vision CPA Group grow in the cloud with open standards Many accounting professionals know Jody Padar simply as “The Radical CPA” — a nickname earned for her forward-leaning stance on cloud, mobile and social technology. The CEO and Principal of New Vision CPA Group took her firm into the cloud nine years ago, when many accountants still eyed SaaS with skepticism. Her first SaaS app was a payroll product. Things that had taken me an hour took two minutes in the cloud. That fundamentally changed the way I would run my firm. Fast forward nine years, and we’re a cloud-driven firm, working in real time with clients all over the world. — Jody L. Padar, CPA, MST, CEO & Principal, New Vision CPA Group Padar never looked back, taking her firm entirely paperless and moving every workflow into the cloud. When I first started using the cloud, people thought I was one of those crazy disrupters. When new clients sign on with us today, they know part of our expectation is that they’ll work with us in the cloud. They won’t have the option of continuing in their old ways. That’s our philosophy. In 2013, Padar took another step forward by switching the firm from UltraTax CS® to CCH Axcess, featuring Wolters Kluwer’s Open Integration Platform. The UltraTax CS® cloud product was confining. We were spending too much time getting in and out of the cloud in our everyday work. As we grew, we needed more sophisticated tools, so our option was to go to a private cloud or find a new solution. Open standards were fundamental for the future New Vision CPA Group’s goal was to adopt a cloud-based tax and accounting suite with open standards. In fact, Padar identifies Wolters Kluwer’s Open Integration Platform as the reason why the firm switched to CCH Axcess™ Document, CCH Axcess™ Portal, CCH Axcess™ Tax, CCH Axcess™ Workstream and CCH® ProSystem fx® Scan. I knew immediately that CCH Axcess was where my firm was going to need to be. An open integration platform was huge for the future — a game changer. If you’re looking at our level of software, you really only have three options: Wolters Kluwer (including CCH Axcess and the CCH® ProSystem fx® Suite), Lacerte® or UltraTax CS® . CCH Axcess is the only one with an open integration platform option. Because New Vision CPA Group works entirely in the cloud, finding ways to integrate smaller software applications into their day-to-day CCH Axcess workflow will drive future firm efficiency. Open standards make this possible. I’ve already called the CEO of a smaller product and asked if his team would build a bridge to Wolters Kluwer’s Open Integration Platform. He said he would check it out. How cool is that? Large firms can build their own integrations right now because they have the infrastructure. But with a little patience, Padar believes smaller firms will get to take advantage of the same types of integration for little to no cost. In five years, if CCH Axcess is used by thousands of firms, all of the little niche software solutions are going to connect to it. They will know their customer base is there. Jody Padar and New Vision CPA Group: ll Author of “The Radical CPA: New Rules for the Future-Ready Firm” ll Social media and cloud-driven firm ll Headquartered in Mount Prospect, IL ll Two partners and five total employees ll Specializing in small business accounting, tax planning and tax preparation ll Twitter Handle: @JodyPadarCPA (over 7,000 followers)
  2. 2. Tax preparation workflow is more efficient The New Vision CPA Group recently completed its second full tax season with CCH Axcess, and Padar reported good gains in efficiency for the team. CCH Axcess works like it should. Our efficiency went up this year, and I think it will go up even more next year as we get better and better with the tools. The firm had scanned client documents at the front end of its tax workflow for years but used a product that did not integrate directly to their document management or tax software. Being able to go from CCH ProSystem fx Scan right into CCH Axcess Document was a huge timesaver for us. Having it jump into the cloud was really nice! In addition, CCH Axcess Workstream provides transparency and communication about all of the work moving through the firm. CCH Axcess Workstream gives me the insights I need to be on top of everything that is happening in my firm and to manage my people better. I know where things stand and can see if anyone may need more direction or help. I can see instantly how to help them move their files along without having to open the returns. The CCH Axcess Workstream dashboard makes viewing reports easy, but they can also be printed. When first learning the new system, those printouts were helpful for Padar’s father, the firm’s founder, to keep track of his tax files. Padar manages a full-time remote employee with CCH Axcess Workstream in addition to employees in the office. What I like about CCH Axcess Workstream is that I can see where everything is in the firm in a minute. I can sort it down to a specific person on a specific work step — I have that level of insight into things. I can’t just walk into someone’s office, look at the stack of files on someone’s desk and know where the problem lies. With CCH Axcess Workstream, I can “look” at everyone’s desk in our paperless environment. Future-ready firms must embrace cloud, social and mobile technology When Padar meets and consults with other CPAs, she is an untiring advocate for new technology. In her view, the cloud, social media and mobile technology are fundamental to the future of the accounting industry, and these technologies offer much more than just efficiency gains. There are so many priceless things about being in the cloud. For example, if my laptop dies in the middle of tax season, I am back up and running in 20 minutes. Your technology impacts how your firm is perceived by job candidates, and the cloud gives you the flexibility to work with talented people who might need to work remotely some or all of the time. My dad spent the first six weeks of this tax season in sunny San Diego. What is that worth? Padar further emphasizes the importance of social media. We’re a social-driven firm, and I think it’s an important part of being a global firm. The world is my network; I’m not limited to local business. It’s about building a brand and connecting with people. The cloud and social media can exponentially increase our value to our current customers and our future customers. You don’t have to do it all, but if you’re not doing any of this, I think you’re missing a huge opportunity. All trademarks and copyrights are property of their respective owners. Join us on at Wise Words from Dad New Vision’s use of the cloud-based tax software has allowed me to take advantage of more free time away from the office, including fishing in Door County and traveling in the United States with my wife. I got a phone call while fishing and advised my client that I would get back to him within the next two hours. Approximately two hours later, I called my client and resolved the matter wearing shorts! The cloud has helped me begin the process of going into the office only as needed, and I look forward to real retirement where the business can effectively operate without me on a daily basis. — James (Jim) J. Matousek, CPA, Principal, New Vision CPA Group © 2015 CCH Incorporated and its affiliates. All rights reserved. For More Information 800-739-9998 6/15 2014-0418-8