Artwork for podcast Strategy and the Virtual Controller
Putting it into Practice - Special Guest
Episode 1412th November 2021 • Strategy and the Virtual Controller • Penny Breslin & Damien Greathead
00:00:00 00:50:46

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While we love discussing all things firm development with just the two of us, it's always enjoyable to welcome guests to the podcast especially when they're clients of ours and are putting into practice a lot of what we talk about in the podcast.

Rachael Siegel, CPA is the founder of Go Figure Accounting, and she joins us today to share her experiences since going it alone and starting her own firm just 4 years ago. We discuss her approach to her team and her clients as well as how considers the staff at MoneyPenny an extension of her team. Rachel is an advanced certified ProfitFirst Professional and having implemented the methodology in her own business, feels for the first time her clients understand what she does for them.

Rachel is a terrific example of pursuing your business with intention and purpose and what you can achieve by setting goals with your team and empowering them to execute. She's growing both the top and bottom lines of her business and having a ball doing it.

Enjoy the episode and if you'd like help working through this or any other aspects of your business transformation, drop us a line via LinkedIn.

Penny Breslin - LinkedIn | @PennyB57

Damien Greathead - LinkedIn | @Damien_GH


Timestamp Speaker Transcript

00:06.55 satvcpodcast And we're back with and with the latest episode of strategy in the virtual controller. Um I'm very excited for today's episode because it is the second time in in now short podcasting history that we actually have a guest on and I'm going to hand over to penny very shortly who will introduce rachel. Our our guest but um, folks just a quick admin reminder satvc dot co s a vc dot co is where you can find the podcast obviously on all of your favorite podcasting platforms as well. Um, and just a reminder about strategy in the virtual controller and and what we're trying to do. Um, there's a lot of distractions out there in running business and running your accounting business and so what we're trying to do penny and myself is is share some of our insights and experiences of working with hundreds of firms around the country and around the world and um. The the role of accounting in Bookkeeper has changed dramatically and and control controller. Whether it's data whether it's numbers seems to be an obvious opportunity for accounts and bookkeepers that want to grow um beyond that traditional compliance beyond that um billable hour. So. Ah, that's who we are strategy in the virtual controller. Um I'm going to keep quiet for probably the rest of the episode because I know rachel and penny will have a phenomenal discussion but penny I'm still sitting in Sydney australia but you're in Nashville today and you're with Rachel siegels so penny.

01:25.40 penny Right.

01:36.46 satvcpodcast Over to you and I'll I'll have you introduce rachel.

01:37.49 penny Thank you damien? Um, yes, we're in Nashville tennessee rachel's on vacation and she called me at the last minute and said fly out here and while we're out here. We have an accounting firm that we both know who asked us to come in and spend a half a day to kind of go over. Something that rachel does in her business on a regular basis with her employees and that is go through after tax season evaluation of the firm. The firm's clients. The firm's employees process where the firm is and. Rachel has been a cpa for how many is now rachel too many to tell you okay and rachel has 2 offices in the united states and the east coast of the united states name of her company is go figure accounting. Go figure accounting and how many years have you done this rachel now. Esco figure esco figure we're in 4 years so 4 years as go figure I knew rachel for years way before that when she was in partnership with the cpa firm up in new jersey and 4 years ago she went out on her own scary. Um, within a year she said I now have 2 offices 1 in Florida and 1 in new jersey and then she had the third office in new jersey and at the end of 4 year she has 2 offices more clients and what did you announce today um and know meaning about the profit. So we follow the profit first methodology and we're mastery certified so that also means we do it in our business so over the first year of implementing this our sales went up 33 percent but more importantly, our net profit went up 1 hundred and eighty seven percent. That's running 2 firms 2 locations excuse me 1 firm 2 locations how many employees internally 12 how many outsours do you have with us now. It was 2 and a half but we're increasing it to 3 so um, how many people spend time in the office. All but 1 1 works completely remotely and then our outsource team works remotely the threat and the other people go into the new jersey and the Florida office. Um, so 1 of the things that rachel does and and and the reason I know she does this is because she's invited me and. Several occasions where every year she and her team um sit down and do a one week retreat where they go through what so during our retreat the whole company gets together and it's not just for bonding. It's to work on the business instead of in the business.

04:30.95 penny So we review what happened over the course of the last year we review our goals if we hit our goals. We review. What works right? And what works wrong and then we find solutions for what works wrong. What isn't getting done quite well, what could we do? better. What are some issues on the clients that we're seeing repeatedly because obviously something would have to change then we set our new goals for the new year and our individual goals as well and rachel 1 of the things that you do do is you fire clients? Yes, we actually like to fire clients. So every year during the same retreat we create what we call our kill list if we hit our goals our bonus at the end of hitting that goal is we get to fire clients. So the ones that we don't want to work with um that are just a pain. They don't value us. So we did this last year when we hit our goal and I always tell my staff because they are fairly new to it that just because we want to fire them doesn't mean they want to leave so we're really good at okay, here's the solution. We're going to send them the letter. They need to go find somebody else. We always give them someone to go to so they have someone and I preempt that by telling the person I was going to send them the referral so they're taken care of but we also tell them what they need to do if they want to stay and that always increases their fees. And means that they have to do things our way. There's no detriment to them. But that means that it takes the stress off of us and most of the time those clients do stay with us. We get the increased fees and we get the workflow the way we want.

06:16.39 satvcpodcast and and rachel can I just interrupt there I know I said I'd stay quiet but I've already heard a couple of great things. What are some examples of these clients and because I think I think this is such an important part of an accounting firm's process and I love that you said for the most part most of these clients. Today but give us some examples of what are the clients actually doing or not doing.

06:36.62 penny All so in this particular instance, the client is supposed to be worked on regularly does not send in the work regularly and then once it turned around you know very quickly within a few hours or overnight. So. It's always a firehouse situation. You know, putting out that fire so we hit our goals. Nobody wants to deal with this person because we know it's all her fault. Um and she wouldn't follow our process and procedures. So.

06:57.22 satvcpodcast The.

07:12.80 penny We recommended someone else that we work with to go to we would still do the tax return for her just not the ongoing bookkeeping et cetera and she said I don't want to leave so I doubled her pricing for both of her companies and I said but we will only do this if we can grab the work ourselves. Has to be Digital. We have to have access and if you can't do that. We're not keeping you she immediately gave us access the next day and I've doubled my fees on her and now she's not a poem.

07:40.92 satvcpodcast Um, and so Rachel yeah and and what do you think? the problem was originally in terms of giving that digital access. Do you think it was she she was worried about security. She was worried about something she didn't know the technology she was apprehensive.

07:53.95 penny Oh had always been done so people are stuck with I've always done it this way. Why do I have to change so she got to the point of you have to change or you have to change accountants which 1 do you want.

08:01.56 satvcpodcast And.

08:07.85 satvcpodcast Yeah, and interesting. You doubled the fees and and and did you say that I'm going to have to double the fees and you're going to have to do it my way.

08:14.76 penny Oh yeah, yes and she got a proposal that she had to digitally sign before we would move forward.

08:22.50 satvcpodcast Oh Fantastic. So I Do love that that they would prefer to pay double the fees um than change accountants and I think that's clients don't leave accounting firms because of price. They leave because their their accountant doesn't or this this feeling that their accountant doesn't care about them. But you sitting down with the client and saying look you've got to go unless it's our way or the highway I think is ah is an amazing experience and so as you said for the most part most clients stick around.

08:54.70 penny Most clients stick around and if they don't we know it's based on price alone which those are not the client we want and remember each of the people in her office got to give their 2 cents about the client and their reason for killing the client right? So my whole staff.

08:59.86 satvcpodcast Yeah, yeah.

09:12.89 penny Builds the list I actually am not the 1 who usually puts the clients on the kill list. It's the staff. So it's the ones the staff doesn't like to work on and there's criteria. Obviously you know if somebody doesn't you know, pay us well because their credit cards always maxed.

09:24.51 satvcpodcast Let a four.

09:31.74 penny And we have to keep going back to get the payment upfront. They're on the kill list because we don't like to spend time on that we want to help our clients with our time and we don't want to spend extra time in the office. That's another thing they don't do they do a lot of partying and I am here to tell you. As somebody who is in my life poty in this chick wears me out. But but so does her whole crew. Yes, we have have a good time I mean this is the happiest crew. Ah I've ever run into um and but the.

09:54.24 satvcpodcast Ah.

10:09.24 penny The other thing too is everything it wasn't easy. 1 of the things about this the firm that we will win today as we told him we said you've got you gonna have to do all of this in 3 months and that means that vacation you have listed up there on the wall is gone. Right? So rachel said and if I'm going to help you with this. So's my vacation gone because you got 3 you got till december thirty first to get your shit together and get your act together. Otherwise come January, you're not going to succeed as a firm and and she's really good with that with her clients with her employees too. It's like. We have an agenda she started 4 years ago on a hope and a prayer that this was gonna work because when I originally started working with her firm and her partner I walked in because her partner hired me and he immediately said well you need to talk to her and she and I sat down and.

11:00.60 satvcpodcast Um, Rachel's not the problem. But.

11:03.44 penny It was like oh my god we're doing everything no not the problem rachel and and you know we we we did. We did a little bit of work on process of procedure and then the next time she called me I was on the cliff in a wetsuit and she said. Can you tell me how to do something I said sure give me a second and I asked she goes where're I us she goes. What's that sound in the background I said those are waves and and and then she learned about you know, being on a hosted solution not having her own server. So over time. She took a lot of that and put it and implemented it into her new firm. Go figure and I and I gotta tell you built an amazing group of people to work with that support her so that what do you get to do rachel I get to meet with clients and have fun. So I can't do what I would do without my team my team is amazing and they work really really hard and I I think and I think they would tell you as well that I treat them really really well because they work really really hard. They work s smart. They don't we make decisions as a team outside of tax planning and tax season. Everyone's off 3 days a week so we take friday saturday and Sundays off they all have a 3 day weekend. We work four days if the clients are happy and the work is done I don't care if they're work in forty hours forty five hours or thirty hours are the clients happy is the work done. That's all I care about? Yeah rachel. Um. Every 1 of my clients we have to track time because my clients are all cpas. Okay, and rachel is the only 1 that says penny I don't give a shit about the time sheets just don't I don't care about it. Did the work get done. Yeah, did the work get done or the clients happy. That's all I care about so when we look at. You know do we need more staffing with the profit first method we make sure we have our money in our operating account if there's money there then we look at how much work is not getting done at the end of the month what's the carry forward to the next month is there Bandwidth is it only 5 hours in which case it might be a special project or is it. Over 2 or 3 months a consistent twenty thirty hours in which case we definitely need more help so she calls me free month ahead of time to say I need another half of seat and then after that 1 it was she goes and in 2 months I'm gonna need that to a full seat. Yep so I have time to prepare.

13:24.28 satvcpodcast And and.

13:37.90 penny And we plan our new clients coming in. There was a month this year that I didn't take new clients because we were still getting some online and I knew the ones coming through coming down the pikeline were large and they were going to take more time. So I wanted to make sure everyone got in and updated and done and were happy before those hit and the other thing too is workflow because when I met rachel back in those days I was designing the workflow for all the accounting offices in our group. Which we won't make say the name at this time but um I was developing the workflows for them and 1 of the things I always said is how come you don't have your whole team in the workflow and every 1 of her employees is in the workflow she can at any moment even from her phone log in see. Which clients being worked on what what status it's in and when's the priority for this work to be completed and um, she just she equalized her firm but she's still responsible for everything I still oversee everything. And 1 of the things we did at our retreat was we adjusted our organizational structure and everybody's responsibilities because this is my foundation for growth and my team is now in Place. So as we move forward and have more expansive growth. Our goal for the next. Twelve months. Calendar year is going to be another 30 on top of that we can now go out and buy other firms because now we have the infrastructure settled. Everyone knows what they're doing when they're doing it who's responsible and if they need help they have the rest of the team. To depend on. We actually got office shirts and it says office Squad I will be there for you like the friends logo type thing because that's how we operate.

15:34.77 satvcpodcast Okay, can I pause there because we've we've gone we've we've covered a lot of things now I'm I'm just gonna sort of I've been feverishly writing note. So if if it's okay, can we. Unpack a couple of those and and sort of dig a little deeper because I heard team I heard profit First I heard organizational structure twelve month goals workflow so if it's all right? Can we go back to a couple of those things that we have have discussed quite rapid fire and dig a little deeper into them and let's start with team. Um. Over the last four years. What's your turnover been like have you had to find quite unique individuals in the accounting space or have have the people that you've brought on have they just sort of looked at go figure accounting and just thought holy shit finally like how do how. As as we sort of said the the client base is an evolution. What about the team and and the people within the team. What are what are some of their characteristics.

16:30.90 penny So 1 of the things I I needed some staff when I first created go figure and it was hard to find somebody First. So I I made a couple not great hires out of the need of having a person physically there. Um. But what we've done is we hire for the personality I can train the task I can train the skill I can't train you to be you so we have actually added um, an app that will send five mini tests to them. And some of them are personality tests some of them are little skill tests and they also have to take a video so I can just see the person and that's just honestly to make sure they can follow directions. It says you need a video you have to put a video on there I don't care really what they say in the video. I just want to make sure they can follow the directions that says you have to do a video turn you on your camera. Um, and that tells me their personality type. So all of those together tells me if they can think and what their personality is and as long as their personality fits the personality of our firm which. I think is not the stereotypical accounting firm which is good and then we can move forward and talk about hiring them.

17:52.61 satvcpodcast 1 of the things that penny and I have talked a fair bit about and it's actually quite interesting. You say about the personality of the firm is don't try to clone yourself and and find people that compliment you etc like if if you look at your your team of was it 6 or so 6 or 8

18:08.70 penny We have 6 including me and then our 3 outsourced.

18:11.83 satvcpodcast And then the 3 outourts. So yeah, so across the across the 6 are they the other five are they clones of you or how how do the what is the personality. Ah.

18:18.83 penny Oh but I am 1 of a kind. Oh no, they are let's talk about Beth. no no I mean it was it was interesting when she when she introduced me to um, can I say cindy yeahcindy. And she told me she goes Cindy is really good at what she does. She's excellent. What she does but she doesn't like calling clients or talking to clients. So I've got kirsty over here who's also very good at what she does but enjoys talking to clients and and contacting clients and the 2 of them support each other in that endeavor. Yeahp and I was like going brilliant and then they hired death who um does she Beth will do anything she can do if we just tell her how to do it. She is a I'm gonna tackle this task I don't care if I know how to do it or not. We're gonna make it work. And then yeah and then she's got several other earned interns that you floated in and we have and we recently um, have hannah who is a new hire who came on just a couple of weeks before our retreat and she came to our retreat and. Got to be with everybody and saw what they did and she actually pulled me aside because I knew I made the right decision. She goes other people said keep looking keep looking but I knew this was the firm for me and that's what we're looking for. We're looking for people who want to be here who want to grow with us who. In my opinion. My goal would be to grow it to 15 employees so we can esop. So everyone who stays and works hard. It becomes an own that's the goal. We're all building this firm. We're all making the decision. So therefore we should all reap the rewards.

20:06.63 satvcpodcast And and Rachel let's keep going on the team side because you said you'd change the organizational structure to set yourself up for growth. What were some of those changes that you made to to the org.

20:15.98 penny So we say a manager and I'm teaching her how to do the management of the firm in terms of the Workflow. We have kirsty who is in charge of all our outsourced bookkeeping and in charge of training bookkeepers. Hannah is first because she's new. She'll train as a bookkeeper first and then move into the accounting realm because she is an accountant but I feel. It's really important for her to know both sides. Um and Beth is in charge of she does some bookkeeping but she's in charge of me. She's in charge of go figure. She keeps me on task so that I can go out and I can meet with clients and do the networking and set things up for everyone else to work on. She keeps me saying and she says I'm a lot just for the record I'm a lot. And when rachel also 1 of the things I had mentioned her and I you know the last time we got together was when we went to the dominican right for covid that was 1 of our 1 of the retreats and it spent a week in the dominican but yeah at that point she had 3 offices and she was telling me that. She shut down 1 because she found she didn't need it so 1 of the things with profit First is you don't ignore things you analyze and you look at where your expenses are and if you don't have enough money in your operating expense account therefore there's something wrong. 1 of the things we found was we did not need 3 offices. We needed 2 and we were already digital well before that and then this year we looked at it and we said well we don't need the traditional office. We moved into a regis space in new jersey. And so we have a dedicated office for 2 people. They always have an admin there so they can take in mail and packages clients can drop it off and put it in our secure office. So everything is secure and safe. However, 5 days a month I can work in anywhere in the country in a regis office. So when I had to go to rhode island I worked from the Regis office there because I was meeting with clients and working during the day if I need to go out to seattle there's 1 there. There's 1 in San antonio I can go anywhere in the country and have an office and I saved over fourteen thousand dollars a year doing it.

22:42.77 satvcpodcast Wow and we had the same thing with with wework when we were at Receipt bank and the nice thing about that is exactly the same thing when we're in San francisco we can use the use the meeting spaces use the office spaces of wework and so that network around the world.

22:46.98 penny Um.

23:00.11 satvcpodcast How's the team responded and and in in terms of post covered. Um this idea of we can work anywhere and how come 2 people do go into the office. What's what's their sort of situation.

23:10.69 penny So most most of my employees go into the office because we have a good time so we like going into the office but we were already digital and out on an asp server. So when covid hit we were down for a half hour because people had to drive their computers to their houses that was it.

23:16.17 satvcpodcast Yes.

23:27.81 satvcpodcast If.

23:30.19 penny Everything else and I had to set up at home. So I wasn't even down a half hour I'll take credit for that 1 yep, that's all petty, but that is all penny. Um, so we weren't down and we were able to do whatever our clients needed and with all the changes with ppp and the rules and everything I mean we worked a ton of hours. But. It was fine and when we came back, we put our computers back in the office and we were up and running again. It wasn't even a blip for us.

23:55.25 satvcpodcast Ah, and what about down in Florida. What's the setup down there.

24:01.84 penny It's we have an office in winter garden florida and like I said we love it. We just we have a good time when we go to work. We have lunch together. We hang out thursdays we have bagles that come in from a client every week it's great why would you.

24:08.90 satvcpodcast Um, yeah.

24:15.35 satvcpodcast So so Rachel what I mean you you speak to a lot of other cpas and and you're you're visiting with ah a friend cpa today. What's your advice to what's what's your advice to gurm owners that ah that are struggling.

24:18.24 penny Um.

24:25.11 penny Um, yeah, that was no well. Ah.

24:33.46 satvcpodcast Because I mean we constantly hear people practitioners accountants can't find good people. Um, young kids don't want to work and all this type of stuff and and finding people is really difficult. What's your advice to them.

24:45.72 penny So First of all, you have to be true to yourself. So my branding as well as how I run. The firm is very much my personality and that's 1 of the reasons that um I went on my own because I wanted to do certain things and change things that I could not do um. And then hire for personality you can train the skill people can learn that you cannot train people to be themselves. So if they're the right personality fit for your culture then you can train them on anything. You need them to do.

25:21.50 satvcpodcast And do you think being in office and being physical physically present. Do you think that's an important part of your culture. Do you do you sort of see the recruiting people in Nashville recruiting elsewhere or do you do you like the physical presence.

25:22.87 penny But there's a definite.

25:31.60 penny Spoke. So but that might happen actually yeah, everybody's different. But what I find is getting the staff together if they're not in the same office is very important I can't I we have zoom meetings every week and that's fine.

25:38.71 satvcpodcast Ah, being with people. Yes.

25:48.55 satvcpodcast Yes.

25:54.60 penny But physically getting them together for 4 or five days a year makes a huge difference in how the team integrates together and works and like I said we adjust things so if somebody doesn't like doing a certain task and someone else does we move it? Okay, you're not in charge of that great you like doing. If you like doing what you're doing all day long. You don't care how much time it takes does it kind of sound like the things we've been talking about damon.

26:19.00 satvcpodcast Yeah, exactly like I do like you've got to be true to yourself and I think that's a critically important 1 and you've got to decide on what you want to be when you grow up because otherwise if you're just going through the motions. Um, it's going to be miserable.

26:23.17 penny I Think that's are pretty quick.

26:33.65 penny Well and that's the thing a stereotypical cpa firm which we are not is not a fun place to go to work and they overwork the staff and they underappreciate the staff and they don't tell them when they do anything right? and a lot of times. When they're doing something wrong. They don't train them on what they did wrong. So they continue to make the same Mistake. We don't do any of that we are all involved in all working.

26:56.37 satvcpodcast Yeah, yeah.

27:01.69 satvcpodcast And and Rachel maybe um, go for your accounting. What are the types of services that you're providing because I think that probably is a differentiator as well. From the people are working on things that they actually enjoy working on versus. Churning out another tax. Return Um, what are the types of services that you offer and and the types of clients that you look for.

27:24.87 penny So our main businesses small service businesses. So I always call them licensed professionals. We do electricians we do doctors we do attorneys we do real estate professionals. Um. That's our main not that we don't have anything else I have a wonderful bagel shop and a fantastic manufacturing but our main businesses are all service businesses. Um, and on that we got they do for keeping accounting and tax right. We do bookkeeping accounting tax and profit first so we can do financials I don't do financials anymore because I find them unnecessary and a waste of my clients money and I really don't like that. Um, so I tend to call the banks and tell them you don't need that you can do this. And for the most part they take my advice on that they may need a cpa letter but they take it for what it is if I have to charge them four thousand dollars to do a formal financial that they can get the same numbers out of quickbooks. It's a waste of my clients money and I'm not a big fan in that and we try to teach productate department.

28:37.00 satvcpodcast And a waste of your time you.

28:40.79 penny Yeah, we teach profit first. So my clients are successful and we can prove it works because we're doing it and if my clients are in business 30 years from now I will be in business 30 years from now.

28:51.14 satvcpodcast And let's go on to profit first next but just 1 quick 1 quick follow-up question from a tax perspective. My guess is you don't have a big individual practice outside of the the business owners that you're working with.

29:02.73 penny That was question that was that's that's been brought up several times today. Yes, so we we have a decent size is what I will call it. We do ah about 600 individual returns. So what happened is we never marketed for them.

29:16.61 satvcpodcast Okay.

29:21.79 penny Um, all the business owners. Obviously we do their business returns and their personals and then everyone they know they kept sending to us. We have just made the decision everywhere. But in the near the Florida office. We will no longer accept any individuals that are not attached to a business.

29:37.57 satvcpodcast Um, 1 more question before we go to profit first and I think this this digs still a little deeper in terms of your relationship with penny and money penny. Um, first of all what type of work is the team is penny's team doing for you. And ah and how do the clients feel about that. How does the team feel about that.

30:02.55 penny So Penny's team does whatever I ask them to do I am the queen of okay they're gonna handle bookkeeping. Um and then special projects I am the queen of the special projects I get a messy client in I need.

30:14.21 satvcpodcast Ah.

30:20.23 penny Some analysis I need all this stuff done I give it to them and then our team has no issues with them whatsoever. They communicate back and forth. They they set you know process and procedure with them which we have our standards so there's only a few here in their little client specifics. And they go back and forth and I mean I I rarely talk to penny anymore because there's just no issues. Um, my teams have a problem. Well, that's so how fast can you get on a plane and meet me. Yeah, yeah.

30:46.12 satvcpodcast Except except once a year in Nashville or except once a year in Nashville or the dominican or the dominican republic or.

30:58.47 penny Um, and that is because we were looking at another firm and I knew I wanted somebody else to look from their perspective and not just mine. But there's just no issues my clients don't care I tell them you know if they ask I tell them you know do I hide it now of course not.

31:10.28 satvcpodcast And yet.

31:17.50 penny They got to know you know what? my clients love the fact that I have a 24 hour workforce because that's how I look at it. They're part of my team they're they're on my server they have access to my clients. They do their job. They allow us to do other things.

31:23.99 satvcpodcast So.

31:35.30 penny So they do their part. We do our part and the client's happy. That's all the client wants they want to be happy and they pay their bills. Yes and they pay upfront.

31:44.12 satvcpodcast Love that. Let's um, fantastic. Thank you for that? Um, let's go over to profit first and and penny. Maybe we get Michael and mike and ron on 1 of our episodes as well. Just sort of hear straight from the the founder's mouth so to speak but profit first professional. Um, just for any listeners out there. Um rachel what's the what's the high level theory behind profit first I mean it's in the name. But.

32:08.89 penny So so profit first is a book by mike mccolowitz ran shaheron runs the company for profit first professionals and the basis is how to run your business based on cash flow to make it easier because. Business owners don't understand financials accountants understand financials but most of the time by the time they're looking at those numbers. It's too late. You're already behind so this is a way to manage cash flow and make decisions based on the cash flow so that you can always have profit. You can always stay in business. And you can pay down debt and grow.

32:51.55 satvcpodcast And um, what what's the impact on your own practice been obviously the 1 hundred and thirty percent up on on profit. But what? um how big of a change was that for you and how you ran your own firm.

33:03.72 penny But so I did exactly what I tell my clients not to do and I jumped all into my target allocations because that's the type of girl I am and I said.

33:12.76 satvcpodcast Um.

model I wanted. It was fifty:

34:26.40 satvcpodcast People.

34:34.96 satvcpodcast Ah.

34:37.36 penny So as much as profit first help me it also hurt me a little bit because I did not make that advantage but it makes you think differently I did not need the tesla and I don't need a poor shire maserati can I get them sure I can my hunt is great though. But this is the kind of stuff she talks to her small business clients about so. What? what she does and and I know this because she and I talk about I mean I might be the queen of getting you technologically set up and process of procedure and giving you the right team to work. But I suck big time at numbers.

34:58.32 satvcpodcast And.

35:15.69 penny Like I was so impressed today. The way you looked at those things it came up with the god damn calculations without even using a calculator but I suck at numbers. So you know and I know all about this envelope system. My mother gave it to me when I was a kid but the way she presented it to me. Was exactly what she does is she tells you a story that fits the business. So this is the way your businesses and she gave me a story that fed my business and I was able to look at the numbers differently and I think that in order to be able to do that you have to sympathize with the business owner. You have to understand what the business owner is coming from and you have to have been in their books several times. Um, they have they have master admin access to my books right? Rachel is my cpa even though she was a client but she was a client before she was my cpa I picked her. Because I watched her work with her team and I watched her work with her clients and that's why I picked her as my cpa but she tells a story that a small business owner understands and the financials don't do that. 1 of the things. That I always say is I went into private accounting first I know how to run businesses and I run my own business I'm a business owner just like everyone else and if I can do profit first. Anybody can do profit first. I don't suggest things to my clients I haven't done and tried myself I went and got advanced certified I went and passed that and got mastery certified because this is life changing I have been a business owner for decades I have never been as profitable and the least amount of debt and all my taxes are paid in. Full no installment plans. It's amazing and she takes a vacation and her team does too whenever they want. Yep.

37:07.67 satvcpodcast Good and 3 day weekends during summer 3 day four day weeks during the Summer. Um, which is pretty.

37:16.84 penny Well not just the Summer. It's literally the end of tax season until ah december first roughly. Yeah, there are very few extensions. Yeah, we try not to do extensions we want to keep our 3 day weekends. But.

37:24.91 satvcpodcast Oh Wow. Okay, yeah, not not that's not.

37:32.65 satvcpodcast Yeah that's um, that's summer hours on on steroids. Can I ask rachel in terms of as you said you got certified you got master certified did you did you have the personality to to talk with your clients about their business. For profit first and profit first was just a really good framework to talk with them about it or did you have to develop a skill set of being comfortable talking to to clients and I guess the question I'm trying to ask there is.

37:51.80 penny Fuck it.

38:06.42 satvcpodcast How much of your success is you and your personality and how much of it is the profit-first methodology that you've successfully implemented and I think that's probably a bit of a loaded question I don't know but I'm just sort of curious in in your your thoughts.

38:18.34 penny So I've been able to talk to anybody. Um, as you can tell I'm not shy so in terms of talking to clients I've been able to talk to them but getting them to understand was always something different so by. Framing it with profit first and framing it as cash flow and knowing the accounting side we can help them on the other end anyway and we still do tax planning, etc complements it and it puts it in a way where any of my clients can comprehend it. We're not talking about net income.

38:53.71 satvcpodcast And.

38:55.29 penny We're talking about your company your growth keeping your numbers clean if you don't have money at the end of your allocation period in op X that means your expenses are too high. We need to look at where we can cut or we have to increase sales you have 1 of the 2 ways if you have extra money. Do you need more people. Do you need to do more advertising where are we going to go with that to help you grow and succeed and that's what it comes down to.. It's a different way of looking at it. It's not I work Really really Hard. So I'm going to hire four people. No if there's not enough money in your op X at the end of your period to hire those four. You're not Hire. For anymore. Something else is wrong. Maybe it's your workflow. Maybe it's the fact you didn't do your billing So your money didn't come in the door and that's what we analyze with them. It's a completely different way looking at the business.

39:44.89 satvcpodcast Or yeah or sort of maybe maybe you're billing after the fact whereas and so that's impacting your cash flow which is therefore having a knock-on effect of your ability to bring on new people. So Let's look at the the root cause of that. Um. That that billing side of things or or the the invoicing side of things.

40:03.50 penny I would say that through client advisory service. Yeah, it's all client advisory it switches the conversation completely and even in successful businesses I have a client who just finished his first year and he said to me 1 of his concerns was his op x only had. Nine thousand dollars in the bank and I said yeah, that's a lot you shouldn't have that much. It should be between 1 and 2 he said but I used to have 30 in there and I made him open up his books and look at his bank accounts I said look you have double what you used to have in there because they're just in the different accounts. Your op x is an easy way to know if you have enough money to operate your business That's what it's all about operations. That's it your profits there your taxes there. He has a debt paydown account his he just put in a pool and was able to pull out extra distribution money and paid off his pool in a year

40:59.56 satvcpodcast And the.

41:00.72 penny And it's a really nice pool. You know he's amazed and he said to me I didn't look at it that way I said yeah you have double the money in your bank accounts than you ever did before and you have no debt and he just also taxes are taking care of and.

41:12.27 satvcpodcast And your taxes are taken care of and.

41:17.75 penny Just remand that entire office and bake cash. So you see why she can double her fees with her clients and they don't want to leave.

41:23.60 satvcpodcast Yeah, and it's it's ah it's a different conversation. It's not about the taxman. It's not about um, it's not about compliance. It's about this growth and reliance it's I won't say reliance. But it's about this? Yeah yeah, yeah about success.

41:38.40 penny It's about so it's all about 6 My clients are successful I will be successful and I tell potential clients when they talk to me I said look I'm gonna give you my opinion if you don't want it. Don't come here because I can't keep my mouthuse shut.

41:42.37 satvcpodcast Yeah, so.

41:56.40 penny I Want you to succeed if you don't like my opinions don't come here.

41:59.42 satvcpodcast So now um I know you're in Nashville and I know a honkytonk bar is is calling your name. But if you wouldn't mind could we keep yeah I was going to see you but you might if we just go for cut for a little bit longer. Um am I whole at.

42:05.35 penny Um, yeah, yeah, fifteen minutes over yes. Um i.

42:16.79 satvcpodcast Um, am I Um, um I Just don't want to be holding you back from happy hour. That's the only thing So oh fantastic. Um.

42:19.15 penny No, you're good. You're good. You're good I'm waiting for my nephew who gets out of vanderbilt and he's meeting us for dinner.

42:28.87 satvcpodcast I love national some phenomenal restaurants around the around the traps. Anyway, um, let's keep going so that we yeah we get out in a timely manner. Um, you said growth you said your twelve month goal is to grow thirty percent is that going to be organic or through acquisition or you'll go grow thirty percent

42:46.40 penny So so that's just through what we're currently doing that was not including any acquisitions we have M agency which is an ad agency that handles everything they named my company.

42:47.23 satvcpodcast Through what you're currently doing. Yeah, and and you have a marketing person. Okay.

43:04.73 penny They do all my branding my social media my website if you haven't checked out my website. It has a dancing guy that everybody loves I get more comments on that dancing guy because he's kind of my personality. Not the stereotypical accountant.

43:17.78 satvcpodcast And in terms of acquisition then um, what? what are you looking for in an acquisition and again it's that's not part of your thirty percent but what what are you looking for in a firm to acquire.

43:31.91 penny If I'm looking at a firm to acquire has to be 1 that I frankly has issues and I know I can turn it around and turn it around quickly. Um I look at the personality of the people there that would stay and see if I have anybody in place to move in there.

43:45.71 satvcpodcast For the.

43:51.19 penny And if the personalities are a mix and I know I'll have a buy in then I move forward.

43:56.23 satvcpodcast And is it any particular size like are you looking for five hundred thousand dollars are you looking for? Um I'm just trying to think if there's listeners then then maybe give you a call but but also just trying to get a better sense of the. What what sort of fees. Do you think.

44:13.60 penny It's not. It's not really the size. It's about what type of business. So our niche is small businesses. So if it's a individual tax practice I'm not interested if they're doing auditing I don't want it.

44:19.99 satvcpodcast Yeah, yeah.

44:27.00 satvcpodcast Um, so.

44:28.36 penny I Don't do auditing I don't like auditing I find it boring but if they're helping small business owners and they're doing bookkeeping and tax planning and accounting Absolutely I'm in.

44:40.23 satvcpodcast So if anyone is listening and and they're looking at at what their exit plan is and ticks the boxes for for Rachel get in touch with us and and we'll connect you? Um, but so penny you've known Rachel for a long time. What else.

44:55.00 penny Yes.

44:57.59 satvcpodcast Do we want to make sure she shares with the audience on today's knowing full well that we can. We can have another episode but but what what do you want? Is there anything else you wanted to make sure we covered in today's conversation with with rachel.

45:09.45 penny Yeah, the the other things that rachel does and she does and and it's she's she's jumped through hoops to get to the right workflow and you know and I always told her I said whatever workflow everybody works in and is happy with is the best workflow and it doesn't really matter but they have found. Good workflow and they all follow it. They are they they follow the the clients the work type the statuses and the and the priority and the due dates that gets done the other thing that that they have become very very good at because that whole word. Document with the with the with the process and procedure was just klugy as all get out is that um we adapt the process of procedure as we go most of them like she said she standardizes everything as much as possible but the uniqueness of each client. And the uniqueness of the person working on that client is in that procedure. So consequently my when she says we don't talk a lot It's because my supervisor on her team. My india supervisor actually. Manages everything because she's got the workflow down. She's got the procedures down. She's got everything flowing through so that everybody can focus on what needs to be done today can project what they need to do in the future load level themselves. And rachel has time to be the main rainmakerr for this company and she is now helping because she's been out of for 4 years and because well you got cindy when you opened up that office and win a gun and I've never yeah telling me what the practice and winter and she told me when she goes she goes when I buy this practice penny. I don't know how this young lady's gonna work out and she cindy's just a godsend I was Cindy's fantastic and when I bought that firm 4 years ago we were Digital. Oh I don't have no idea what workflow was and I came in and I'm sure I made her head spin. But she is amazing. She is my manager I know she told me she goes I don't know if this's gonna work because we did all their conversions for them. They took it. We took them out of drake and put him in loose serr and took them out of drake and put them in quickbook online and we did. We did like something like 200 conversions like a matter of months. But. But the other thing too is that everybody is supportive of the other everybody fall everybody knows that they're supposed to follow these rules and if the rules don't work for them. They have an opportunity to raise their hand and say this isn't working for me and.

47:50.58 penny Is it not working and they can discover is it not working for me because I can't do it is it not working for me because overall this process doesn't work. Is it not working for me because the client so they go through all of those things constantly and they just so workflow procedures. Everything she did and now Cindy's at the point was she's gonna become the second rainmakerr and that was that was the first time I heard that this week when you told me that and I was like going. Oh my god and can you imagine 4 years ago you didn't even know she'd figure how to do digitize a tax return. Yup I had no idea what she was capable of because although she was an accountant the previous owner used her as a secretary so we had no idea and you know she is all in with profit first and she gets it and she understands and she does allocations with clients. And it just it's amazing and just for the record that practice acquisition got paid off 2 years early and the sba initial loan got paid off 2 years early because of profit First I think we can end on that 1.

48:59.81 satvcpodcast Impressive and is yeah um, Rachel this has been fantastic. Um, and we we we did meet. We met a couple of times over the years and penny's always referenced you and and it's been an absolute delight learning.

49:02.90 penny So we can go. Um.

49:19.40 satvcpodcast More and and actually hearing it from you rather than hearing it hearing it secondhand from penny but it does go to show that the importance of of having purpose making decisions with intent. Um, and and I think the last four years. Sounds like it's been 1 hell of a ride and can't wait to to see what the next four or 5 however, many years have in store for you. So thank you very much for talking with us candidly for sharing the the good the bad and the ugly. And hopefully we'll we'll get you back on assuming strategy in the virtual controller is still going. We would love to have you back on to to get an update. Yeah.

49:59.27 penny Yeah, it will. We'll see what happens out of this Nashville discussion. It was great. It's nice to talk to you again. Dammien and anytime you want me just let me know.

50:11.25 satvcpodcast And thank you very much rachel I'll let you both go and enjoy the the sights and sounds of of Nashville penny always a pleasure but ladies and gentlemen s satvc co is where you can find any. Um, documents or any articles we'll get the profit first website up there. We'll get rachel's website up there so you can check. Ah check out the the dancing man. Um, but otherwise we'll see you on the next episode. Thanks folks.

50:38.84 penny Bye!.




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