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Practice Opportunities in Training & Consulting

Practice Opportunities in Training & Consulting

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Practice Opportunities in Training & Consulting

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  1. Practice Opportunities in Training & Consulting Presented by: MB (Mary Beth) Raimondi, CPA, CITP, MS Taxation

  2. Instructor Bio MB (Mary Beth) Raimondi is an Advanced QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor as well as an Intuit Solution Provider. She holds certifications in Enterprise and POS and is a Sleeter Group Certified Consultant and a member/instructor of the National Advisor Network. She is also a charter member of the Intuit Training/Writing Network. She has used QuickBooks since the DOS version and has been teaching QuickBooks nationally to both end users and accountants/consultants since 1999. The focus of her practice in Trumbull, CT has migrated from a full time tax and accounting practice to mainly QuickBooks consulting, 3rd party integration and training. MB (Mary Beth) Raimondi, CPA, CITP, MS Taxation

  3. Agenda • How training & consulting engagements can help you grow your practice • How to create a successful engagement • Types of QuickBooks engagements • Resources available to you • Pricing and promoting QuickBooks training & consulting engagements

  4. Grow Your Practice With Training & Consulting

  5. Market

  6. Market Your Practice • Offer an array of services to clients who own QuickBooks • Use training to build your brand • Provide a turnkey accounting solution including: • Implement QuickBooks • Monthly review to correct errors • Provide additional training for new concepts • Assist clients to define and refine their process • Uncover other revenue opportunities • “Foot in the Door” opportunity at a lower price point so client builds a comfort level with you • For the love of it!

  7. Promote Yourself and Your Services • Become a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor • QuickBooks ProAdvisor referral database • Begin with your existing clients • Offer low-cost QuickBooks classes • Send newsletters • Ask for referrals • Develop strategic partnerships • Local Chamber of Commerce • Other business professionals such as IT consultants, insurance brokers • Non-competing QuickBooks ProAdvisors or CPAs

  8. Reach Out and Be Seen • Become active on social media sites • Create Facebook page to include tips and tricks • Use Twitter to: • Link to interesting articles • Send tips and tricks • Write articles for business journals and community periodicals and blogs • Visit the 'Practice Resources' section of the ProAdvisor member website for additional marketing tools and resources

  9. Create a Self Assessment

  10. Create a Successful Engagement

  11. Successful Training & Consulting

  12. Client Interview • Interview the client to assess skill level QuickBooks need • You may need to assess the condition of QuickBooks file • You may need to re-visit the interview regularly • Initial meetings with a prospective client are bi-directional • They are also evaluating you including your knowledge, experience, reputation and communication skills • Make sure the organization is one that you want to do business with • Do you see integrity and honesty?

  13. Client Interview • Determine the following: • Overall strength of the company • QuickBooks needs • Implementation • Ongoing support • Use an “interview guideline” during initial conversations with the client • Most valuable when used as a “guide” when conducting pre-engagement meetings • You fill out the interview form • Not the client

  14. Client Interview • Use the interview form to determine: • Contact & company information • Previous consulting data • Income tax return history • QuickBooks goals • Licenses, users & networks • Computer hardware & IT setup • Payroll needs and history • Sales/customer information • Sales tax, inventory & other needs • Gain insight into data file setup

  15. Data File Analysis • Conduct an analysis of the client’s existing accounting software before you begin providing consulting services • This provides: • A look at the client’s financial stability • The cleanliness of their accounting information • The complexity of the accounting data they track • A time estimate to clean up existing data or set up and start new data file • This analysis also provides value for the client and can become a billable “pre-engagement”

  16. Data File Analysis Key indicators for you as a consultant are:

  17. Determine Scope of Engagement • Use the client interview to determine the scope of the engagement • The process is deferent depending on… • Is this an implementation from scratch? • Is this a clean-up project? • What is the skill level of the client? • How much training will be needed? • What is the opportunity for ongoing consulting? • Clearly discuss the scope with the client and come to an agreement on the goals

  18. Engagement Letters • Clearly communicate expectations with the client • Avoid misunderstandings and protect yourself • CPA’s can be held to higher standard • Check the rules and regulations as they may change • The AICPA website is a good source of information • Even if you are not a CPA, engagement letters are an important part of your business • Create a written agreement for every consulting service you perform

  19. The Engagement Letter Confirms: • Terms & objectives of engagement • Nature & limitations of the services provided • Time frame of engagement • Fees and billing information • Licensing, permissions & third party disclosures • Approval for credit card payment (if you accept credit card payments) • Agreements and signatures

  20. Creating the Right Engagement Letter • Sample engagement letters can be found in the Practice Resources section of the ProAdvisor member website • Practice Resources includes samples for • QuickBooks setup • QuickBooks diagnostics • Ongoing QuickBooks services • QuickBooks training • QuickBooks tune-ups • Technology consulting

  21. Implementation, Training, Consulting • Perform the work as outlined in the engagement letter • If you discover additional issues outside the scope, discuss with client and get written approval for additional work • Consistently provide feedback to the client on process, timeline and achieved goals • Make sure to include the owner or manager in this communications • Don’t limit yourself to only the bookkeeper

  22. Post Engagement • Look for ongoing consulting opportunities • During the engagement, track the scope of work and make note of additional needs that will need to be addressed • Let the client know about other services you provide • Measure client’s interest in additional ongoing consulting and training • Revisit your clients regularly • Do they need help with a new version? • Do they know about all the new features? • Do they have additional training needs? • Do they know to call you if they hire a new bookkeeper?

  23. Types of QuickBooks Engagements

  24. Types of Engagements

  25. Maximizing Productivity • QuickBooks implementation is usually a one-time event • Except for some residual support services • As a result, you have to accurately estimate the amount of time required to complete the engagement

  26. Issues to Consider for Implementation • The number of QuickBooks users in the company • Number of users needing training • Number of computers that need installation • Complexity of the client’s data entry • Condition of current accounting data • Determine what features the client will need • Assess the level of bookkeeping & accounting software experience? • Verify the time frame for setup • At beginning or in the middle of a fiscal year • Quantity of open transactions to manage

  27. Data File Setup • Implementation becomes the foundation for support services • Performed at the beginning to set the standard • Can help create other non-QuickBooks engagements: • Tax returns • Income tax planning • Financial analysis • Is the most difficult to budget • High level of complication and unforeseen issues

  28. Simple Setup • A simple implementation may be warranted • Clearly define the scope of the engagement for this implementation and data file set-up • Make the scope as narrow as possible • Define financial information needed • Compile the information • Refer the client to a bookkeeping service • Setup QuickBooks with essential balances only • Use the Tax Return • You may need to consider refusing the engagement

  29. Comprehensive Implementation • Use these strategies when performing a comprehensive data file setup: • Use a checklist • Determine the availability of information needed • Year-to-date information, trial balance, bank reconciliations, past tax returns • Chart of Accounts, Item List, Customer List, Vendor List • Determine reporting intentions of management • Define user access privileges • Conduct the data file setup in phases

  30. Multiple Phase Setup Advantages of the multiple phase setup: • Client understands responsibilities • Fewer data entry errors • Establishes a long term relationship • Engagement produces 3 months to 1 year of consulting work • Clients pay more over longer periods of time than at any single point in time

  31. Implementation • Sample date file multiple phase setup • Level 1 – COA, Customers and Vendors Only • Level 2 – Add A/R and A/P • Level 3 - Add payroll, sales tax and or inventory • Level 4 - Add customized reports & forms, industry specific configuration • Level 5 – Add integration with other solutions

  32. Data File Analysis • Data file analysis allows for ongoing consulting • Regularly analyze your client QuickBooks data • Check for data entry errors and modifications • Help the client see the value of using QuickBooks as a management tool, not just a check writing program • Provide reasonable confidence when making key financial decisions • Educate the client regarding the value of financial information for purposes other than tax return preparation • Helps you to produce a tax return with greater efficiency

  33. Strategies for Data File Analysis Report • Develop standardized procedures for use with all clients • Produce a written report of your findings • Defer as many corrections as possible to the client • Help the client learn how not to make the same mistakes • Use error corrections as a training opportunity

  34. QuickBooks Support Services • Offer monthly or quarterly analysis services as a follow-up to the setup engagement • Establish recurring QuickBooks support services • Build a stronger relationship with client • Catch data entry errors and setup errors throughout the year • Increases productivity for tax preparers • Can lead to repair engagements or additional training opportunities • Increase your non-seasonal billings

  35. Remote Support • Provide ongoing remote support • Use web-based conferencing • Sell pre-paid blocks of time or monthly support plans • No collections issues or bad debt • Benefit from the time value of money • Businesses use 60-70% of the support pre-purchased

  36. Training • From your client interview determine: • Training goals and number of trainees • Determine need for onsite or remote training • Implementation is not the same as training • Difficult to train while you set up • Include budget for training as part of the implementation engagement • Provide ‘homework’ for clients to start data input • Review data input regularly to make sure your client is on the right track • Offer training in blocks of time • Not by training objective

  37. The Problem with Troubleshooting • Troubleshooting is an excellent foot-in-the-door opportunity • But it can also slam the door shut • Troubleshooting can kill ongoing consulting • Once you fix the problem, how can you turn it into more work? • Always use troubleshooting as an opportunity to find out more about the client’s needs • See if there are additional areas of training needed • Suggest additional features that the client may not currently be using

  38. Additional Support Services • Telephone and/or email support • Remote access for • Journal entries and adjustments • Shared bookkeeping responsibilities • Limited training objectives • Troubleshooting objectives • Report customization

  39. Resources Available

  40. Acquiring Necessary Skills & Knowledge • Be sure to visit the ProAdvisor Member Website for more information • ProAdvisor Certification and Advanced Certification • Training to assist in preparation for exams • “Train Your Clients” material • Trainings include presentations and student materials in module form • Utilize modules based on your client needs • Intuit Academy • Webinars, other live and virtual events

  41. Other Training Resources • Self-study materials • QuickBooks on-line help • Intuit self-paced learning • Third-party reference books • Conferences and trade shows • Training seminars from Intuit – Intuit Academy • The Sleeter Group, Scaling New Heights • State CPA Associations • Additional Intuit-endorsed training • By Real World Training:

  42. Pricing and PromotingQuickBooks Training and Consulting Services

  43. Pricing QuickBooks Services • One on one hourly training rates range based on experience, certifications, geographic area, etc. • Consider… • Different billing rates for remote services vs. onsite services • Fixed fee engagements – as long as the scope of work is well established • Pre-paid support plans for onsite or remote support • Intuit conducts yearly rate survey • Check out ProAdvisor website for latest information

  44. Building an Ongoing Engagement • Many ProAdvisors ignore existing clients while seeking new clients • Look for new ways to train your existing clients • If you offer troubleshooting, make sure to use it as a jumping off point for additional services • Remind your clients of the other services you offer • Teaching your clients to be independent doesn’t mean they won’t need you anymore • Help your clients determine what they should do vs. what you can do for them

  45. Thanks for Participating!