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Old 07-03-2011, 10:16 AM
 
Location: Wartrace,TN
6,301 posts, read 9,909,672 times
Reputation: 12385

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I am just starting up, I have pro advisor certification in QB's, Enterprise & Point of Sale. I also have a B.S. in managerial accounting and am a CMA candidate (passed the testing for CMA)

Services
What I am offering is improved profitability, productivity and efficiency by making use of QuickBooks accounting and business data for management purposes. I am of course offering setup,training and troubleshooting but my focus is on management reporting, cost management/cost accounting.

I am offering advanced business reporting and analytics that is not available internally to QuickBooks users. I will offer a full line of business analytics including KPI. KPI trend analysis, inventory reporting, sales reporting all with seasonality/forecasting capability. The reporting I am capable of is limitless and quick. It could take a business many hours or even days to set up reporting that I could produce in minutes.

My focus however, is on cost management/cost accounting services. Every business today could benefit to some degree from cost services. The majority of small to mid market businesses using QuickBooks do not have the resources on staff to take advantage of the benefits found in cost management. I am offering help in this area and I can show clients up front what changes in costs or pricing will do to their net income. I am also offering implementation of QuickBooks integrated Enterprise resource planning & Material resource planning software and inventory.

Marketing

I am taking advantage of the "find a pro advisor" link that is in every QuickBooks program- it will list me as a local proadvisor to any potential client in my area. It also offers a link to my personal web-site for more in depth information.

My primary marketing effort will be directed towards other pro advisors in my area. I am planning on offering my analytical reporting on a subcontract basis to these pro advisors and branding the reports with their firms name. My pricing will allow the PA to earn a good return on their time presenting to the client and give them an opportunity to generate further business during the meeting. It is my hope that the pro advisors will refer clients to me for cost management/cost accounting services when applicable.

I realize there are only a small percentage of clients who will see value in my services. There are 148 certified pro advisors within a 75 mile radius of me and I feel that with that number I should be able to generate a good living on reporting alone.

Threats
There is a chance that other pro advisors would try to market the reporting. They would have the investment and steep learning curve that I have had to contend with. They would also have to market to other pro advisors but since they are offering the same services as these pro advisors it opens the door to fear of client poaching.

Indian accountants offering the service- There is a real threat in this area but it poses an even clearer threat to pro advisors clients being poached. Once these Indian firms have the client data needed to generate the reporting they will have the information needed to approach them. Nothing racist intended but they can offer services at rates other pro advisors can not afford.

Cost accounting services- This is an area where either you have the expertise or you don't. It is an area that takes specialized education and tools not typical of the average pro advisor. The threat from CPA firms is there but their rates will be much higher (160/hr) vs my planned 85 dollar hourly fee. On top of this, as I am a dedicated QuickBooks cost accountant with the tools and resources in place for this dedicated activity I will provide services more efficiently. Also, most CPA's have to concentrate on a wide range of issues including tax law, auditing, ect.. while I am 100% dedicated to cost accounting. Other pro advisors may be hesitant to refer clients to a CPA firm for cost accounting work due to the potential of poaching clients for their own staff quickbooks specialists.

Sorry for this being so long, it helped me gain a little self confidence in articulating my plans. Any comments, criticism or advice? I would love a brutally honest opinion of my plans- as negative as you need/want to be because that will help me a lot more than the "encouragement" I have been getting from friends and family.
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Old 07-03-2011, 11:05 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
33,155 posts, read 60,209,467 times
Reputation: 36660
As a small business owner that provides services to other business, it's been my experience that the whole idea of Quickbooks is for people to save money by doing their own book keeping. What you are offering may very well provide improvements over the basic functions but you will have a hard time convincing people to spend the money on you if they have been getting along fine without it for years. You will also have to be a really good salesman.
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Old 07-03-2011, 01:00 PM
 
Location: Wartrace,TN
6,301 posts, read 9,909,672 times
Reputation: 12385
Thanks for the input bisjoe, I realize only a small portion of the businesses using QuickBooks might see a value in my services. I am hoping that by interacting with other pro advisors will identify those businesses. As far as selling the reporting, I will leave it up to the pro advisors. I think they will know if their clients would find it useful & by offering easy customized reporting the pro advisor could really increase their usefulness to their clients. I have some sales tools available to sell my cost services that I can use in conjunction with the data I am collecting with the reporting.

I do have the option of expanding past QuickBooks and offering cost services to other businesses which is something I might consider later. Right now it seems as if focus will be the best strategy.

Thanks again
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Old 07-04-2011, 12:54 AM
 
245 posts, read 488,116 times
Reputation: 288
In my experience, Quickbooks is a decent project accounting system for small-sized businesses. Many companies fail to take advantage of its features, or just plain use it incorrectly due to lack of staff training.

I think you'd likely have to start on the training, setup side and then sell clients on the benefits of advanced management reporting. Gotta get the data right in the first place before analysis can begin. I've seen plenty of businesses that can't tell how each job is doing financially, don't regularly evaluate their pricing model, and pretty much find out at tax time whether they've made a profit.

Cost accounting is a great skill to have. As you pointed out, CPA firms charge high rates and often lack cost accounting expertise.

Congrats on passing the CMA exam.
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Old 07-04-2011, 10:41 AM
 
Location: Wartrace,TN
6,301 posts, read 9,909,672 times
Reputation: 12385
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclarlm View Post
In my experience, Quickbooks is a decent project accounting system for small-sized businesses. Many companies fail to take advantage of its features, or just plain use it incorrectly due to lack of staff training.

I think you'd likely have to start on the training, setup side and then sell clients on the benefits of advanced management reporting. Gotta get the data right in the first place before analysis can begin. I've seen plenty of businesses that can't tell how each job is doing financially, don't regularly evaluate their pricing model, and pretty much find out at tax time whether they've made a profit.

Cost accounting is a great skill to have. As you pointed out, CPA firms charge high rates and often lack cost accounting expertise.

Congrats on passing the CMA exam.
Hi mclarlm,
I think that partnering with other Pro Advisors and offering an opportunity for additional revenue and service opportunities will be my best marketing bet. By working with established companies who have a relationship with a pro advisor the books are much more likely to be useful for analysis. My reporting/forecasting services are more beneficial to companies that have historical data to work with.

The business reporting/analytics service is more a marketing effort than a "core business". The data needed to produce the reporting is the same data needed for cost management/cost accounting work. If a business shows interest in business reporting and analytics it tells me they might be open to further benefiting from cost management. By having their trusted pro advisor in the loop it will open the doors for me.

There are larger small businesses and even mid-market businesses that use the QuickBooks software (premier and Enterprise editions). They are the perfect target market for my Cost management services.

I have been thinking that there may even be an opportunity in offering cost accounting work on a subcontracted basis to local accounting firms. There may be opportunity in that for future consideration.
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Old 07-05-2011, 08:08 PM
 
245 posts, read 488,116 times
Reputation: 288
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wartrace View Post
I have been thinking that there may even be an opportunity in offering cost accounting work on a subcontracted basis to local accounting firms. There may be opportunity in that for future consideration.
I agree. I've seen many instances where accounting firms will subcontract out work concerning inventory capitalization under Internal Revenue Code section 263A. Preferably as the tax return is being prepared, but I've come across this during audits as well. Propose an adjustment for 263A and they'll hire someone to figure out the direct/indirect costs applied to inventory.
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