While many tax practitioners have good intentions to move to a virtual tax practice, how many actually make this happen?
Meet Christopher A. Bush, CPA, of Frisco Tax Services in Frisco, Texas. Chris has more than 29 years of tax preparation experience, including the Big Four. I sat down with Chris to find out more about his firm and the tools that enable him to run a virtual practice.
Scott Cytron: What makes your practice “virtual,” and what was your practice like before going virtual?
Chris Bush: For us, being virtual has to do with how we interface with our clients and the tools we use. Our practice has more than 500 clients; during 2018, we may have met three of them in person.
We moved to Frisco 19 years ago and started our practice in 2000. At the beginning, just like other tax firms, we met every client in person. However, Frisco grew and also became a very transient city; it’s actually been in the top five of the fastest growing U.S. cities for the last 12-13 years, but people do move in and out. During that time, as the city grew from a population of 30,000 to 250,000+ residents, many of our clients moved away due to job and family changes. To continue serving them, we knew we had to make some changes.
In addition, my family was determined to move out of the North Texas area to Angel Fire, N.M., a community of about 1,700 people. However, there isn’t a practice there to buy, and with such a low population, I knew I couldn’t make a living. With a virtual practice, I can work anywhere, anytime I want.
SC: So what tools are you using?
CB: We use Intuit® ProConnect™ Lacerte®, along with Lacerte Document Management and QuickBooks®, although we outsource any bookkeeping to a QuickBooks ProAdvisor®. However, the product that really enables us to be virtual and protect the security of our firm and clients is Intuit Link. Because we could no longer use the password-protected feature in Lacerte, we moved to Link and signed up all of our clients, encouraging them to use it. Now, instead of mailing documents, they scan and upload them.
SC: I understand you also have a connection to Intuit?
CB: Yes, I worked with Intuit as a full-time tax developer for Lacerte from 1990 to 2000, then went part time after I opened my Frisco practice. I go back every year on a seasonable basis to help them with Lacerte development.
SC: Thanks, Chris!