The QuickBooks ProAdvisor® program equips accounting professionals with the tools they need to fuel small business success. Four years ago, Susan Tinel started her own tax and accounting firm that has grown from 15 to 200 clients. In this profile, learn how she organizes her practice to prepare for tax season all year long, and how she utilizes QuickBooks® Online Accountant, Intuit® ProConnect™ Tax Online and the ProAdvisor program to support and grow her practice.
Sheila Kilbride: Hello, Susan, thanks for joining me. Would you please tell me about your practice?
Susan Tinel: My company is April 15 Taxes Inc. I’m based in San Diego and have been in business since 2013. I provide bookkeeping, payroll and tax services for personal service businesses and the construction industry. I am also a small business advisor to about 80 small businesses. My clients are predominantly in California, as well as throughout the country, Canada and the United Kingdom. I have three part-time employees who live locally, but work remotely.
Sheila: Tell me more about your role as a small business advisor.
Susan: I am a serial entrepreneur and small business owner. I’ve been through the whole lifecycle of owning a business, from opening it up to closing it down. I learned a lot along the way, and as a result, I know what to do, how to do it and when to do it. I also have a tax specialization and accounting knowledge. Using all this expertise, I help my small business clients grow, not get into trouble and do things the smart way.
Sheila: How did you grow your practice from 15 to 200 clients in four years?
Susan: Oh boy, how it grew! It’s all through referral. I’ve always specialized in small businesses. My clients have been happy with my work and refer me to their friends. Also, the tools I have used to run my business have been critical to ensuring smooth growth. I used several different tax programs at first, but I quickly realized that QuickBooks Online Accountant and ProConnect Tax Online were the most accurate and what I needed to grow from a startup to a much larger company. These tools help me keep everybody organized and allows all of us to grow together.
Sheila: From a process standpoint, how were you able to scale successfully? Sometimes when businesses grow, they fall apart because they weren’t prepared for the growth.
Susan: From the beginning, I’ve always had my business in the cloud, so I was not dependent on a location or a machine. I can log in from anywhere and any device, and be up and running. Also, all of the tools and different apps for the cloud allow me to manage so much data with not much effort. It’s wonderful! It allowed me to scale up pretty quickly.
Sheila: Which cloud products do you use?
Susan: I use QuickBooks Online Accountant to see all my QuickBooks Online clients in one place. I’ve also been using ProConnect Tax Online since it launched in 2009. It’s always been such a great product and allowed me to keep the tax side very well contained. Intuit Link enables me to electronically collect documents from my clients and share files more securely. One of the reasons I love the cloud, and especially Intuit products, is that my clients’ data is very secure and protected. It’s just so easy to keep everything organized using these three products together.
Sheila: How do QuickBooks Online Accountant and ProConnect Tax Online work together to get you prepared for tax season?
Susan: With my clients who use QuickBooks Online, I do their books throughout the year in QuickBooks Online Accountant. Then at tax time, I map their data into a tax return in ProConnect Tax Online. Everything carries over. From A to Z, the software allows me to stay really focused on doing what I need to do, as well as plan ahead. As long as the necessary forms are available from the IRS, I have these small businesses’ taxes filed by the end of January.
Sheila: What’s unique about QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Online Accountant?
Susan: QuickBooks Online is a living, breathing platform. It is always being updated with new features to make it better and easier for small business owners as well as myself, the accountant. Also, our input is valuable to Intuit. When I log into QuickBooks Online Accountant, I see new features or updates that are in response to feedback from myself or someone I know. Intuit listens and responds to us.
Sheila: If you could tell accountants or bookkeepers who are on QuickBooks Desktop why they should use QuickBooks Online and ProConnect Tax Online, what would you say?
Susan: Just do it. With QuickBooks Online, you won’t have to install, repair or back up. You don’t have to make sure you and your clients are on the same version of QuickBooks or host them in the cloud. With ProConnect Tax Online, you don’t have to install a new product every year, and keep seven or eight icons from the prior tax years on your desktop. There’s just so much less to do and it’s all up to date. It’s a no brainer.
Sheila: Now that I understand your practice and the tools you use, can you tell me why you are a ProAdvisor?
Susan: It means something when I tell my small business clients, “I’m a Certified ProAdvisor for QuickBooks.” Just having that title built up my credibility when I was first starting out – and I’ve maintained QuickBooks certification ever since. It’s been a great program to keep me knowledgeable on the product.
Sheila: How does the ProAdvisor education and certification help you?
Susan: It allows me to be very good at what I do. I try to go to all the QuickBooks Online events in my area so I can see what’s the latest and greatest, and also learn from people sitting next to me. That’s how I stay competitive and continue to grow and flourish.
Sheila: If you could tell accountants or bookkeepers who are not QuickBooks ProAdvisors why they should join, what would you tell them?
Susan: You should join because you will be the cream of the crop. ProAdvisors are ahead of the pack. We get the better clients because we have the better tools and education. We have the better network. We also receive great product discounts and community support.
Editor’s note: Susan regularly contributes to the Intuit ProConnect Tax Pro Center with content on making your accounting and tax practice more efficient. This article was originally published on the Intuit® Firm of the Future blog.