General Questions?

1. Review the FAQ list below for your questions.

2. Complete and email the question form below to our conference team.

3. Call our conference hotline at 404-857-0700 from 8:00-5:00 EDT, M-F.

Up to 30 Hours of CPE!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I reserve my guest room at the hotel?

Once registered for Scaling New Heights®, and your order is processed, you will receive a hotel link to reserve your room. This link will provide you with the special conference rates available and secure your room under our conference room block. We recommend securing your room as soon as possible after registration. You will receive the hotel link within 1 business day.

What are the special conference room rates?

We have secured some of the best room rates available, beginning at $149/night, at the Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.

Are there any additional charges or fees?

After the second person in the room, there is a $15.00 charge for each person.

Room Rates shown do not include 12.50% tax rate for Resorts in Orange County (subject to change). Total charges presented on the website will include all room fees and taxes. (6% Florida State Accommodation, 6% Orange County Accommodation, 0.5% Orange County Surtax)

What is Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort deposit/cancellation policies?

Deposit
To secure your reservation, you must make a deposit of one night.

Cancel Policy
To receive a refund of your deposit, including credit card deposit transactions, Disney must receive notice of cancellation from you at least five days before your arrival date. To cancel a room reservation, call (407) 939-4686. Please note that if you are holding any other types of reservations, such as dining reservations, those reservations will not be cancelled unless you also advise Disney to cancel them.

Do I have to commit to attending one track or can I choose what I want to attend session by session?

We request you register for specific training sessions through the attendee portal on this website, for planning and logistical purposes. The attendee portal is for registered attendees only and can be accessed here.

We strongly suggest you attend the session you pre-selected prior to the conference. Movement between sessions is permitted provided there is an available seat in the session.

Why is this conference so focused on Intuit software?

There are numerous organizations in the country that do excellent general accounting technology shows. Scaling New Heights is primarily an in-depth technical training conference designed to equip professionals to provide new (or expanded) consulting services.

By covering fewer applications during our general sessions and breakout sessions, we have more time to dedicate to each product. That allows us to make the sessions more comprehensive, in-depth, and practical.

Also, many Intuit Premier Resellers and most QuickBooks ProAdvisors make Intuit products a primary (if not sole) focus of their technology consulting. We designed this conference to be as applicable to your practice as possible.

Do the QuickBooks sessions at this conference prepare ProAdvisors for Intuit certification exams?

We are working in cooperation with Intuit to offer certification preparation training to all ProAdvisors. This will include Advanced ProAdvisor certification, QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions certification, QuickBooks Online certification, QuickBooks Online Advanced certification and Intuit continuing education courses for Advanced certified ProAdvisors.

Which Orlando airport do I use?

Orlando International Airport (MCO)

How do I get to Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort?

You will book your transportation with Disney’s Magical Express. There is a link on the Hotel email for you to make your transportation reservations. To book DME you must be listed on the room reservation. DME must be reserved 10 days in advance.​​​

What is the conference cancellation policy?

Conference attendee registration cancellations received prior to the deadline of March 1, 2017 may be eligible to receive a refund less a $50 service fee. Cancellations received after the stated deadline will not be eligible for a refund.

Can I transfer my registration to another person?

If you need to transfer your registration to another attendee, send us an email at: info@woodardevents.com

Does my registration cover meals?

Your registration covers an afternoon snack on Sunday. Monday through Wednesday, breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack is provided. We do not provide dinner through out the conference but there will be multiple locations for food.

 

Congratulations to Our Face the Yeti Challenge Winner: April Ellis

April Ellis

Reliable Accounting LLC

Hudson, WI

In April of 2011, I was forced to FACE THE YETI.

I was working in corporate America as a Regional Manager. I had just completed a successful project,
$450,000 under budget.

Then out of the blue, I found myself part of a workforce reduction. I was shocked and a little lost.

Naturally, I started looking for a job but had an overwhelming feeling that it wasn’t the right path for me. The politics and bureaucracy that is corporate America left me with no desire to return… I needed a different option. It was time to do serious soul searching and at the same time fulfill some life-long dreams.

I did a few things I have always wanted to but never had the time while working long hours. In high school I had the lead in the musical and loved it, so I joined the local community theater. I was a cast member in the local production of The King and I. My mom and I took the Alaskan cruise we always wanted to go on. I lived it up and it reminded me of who I am.

I was taking stock of my life and what I really wanted to pursue for a career. In my previous position, I loved reviewing the financial statements, establishing and managing budgets basically anything that had to do with numbers and math!!! OH HOW I LOVE MATH! In all my math and accounting classes I excelled. But not only did I do well – I LOVED IT!!!

The year prior to losing my job, I had formed a new friendship with a woman who had a small accounting business using QuickBooks. Her lifestyle really appealed to me – having freedom to set her own schedule and to be able to be with her aging mother when she was needed. So I asked how she got started and asked her if she thought I could do the same. She said absolutely! However, it felt really scary and I wasn’t sure I would be confident enough start on this adventure. So…believing that knowledge is power, I decided to go back to school for additional accounting classes. I had all the accounting necessary for a business degree at the University of Minnesota but I hadn’t created a Balance Sheet or P&L since college.

In September of 2011, I started attending a local community college and obtained my Small Business Accounting Certificate in May of 2012. My first class was QuickBooks which I loved. I had used QuickBooks years earlier along with Peachtree but preferred QuickBooks so I knew this was the direction I wanted to go.

I landed my first client in January of 2012, decided on my business name and registered my business with the state. I also talked with my CPA and he suggested becoming a certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor.

In June of 2012, I called Intuit and inquired about the ProAdvisor Program and was informed that I could still take the 2011 certification exam until August, then take the 2012 exam and in the fall when 2013 was released, take that exam and then I would be able to take the Advanced Certification. My head was swimming, but I had a plan! I studied and studied and studied and passed the Advance Certification in February of 2013.

I wish I could say my business took off like gangbusters but it did not. It was slow and many times I wondered how I would be able to make my mortgage payment that month. I often thought of quitting and thought – I guess I need to get a real job. I have a very strong faith and the Lord affirmed to me that I was on the path He had chosen for me. My practice slowly grew and my faith grew even stronger.

After attending one of Michelle Long’s webinars in 2013, I decided to start using QuickBooks Online for my own practice. At the same time, I was receiving inquiries from my Find – a – ProAdvisor listing expressing interest in QuickBooks Online and so my QuickBooks Online practice started to grow.

I started attending Scaling New Heights in 2014 and have been attending ever since. Since attending Scaling New Heights, I have grown both in knowledge and professionally. I find the information on the Monthly Member’s Webinar and at Scaling New Heights invaluable to my practice as I have learned so much that I could have never learned on my own.

In August of 2015, I passed the QuickBooks Online Advanced Certification Exam, in 2016 I started the local MSP Woodard Group and today my practice is 92% QuickBooks Online and MOST IMPORTANTLY because I work virtually through QBO, I moved closer to my grandchildren (my joy in life!) in January of 2016. Life is good!

TAKE THAT YETI!

See all Contestant Entries

Ellen Allen

Allen CPA Services, LLC

Lebanon, OH

I know you will receive many amazing testimonies of the challenges other professionals have faced in their businesses. I’m certain mine is rather humble by comparison, but I believe “the Yeti” can mean different things to different people.

2016 was the year my business grew significantly and I was not prepared for it. All of a sudden, the Excel sheets I kept and the “to do” lists written up daily just weren’t going to cut it anymore. I was juggling keeping up with my new business and was afraid I was going to forget to process a payroll with all that was going on. I had to find a way to standardize and easily replicate that “to do” list. I also all of a sudden had to sign up for a merchant payments service, learn QBO, decide which of the many, many apps I was going to embrace … the list goes on and on. All of these things were a challenge for me. I began my career in public accounting back in the late eighties and didn’t learn any of this stuff! To be back in accounting at this time and have to not only learn but embrace technology has been a HUGE “Yeti” for me.

I signed up for Scaling New Heights last fall with the hopes that your conference will inspire me to learn to do more and do it with efficiency. It isn’t enough to serve clients. A professional must serve his or her own business as well by embracing changes in our industry.

 

Pete Bornstein

BizPro Consulting Services

Danville, CA

Facing the Yeti

In early 2013, I knew my consulting practice was in trouble. My 2012 gross income was Abominable. I was ready to throw in the towel and spend a few months climbing Mount Everest without a laptop or a phone.

I knew that I had the skills to serve the thousands of QuickBooks users out there whose pain points needed cures, but there was an invisible Yeti out there that was preventing those who could use my services from knocking at my door.

Build on My Skills

What skills could I bring to my vertical market, which I embraced as QuickBooks-concentric seamless integration of business systems?

  • Many years of design, development and implementation of query-based database systems.
  • Ability to develop complex SQL queries against multiple tables.
  • Project management, including the management of incentives-based credit card projects for Chevron and Household Bank.
  • Marketing skills, including Director of Product Management at Boole & Babbage.
  • Many years of experience with QuickBooks desktop as a Certified ProAdvisor.
  • Significant experience with large manufacturers and distributors who used QuickBooks Enterprise.
  • Excellent communications skills (at least in my own mind).

Why Wasn’t I Getting Prospects?

Either I did not know how to market my “brand”, or no one knew I was out there (or both). I was advertising on Craigslist but the quality of the few responders to my ads was Abominable. I bought expensive search-engine optimization (SEO) software and tried to optimize my web site, but was not getting inquiries even when my site came up on the first page of search results. I hoped that my profile on the ProAdvisor website would bring prospects to me, but very few arrived.

The massive fissures (aka The Big Breaks)

Big Break #1 – In October 2010, I heard about the National Advisor Network and somehow got in touch with Joe Woodard, who was rapidly building chapters throughout the country. There was a large chapter in Southern California, but no presence in the San Francisco Bay Area. Joe asked me to start a chapter (now known as Woodard Groups) and I began to recruit members from my contacts in the QuickBooks Meetups, where I was very active. Between November 2010 and April 2011, I built the San Francisco Bay Area NAN chapter to the largest in the country and received the first of my three awards at Scaling New Heights 2011. Now people knew I was out there.

Big Break #2 – I was very focused on seamless business systems integration starting in 2009, and I employed three primary methods to achieve this integration:

  • Baystate Consulting’s Transaction Pro Importer (TPI) to convert lists and transactions in spreadsheets to lists and forms in QuickBooks.
  • Irvin utilities, particularly the Irvin Data Transfer utility, to move lists and transactions from any desktop company file to other QuickBooks company files.
  • SQL Server Management Studio to access data in databases and convert the data to lists or transactions in QuickBooks.

The word was getting around. In 2013 I received an email from the business development manager at eWinery Solutions in Napa. She had been referred to me by one of my contacts at Intuit, where I had participated in several Design Delight brainstorming sessions. She said that they were looking for a better way to bring orders from their proprietary point of sale system into their wineries’ QuickBooks accounting systems. I arranged for a meeting with her where I was to demonstrate how I could use TPI to bring orders and other reports into QuickBooks.

I was prepared for a one-on-one meeting but, much to my surprise, there were about 10 people in the conference room from their management, development, sales and training departments. The demo was a success and they started referring wineries to me. As I worked with each winery, I developed a detailed and customized Procedures Manual for each client and a “master” manual for eWinery Solutions. I also worked very closely with their development team to streamline their exports. These enhancements eliminated or reduced the manipulation and modification of the exported spreadsheets.

Let the networking begin!

The word got around to other software vendors and it led to other partnerships:

  • A partnership with VineSpring, who provides a wide range of software services for wineries. VineSpring was referred to me by a NAN member that I met as Scaling New Heights 2013.
  • A partnership with Springboard Wine Company, who provides production software for growers and producers of wine. Springboard was referred to me by a winery client in Healdsburg.
  • A partnership with Vintrace, who provides cloud-base winery management software for producers of wine and crush houses. The North American General Manager at Vintrace contacted me because he knew me when he was sales manager at eWinery Solutions.
  • A partnership with TSheets. This all started when I met their President Matt Rissell at a NAN get-together sponsored by Joe Woodard. I was privileged to play golf with Matt at Scaling New Heights 2014.

Social Media Marketing is essential

Along the way, I quickly learned to utilize social media marketing to build my network and get my brand out there.

  • I began to publish articles on LinkedIn that focused on trends in technology. Readers who like my articles connected to me. These articles could easily be posted to a Twitter link and to FaceBook when they were published.
  • I posted Tweets on Twitter that focused on artificial intelligence and expected future technological breakthroughs.
  • I continue to write articles for my blog that focus on technology and the direction of accounting systems of the future and their movement into the clouds.
  • I now have two websites, one of which focuses on QuickBooks Desktop and another that focuses on QuickBooks Online.

Life is Good

Now I have all the clients that I can handle comfortably as a one-person company (and I intend to stay that way). I focus strictly on wineries, manufacturers and distributors because I know I can deliver solutions to them. I faced the Yeti and it no longer exists in my world.

 

Jeff Cecchini

QBPros, Inc.

Rapid City, SD

The “Yeti” represents a monster that’s bigger than me. I know that monster, and the challenge of facing and doing battle with him. This is my story.

After ​I sold my payroll processing service bureau in 2008​, and working a few years as a software developer, I decided to semi-retire, and ​move to the Midwest, to allow for greater involvement​ in international Christian ​mission work.

About a year after our move, we bought a home and began a comprehensive remodel. Early on, my wife sustained a serious fall off a ladder, breaking her shoulder and wrist. This resulted in paralysis in her favored arm for about a year. About 8 months in to the project, I started developing frequent, debilitating migraines, and significant fatigue.

We quickly learned how a healthy savings can be wiped out in a short amount time, and how that changes plans dramatically.

I had owned a bookkeeping and tax practice years before. I decided to get back into bookkeeping, but no one knew me here in our new city. I knew a lot had changed since I was in that space before: from marketing to technology.

Instead of going forward using traditional methods to get established, I sought out an industry leader. Michelle Long’s book, “Successful QuickBooks Consulting”, helped me in many practical ways to get back in to the space smarter, namely deciding to become a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor.

In 2011, I landed my first local client, and that required me to pick up the books from the previous accountant. When I met with her, she asked me if I knew about the Scaling New Heights Conference. She told me a little about it, and strongly encouraged me to attend. It was just a few weeks away, but I knew I had to go.

That was the Las Vegas SNH11 conference, and it opened up a whole new world for me. The technical and practice management courses, third party offerings, peer relationships, and the Woodard Institute, have really equipped and challenged me to grow professionally. I now offer greater value to clients, through a more expansive offering, at a higher price point.

While my health issues still represent an ongoing yeti, the strategic knowledge, technological efficiency, and valuable relationships, gained through these conferences, and the Woodard Network, allow me to be more effective with my limited time.

Some specific, high impact changes that I’ve made in my practice are: crafting vision, mission, and purpose statements; value billing in advance; conversion to QBO with add-ons, and utilizing integrated Full Service Payroll for recurring clients.

I am truly grateful to Joe Woodard for his impact on my life. Facing the Yeti to me is not a one time encounter, it’s a daily journey of embracing change and self-improvement, so that I can help entrepreneurs build healthy businesses that improve their lives.

 

Ingrid Edstrom

Polymath LLC

Ashland, Oregon

Scaling New Heights to Face the Yeti … Together

Since attending my first Scaling New Heights in May of 2015, more has changed in my bookkeeping practice and in my life than I can possibly summarize in one short article.

That summer I started a “climb,” and I had no idea where the path I was on was heading.

I’ve made a lot of EPIC mistakes in my relatively short 8-year business journey. The combination of those failures along with my willingness to admit that I still don’t know the answers apparently make me an “expert.” I want to re-frame that conversation a little in hopes that it may encourage you to take the next step on your climb. If I’m an expert, then you are, too.

As I continue to learn and grow on this journey, I am grateful to the many leaders who have forged the path up this mountain ahead of me. I have been fortunate to learn from the mistakes of these other experts, allowing me to climb much more quickly and easily. As we climb to “Face the Yeti,” I know that I am walking in the footprints of amazing people who have cut the trail, making my journey much easier. Each subsequent climber makes the path smoother for the next down the rope.

Among the many things I have learned recently, one of my favorites is that being a “Thought Leader” means that someone needs to make this stuff up. Between Intuit’s Firm of the Future contest in 2015, Woodard’s Rising Star and Practice Innovation awards in 2016, and recently CPA Practice Advosir’s Top 40 Under 40 and Most Powerful Women in Accounting awards, apparently a few people seem to think that our little team at Polymath, LLC knows what we’re doing. I hope they’re right! If someone suddenly decides that we’ve been doing it wrong all this time, that would be pretty embarrassing.

I bet that if you compare our little firm with your practice, we’re not all that different. We are all climbing the mountain, forging the path as we go, and figuring out the next step along the way.

I feel that I am being called to do something bigger than myself, and I want to answer that calling. Polymath’s vision is to make the world a better place, built on a foundation of thriving small businesses. I know that I can’t help every small business in the world myself, and I need my colleagues in our field to raise the bar with me. Together we can be the rising tide that raises all ships.

I want to toss a rope back to the people climbing on the path behind me. I want to make the climb faster and easier for you.

People are looking up to me, which makes me uncomfortable. Hooray for being out of my comfort zone! That’s where all the growth happens, so that must be why we’re growing and changing so fast. This is what Facing the Yeti is all about.

This is new territory for me, as I am not just building my own fantastic little firm, but also leading the way for other firms. As I encounter this new terrain, I often feel the need for support from other leaders and teachers so that I don’t slip and go tumbling back down the mountain. I look to those who have gone before me.

A few short months ago, I was afraid that the teachers I look up to so fondly were going to see me as a competitor in the market of accounting consultants, or worse, as a plagiarist. I know that my teachers, including Joe Woodard, Mike Michalowicz, Dawn Fotopolous, and so many others, also use ideas that they’ve picked up on their journeys, and credit is always given where it is due. I never hesitate to recommend that colleagues go straight to the prime source for the dive deep on a topic. I even had a great conversation with Dave McKeown, and he told me to go ahead and use any of their materials so long as I give credit to Predictable Success. Yet I was still afraid that one of my heroes was going to judge my presumption and call me out as a fake because I’m not at their level. Can we only teach when we’ve reached the pinnacle of the mountain? Is that where our leaders are, at the top?

What did I do? I talked to Joe, and he tossed me a rope to get to the next level. I asked him about teaching others about the concepts that I was learning, and he encouraged me to go for it. This mountain has no ultimate peak. There is always more for all of us to learn, and we will continue to enjoy the climb, marking our progress by looking back and enjoying the view.

We are all curators of knowledge, distilling ideas through our own perspective. Those ideas will be received differently by different people, and the more people we have sharing the information, the more people we can reach together. Each of us has knowledge to offer, regardless of our stage of progress along the journey.

Through my experiences in the Woodard Institute I have gained more solid confidence in my skills as a management accountant as well as a consultant to other accounting professionals. The Woodard vision to transform small business through small business advisors is very much in alignment with our vision at Polymath. That makes a lot of sense, as I first learned about creating a vision, mission, and purpose from Joe Woodard at QuickBooks Connect in 2015. That class lit a spark in me that kindled into a bright flame, and I now work to pass that spark to others.

When I spoke with Joe, I was afraid to assign prices to my consultative services for accountants. I had tax preparers (I don’t even do tax!) from much larger and older firms than mine coming to me for advice. When I suggested several options they could pursue, including recommending some great books, websites, videos, blogs, and classes that I often learn from, these colleagues were not deterred.

One accountant was particularly insistent on getting my personal perspective, so we discussed setting up an hour of private consultation where I could give my favorite highlights of what I’ve gathered and make suggestions based on my limited experience. I mentioned to him that I was working on a year-long curriculum for an accountant mastermind program, and that I hoped to have it ready this winter.

He said that he was excited to sign up for the year commitment. Oh. Boy. (Hello, Yeti! How are you today?)

This is becoming a trend. Clients often jump for our top package at prices that we wouldn’t have even considered asking a year ago. Ron Baker says that if clients are grabbing your top packages without questioning the price it means you’re priced too low. After a year and a half of working on value pricing, I’m still getting used to that idea. Meanwhile, other accountants are asking me for feedback on their packages, and my wonderful partners recently dubbed me our “rainmaker.” Reality Check?!? Is this really me? Can I be a rainmaker while also questioning our value?

Yes. And so can you. It will get easier, and we’ll figure it out together. The fastest way to learn something is to teach it to someone else. Sometimes it takes someone else believing in us until we learn to do it for ourselves. We learn our own value by raising each other up.

There is always a next level to our growth. I am always seeking the next area where I can get out of my own way. A few short months ago, the idea of announcing publicly on my website that I was thinking of offering consulting services to accountants petrified me. It’s one thing when a colleague is directly asking me for help, but if I make a page saying that I’m doing it, I need to admit that it’s real. (Oh, look! Another Yeti!)

I look up to my teachers. I trust them to lead the way. If Joe, Mike, Dawn, and others that I respect are encouraging me, who am I to doubt myself? It’s all too easy to run screaming from the Yeti within, resulting in our self sabotage. When we learn to embrace those challenges, asking for help and support from those around us as needed, we scale the mountain much faster.

I have learned that, when I’m this scared of something, it means I’m going the right direction. When I’m the only thing standing in my own way, that means it’s time to get moving again. If I’m petrified, I find a way to take one step at a time. One foot in front of the other, up the mountain, hand in hand with a Yeti.

I have a lot of growing to do very quickly if I’m going to be the person that my colleagues need me to be. I probably always will. Sometimes I’m rocking the unflappable confidence, and that’s the part that a lot of our colleagues see in me. Other times, I struggle, and I’m getting better at making those moments more public so that we can learn from them together. It is our mistakes and failures that really help us grow.

Just like you, I often need someone on the path ahead of me. Like migrating geese, we take turns leading so that there isn’t one member who always needs to lead. Our leaders let me know if I’m going the right direction or if some of the noise I’m making is going to cause an avalanche. Sometimes that leader is you. Sometimes the leader is the Yeti, carving the path through unknown territory for the very first time. Together we are scaling new heights, facing one Yeti after another.

 

Heather Gauntt

Cents+Ability Financial Solutions

Dallas, TX

How did I overcome a challenge in my business? My biggest challenge is marketing; not just the costs of marketing but which is the best way to promote my business.

I tried paying for local marketing, tried Facebook, tried buying leads, tried LinkedIn, and multiple other ways to no avail. I watched webinars, asked networking colleagues how they did it, and even sent out desperate cries for HELP! Still no success!!

I finally found the right tool to assist me: the right thinking! You see I was approaching marketing from the wrong direction. I needed to change my thinking. I was trying to do it the way others were, not what my business needed. I was trying to market and connect with everyone, and to everyone…and it was exhausting. I found a mentor, a coach…not a friend, not a colleague…and together we created a marketing plan for my business! This specific plan is assisting me with my new tool (the right thinking). Currently, I am implementing my new tool and making forward strides to reach my business growth goals. It’s time to THRIVE in 2017!!

 

Megan Burger and Nancy Gomez

The Bottom Line

Santa Barbara, CA and Aurora, CO

“I Faced the Yeti aka My Mother” by Megan Burger and Nancy Gomez of The Bottom Line

“Obviously, I would love for you to work for me! But I understand if you don’t want to…”

ME
As long as I can remember, my mom has supported our family as a bad ass bookkeeper. We always knew NOT TO POKE THE BEAR (now the Yeti!) when tax season approached. We were her live-in filers, licking and stampers as well as mail runners so we didn’t have to look for non-existent parking. And honestly, I never understood why she loved doing it so much. Especially when she sounded SO SWEET on the phone only to be followed by a loud SLAM and “ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!”. None the less, she pressed on, and occasionally pressed into my sister and I how much she would LOVE LOVE LOVE us to work for her someday. You can imagine our oh-so-excited faces, polite smiles, and my response – “thanks Mom, but NO”.

YETI
When you and Ally told me in high school that you’d never want to work in the biz, I was a tad heartbroken at that moment but accepted it. Even when you both were in banking, I hoped but figured you’d find your true path.

ME
Well, the time came when the Yeti reeled me in. Thankfully, we would not have the lovely pleasure of each other’s presence in the same office on a daily basis as I would be working onsite at a client’s office.

YETI
Ok, on to business – putting on boss hat ROFLMAO , the Yeti beholding a calculator/other accounting paraphernalia…

ME
That working arrangement was great – I got to ease into bookkeeping without the pressure to make a lifelong commitment. When I moved out of state 3 years later, I thought I had left bookkeeping behind. Little did I know – Voice of the Yeti… it followed me! Reminding me it was always there…not necessarily in a creepy way. but more so indicating the Yeti knew something I didn’t know but would soon come to find out…

YETI
MOI – have nothing to say? Are you stoned? Have you EVER, in all 31 of your years ever known me to not have something to say? LOL

ME
Fast forward to a few months before my wedding, going into the summer of 2014. I knew early on into the job I was at that I wouldn’t be there long term, but – I know I was exactly where I was supposed to be for the time being. So, what then? I just keep job hopping? How do I support my family? WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?! And in one moment, God stepped in and changed my heart towards the opportunity that had been there from the start. I have no better explanation than that. My whole life I have never EVER wanted to be a bookkeeper or anything like it. My future family depended on this. So I called the Yeti…

YETI
Don’t blow sunshine… (Play it cool, don’t scare her away! She is finally within your grasp!) We did it before and we can do it again – we work so well NOT in the same office! And when it comes to investing in you – I’m excited, overjoyed, thrilled, over the moon and all the rest that you want to be a part of all of this.

ME
Many, many, many phone conversations and emails have been transpired in this 2 ½ year period working remotely for the Yeti. And just like any new endeavor, we had to work out the kinks.

YETI
I don’t expect you to be me, never have & don’t want you to. Just because I work nutball hours doesn’t mean you have to, unless you elect to. Post Its – I LOVE my Post Its! I’ll listen but I too am in a rut after all these years… Even I have to learn some new tricks!

ME
The Yeti also realized like any other employee, I needed to know when I was doing a good job, and when I needed to pick up the slack. I know now that almost every conversation we have will include a little business and a little family – no complaints here! For the Yeti, I know it has been the biggest transition. She has worked her business for decades, and suddenly was asked to start giving up some work (for her own good mind you). I had kind reminders for her, like “HEY I AM HERE!” and “We need the info in your head, out where I can get it”.

YETI
This will be a great challenge for all of us but I think we can do it. No I need to do it…I need to be confident that I’ve prepared you as much as possible so that I can take a real vacation and I need you to be confident that you can do this even though you are in CO (which I know you can).

ME
She is her own Yeti in that sense. She had to overcome her own tendencies, habits, and perceptions to allow another person to come in. I know it wasn’t easy. My own self sabotage could write a short novel about all the times I literally had to fight myself to sit down at the computer. Old habits die hard! So, communication has been key to our efficiency. The whole mother-daughterboss-employee thing did take some getting used to, for both of us. We both are asked occasionally “How is it working with your mom/daughter?” (picture a worried or grimaced face at times). We both reply the same, with a smile and a laugh – “It’s great! We don’t have to be in the same office!”. It works for us, and that’s the important thing. Our flow improves, and our drive for the business does as well. It is absolutely wonderful to be working with someone toward our future – it’s even more rewarding and meaningful that it’s with my Yeti.

YETI
Maybe you’ll truly understand why this has worked for 26 years… : ) Mom hat back on…XOXO… You’ve been a part of this dream since you were 7…let’s see where we can take this biz even further! Bigger, better, badder! And now a note from the Yeti herself!! As you can see, Megan has filtered from the many emails where I as the Yeti was coming from. When I first saw the title for SNH of Facing the Yeti, I knew without a doubt that the Yeti in my practice was how to bring Megan in as a remote worker, get her trained and keep it all going without losing our minds or our relationship. I also knew that in her eyes I was the Yeti. We take it a day at a time, she comes to the “main office” for training once or twice a year. It’s an ongoing process but it works great for us!!
It’s probably a really good thing that I don’t roar like a Yeti!

 

Brianne Haschak

INT

Buffalo Grove, IL

For so many years, getting one of our client’s staff to send in their receipts in a timely manner has been a huge challenge. We have tried everything.

We have even had someone from our office in Buffalo Grove, travel to downtown Chicago to retrieve everyone’s receipts. It was a mess. A lot of the times when we did get the receipts, we didn’t receive any information on the charge and would have to guess what account the expenses should be put to. Last year, at SNH, I spend a good amount of time with Expensify and when I got home, I immediately began setting up an account. We now receive 90% of all receipts, with the needed information and on time! I was able to create different policies within Expensify, for different departments, which reduced the amount of choices and confusion on the staff side. I love the flexibility of it, Expensify really conforms to each user. We are now using it for 2 other clients and has been a huge time saver. Overcoming this challenge has been a big accomplishment.

 

Rick Hays

Renaissance Bookkeeping, LLC

Nashville, TN

I started my business in 2015 when my wife and I relocated to Nashville, TN. Other than my mother, we knew no one in Nashville. I knew that business growth was dependent upon meeting people and building relationships. People prefer to do business with people they know and trust. I poured considerable money in various marketing streams; SEO, direct mail, email, ProAdvisor find an advisor site, etc.

After approximately one year, and a few thousand dollars, the ROI from my effots was virtually nill. Feeling like a loser, I did not relent, I shifted gears. I didn’t want to be consumed by the Yeti. Instead of spending money, I invested time in various organizations, i.e., Tennessee Hospitality Assoc, Chamber of Commerce, and GoldStar Referral Club. This effort took me out of my comfort zone big time! I do not network very well. I just jumped into the deep end of the pool and began to meet people who can introduce me to others who could use my service. After a few months, I am now receiving bonefide leads, and solid referrals. It takes time to nurture the relationships, but the relationships are solid. It doesn’t matter if I am the most skilled QB proadvisor, accountant, or CFO, if people do not know I exist, those skills are worthless. Still not comfortable with this networking stuff, but getting better at it. The 2017 objective is improving my networking skills.

So far, so good!

the moral to the story, figure out what you suck at and fix it!

 

Jerica Hernandez

Allman Johnson CPAs & Advisors

Indianapolis, IN

One of our challenges required us to evaluate many different angles. As a small firm, we face the challenge of streamlining our workflow.

One process in particular kept coming up in conversations throughout the office, tax document gathering and streamlining the scanning of the documents. We tackled this monster by breaking it down by internal concerns and external factors that also need solutions. First, we put ourselves in the client’s shoes and thought about what pain points they face. We decided the task of printing the organizer, dredging through all the questions (all while you are not sure if you are even answering them correctly), then scanning it back in to upload to us was probably a HUGE pain point. Then we thought about the hassle they face gathering all the documents which is quickly followed by how to easily and securely get them all to us. These issues were just what we feel our clients are feeling and we haven’t even begun to address the inter-office issues.

Many of the issues we faced in the office were a result of the stress put on the client. For example, the clients get overwhelmed at gathering the documents so they decide to just throw everything that looks like a tax document into a box and bring it to us. We are then left sorting their unopened mail and pulling staples from all their documents just so that we can scan them in to begin working on the file.

We needed to find a solution to reduce the stress and time it was taking on both ends. Our solution, TaxCaddy! We saw a webinar about TaxCaddy and knew this was the answer to our problems. It is an easy to use software that can be accessed via computer or via an app on your phone. The organizer questions can be answered electronically and the documents needed are easy to identify and disappear from the list as you upload. You can take a picture right from your phone eliminating the need to scan and upload if that is usually a problem. Also, if the clients want to link their bank info any documents provided by that financial institution can be auto retrieved directly into their account. And since it is free for the clients to use this seemed like a fantastic solution to ease their troubles and worries.

But we didn’t set out to just fix our clients pain points we want our processes and office working as efficiently as possible as well. TaxCaddy is a solution for many of our monsters as well. Since the client can easily upload or link their documents to be auto retrieved we won’t be spending our time sorting through unopened mail and pulling staples. We can take the documents they uploaded and convert to a PDF with just a click of a button. We don’t even need to scan anything.

Our final hurdle was getting the clients as excited about TaxCaddy as we were, because we knew if they don’t want to use it, then they won’t. We sent communication out in phases to not overload them. We mentioned changes coming in a postcard and then followed up with an email. But our boldest move was making a silly video that we sent out to our clients in hopes the pure comical value would grab their attention enough to get them excited to give TaxCaddy a try.

We wrote a short script titled “Iris and the Tax Monsters” and acted it out for our clients to see. You see, Iris (a play on IRS) would cry every year from December to April and no one knew why. Then one day she decided to share her woes with her friends and family. She explained how these monsters tormented her every year starting with the organizer monster followed by the paper heap monster and she goes on to explain she gets so overwhelmed that she just throws it all in a box and runs it to her CPAs office. Her CPA was in the audience and explained that she’s not alone and we also face monsters in our office. The stapler monster jumps in her boxes and staples everything it can. Then the mailer monster works with her heap monster to make sure we have lots of unopened mail to sort through. Iris explains that she didn’t know she wasn’t alone but what could we do to rid the land of the monsters? Then the tax fairy godmother appears and explains how TaxCaddy will help everyone. Cheers of joy ring out and the land is saved.

Now as silly as this sounds on paper its even sillier on YouTube but IT WORKED! We had many clients sign up for their free TaxCaddy account. We had more organizers completed than in any previous year. We received documents quicker than any previous year. But most impressive is the actual client base using this software. We had multiple clients use this option that have refused to use our client portal in the past and demand paper returns and organizers. A few examples of issues with using our secure portal that these clients cited included difficulties getting documents scanned and uploaded and lack of a printer to print the organizer. Helping us realize that they didn’t hate technology, they hated the technology we were offering. As soon as we offered a solution that wasn’t cumbersome to them they jumped aboard the tech train.

We were able to streamline things in our office by reducing the volume of incoming paper documents, complete returns sooner than in previous years because we received documents faster and we were able to reduce the number of re-runs on completed returns because we received more completed organizers allowing us to identify additional information needed. We faced the yeti and WON not just in our office but in the minds of our clients as well!

 

Caleb Jenkins

RLJ Financial Services, Inc.

Ceres, CA

A lot of people know about the work that I’ve done in Haiti through the SALT program but very few people know the story behind the scenes (learn more about the SALT program here, here, and here).

In February 2013, my father received an invitation to join a group of Accountants to go to Haiti to learn about the Christian Aid Ministries SALT program and then give their feedback at the end of the trip on the SALT program. One night during tax season while I was working on a clients’ QuickBooks file and their business tax return, Daddy came back to my desk and said that I he signed both of us up to go to Haiti on this trip. I was scared at the beginning because I didn’t think that I would have anything to contribute alongside of a group of experienced accountants. However, I decided to go along with Daddy (not much of my choice to begin with), and enjoyed the trip down there to Haiti to learn about the SALT program. At the end of the trip, I was asked to help them the SALT program in Haiti convert their accounting over from Excel Spreadsheets to QuickBooks. I immediately had a lot of trepidation because “what did I a 19 year-old QuickBooks ProAdvisor have to offer them” alongside of all the rest of the Accountants that were on the trip who were experienced and had knowledge of exactly what they needed for their accounting. However, in spite of my fears, I decided to accept the opportunity and it has been the most amazing journey ever since. It has stretched me at many times, and challenged me with helping to run a very large organization through QuickBooks. It has expanded my knowledge of working with multiple cultures, backgrounds, and even multi-currencies in QuickBooks Desktop. A huge outcome of working with the SALT program for the past 3 years has been that it has encouraged me through the hard times because it has given me something to believe in. If you’ve met me at an accounting conference over the past 2 years, you’ve probably frequently heard me talking about the SALT program in Haiti because I believe 100% in the work that is happening and I’m so excited to be a part of the mission.

How did I face the Yeti? I overcame my fear by taking the first step and accepting the challenge that was directly in front of me!
What were the outcomes of facing the Yet? It has thrust me into a role with a large ministry to find solutions and 3rd party apps that help solve their day-to-day problems that go beyond the back office accounting. It has provided an opportunity to step into the “board room” of one of the largest not for profit ministries in America and do consulting on the issues that they face every day as a large not for profit ministry with the SALT program. It has also opened up all kinds of new opportunities in the ProAdvisor community that I never had the opportunity to experience in the past? I’m extremely grateful for the SALT program for asking me to help (a 19 year-old at the time) and believing in me in spite of my fears. It has forever changed my outlook and goals as an accounting professional. In one way this experience has helped to mold me into the professional that I am today. I now enjoy meeting with business owners and helping them succeed as a business owner in many ways that far surpass just the traditional back office accounting role that an accountant has traditionally held in the past. I now see myself as one of the new breed of accountants who look for ways to give back to those I’m serving by helping them accomplish their vision, mission, and purpose. I’m also extremely grateful to Joe Woodard for his investment into me through this whole process.

 

Kirk Johnson

IntelliGenz Business Solutions, LLC

Fair Lawn, NJ

How I Faced My Yeti and Survived…so far.

Yet•i

‘Yedê/

1. a large hairy creature resembling a human or bear, said to live in the highest part of the Himalayas

“What the heck does that have to do with the world of accounting and bookkeeping?”, you may ask. Absolutely nothing. To quote from The Book of Mormon, which is currently appearing on Broadway, “It’s a metaphor. Prophets always speak in metaphors.” In this case, the prophet who assigned us this project is Joe Woodard, so strap yourselves in and keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times because here we go.

My Yeti walked out of the snow and into my life on the afternoon of June 24, 2015 amid the steamy summer weather in New Orleans. That is where I was sitting and listening to the keynote address from Jon Taffer. The point where the Yeti became apparent was when he talked about how excuses were the most common determinate of failure. They were, indeed, the lifeblood of failure.

Why did this phrase evoke the Yeti faster than saying Beetlejuice three times? Well, up until that time, I had been working full time as an EMT for a local hospital “to pay the bills while I built up my company” which had been limping along for 2½ years at that point. As I was sitting and listening to Jon, I realized that somehow, he had become aware of my practice and was standing on stage and dressing me down although he was at least polite enough to not identify me personally (perhaps it was because he wasn’t really even aware I exist).

I realized that I had been making all kinds of excuses as to why I wasn’t able to grow my business. “It’s tough to work full time and do business development”, “I’m building slowly to be able to handle the volume”, “I could get more clients if I didn’t have to work every day”, etc. The overriding theme, I realized, was that I was using my low-paying hourly job (which I had really come to despise) as an excuse to not commit to getting my consulting/bookkeeping business healthy and self-supporting. “Excuses, excuses, excuses”, roared my Yeti (looking strangely like Jon Taffer) from that stage in that hot June.

Literally, as I was listening to that speech, I texted home that I was putting in my two weeks’ notice immediately upon my return home. “Ok” was the cryptic reply. I did exactly that and on July 11, 2015 I became only slightly employed after leaving the hospital. Now it was “game on” and I had to build the business enough to be able to support me in the lifestyle to which I desperately wanted to become accustomed to.

Here I sit in my office a year and half later. I have spent much of my retirement savings (much to the pleasure of the IRS) and have fallen behind in many payments that were current at the time that I left the hospital. There were times that I made decisions on what to eat based on how much it would cost and whether I could make leftovers out of it. Much of my continued existence is due to the courtesy of family and friends and the patience of creditors. At times, the situation has seemed quite dismal with the Yeti’s hot breath on the back of my neck and his fur pressing in around me.

So how do I feel about my decision? It was the best one I’ve made in years!!! Just last month, I was able to pay bills from the income generated by my business. I’m adding 2-3 customers (minimum) a month to my practice. I’m starting to see business generated by word-of-mouth which means that I’ve reached a tipping point. There seems to be light at the end of the cave and the distance between me and the Yeti seems to be the farthest it’s been in years.

You see, not only was my Yeti the fear of financial ruin, it was also a personal emotional struggle. I was in a job where I was underpaid, overeducated (being the only person with an MA in my department) and underappreciated. I hated going to work every day and came home feeling diminished and yet I (see what I did there?) stayed. That emotional destruction was also part of my Yeti. Even though I knew it was bad for me, I used all my excuses to keep me there and away from facing my fear of the unknown.

Once Jon made me realize that those excuses were keeping me from facing the reality of the situation, that the current situation was bad and the unknown was actually the way out, I stood up to that Yeti and struck out to become a success. On that count, the Yeti is but a bad memory, buried in an avalanche of self-worth, job satisfaction, positive client relationships and a general sense of well-being. I have proven to myself (and some family members who swore that Joe had put mind-altering drugs in my gumbo) that I CAN DO IT.

I said at the beginning that I’ve beaten the Yeti, so far, because there are always chances for financial missteps. There are always misjudgments in business which can lead us down the wrong path which can hand us some significant financial setbacks. In that regard, there is always a Yeti lurking around the next rock outcropping.

On the other hand, I find it unlikely that he will come close to having the power that he used to have because I’ve learned his weakness — action. As one of the groups that I belong to regularly preaches, not perfect just forward action. We just have to try and move forward because we can always adjust course when we’re moving, however, if we’re sitting still nothing changes and the Yeti can easily overcome us. Taking positive action to try and move forward is the way to defeat the Yeti and I thank you for letting me share that with you all.

If you have any questions or want to talk through how to defeat your Yeti, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re all in this life together so we might as well help each other through it!!

 

Carrie Kahn

Complete Business Group

Florence, SC

I know this is a “I faced a YETI Challenge”. However, I don’t ever do anything small, I faced and conquered TWO BIG YETIs!

At the end of 2015 we launched our partner program at QuickBooks Connect! To be perfectly frank, I have a fear of speaking in public. I didn’t realize how much it got a hold of me until the night we launched our partner program. We had created a lot of excitement around our big reveal! Our plan was perfect: we offered nice wine, hors d’oeuvres and great swag. We were setup for success! My marketing team was on hand, helped me make it fun and exciting but what they didn’t count on that, when it was my turn to speak, I suddenly had that famous DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS look. My brain literally shut down, I couldn’t tell you my name, I wasn’t sure why I was there and words just couldn’t come out of my mouth. My co-host nudged me along, covered for me and suddenly my brain opened up, and I could speak. The rest of the night went off without a hitch.

Each month after that launch, my marketing team would help me co-host Video webinars for our partners. Each one was better than the next one. Upon our one year anniversary from our launch, I hosted a luncheon and had everyone speak, including myself. It was PERFECT! I faced that YETI and it is no longer an issue for me speaking in public.

My second YETI came along as a result of our successful launch. We had big response, by year end we had collected 100 interested partners. The growth was fantastic! In the background, my emails were overflowing, my task list was blowing up, things were slipping through the cracks, I was losing my mind, and stressed to the max. Let’s not even talk about my anxiety levels!!! Yikes!! The YETI was knocking on my door and making fun of me. Forget sleep, it was a luxury for other people.

The energy around my program was keeping me going and excited. Our core value of delivering excellent customer service was being tested! It made me very nervous about failing to deliver and in order to make sure it didn’t happen, I logged in many long 12+ hour days. Weekends were filled with catch up work. I took vacations but spend my time checking emails, messages, making sure nothing slipped by. At this time, I never was able to take a deep breath and simply enjoy time off. My family took a back seat.

Thanks to my marketing team, we knocked it out of the park with growth. Now what? Lucky for me, my marketing team was also an expert in technology solutions. I returned with a new problem: my old workflow system basically blew up! We literally had to go back to a white board to figure out a better system. After many meetings to pinpoint and discover the pitfalls of our current system, we knew we needed something more advanced! Ultimately it was a solution of several apps to tie everything together. Our first step was to implement a new CRM system: Insightly. This program would track our projects, our outstanding opportunities, and our tasks. My favorite part are activity sets, as we moved from one pipeline stage to another, it would automatically created tasks for different members of my team. Once I migrated from my task manager, Asana to Insightly CRM, things started running more smoothly. I carefully created each pipeline and stage to help remember all the tasks involved in hot leads, placing an order and support projects. The second app was Zapier, so when we received an order, it would automatically create opportunities and tasks into Insightly when an order was placed. The third app, wasn’t really an app, it was a person! We added a bookkeeper to keep the bookkeeping duties separate from the orders and free up some time. The combination of the changes started to work, and our systems felt like a well oiled machine. I was giddy with excitement. I felt like I faced that second YETI in the face and said “I’VE GOT THIS”.

Growth is vital to any organization and with technology constantly changing we have to make big changes. Fear can sometimes hold you back. Intuit is constantly keeping us on our toes changing and developing the software and offerings that we have for our customers. It takes a lot of time, education and investment to keep up with these changes. The amount of time I was spending understanding what products were best for what situation, literally created my niche to be a QuickBooks Product expert. I still love to do support projects, but I just don’t have time. In order for our company to grow, we couldn’t continue to turn away support projects, we needed to find collaborative proadvisors to continue to service our client base.

There are so many of us, with different personalities and styles. Did you realize there are 100,000 Proadvisor and only 200 Intuit Resellers (IRPs)? This is a great opportunity for all of us to build or join a network where everyone benefits! Each person has their own area of expertise which can allow us to work together collaboratively. Everyone has different styles and methods to get the same job done. We realize there are many partner programs out there, including the Woodard group. We refuse to step on anyone’s toes. We ask our members to stay exclusive with our group, or applicants to stay where they are so that everyone benefits. We cannot all be an expert in everything, this allows each of us to focus on doing what you love! In the end, the customer benefits our knowledge and expertise. We are all fishing from an ocean and can all benefit from solid partnerships. Along the way we may face some YETI’s as we make strategic changes in our business.

 

Hal Rosen

RFBM CPAs PLLC

Salt Lake City, UT

At the end of Scaling New Heights 2016 we elected to face several Yeti’s in overhauling our practice.

1. Change our billing practices

  • With all new clients, we have bid out yearly contracts using the Mark Wickersham concepts, and we are running a charge card or an ACH payment the 1st of each month for payments.
  • We are also systematically converting our previous clients to this billing method.
  • We are looking for Value Billing opportunities where we can realize a much higher average billing rate, and we are making proposals and committing to fees in advance
  • For our 1040 only clients, except those who have irregular tax returns, we gave each one a customized up-front tax preparation amount (increased by 20% from 2016) and we are collecting the fee before we begin the tax return.
  • This has improved cash flow and decreased the time spent collecting receivables.

2. Adopted the Dawn Fotopulos 50% increase in profits principles.

  • While we only did this for one client, the tools we learned from Dawn on Gross Margin Analysis we’ve used extensively to help clients get a better grasp on analyzing where they can make changes that provide a very quick payback.
  • For some of these it has meant changing their Chart of Accounts to move current expenses into Cost of Sales.
  • For others, it has meant an analysis of services or products to ensure that they are realizing a 30% or greater Gross Margin.

It has been rewarding to see clients finally begin to understand their financial statements. Also, I’m currently working with Dawn on giving seminars that she has developed to attract new business clients.

  • See the attachment – page 9 features a brief summary of our client we used to test Dawn’s principles.

 

3. A move to Real Time Accountants from Redundant Accountants.

  • The first step is our move from QBD to QBO. In the six months following SNH16 we more than doubled our number of QBO clients to 97, and growing. Every new client that fits, we have put into QBO. We are also converting previous clients to QBO as they catch the vision of what they can get out of real time information.
  • I visited the Philippines on a business evaluation tour in October 2016. We’ve hired a BPO and now have two Filipino employees and we are looking to expand so that all our compliance work is done in the Philippines. This will allow our US employees to spend more time with clients.

4. Team Training/Personnel moves

  • We began having weekly Team Meetings over lunch on Thursdays after returning from SNH16. This has been a big investment; however, it has helped us sell a change in our culture, sell our WHY, and provide training on many topics.
  • It has also been used to define all our processes in writing with the help of all Team members. This is very helpful with our Filipino employees as they are accustomed to working off checklists on all processes, and it has also laid the foundation for a Company that wants us to expand our operations into their offices in ten states this year. (It likely will take a couple of years.)
  • For the days, other than Thursdays, we have a quick 10-15 minute stand-up Huddle to review what each Team member accomplished the prior day, what is on their schedule for today, and if they are stuck on anything. We also review our progress on our quarterly goal. This has helped team members better understand what others are doing, and how they can work together to better service our clients.
  • We have also adopted a short Management stand up Huddle once a week so that we can talk about important client issues, even during our busy tax season
  • We terminated one Team Member who couldn’t catch the vision, and we took a big step (investment) to hire a Senior Tax Manager so that I can have more time to step away from tax preparation and work on growing the business after this first year of getting him up to speed on the clients I have been handling.
  • In November 2014, we merged another Firm into ours and we often struggled to integrate them into our culture. These steps would have integrated the merger much quicker had we been using them at the time of the merger. Using technology, we have been able to have our Filipino employees, and others that may be working from home, join in our Huddles and Training Meetings.

We feel that we have invested a great deal in Facing the Yeti since SNH16, and we are now primed for strong growth this year, we are better able to service our client’s needs, we have a Team that we can trust and that is well trained, and we are prepared to face the technology changes that we expect to see over the next 4-5 years, which I expect to be more than I’ve seen in the 40 years since I graduated with my Accounting Degree.

 

Caren Schwartz

Time & Cents Consultants, Inc.

Fairfield, CT

When I started my business over 20 years, I began as a bookkeeping service. Over time, the business evolved away from bookkeeping to consulting and my market focused on legal and professional services firms. Being willing to turn down clients that were not in my defined market was the first challenge I faced.

As time went on that became easier to do. However, I still had a few clients for whom I did monthly bookkeeping. The clients were on a flat fee and the steady income was nice, but I didn’t want to spend the time doing the work. I had someone who did the bookkeeping work from within my office and we shared the flat fee. I still had responsibility and was doing pickup and drop off.

The person doing the work was relocating and I was faced with a choice. I could find someone new, take over the work myself, or finally stop bookkeeping. I looked at ways to improve the bookkeeping process including tools like Hubdoc, Bill.com, QBO and payroll services to make the bookkeeping process more efficient. However, after sitting through classes at Scaling New Heights, listening to speakers and “my heart”, I realized I really didn’t want to be in the bookkeeping business. Telling a client I had worked with for almost 20 years that I would no longer be providing services to them was hard and scary – I was giving up fixed income for the unknown.

It’s been 2 years since I “bit the bullet”. Do I regret it? Not for one minute. The stress involved is gone and the financials have not been impacted, as the now available time was replaced by clients in my core market with work I enjoy doing and compensated at a higher rate.

So, I have faced my yeti’s –

  • Specializing in legal and professional services firms and turning down clients that don’t meet my market
  • Getting completely out of bookkeeping services

Thank you for the opportunity to share.

 

Leslie Simmons

Focus On Your Vision

Rockville, MD

A few years ago at a Scaling New Heights conference, Joe Woodard gave a speech about scraping barnacles from the bottom of his sailboat. He explained that smooth sailing is possible when we do the hard work of removing the things that impede our progress. This idea is so fundamental, yet that day it hit me like a lightning bolt.

I took inventory of my barnacles and panicked. I decided to wrestle the what-if-monster off my shoulder; I developed a plan and time table. It is scary to ‘fire’ clients, change your pricing and choose a niche.

I decided to remain a solo practitioner, become Advanced Certified in both QB Online and QB Desktop and master Enterprise. Another goal was to get to the top of the ProAdvisor listing. I wanted to be the go-to QuickBooks expert who positively impacted business owners across several industries by empowering them to succeed. A third goal was to expand my network by training bookkeepers and CPAs. There is so much opportunity, I regularly make referrals to other ProAdvisors. A fourth goal was to participate in Reseller and partner programs with companies that help my clients.

I met those goals, but the learning and adventure continues. Revenues have increased by over 100% and my overhead has remained low, so my profit is excellent. I provide support to about 200 QBO, QB Desktop and Enterprise clients. I have chosen to remain nimble and flexible, work with Intuit’s software, platform, its dedicated staff and enjoy the ride.

 

Meredith Smith

Smith Office Solutions Inc.

Beaverton, OR

I have had a bookkeeping/accounting practice for over 30 years. Almost 6 years ago (boy it doesn’t seem that long ago) I faced a “Yeti” when one of my employees & a couple clients pulled some unbelievable stunts.

I felt crushed & dishearten. I had about 6 employees at that time. Times got rough because I also lost some tenants that we had in our office and I was dipping into savings. I reacted probably too late (about a year in the making) but the survival mode kicked in. I moved out of my 2400 square foot office and got rid of my last employee. I had some very good clients and some that weren’t. I got rid of the not so good clients and did the work myself. I enjoyed working from home & the hours I wanted to work. I had been in the “Cloud” for about 2 or 3 years by then. Slowly I became almost a total virtual company, by the end of this year I should be totally virtual. During this time I looked at retiring but 2 things stood in my way and they were money and time. I am single so I do not have anyone else to rely on. I love technology and accounting, now what to do. Let’s see I have BBA in accounting & I love technology. My zest comes from helping small to medium size businesses. My ideal client is construction or manufacturing 5 to 50 employees. I got it, rebuild my business accept new ideas, concentrate on helping these clients & me by using bookkeeping to solve the labor intensive stuff and use my brain to do the consulting. Everyone told me I needed to move from QBD to QBO but my clients were very complex. I stayed on QBD hosted. On a sort of 5 day vacation last year things started falling into place. I hired 2 employees and started looking for more alternatives. I had to look at products, evaluate them & stop thinking there is one product that will solve all my problems in a specific area. I hated fetching bank statements & monthly bills so I have gone to Hubdoc. I am taking a second look at Bill.com for the non-regular bills. I have moved some of my small in size clients to QBO and plan to move the other small ones by the end of the year. I quit doing the tedious job of sending W-2s & 1099s to various places by picking a great online produce call yearly a couple years ago. I use Tsheets for time & Gusto for non-job cost clients. I am using Smartsheet & Docusign to onboard clients employees & vendors and gathering customer info for job costing. I use View my Paycheck for a secure paystubs (which is free). I also learn how to manipulate & import almost any .csv file with TPI. Maybe it sounds like I’m giving away the secretes but I still have many more. I feel excited & rejuvenated at least now. I hope to have another couple employees by the end of the year and many more clients by the end of the year.

 

Rob Smith

One Note for All

Dunlap, IL

I Faced a Yeti

My name is Rob Smith and the Yeti I thought I was facing is not the Yeti that I have been and am still fighting today.

Last summer I was a partner in a CPA firm in Peoria, Illinois. However, I did not feel professionally satisfied. I had been implementing OneNote within my firm and had just started to implement it in my clients’ firms as well. The change that I saw from people who had converted to OneNote was extraordinary. I had heard “OneNote changed my life” more the past couple years than I had ever heard from being an accountant. True, I probably would had heard that more if we had been more of an Epic firm, but our firm was more of the traditional CPA firm.

I decided I wanted to teach other firms how to implement OneNote into their firms, their home lives and ultimately into their clients’ lives. The problem was that I couldn’t do both jobs well – OneNote Avenger and a CPA. It had to be one or the other. I then decided to leave my firm and give it a shot. It was and is a big risk. I was making good money in a successful CPA firm that I had helped build. I have a mortgage and kids to put through college. And I had no other income coming in – I decided to live off of savings. I thought that this was my Yeti that I had to face. Boy was I wrong. I have since realized that I will not regret giving this new venture a try. If it doesn’t work, I will be disappointed, but I won’t regret it. You regret the things in life you don’t try, you can only learn from your doing – good or bad.

The Yeti that I face every day is the Yeti from within – self-doubt. It’s a Yeti that has probably been around for a while. It’s the thing that makes it difficult to fully embrace Value Billing. How can I ask my client for full value when I have self-doubt. It was easy to bill for a tax return – there’s kind of a market price for a definite end product, but what value do I place on that fact that I just saved the client 20 hours a weeks for the rest of their working lives. I don’t know if this was internal or that the old school version of the profession drilled it into me over the years. I am amazed and a little jealous of the Proadvisors that have fully grasped this. I think what I do is valuable, but asking for full value has always been a problem.

This self-doubt has also hampered my work relationships – especially giving advice in groups (i.e. on Yammer). I love helping others and giving advice. One on one situations is not a problem, but when it comes to giving advice to a broad unknown group – I freeze up. I fret over every post. Am I sounding like a know it all? Am I just stating the obvious? Am I completely missing the boat? Will people think I’m an idiot? (Some of these probably are rhetorical in nature). My son is on a high school robotics team and I am amazed by the confidence of these “kids” to just try anything — Post their opinions on Slack or ask big corporations for sponsorship money as easily as asking their parents for $20 to go to the movies. Or have the nerve that they could build a robot in 6 weeks that could shoot balls, climb a rope, pick up large gears and do some of these completely autonomous. They don’t seem to have any Yeti’s.

This Yeti is also awakened by seeing all of the knowledge that is contained by all the members of this group. Most calls you get during the day from your clients are like easy softball pitches and you can fall into a trap where you think you know everything. However, seeing the difficult questions and then the well-thought out answers in Yammer (Quickbase) brings me down to earth. I may be a big fish in a little pond, but boy are there some really big fish out there that know a lot more than me. And with the world shrinking, how am I to compete against all of this talent? Especially with all the news about our jobs being taken by AI. I need to stop reading so much news!

As I have come to realize that this is the personal Yeti that I must conquer. I have tried to turn him into motivation. I use this to drive me to get better, to learn more. I even bought a Bumble to face every day. To remind me that I am the only thing standing in my way. Some days I win and some days he wins.

  • Yes, some clients will not see the value that I bring – they probably aren’t the right clients.
  • Am I going to say something stupid and look the fool – (definitely have and most definitely will), but I must realize that if someone is helped than the risk is worth it
  • And yes, there is always going to be someone who knows more than me, but that ocean is just getting bigger (opportunity is always there if you know where to look). So even with how smart some of you are – you can’t catch all the fish.

So to me the only Yeti standing in my way is me.

 

Hope Surratt

Ballard Surratt & Co., PA

Thomasville, NC

I Faced the Yeti and Conquered Fear

Running a business is much like hiking a treacherous pathway with unknown obstacles. The path presents unique challenges and to successfully scale upward one must navigate to higher levels of strength, self-discipline and courage.

Often the most foreboding obstacle is fear, which is the emotion I find myself conquering every day.

Embedded in folklore of the Himalayan mountain region lies the enduring myth of the Yeti; a fierce, nocturnal beast whose imposing image evokes feelings of fear. There has never been definitive proof of its existence; yet, we easily recognize images and can likely conjure our own vision of a Yeti. So it is with anything we fear, there may be no truth to its existence.

Indeed, it must be a frightening prospect to venture down a desolate path through dangerous terrain. It’s no wonder the Himalayan mountains harbor such a myth. We can imagine parents in Nepal telling children stories of the Yeti in hopes of inspiring caution and preventing them from traveling alone or being out after dark. Admittedly, the Yeti has no tangible existence; however, the hearing of its mysteries can make your pulse quicken, your breath tighten and your mind invoke a feeling of impending doom and helplessness. This also sounds a lot like the daily challenges faced by small business owners.

You see, as humans we respond similarly whether a threat is real or perceived. Facing a confrontational customer can feel like being locked in a cage with a gorilla. Implementing new technologies can feel like navigating an ocean in a canoe. Constrained cash flow feels like being suspended on a tightrope over the Grand Canyon. None of these are pleasant; however, they’re made worse by our own perceptions and how we respond to the associated fear.

Fear is a natural emotion which was likely designed to create caution as well as life-saving response. Fight, flight and freeze are instinctive reactions to fear which keep us alive when faced with physical danger. Caution is the awareness which triggers us to think and plan our response. Humans and animals have an amazing capacity to instantly respond to intense danger by catapulting from startle to reaction without being cautious. Since the brain cannot automatically differentiate between real danger and perceived threat, our minds will habitually use the same reactions to thoughts of fear and danger: fight, flight or freeze (defensiveness, offensiveness and procrastination). Humans have the ability to recognize fear, exercise caution and choose our response. When we chose our response, despite the discomfort of fear, we are exercising COURAGE.

While danger is real, fear is generated in the mind. Fear is actually the by-product of thoughts, our emotional response to thoughts of danger or perceived threats. Fear is frequently the by-product of thoughts about perceived inadequacy, inferiority or imperfection. Fear is incidental to thoughts of supposed weakness or self-doubt. Let me repeat this: Fear is not real! Danger is real but fear is caused by our thoughts and the longer you permit your thoughts to dwell on perceived threats the more intense your feelings of fear become. Inaccurate perceptions likely cause more fear than real danger. After all, we logically see the insanity of constantly thinking about dangerous things that “might” happen to us. Few people waste hours each day worrying about being attacked by a lion while sitting at their desk. However, most of us are not even aware of how much intellectual energy is wasted worrying about perceived limitations. Some of these thoughts have become a habitual part of our daily lives. So much so, that it’s often difficult to recognize the absurdity of our thoughts or the associated fear they generate. We simply allow our conditioned response to kick in without giving our mind the opportunity to intercept. As if on auto pilot we allow our instincts to lead us into fight, flight or freeze mode.

I challenge you to recognize the thoughts which pass through your mind and produce a feeling of fear. Armed with a recognition and understanding of fear we can exercise self-discipline and allow ourselves to process thoughts, halt our impulsive reaction and chose an intentional response. When one chooses to respond in this conscious way to the emotional by-product of fear, it’s what we call COURAGE. Courage is not an instinctive response. Courage is an intentional choice. COURAGE is not allowing fear to determine our actions.

Fear feels like our clothes are on fire and our very being is ablaze. So, do what we’re taught as children to do, stop, drop and roll.

  • STOP: pause, recognize when you are experiencing fear and remind yourself fear is not real. It is likely a sign you need to exercise caution and intention with your next choice.
  • DROP: drop habitual reactions, engage in self-directed reflection. What caused me to feel this way? Is there any truth to my thoughts on this matter?
  • ROLL: flip habitual reactions into intentional action and CHOOSE your next step.

That my friends, is COURAGE. Replacing habitual reaction with intentional response. Courage helps us navigate change, overcome challenge and pursue dreams. Courage does not stop fear; instead, fear triggers us to exercise courage.

Be mindful of the thoughts which trigger fear. Exercise caution and intentionally choose your response. Stop, drop and roll those negative thoughts into positive actions and leverage courage to scale new heights. Reminding myself to stop, drop and roll is how I conquer my Yetis and I hope this article will help you do the same. The actual submission of this article represents the conquering of one of my greatest Yetis. You see, I am guilty of indulging in thoughts of perceived inability and inferiority. Writing is a tremendous challenge for me and one which takes an inordinate amount of time and energy. This represents the first article I have ever written for possible publication and the conquering of a major Yeti.

 

Caralee Valdez

SunDog Consulting, LLC

Albuquerque, NM

I met my first Yeti at the Salt Lake Airport in 2006. I was attending a conference in Salt Lake.

I got up early to hear the morning speaker. A few minutes into his speech, I realized he was talking about me. Not me personally, but my model, independent QuickBooks Advisors and he was telling CPA Firms how to change their model to capture this market, to increase their revenue, to eliminate consultants. I was affronted and left feeling indignant and replaced.

It took me years to develop my knowedledge of QuickBooks Desktop. I grew with the software. I sat thru endless webinars, attended Real World Training, worked with clients and Tech Support and learned. I paid my fees. I achieved the status of Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor and now here was someone telling me I was replaceable.

I had went to this particular event to learn, to improve, to analyze my model. Instead, I spent the rest of the day at Salt Lake airport seeking answers; facing the Yeti.

2013 – XeroCon in San Francisco. Xero had entered the US market space giving QuickBooks competition. A Yeti dashed across the stage and caught my attention, but it was not until I returned home that I fully understood his message. “We’ve stopped being Accountants. We have become ‘fixers of QuickBooks’, software experts, teachers of software and in the process we stopped being accountants.” We were so busy teaching and fixing that we stopped looking at the big picture and advising and helping clients strategize and grow their businesses. I wasn’t quite ready to face the Yeti and change my business model more, but knew he was lurking in the wings.

Fast foward to Fall 2016. Speaking with a colleague who had attended Accountex 2016, she was feeling some of the same frustration and indignation as a CPA that I had felt in 2006. The Yeti was back.

Whether you are a bookkeeper, QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Xero Partner, accountant or CPA, It is frightening to be told your skill set is no longer valued at the same level. That what took years to develop is now able to be performed by an individual with basic skills with the aide of software or replaced by software all together. The loss of value and the feeling of being replaced is hard to deal with, but facing the Yeti, I once again remembered the message in 2013. I made a stand and stared it in the face. My worth is not in fixing clients QuickBooks. It is not in my knowledge of software. My worth is in my real-life knowledge of business and my ability to work with clients, to strategize, to help them drive their business forward. I am an Accountant. I am a trusted, strategic advisor.

 

Michelle Vilms

Vilms Consulting

Boston, MA

When the question was posed — How have you Faced the Yeti? — my initial reaction was that I didn’t have a Yeti. I was just moving at a slower pace than others.

But was that really true? Absolutely not!

Throughout my career, I have always been a combination business advisor, coach and accountant, regardless of my title. In 2011, I formed my firm after several years of working as a QuickBooks consultant and advising a number of small businesses. Along the way I had met mentors and colleagues who guided my path. But although I felt fulfilled at having found my true purpose, I was not going all-in on my business. There always seemed to be an obstacle: my business plan was not complete … I didn’t have enough certifications … I didn’t have a polished marketing strategy … Yes, there was always an excuse.

The Woodard Group has been instrumental in my journey forward from that point. My first Scaling New Heights Conference was in 2013. The attendance was record breaking and I was blown away. The experience helped me understand what services I should focus on, introduced me to incredible colleagues, and provided excellent education on very relevant topics. This got me engaged in the Woodard and ProAdvisor community, although I was still not fully committed.

Then, in 2015, the QuickBooks Connect conference brought my Face the Yeti moment. Oprah Winfrey was the keynote speaker. She was on stage for well over an hour and spoke with passion about the development of her business and her brand over the past thirty years. She had two main points that I took to heart that day — first, “Just Decide, and second, “Know Your Intention”. Her powerful message struck me and gave me a big push forward.

That was when I Faced my Yeti — my prior lack of decisiveness and full commitment. By not setting clear goals for my business I had avoided the possibility of failure – and also the opportunity to maximize my potential. On the plane back to Boston, I spelled out ambitious but attainable goals. One key goal for the year was to finally launch a website – commitment to the firm. The next goal was to review all of my firm’s clients and engagements and set a plan to manage them towards full utilization of our services.

While the journey is never ending, with challenges along the way, together with my team I have made great progress on that plan. On a regular basis I think over the two mantras: “Just Decide” and “What is my Intent”, to keep me moving forward. I am proud of what I have accomplished so far, and excited about the opportunities ahead.

Share Scaling New Heights 2017!

DISPLAY ON YOUR SITE

How can you let your viewers and readers know you’re going to the conference this year? Click the top badge for English and the bottom for Espanol then save the image locally. You may then use the image on your website, tweet it on twitter or post it on facebook. Please don’t forget to link it to “scalingnewheights.com.”

alt_text
alt_text
alt_text
alt_text

SHARE THE FUN!

Show some Scaling New Heights swag on social media with these twibbons. By clicking the images to the left, you will be taken to the twibbon website, which will then ask you to use your social account. You can now put the SNH logo in your profile picture.

For Any Additional Information, Submit Your Questions To Our Conference Team

Did you miss 2016? Here are some photos and a recap video.