Toss the Org Chart for an Accountability Chart

Blank organizational chartAre the right people in the right seats?

By Jody Grunden

“Getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats – these are all crucial steps in the early stages of buildup…” – Jim Collins, “Good to Great”

MORE: How to Develop Your Leadership Team | DiSC Helps Remote Team Work Together Effectively | How Core Values Affect Remote Work Culture | 4 Ways to Bill Clients | 3 Ways to Keep Client Files Safe from Security Threats | How ‘Tech Stacks’ Can Help You Standardize | Automation and the Future of Accounting | The Rise of the Virtual CFO | Ready To Be a Virtual CFO? | The Only Three Metrics You Need to Measure Staffers
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When Adam and I first started the company, we didn’t have much organizational structure. We didn’t need it. But as the company grew, it became necessary to develop an organizational structure. There’s a great quote by Michael E. Gerber in his book “The E-Myth Revisited” that says, “Without the Organization Chart, confusion, discord and conflict become the order of the day.”
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How to Develop Your Leadership Team

Large group of people gathered into an upward arrow shapeGet the right people on the bus, then figure out where to go.

By Jody Grunden

“Once you recognize that the purpose of your life is not to serve your business, but that the primary purpose of your business is to serve your life, you can then go to work on your business, rather than in it, with a full understanding of why it is absolutely necessary for you to do so.” – Michael E. Gerber, “The E-Myth Revisited”

MORE: DiSC Helps Remote Team Work Together Effectively | How Core Values Affect Remote Work Culture | How ‘Tech Stacks’ Can Help You Standardize | Ready To Be a Virtual CFO?
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As our team was growing and we reached over 30 team members, we recognized the need to establish a formal leadership team. When we were smaller, it worked fine for Adam and me to be the primary decision makers, but as our client base and workload grew, we realized we would become a bottleneck and slow things down. At that point, we made a conscious effort to transition our daily tasks and client responsibilities to other team members so we could remove ourselves from the weeds and focus on the higher-level view of the company.
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DiSC Helps Remote Team Work Together Effectively

Overhead view of five people in a meetingBetter understanding = better communication.

By Jody Grunden

Working in a remote environment can be great, and it can also have its challenges. Communication is one of the biggest hurdles distributed companies have to overcome. To tackle this issue head on, Summit CPA has implemented many initiatives.

MORE: How Core Values Affect Remote Work Culture | 4 Ways to Bill Clients | 3 Ways to Keep Client Files Safe from Security Threats | How ‘Tech Stacks’ Can Help You Standardize | Automation and the Future of Accounting | The Rise of the Virtual CFO | Ready To Be a Virtual CFO? | The Only Three Metrics You Need to Measure Staffers
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One of our favorites is the DiSC profiles. Let me start off by telling you a little bit of the background on the DiSC profiles.
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How Core Values Affect Remote Work Culture

Two partners celebrating business success outsideDo you have the right people?

By Jody Grunden

A company’s core values are the cornerstone of its culture, and people are the biggest asset a company can have.

MORE: 4 Ways to Bill Clients | 3 Ways to Keep Client Files Safe from Security Threats | How ‘Tech Stacks’ Can Help You Standardize | Automation and the Future of Accounting | The Rise of the Virtual CFO | Ready To Be a Virtual CFO? | The Only Three Metrics You Need to Measure Staffers
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Defining your core values and hiring the right people is essential for the success of your business.

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4 Ways to Bill Clients

Businessmen standing on dollar billWhat services do your clients value the most?

By Jody Grunden

When I attend CPA conferences across the United States, I often hear from CPAs: “I don’t want to bill for my time.”

So, how do you bill your clients?

MORE: 3 Ways to Keep Client Files Safe from Security Threats | How ‘Tech Stacks’ Can Help You Standardize | Automation and the Future of Accounting | The Rise of the Virtual CFO | Ready To Be a Virtual CFO? | The Only Three Metrics You Need to Measure Staffers
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Client billing can include hourly billing, but it can also include flat-fee, retainer-based and/or value-based billing. Most people use one of these four methods. Some use all of them or even a hybrid.

Let’s take a closer look at each of them:
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3 Ways to Keep Client Files Safe from Security Threats

Technology Security with Internet Digital Signature as ArtMake technology your ally.

By Jody Grunden

Have you ever been contacted by the IRS with the FBI involved? I can tell you from firsthand experience that it’s a bit alarming when that happens.

MORE: How ‘Tech Stacks’ Can Help You Standardize | Automation and the Future of Accounting | The Rise of the Virtual CFO | Ready To Be a Virtual CFO? | The Only Three Metrics You Need to Measure Staffers
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We were once contacted by the IRS because they thought our server had been compromised. When the field officer who came to our office asked to see our server, we explained that we didn’t have a server. She was a little surprised by that information and then asked where we kept our files. We explained that we use cloud storage and programs designed specifically for encryption and security.
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How ‘Tech Stacks’ Can Help You Standardize

Screwdriver and wrenchYou'll be more efficient and better connected.

By Jody Grunden

I believe it’s important for accounting firms to standardize their technology “stack.” Having a standardized tech stack of applications helps to automate every corner of your workflow.

MORE: Automation and the Future of Accounting | The Rise of the Virtual CFO | Ready To Be a Virtual CFO? | The Only Three Metrics You Need to Measure Staffers
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The applications you use should be seen as an extension of your business. Your onboarding process will be more effective if your team doesn’t have to learn a new set of tools every time a new client comes on board.
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Automation and the Future of Accounting

How one firm uses bots to its advantage.

By Jody Grunden

There’s no doubt that advancements in technology are changing the world, and the accounting industry is no exception. Technology is making us more productive, more efficient and more connected.

MORE: Do You Want to Be a Virtual CFO? | The Only Three Metrics You Need to Measure Staffers
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On the flip side, it’s also taking over some of our jobs. This is a reality in the accounting industry that we cannot ignore. Technology is driving major changes for the future of the accounting world. We need to be aware of what’s happening and take strategic steps to advance along with these changes. Otherwise, we are going to be left in the dust.
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The Rise of the Virtual CFO

Jody Grunden says clients want more than "regurgitating financial information."

They want forecasting and the ability to make informed decisions.

At the New York Accounting Show, Grunden explains how his firm is now picking up two to four clients a month, each worth $60,000 a year in fees.

Ready To Be a Virtual CFO?

Three people speaking by videoconferenceSolid technology is just one key.

By Jody Grunden

You may have heard about virtual CFO services. It’s a concept that’s been around for a while now that allows CPAs and accounting firms to offer CFO services to smaller businesses that may not yet be able to afford a full-time CFO.

MORE: The Only Three Metrics You Need to Measure Staffers
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What is a Virtual CFO?

Virtual CFO (or VCFO for short) stands for virtual chief financial officer. A VCFO provides outsourced accounting services at a high level for businesses.
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The Only Three Metrics You Need to Measure Staffers

A totally virtual firm takes a new tack.

By Jody Grunden
Summit CPA Group

If you want to grow your accounting firm, it’s important to evaluate the effectiveness of your process on a regular basis. You want to be aware of what’s working well and what’s not. You also want to continually be improving upon your services over time.

MORE GRUNDEN: Misconceptions and Truths about Remote Work  |  How Summit CPA Group Is Pioneering Virtual CFO Services

There are three things you can specifically monitor when it comes to the effectiveness of your team. Here's how we do it at Summit CPA Group. Maybe these ideas will work for you too.
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Misconceptions and Truths about Remote Work

"Our team communicates face to face with one another as well as with our clients all day."

By Jody Grunden
Summit CPA Group

My partner and I run a fully distributed CPA firm. Yes, you read it correctly.

Summit CPA Group is a CPA firm with over 40 full-time professionals, mostly CPAs, with the mission statement, “Changing the way people think about accounting.”

MORE GRUNDEN: How Summit CPA Group Is Pioneering Virtual CFO Services

As I mentioned, the firm is 100 percent distributed, meaning that our team works entirely from home. Moreover, our team works 100 percent virtually with our clients. The two primary services that we offer are 401K audits and virtual CFO services.

I recently asked a few members of our team, “What do people say when you tell them that you work for a remote or distributed accounting firm?” Their responses were very interesting. READ MORE →

How Summit CPA Group Is Pioneering Virtual CFO Services

Grunden and Hale, as pictured on their firm's website, summitcpa.net

 

Summit CPA Group goes from local to global by breaking the traditional CPA business model.

By Ian Welham
The Accounting Success Podcast

In Fort Wayne, Ind., Jody Grunden and Adam Hale of Summit CPA Group are carving out a niche in virtual CFO Services. Since 2002 the firm has grown from one accountant to 16 and reached $3 million in annual revenue (projecting $4 million in 2017) – adding two to four new clients a month.

MORE GRUNDEN: Misconceptions and Truths about Remote Work 

All this is achieved with staff members who never come into the office, working with clients they’ve never met in person.

The firm operates on a flat fee model, with all fees paid in advance. Various members of the staff meet with every client (virtually) 2-3 times every week. And they never have to write a Help Wanted ad, because their work-from-home model attracts so many job applicants.

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