Our next featured QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor is MB Raimondi, who in addition to having close to 30 years experience as an accountant, is also one of Intuitive Accountant’s Top 100 ProAdvisors of 2014. We caught up with her to chat about the value of Intuit’s ProAdvisor program, her take on the opportunities accountants have in the cloud, and what to expect at QB Connect in October.
How long have you been a QuickBooks ProAdvisor?
As long as Methuselah live. Actually, I’ve been a certified ProAdvisor since 2002. When Intuit started the free ProAdvisor program back in the late 90’s, I joined but when they started charging, I decided that my CPA status was enough to give me new clients. And it was, but I was looking for clients that were using QuickBooks, so I rejoined the ProAdvisor program in 2002 and have been certified every year since.
What sorts of clients do you specialize in serving?
They run the gamut both as far as size and industry. Besides doing training at conferences and presenting webinars, I do mainly project work. Typical project might be converting a company from a larger software package into QuickBooks, both Online and Desktop. This could include researching 3rd party apps that extend the functionality of QuickBooks. I also help new businesses set up QuickBooks. And, I clean up messes! A little of everything.
How has becoming a QuickBooks ProAdvisor impacted your business?
It wasn’t becoming a ProAdvisor that impacted my business as much as becoming a certified ProAdvisor. And then expanding my certifications by becoming Advanced certified and certified in QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Enterprise and QuickBooks Point of Sale – and hopefully soon to have the QuickBooks Online Advanced Certification – at QB Connect.
The training that the ProAdvisor program provides is awesome. The fact that I’m high up on the Find-a-ProAdvisor site is wonderful. I’d guess that 90% of the consulting part of my business comes from the Find-A-ProAdvisor site. The rest from referrals. It does help that I’ve become certified in anything Intuit will let me be certified in!
QB Connect is coming up, and will bring together accountants, entrepreneurs, small businesses, and developers in a way that hasn’t happened before. What unique opportunities do you think the event will bring?
I love the networking at these kinds of events. I teach and attend two conferences per year attended mainly by ProAdvisors and it’s great to network with other QuickBooks ProAdvisors. QuickBooks Connect gives the opportunity to network with more groups – small businesses and developers (as well as Intuit folk).
I look forward to speaking with and listening to small businesses. What do they perceive are their needs? What do they see as my role as a ProAdvisor? And then the developers – I love talking to developers. I can talk QuickBooks all day long! I’m happy to share my opinions and am eager to learn about their solutions.
There is a vibrant and growing ecosystem of cloud-based for QBO – including everything from TSheets, Constant Contact, Tallie, and Vend. With technologists, startups, and accountants coming together to serve small business, how is the cloud opening new opportunities for accountants and small businesses?
You probably know that accountants (remember, I am one) are the last to embrace change! I think accounting programs were the last to convert from DOS into Windows. Yet we need to embrace change. Yes, there’s a learning curve, but think about long term efficiency and productivity and hard costs.
For example, I’m thinking that if I use Vend as my POS and QBO as my accounting system, I don’t need to purchase a server and fancy cash registers and don’t have to input my daily sales into QuickBooks because they’ll import in. I can use my tablet and maybe a laptop and because everything is stored in the cloud, I’m not tied to my office.
That’s me as a small business. Me, the accountant, can also access the accounting records from anywhere. No more worrying about transferring files and making sure my changes are input into the correct, current file.
You mentioned TSheets – small businesses typically have hourly employees that have to track their time. Most accountants track time per client. What better way to track time except to use an app that integrates directly into QuickBooks so information doesn’t have to be re-keyed? I use TSheets in my business. I used to keep a manual timesheet and when I got around to it (think….shoemaker’s children) would input it into my QuickBooks file so I could do invoicing. This is so much easier.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the ProAdvisor community in the next year?
- Keeping up with the apps and learning enough about them to be able to make good recommendations.
- Finding the fellow ProAdvisors that do specialize in particular apps to call on them to help with clients
- Finding your niche – maybe you want to become an expert in a few apps. Or maybe you want to serve a particular vertical.
There’s so much opportunity out there, it can be difficult to figure out the focus of your practice
What’s your #1 piece of advice you’d give to other ProAdvisors to make the most of QB Connect?
Listen to the experts – whether it be the impressive lineup of keynote speakers, or the small business or developer that’s sitting next to you. Listen and learn. Also, don’t be limited to one track of breakout sessions. Really take a look at the sessions that are being offered and choose the one’s that you’re most interested in. And lastly, if you want to become QuickBooks Desktop certified….come for my pre-session which is a day and a half of intensive QuickBooks Desktop training!
Check out MB’s website to see how she works with small retailers, and perhaps to hire her!
About Austin Gunter
Austin helps run the North American marketing efforts for Vend. Growing up around his family's Honey Farm and store in Texas, he has a passion for small business in his DNA. Austin is a writer, a traveler, and a live-music lover. Ask him what he's reading this week!