Meet the other finalists:
Recommending apps is clearly one of the strongest ways to increase the relevance of your firm. Ian Yesberg of Regional Business Services, in Australia, has adjusted the composition of his staff by hiring more tech-savvy juniors to research apps and find recommendations for tradesmen and health professionals.
|Name of Company||Regional Business Services Pty Ltd|
|Location of Company||Townsville, AUS|
|How long have you been in business?||18|
|Number of staff?||8|
|Number of clients?||0|
|Staff to client ratio||0|
|Do you outsource bookkeeping or accounting work?||No|
|What % of your clients are on value pricing/fixed fee?||50|
|What % of your clients are on cloud accounting software?||99|
|What % of your clients are on QBO?||95|
Digital First: Why do think you are a finalist?
Yesberg: We’ve probably gone a little bit harder, a little bit faster, than other people that we come across in the ProAdvisor community. That’s the only reason. I see a lot of us are all on the same journey; we just seem to have got there a little bit quicker. You can count on one had those we don’t have on cloud accounting software. We do some advisory, and we get involved in social media, to expand our reach.
Digital First: With advisory, what exactly do you offer?
Yesberg: There’s the standard financial accounts and we use Fathom for that. I’ve been doing this for 18 years. Prior to that, I had 25 years in commercial finance in a bank. Back in those days we actually pulled apart financials. Since I left the bank we’re now creating the financials, so we’ve got a fair insight into that. We’ve always talked to our clients if we think things are moving not quite right.
We also take advisory to mean introducing small business productivity apps to help get their business more efficient.
Digital First: So what type of apps, and how many apps do you feel comfortable recommending?
Yesberg: We stick to a smaller number. The apps we use ourselves in our office environment, and then point of sales, mainly job management type software, point of sales, your Google Drives. ServiceM8 is a big one. They’re the main areas.
|What apps do you use for productivity?||Office 365|
|What apps do you use for workflow?||Work|
|Tax and Statuory accounts?||QBO, Gov Reports|
|Document storage?||Google, One Drive, Hubdoc|
Digital First: And how do you recommend apps? Do you have one person in the business who does it, or does everyone who’s client facing has some experience?
Yesberg: There’s three of us who get involved out of eight staff. One spends all their time in it. In term of the apps, we do a bit of research then go to the client, and offer them three packages. Which is really we’ll get you up and running and then you’re on your own, through to we will help you fully implement it, train you in it, and provide support for two or three months while you’re getting things going.
Digital First: How do you find the time to train yourselves in all these apps so that you can train your clients?
Yesberg: Not easy. The two or three of us who do it are probably all tainted with the same brush; we just like to fiddle with things. It’s more an interest, and probably more done outside of normal work hours. But if we come across someone who’s done something similar, we see things that work with other clients. We’ve got a couple of hundred clients, and they tell us about (a new app), and we then go away and focus on that or look at the alternatives that others are recommending.
Digital First: Do you focus on any specific industries?
Yesberg: Two or three. The health industry is our target for the next 12 months for bookkeeping, advisory or working with them on their KPIs. We’ve been working with that industry for 20 odd years, so we know it inside out. Then probably the tradie industry. We’re not specifically targeting that as such but we get a lot of referrals in that area. And that’s more your plumbers, using apps like ServiceM8 and simPRO or Tradify,, which are fairly common in that industry.
Digital First: Do you think that you’ll look for staff who are interested in technology more than accounting?
Yesberg: We’ve just started with a third year accounting student in the last couple of months. We’ve hired her specifically because she’s far more advanced in their knowledge and skills in tech than I will ever be. It’s native to them, where it’s not to me. We’re using that as a bit of a test, but if that works out, we’ll bring on more staff with those skills.
Digital First: And do you think this is a model for accounting firms, that clients would be turning to accountants for technology?
Yesberg: Yeah. We’ve had a deliberate strategy. Our staff are aged from early sixties through to Catherine who’s 20. And we find that that works really well because the clients I’ve got a rapport with are all starting to think about selling their businesses and moving on. The younger people can react far better on a day-to-day basis. So in some ways, it’s a deliberate strategy to make sure we’re remaining relevant to all sectors of the market, to all demographics.
Digital First: And in terms of automating the compliance work flow, what have you found has made the biggest impact?
Yesberg: Without a doubt, it was the bank feeds, that started with us. Then we started 18 months ago with Hubdoc. Even simple things like a rule in Outlook that when a statement or an invoice comes into the customer’s inbox, a copy is automatically sent straight through to Hubdoc. When an item comes into Hubdoc, it can automatically save a copy into the QuickBooks and the client’s Google Drive.
So when clients go looking for what used to be bits of paper – invoices, statements – they can actually access that in Google Drive without necessarily looking into QuickBooks, which we’re working on all the time. So the little things within the apps, if you really know the detail of what they can do, it can really make that automation experience that extra step.
So it’s really knowing your products intimately that we use in-house, that is what makes the difference.