How Becoming a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor Changed My Business
When I began my business I thought I was going to run a business that was completely different than what it became. In 2001, I had just left a large corporation where I was implementing applications such as SAP and JD Edwards in the US and in some outside countries. The only time I had even heard of QuickBooks was at a remote location during an Audit that was supposed to be using SAP and instead were using QuickBooks to track everything internally and then transferring entries to SAP. Well, obviously for the Auditors out there reading this, that was an Audit Point for the Report…but, all in all, that was my complete experience with QuickBooks before starting my business – I fell into this by accident. As most things go, we set out thinking we are going to do one thing, but end up going down an entirely different path.
When I decided to open a business, I was planning to have a bookkeeping service. Even though my background was Audit, I had decided at the time that I did not want the liability of that type of Practice being a Sole Proprietor. I started researching how to market my business and came across the Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor logo on another’s accountant’s advertisement. I researched how to be able to use that logo on an advertisement and I found the QuickBooks ProAdvisor Program. In order to be able to utilize the logo on advertisements, you have to join the program and become certified in QuickBooks. I quickly joined and became certified in QuickBooks, and my journey began…
My first call from a Prospect was asking me to come and train them on QuickBooks. That is when my business took a different turn. I thought I would be selling Bookkeeping services outright – but instead, more Business owners were interested in doing the Bookkeeping themselves, and instead wanting to be trained on the software. So, I went with what my clients wanted, and started making visits to their businesses and teaching them how to use the software. What they didn’t realize was they thought that just were going to learn about QuickBooks, but instead, I really was using QuickBooks as a tool teach them business processes, internal controls and proper cash flow management. Coming from a large application background, I couldn’t believe what you were able to accomplish using QuickBooks and how easy it was to create the reporting you need.
By being a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, I was able to get the training I needed to deliver these services, advertise on Intuit’s Find-a-ProAdvisor listing, as well as receive the software I needed to be able to execute client work and train myself. This training led to additional services such as Bookkeeping services and Controllership services to offer my clients to continue the relationship we began with the QuickBooks Training (see my prior Blog post discussing this titled “Beyond QuickBooks Set-up to Recurring Revenue”). Clients and Prospects also came to me for tax services as well, which I referred out to other Tax Accountants in my area that I worked with since I only delivered operational accounting services. Since Intuit invests a good deal money and resources into driving small business customers to ProAdvisor listings, it is worth it to get certified and to take advantage of Intuit’s marketing dollars!
The QuickBooks ProAdvisor membership includes licenses of QuickBooks Premier Accountant Edition and Enterprise Accountant Edition, as well as a QuickBooks Online Account. Additionally US-Based Technical Support is available to ProAdvisors and you can get certified in QuickBooks so that you can get published on the Intuit Find-A-ProAdvisor site and use the ProAdvisor logos and marketing. The only way you get listed on the Fins-A-ProAdvisor site is if you get Certified in QuickBooks. Depending on the state you are in, the Certification training can be eligible for up to 16 CPE credits.
More information on becoming a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor can be found at: http://proadvisor.intuit.com/content/program/index.jsp 
Some new enhancements you should know about that were recently launched as part of the QuickBooks ProAdvisor Program in the last few months are:
Intuit ProLine WebListings - All Certified and non-Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors can access Intuit ProLine WebListings. WebListings automatically publishes a ProAdvisor’s profile to more than 90 high traffic websites, including Google Maps, Yahoo! Local, Yellowpages.com and more. Certified ProAdvisors are further distinguished with their certified badge prominently displayed alongside their profile. By using WebListings, ProAdvisors broaden their reach online and therefore are more likely to be found by potential clients searching websites for local services. Certified and non-Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors can use WebListings free for 90 days. There is an additional fee for this service after the initial 90 days.
Certified ProAdvisor Profile SEO Optimized - The Intuit QuickBooks ProAdvisor Program now includes optimization of Certified ProAdvisors’ Find-a-ProAdvisor profiles for top search engines so their profiles can appear at the top of search engine results when prospective clients search for QuickBooks help in their area. Optimizing a Find-A-ProAdvisor profile is available only for Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors and is included in their ProAdvisor memberships.
Skip Straight to the Certification Exam - If you are a QuickBooks ProAdvisor but you aren’t yet certified, but you consider yourself to be a QuickBooks expert, the ProAdvisor Program now allows you to go straight to the QuickBooks certification exam. This option can save you up to 20 hours of training (not CPE-eligible). As soon as a ProAdvisor passes the exam, the QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor logo can be leveraged and your Find-a-ProAdvisor profile can be optimized for search as discussed above.
Coming Soon: Accountant Client Matching Service - The Accountant Client Matching Service will be an online service matching prospective clients with ProAdvisors. This service is scheduled to be available as a test this summer to a portion of ProAdvisors (availability and timing subject to change).
If you are a current QuickBooks ProAdvisor and being a ProAdvisor helped your business as it did mine or you are even starting out and considering it, I would love to hear your story. Please share it as a reply to this Blog!