Online Outsourced Accounting Services

Deanna GildeaOnline Outsourced Accounting Services
Presented by Don Uhl and Deanna Gildea, CPA
ControllershipPLUS!
Contact Don at donuhl@afdcenter.com
Contact Deanna at deanna@controllershipplus.com

Thursday, September 13, 2001

Visit the AccountingWEB Workshop Calendar for upcoming sessions.


Summary

If you are already selling this exciting online outsourced accounting service or are contemplating selling it, you have two choices: Go it alone and attend a one- or two-day workshop that will give you some basics but not all the steps (because everyone’s still struggling with them) OR learn the system and benefit from five years of trial and error. Let’s face it, learning curves are expensive! We’ve already answered them. Allow us to eliminate your learning curve and your trial and error. Eliminate trying what might work and do what does work! Greatly reduce your cost of learning.

You can read the complete transcript of this workshop.

Topics covered in the workshop include:

  • Find out what most accountants don’t know about the online accounting opportunity that your competitors hope you never learn
  • How can you actively market online outsourced accounting and acquire new clients consistently every month?
  • Step-by-step systems to process the work
  • The systems to teach workers to do online outsourced accounting
  • How to price it profitably
  • Systems to more effectively and efficiently operate and run an online outsourced accounting business
  • Using Poweredby TADOnline.com to perform online outsourced accounting services.

Outsourced accounting services are predicted to grow from a $12 billion business in 1999 to a $37 billion business in 2004. Online outsourced accounting and bookkeeping services are relatively new to accountants in America. In fact most firms offering these services are still experimenting and learning what works and what doesn’t.

Lance and Deanna Gildea have built a million dollar online outsourced accounting services firm from the ground up. Don Uhl has successfully helped traditional accounting firms grow their practices and build million dollar firms using his Value Builder system. The Gildeas and Mr. Uhl have now teamed up to create ControllershipPLUS! and to teach other accountants how to profit from the great opportunity in online outsourced accounting services. Participants learned the basics of the ControllershipPLUS program at this informative workshop.


September 13, 2001 workshop sponsored by TADOnline.com



Workshop Transcript

Session Moderator: Welcome everyone, and thank you so much for joining us today. I'm happy to introduce Don Uhl and Deanna Gildea.

Don Uhl has helped build million dollar accounting firms, add profitability to firm's bottom line and create wealth for the firm owners and partners.

Along the way Don created the Value Builder Marketing and Selling System, his exclusive system to target mature established businesses, his exclusive package The Accountant's Special Business Package, and he developed The Accountant's Advanced Marketing Network, a nationwide network of firms using his system.

Pioneers in online outsourced accounting, Deanna Gildea and her husband Lance created TADOnline out of personal necessity. Deanna was a CPA with 10 years of experience split between KPMG Peat Marwick and controllership positions at a reinsurance company and a large residential builder. Lance was an Internet guru looking way ahead at the possibilities of web-based applications. Lance and Deanna saw online accounting as a natural combining of their skills as well as fitting their desire to work at home with their small child.

To provide an internet technology model for online accounting, the Gildeas created and developed their own sophisticated Internet technology based system, TADOnline. In 1996, the Gildeas started developing the production, training and operation procedures needed to build and successfully run an outsourced accounting firm.

Five years later they have a million dollar accounting firm offering only online outsourced accounting. Along the way they have created the only step by step system to operate a firm like this, including how to hire and train staff, price the work, develop a seamless communication bridge with client and a thousand other big and little things that are required to run a firm that offers online outsourced CFO/Controllership services.

In creating ControllershipPLUS!, Lance and Deanna Gildea and Don Uhl combined their two systems to help entrepreneurial accountants achieve incredible results in the new online outsourced accounting business.

Welcome Don, Deanna, and Lance!

Don Uhl: Welcome Everyone!
Don Uhl: It's a privilege to conduct a workshop on AccountingWEB, the most exciting portal available to entrepreneurial accountants.
Session Moderator: Thank you, Don!

Don Uhl: Today my partner Deanna Gildea and I are going to discuss the 3 main parts of developing a solid business from online accounting. As we go, write down your questions and concerns you would like to have addressed.

During the past five years, TADOnline has been a pioneer in the development of online accounting services.

Deanna Gildea: Through their accounting services division, TADAccounting and TADOnline offers full-charge controllership/bookkeeping services using our proprietary WebBased Communication Management System and the client's preferred accounting software.

In less than 5 years TADOnline, started and built by Lance and Deanna Gildea is grossing over a million dollars. In less than 5 years TADOnline, started and built by Lance and Deanna Gildea is grossing over a million dollars.

After being profiled on the cover of the Jan/Feb 2000 issue of Accounting Technology, TADOnline received numerous inquiries from other accounting firms wanting to develop a similar online accounting capacity. After being profiled on the cover of the Jan/Feb 2000 issue of Accounting Technology, TADOnline received numerous inquiries from other accounting firms wanting to develop a similar online accounting capacity.

Based on the obvious demand, TADOnline is now offering their TADOnline Web Based Communication Management System combined with their procedures to other accountants for use with their clients. Based on the obvious demand, TADOnline is now offering their TADOnline Web Based Communication Management System combined with their procedures to other accountants for use with their clients.

Their system under the ControllershipPLUS! program will allow other accountants to build their own online accounting business.

Outsourced Accounting has been around for years. Your clients all ready outsource monthly financial statements, payroll, monthly bill paying or some other accounting function to you.

Don Uhl: The growth rate of an accounting firm implementing an online outsourced accounting service is double and sometimes triple the growth rate of a traditional firm. Our model that has been developed over the past 5 years, produces an average online client of $1,500.00 per month not including back work, year end tax work or any additional

With our exclusive marketing system, we are acquiring 1 to 3 new outsourcing clients per month. Let's do the math!

$1,500 /month X 12 months = $18,000/year per month

$1,500 /month X 12 months = $18,000/year per month

Deanna Gildea: Yearly acquisitions - 12 to 36 new online accounting clients totaling $216,000 to $648,000 in new growth each year.

ControllershipPLUS! has three main parts to its successful system:

  1. The Technology
  2. The Operations system of building and running an online accounting practice
  3. The marketing system to consistently acquire new clients each and every month.

Deanna Gildea: Your clients create electronic source documents by scanning and then uploading to your staff using TADOnline's secure system. Your staff is then able to provide electronic output that the client can download in a secure environment.

These files can be printed, saved to disk or simply viewed in the web browser. You, as the accountant, manage your client and employee/team pages and the secure file storage

Using our Realtime Access or Application Hosting (ASP) you, your staff and the client are able to access accounting application data files and Web Browser accounting applications simultaneously.

Secure Client Home Pages - Superimposed over a picture of sample client home page.

TADOnline believes it is important that your clients have secure, personalized access to you, their accountant.

Our Secure Client Home Page makes this possible. Each Client Home Page is unique to the client. Client Home Pages can be customized using the Control Panel feature of the TADOnline System.

Each Client Home Page contains your logo, a personalized greeting for your client, a team page with pictures of your staff, and the appropriate staff contact information, a customizable directory structure for their uploaded and downloadable files, and extensive help documentation to guide them.

You can also post messages for your clients.

It is important to note that your employees also receive individual team member pages. Using the control panel, you designate which client's files are assigned to which staff/teams, and what kind of privileges staff are allowed within the TADOnline System (such as creating clients, adding Realtime Access, etc.).

The most important aspect of successful outsourced accounting is getting the source documents from your client to your office in a fast and easy manner.

Deanna Gildea: Accountants have traditionally relied primarily on mail, and pickup and delivery services. More recently, accountants have begun using email and computer-to-computer transfers.

Mail and pickup and delivery services take valuable time to get the documents from your client to you. Email often limits the ability to send large files, is not secure and requires file management.

Computer-to-computer transfers require dedicated computers in both the client and your office, and with multiple clients, it is often not feasible.

TADOnline's Web Based Communication Management System makes this important transfer of documents easy and efficient. It all happens in just minutes within a secure electronic environment.

Deanna Gildea: The first step in the process is to scan the source documents so that they become electronic files. This is done by your client and takes just minutes.

It is so easy that anyone in your clients' office can do it. It simply requires a computer with scanner and a limited amount of training. Documents already in an electronic state can just be uploaded.

The TADOnline Upload Form allows your client to securely upload files from their computer directly to their client home page in the TADOnline System.

Or vice versa, you can upload files for your client to their client's home page. When files are uploaded, an immediate, automatic e-mail notification is sent to the designated recipient informing them that a file has been made available.

Downloading is the process of viewing, printing or saving uploaded files onto your computer. To download files, your client signs into the client home page and clicks on the Accounting Files download icon. .

There will be a listing of all uploaded files. New files are easily identifiable by green arrows and all files list pertinent data such as file name, data and time created and when the file was last opened.

Most files can be viewed or printed from your browser and/or saved to your computer. Files can be deleted anytime by clicking on the delete button next to the file.

Your employees can view uploaded files by signing into their individual team page. From the team page, employees will also be able to upload client files. They will only have access to files designated as appropriate by you.

TADOnline offers an upgrade called Realtime Access, which works in conjunction with TADOnline's Web Based Communication Management System.

Realtime Access allows you to work in your client's accounting data file through a secure Internet connection and to print reports, checks, invoices, etc. directly to the Secure Client Home Pages instead of uploading them from your computer.

You can also print directly to your printer.

Realtime Access can be offered to your clients who need to work in the accounting data file. This allows you to work in the data file simultaneously with your client and eliminates the need to pass the data file back and forth with your client.

Don Uhl: The system allows us to have telecommuter employees and a virtual office

Virtual Office

Deanna Gildea: TADOnline has been a virtual office from the very beginning. Therefore, we've learned how to hire and set up telecommuting workers and how to control the paper flow and storage using the TADOnline System.

TADOnline has been a virtual office from the very beginning. It was our virtual office that led to the creation of the TADOnline Web Based Communication Management System.

Deanna Gildea: How does the Procedure System of actually building and running an online accounting system?

Staff can be hired as telecommuters, can be office staff and then become telecommuters due changes in their personal life (birth of a baby, move to another city) or can be trained and prove their skills in the office before moving into telecommuting.

Workstations

TADOnline recommends setting up all computer workstations with dual monitors for better efficiency. This system is also essential to a paperless office.

You will now have the ability to navigate back and forth across the two screens with your mouse, move programs from one screen to another, and open and view two programs/documents simultaneously.

The ability to view two programs at once can greatly enhance productivity. Your staff can open electronic documents from the client on one screen and enter the data into the accounting program on the other screen.

All need for printing to paper is eliminated. This system is also essential to a paperless office. This also eliminates the time consuming process of your employees handling paperwork.

Marketing

Deanna Gildea: ControllershipPLUS! offers a step-by-step system to acquire 1 to 4 new online accounting clients per month at the monthly billing rate of $1,500 to $4,000 per month in recurring billing per client. TADOnline combined with the "Value Builder" Marketing & Selling system has offered accountants the key.

TADOnline over 5 years developed a system on how to out-source more accounting/bookkeeping and payroll services, and replace the in-house bookkeeper.

The "Value Builder" Marketing & Selling System was developed by Don Uhl & Associates Inc. to build million dollar firms and has a proven record of accomplishment of 10 years. The combining of these powerful step-by-step systems offers the accounting professional a proven way to build a powerful and profitable firm.

Todd Jensen: How many firms represented here today are currently performing some sort of outsourced accounting?

Don Uhl: TADOnline recommends two ways to begin offering or expand your current outsourced full charge bookkeeping services.

Begin by offering your current clients the benefits of the TADOnline Technology and the ControllershipPLUS! System as an added service to the existing accounting work you already do.

You can also approach businesses seeking to hire in house bookkeepers/accountants. These business owners are often receptive to your services when there is a tight job market, they need to reduce costs, or they have high turnover with their in house bookkeepers.

Todd Jensen: Being a write-up firm that has successfully used both TADOnline and the Value Builder Marketing & Selling system, is there any questions that anybody wants to ask me

Don Uhl: Using the TADOnline Technology and the ControllershipPLUS System, you can offer these benefits to potential clients:

Provide better, more consistent and accurate bookkeeping as well as more guidance on financial transactions and management reporting that they may not currently have with their in house staff.

Todd Jensen: I have worked with Don Uhl close to five years and TADOnline over a year

Don Uhl: Accountants have the ability to act as the client's CFO/Controller at a cost to the client that is significantly lower than hiring just one bookkeeper.

Don Uhl: Does anyone do online CFO services on a regular basis?

It is a true win win proposition because the client gets more for their money (which includes an accountant with all his/her valuable input along with a full charge bookkeeping dept) and the accountant receives 4 to 5 times the normal monthly fee.

The ability to send their source documents to you in minutes, process them within 24 hours and give them prompt, accurate output. You have the ability to provide checks, invoices, etc. in electronic format so that they can print them in their office.

For example, if a client calls and needs a final paycheck for a terminated employee, you can process the check, upload to their client home page and they can print it in their office within a few minutes. Often, businesses are behind in their daily bookkeeping activities.

Jeffrey Frankel: The problem that I have found is convincing business owners that they don't need a body present. How do you overcome this objection?
Lance Gildea: That's probably the business owners biggest fear is the loss of control. The best part is that a true outsource where our staff becomes an extension of their office they then actually get better service and control than having an in-house bookkeeper.
Don Uhl: Also you must understand that not everyone is good for this service. In the last 2 1/2 months the Gildeas have added 10 new clients at an average fee of $1500 /month but they had to talk to a bunch of businesses
Deanna Gildea: We address the issue by emphasizing communication with our staff and that we are really available for them during normal business hours though email, phone and instant messaging.

George Morton: The question I have is how complex is the system of setting up an online service and does TADOnline offer a user-friendly experience on both sides (customer and accountant)?
Todd Jensen: To overcome that objection I find out the actual reasons why they feel they need a body present. Many times it is to answer phones filing etc. or to make coffee (no joke). If that is the case I tell them that they can hire a person at minimum wage and then outsource the bookkeeping which will give them a higher level of service for the same money.
Todd Jensen: Many people are paying bookkeeping wages for a minimum wage job

Robert Keister: I'm implementing a scanning system for a billion $ construction company. The equipment start-up costs for each jobsite is approx $10K - $7K for the scanner alone because it's high speed. What kind of equipment start-up costs do you incur - and is that typically passed onto the clients?
Todd Jensen: For the billion $ construction company. Are you obtaining a scanner that scans D & E size documents?
Robert Keister: Up to 8 1/2 X 14 only. Scanner is very expensive - but very high speed.
Rick Dopuch: Does this system work well with a client that scans incoming merchandise and tracks retail inventory?
Lance Gildea: The question about the construction company doing a Billion is tough because I'm not sure we would recommend our scanners. Our clients range up to about 25 mil a year and about 100 employees and most of them are between 10-35 employees.
Lance Gildea: The scanners we use are Visioneer, model StrobePro and an 8650 and it's very important that the scanner setting are modified.

Todd Jensen: Deanna. How many outsourced clients do you have?
Marvin Wakoff: It seems to me a key question before cost, etc. is how financially strong is TADOnline? Especially since they will operate as an ASP.
Lance Gildea: We are profitable.
Lance Gildea: We are passing along that we are doing over 1 mil in accounting services and offering to teach other accountants our proven system

Don Uhl: TADOnline runs a paperless office and through the ControllershipPLUS! system we share the steps on how to set one up.
Robert Keister: Right... what I need to clarify is that I also run a CPA firm on the side. My question really is - what's the initial average cost per client site and does the client "eat" the cost.
Lance Gildea: Yes, we even have clients on point of sales system using our realtime ASP application hosting.
Marvin Wakoff: Are your clients selling products that require inventory status?
Todd Jensen: I have been charging my clients $500 to $750 for the startup costs.
Deanna Gildea: The point of sale clients require inventory status, so yes.
Todd Jensen: This does not include back work costs

Marvin Wakoff: How are you able to give the client updated inventory status?
Deanna Gildea: They are using the Realtime ASP so they are working in the live file with current inventory data.

Lance Gildea: The client pays $800 for set up with TADAccounting and that cost covers the scanner. The client then uses the TADOnline system through TADAccounting to securely transfer all the documents back and forth.

Todd Jensen: Last week I was able to convert one of my clients from a $270.00 write-up client to $2000.00 to handle payroll and payables. They are now talking to us about doing the receivables for another $1000 - $1500
Lance Gildea: Todd, Did they have an in-house bookkeeper before?
Todd Jensen: Yes. They had two bookkeepers. Mother and daughter. Both quit

Marvin Wakoff: What is the relationship between the TADOnline system and TADAccounting? Who's accounting program are you using or is it proprietary?
Deanna Gildea: TADOnline is the name of the system and TADAccounting is the name of our accounting practice. The GL program does not matter. You can use any program.

Rick Dopuch: Seems like it would take a fair amount of time to scan documents and track employee time, who typically does this?

Robert Keister: So - you are willing to absorb some start-up costs for sake of increasing monthly revenue (since $750 wouldn't cover PC and other peripheral costs). Do you have contracts or other minimum usage agreements with your clients?
Deanna Gildea: We don't provide a PC to our clients, just a scanner.

Anthony Nichols: The Accounting Technology article quotes one of your clients in Denver. Has it been necessary to market your services nationally to grow to your current level? Are you marketing in the Dallas area?
Lance Gildea: Yes, a good response nationally and we are looking for more Affiliate accounting firms because there has been a lot of potentials that fell through the cracks because of location.
Rick Dopuch: Why is location an issue if the work is done on-line?
Don Uhl: In fact in Dallas we have gotten a great response and could use another affiliate there

Lance Gildea: How much are they going to save by using your full charge Controllership service? You did see how much they were paying the mother and daughter? Would you have been able to service this client w/o TADOnline?
Todd Jensen: $750.00 does not cover the PC. Most companies I have worked with have had a PC and if not would include that cost
Todd Jensen: They are going to save about $750.00 per month but the true value to client as they have already discovered is that the accounting was not being done correctly. They had no idea how much their individual product lines were costing them. We are not setting up their accounting system to provide that information
Lance Gildea: Because it's a stretch for most business owners to trade their in-house staff for an outsource and then to leave the area seems to be even a bigger issue.
Lance Gildea: I need to point out that our client base is extremely happy and are not even considering going back to an in-house staffer. They really like the service and we have Attorney's, bakers, auto repair facilities, construction companies, you name it.
Don Uhl: What we find is that since most accountants are still experimenting with online systems and/or are not totally set up to do that all areas in the country are open opportunities are
Don Uhl: It is a real value added service for most business people. They can't hire 1 bookkeeper at the same cost as us doing everything for them

Marvin Wakoff: Do the clients need DSL, cable modem or other communications? Will a modem work?
Todd Jensen: We have clients that work with the system on a dial-up. DSL or Cable is well worth the cost if they can get it but can be done on a dial-up
Deanna Gildea: Client do not need DSL or cable although if they are using Realtime ASP, it will be faster with those connections

Lance Gildea: Everyone has ASP to offer for accounting applications, however only 25% of our clients are using it because we truly outsource it and provide all the documentation through a secure web interface at TADOnline.

Marvin Wakoff: Can the client use any accounting program with your Realtime ASP?
Lance Gildea: The ASP is just a compliment to the TADOnline system. You can see a list of approved applications and we are working to add more all the time. If your application is not on the list then we can try installing it in our development environment and if it works we will host it.

Rick Dopuch: Seems like it would take a fair amount of time to scan documents, make bank deposits, track employee time, etc, who typically does this and because they still have to do this doesn't that make it hard to sell?
Deanna Gildea: We have found that the scanning only takes about 10 minutes per day and their office support person can do that. Essentially instead of putting the paper in an inbox, they just put it in the scanner and upload.
Deanna Gildea: We also point out that we keep an electronic filing cabinet of all this documentation that is offsite.

Don Uhl: At the cost of 1 bookkeeper it is a bargain for a business owner to hire us as their off site CFO/Controllerone

Rick Dopuch: What minimum sales is usually required to make this cost effective for the client?
Don Uhl: What do you mean minimum sales?
Deanna Gildea: There isn't a minimum sales requirement that we have found. We have clients that range from less than $500k in sales upwards to $25 million

Rick Dopuch: So a business with approximately $400,00 in sales and up would be interested in the program.
Deanna Gildea: Yes.
Don Uhl: Any business with a bookkeeper or the need for one is a prospect
Don Uhl: It doesn't pay a business to have an in house bookkeeper when they have us
Don Uhl: You just have to set up a system that works for you and them
Don Uhl: Any help anyone needs to do this feel free to contact us

Don Uhl: Thank you for all of you attending
Lance Gildea: And please feel free to contact Deanna, Don or myself and we can talk to you about how to get the training to implement our proven system successfully. We can also refer you to accountants like Todd Jensen who are successfully using our system and getting clients. Thank You all for joining us today.
Session Moderator: Thank you Don, Deanna, and Lance for a Great workshop!
Lance Gildea: bye
Session Moderator: And thank you all for taking the time out of your busy day to join us!
Session Moderator: Thank you also to TADOnline for sponsoring this workshop


Biography

The ControllershipPLUS! program is a unique blend of two successful results getting step-by-step systems. One half of ControllershipPLUS! is the oldest, most established online outsourced accounting firms in the nation "TADOline", started by Lance and Deanna Gildea in 1996. The Gildeas figured out the nuts and bolts of operating and running an online outsourced accounting firm while others were still just talking about online accounting. The second half of ConrollershipPLUS! is a proven marketing and selling system designed to target more mature established businesses. The "Value Builder" Marketing and Selling System created by Don Uhl. Don and his staff have been working with CPA and accounting firms for the last 10 years building marketing depts. in those firms, teaching firms to market and sell, creating profitability for those firms and in many cases building million dollar firms.

Pioneers in online outsourced accounting, Lance and Deanna Gildea created TADOnline out of personal necessity. Deanna was a CPA with 10 years of experience split between KPMG Peat Marwick and controllership positions at a reinsurance company and a large residential builder. Lance was an Internet guru looking way ahead at the possibilities of web-based applications. Lance and Deanna saw online accounting as a natural combining of their skills as well as fitting their desire to work at home with their small child.

Deanna’s focus had been on using her audit experience to help effectively run accounting departments in the private industry sector. With a background in residential building where each housing development was a separate accounting entity, Deanna had extensive experience in creating standardized procedures, hiring practices and managing several small "businesses" at once. Doing this on the internet for small to medium businesses was a natural step forward.

Lance had been interested in the internet early on. He quickly saw the future for web-based communications and applications. He was a partner in a multi-media presentation company that was focusing heavily on using the web to enhance their services. His experience combined with Deanna’s accounting background seemed natural for building an online accounting services firm.

Since there wasn’t an internet technology model for online accounting or a proven business operating system, the Gildeas created and developed their own sophisticated Internet technology based system, TADOnline. In 1996, the Gildeas started developing the production, training and operation procedures needed to build and successfully run an outsourced accounting firm. Five years later they have a million dollar accounting firm offering only online outsourced accounting. Along the way they have created the only step by step system to operate a firm like this, including how to hire and train staff, price the work, develop a seamless communication bridge with client and a thousand other big and little things that are required to run a firm that offers online outsourced CFO/Controllership services.

Since 1991, Don has helped build million dollar accounting firms, add profitability to firm’s bottom line and create wealth for the firm owners and partners. Along the way Don created the "Value Builder™" Marketing and Selling System, his exclusive system to target mature established businesses, his exclusive package The Accountant’s Special Business Package and developed The Accountant’s Advanced Marketing Network, a nationwide network of firms using his system.

When marketing the more traditional accounting services Don’s clients found that businesses were willing to pay fees of $1000 to $3000 per month for a totally outsourced service! Even more revealing was that the same methods that Don had developed to build more value in an Accountant’s services, get more appointments with the right kind of businesses and get higher fees for traditional CPA services, worked just as well with businesses willing to pay $18,000 to $50,000 for online outsourced accounting services! In creating ControllershipPLUS!, Lance and Deanna Gildea and Don Uhl combined their two systems to help entrepreneurial accountants achieve incredible results in the new online outsourced accounting business.


Web Site: http://www.controllershipplus.com

Toll Free Number: 1-877-842-2844



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