It’s no mystery these days how technology has permeated nearly every aspect of business life, accounting firm staff and owners included. But has it really improved what they do or create more challenges?
Whether you are in growth-mode or not, accounting firms struggle with basic productivity issues and simply keeping pace with their colleagues and growing business needs of their clients.
We have found that they tend to benefit from hearing about what their colleagues went through and their shared success. As such, sales tax and compliance service provider Avalara produced a series of case studies of firms they have worked with that, like many, have had to overcome challenges with efficiency and updating technology in the right way.
Below is the next in a series of case studies we are running as part of our partnership with Avalara, as we have a shared belief in seeing the accounting profession move forward and to address today’s business challenges in order to face tomorrow. The most recent interviews were conducted by Julie Lubetkin, Vice President of Marketing, Channels and Partnerships at Avalara.
She recently spoke with Mario Nowogrodzki, CPA and Principal at Mendelson Consulting, a small business accounting technology consultant about everything from staffing and automation to compliance and marketing for the growth of his firm.
Lubetkin: How important is sales tax compliance in your opinion?
Nowogrodzki: Compliance is not a choice; it is a necessity. Either you do it the old-fashioned way, or you automate. Tax automation plays an important role when it comes to compliance requirements.
Lubetkin: Social media marketing: What works, and what hasn’t?
Nowogrodzki: We’ve tried some of the standard social marketing avenues, which have not worked that well for us. I find that when selling to businesses, this is not the best way to get our name out there. What works for Mendelson is being face-to-face, scheduling face time, presenting at shows and industry events, and getting out there with potential clients. Generating referrals is our goal, not generating leads, and we get many referrals this way.
Lubetkin: How do you measure success in your practice?
Nowogrodzki: We use different ways of measuring that are somewhat unorthodox. One of the ways is gauging how much business we are getting based on residual revenue, meaning we sell services in addition to our software subscription. Having high services revenue is a good gauge for the health and success of your business.
Lubetkin: What do you look for when hiring new staff?
Nowogrodzki: I look for problem solving and critical thinking skills, skills that are hard to teach. You expect common sense, and you can train for skill, but you cannot teach critical thinking. It has got to be the right fit, so we tend to expand slowly.
Lubetkin: Who in your career has had a big influence on you, and why?
Nowogrodzki: My parents, specifically my dad. He has been in business all his life. He continues to give me advice. Since I was little, he has always said, “Never rest on your laurels. You win, you take the next step, you are successful, you keep going, don’t stop. Look back at what you did, and be happy with it, but don’t stop.” These words are of great importance in my life, not just my career.