Firm of the Future Best Practices: Chad Ridner, CPA & Ingrid Estrom, Bookkeeper and Firm Owner

We invited accounting firms across the country to showcase their forward thinking, future-ready business practices and tell us why they are a Firm of the Future.

Your response was overwhelming, and we are pleased to announce that Chad Ridner of Two Roads in Knoxville, TN, is our grand prize winner!

And, there are certainly more winners to congratulate. The top 20 Firms of the Future sent us some very inspiring videos, and to add to the fun, here’s a “sizzle” reel with clips from the firms.

We sat down with Chad and the two other finalists, Rebecca Kelley, EKS&H, in Denver, CO; and Ingrid Edstrom, Polymath, in Ashland, OR. Here are their responses:

Q: What inspired you to make the video?

Chad Ridner: We call our clients partners. Our partners are the inspiration because without them, we wouldn’t have a company. We really believe that our partners are the ones in a grind every day, and for us to play a part in their story is incredibly important. Our video is a little different because we try and tell the story through their eyes.

Rebecca Kelley: We are passionate about serving our clients and see the value in sharing experiences with other accounting firms. We made this video as a way for us to do both and share with others how we changed the practices at our firm so that we could better serve our clients.

Ingrid Edstrom: We already make educational videos, so I felt this contest was right up our alley. We really work hard to try and inspire the other bookkeepers in our area to get on the Firm of the Future route. We are trying to lead by example and inspire and motivate some of our colleagues in rural Oregon to get on this track. We want step in and show everyone that you don’t have to be a big firm to be a Firm of the Future.

Q: Why do you think you’re a Firm of the Future?

CR: We’ve taken the plunge into technology, realizing that it allows us to be much more efficient and utilize tools that serve our partners better. We believe the old way of doing things is antiquated and archaic, so we are able to serve our partners in a way we wouldn’t otherwise. It’s technology with a purpose.

RK: We aren’t afraid to explore and embrace the changing environment in which we perform our services. We recognize that in order to be relevant, we must listen to the needs and wants of our clients first and identify the best ways for us to change and meet those needs.

IE: We leverage technology with the cloud. We really like to stay on the cutting edge of technology by attending events such as Sleeter, Scaling New Heights and QuickBooks Connect. We network with colleagues outside of our area, and bring some of the tools that firms with larger cities have to rural Oregon. You don’t have to have an accounting degree to be a good business owner. 

Q: What’s the one quality about your firm that stands out or sets you apart from others?

CR: Response time. Our industry is known to be very slow to respond, and at the end of the day, we may not even know the answer for what the client or partner needs at the moment, but are we listening? We want to make sure we have a very quick response to people.

RK: Our commitment to serving clients through trust-based relationships.

IE: A combination of a hungry mind and imagination. We’re able to take the topics that many business owners are repelled by, and make them creative.