Firm of the Future Profile: Jasper Consulting Group
Welcome back to our Firm of the Future profile series about thriving firms who are benefitting from the cloud and QuickBooks® Online Accountant (QBOA) to better serve clients and find new revenue opportunities. In this new article, we spotlight Kim Painter of Jasper Consulting Group.
Mindy King: Tell us about your accounting practice.
Kim Painter: My practice is a virtual bookkeeping and consulting firm. We serve clients in primarily service industries, offering QuickBooks Online (QBO) setup, training, bookkeeping, payroll and consulting services. I’m a ProAdvisor®, advanced certified in QBO and have been using QBO since 2009.
MK: What convinced you to make the move to QuickBooks Online Accountant?
KP: When I started on my own, I found so many accountants in my area that had been using QuickBooks Desktop for many years. I wasn’t sure how I could compete with that kind of experience, but I also found most of them at that time did not trust or like QBO. I decided that specializing in the online version would be a way to differentiate myself. In addition, it would provide an avenue for entering the field with very little investment. Not only did I feel I was getting in on the beginning of something big, but I also realized I had the rather unique perspective of having used QBO beforeI was ever exposed to the desktop software (My previous accounting experience had been with a very large corporation, using proprietary accounting systems.). This decision has definitely worked to my advantage.
MK: How have you seen QBO and/or QBOA evolve over the years? What are some of your favorite new features for you and/or your clients?
KP:QBO/QBOA have improved dramatically over the years, not only in features and functionality, but also in the stability of the system itself. Downtime was a very real concern in the beginning. I’ve seen firsthand the responsiveness of Intuit® to feedback from its users. Many of the improvements, or the priority for implementing them, has come from the users.
Once you begin using a new feature, it’s hard to remember when it wasn’t there or what it was like before. Some I do remember:
- The banking interface is awesome and has improved. I honestly can’t really remember if that was in place when I first started or not, but it is even better now.
- The ability to attach documents to transactions for reference has been added.
- I have seen the addition of the multicurrency feature.
- I have seen improvements in the design and menu structure, making it easier to maneuver the system.
- I have seen improvements in the ability to apply expenses to a particular customer or job.
- I have seen improvements in the ability to use progress billing.
- We have more options for customizing forms now.
- We now have more reports available.
- We have the convenience of receiving online payments with automatic recording of payments and deposits.
- QBOA provides a more convenient means for working in multiple client companies and has added many features for working more efficiently. I have loved the Reclassify Transactions tool since it first came out.
MK: What are your goals for your practice this year?
KP: Some goals for this year include establishing better systems, hiring additional help and exploring new consulting opportunities.
MK: Where’s the craziest place you’ve done work for a client?
KP: Being online does offer the advantage of being able to work almost anywhere. I haven;t worked anywhere too crazy … my sister’s house in Nebraska, a university student center in southeast Texas and hotel rooms, for example. I love that I can run payroll while on vacation in the District of Columbia, or send an invoice from my phone while running errands. I must admit, though, that I’m quite partial to the multiple monitors and sit/stand desk in my home office.
MK: When you’re not working, what’s your favorite way to spend your time?
KP: When I’m not working, I enjoy reading and getting together with friends. I also like to travel and look forward to doing more in the near future.
MK: What advice do you have for peers that are still on desktop?
KP: For those still on desktop, my advice would be to objectively consider your career goals. If you’ll soon be ready to wind things down, you can probably stay with what you know a little longer. However, if you expect to be in the industry for the foreseeable future, take the plunge.
One of the best ways might be to put your own firm’s books on QBO so you can get comfortable with it before using it for client work. Not everyone wants to be on the leading edge of technology, and that’s OK, but those who hesitate too long on entering the realm of cloud accounting and QBO may find themselves behind the curve, struggling to catch up.
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