Future Profiles: Rebecca Kelley, EKS&H

Rebecca Kelley, one of our Firm of the Future finalists, loves working with startups; they are not only eager to use QuickBooks®Online (QBO),  but are also excited to engage with the community. In this interview, Kelley explains why forging new connections can build any business.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your firm.Rebecca Kelley

I’ve worked for EKS&H in Denver for 10 years. My team has about 30 people and about 60 clients to whom we provide regular, ongoing accounting services. Our clients are small- to medium-sized firms, usually with five or more employees and about $5 million to  $10 million in revenue. But we also work with a lot of start-up companies.

What software do you use?

Most of our clients started on QuickBooks Desktop. When we decided to make the move to the cloud, it started with moving to a hosted solution because a lot of them were unsure about QuickBooks Online. A hosted solution seemed to be a good middle ground for companies that  didn’t want to make that big of a leap. From there, we’ve had a couple of clients transition completely to QBO.

How do you decide on the right software solution for new clients who are just coming on?

We sit down and we talk to them. They may have really big aspirations, or envision a huge expansion and growth into products or services that they offer. It’s a process of talking to them about what their current needs are and what their future needs will be, then going from there.

How you use apps?

We started to get into apps when we made our initial shift to a hosted solution a couple of years ago. One of the things that took the most time for us was the bill payment process. It was so frustrating for our clients to wait for checks and send us information … and then the processing time. So we started with our biggest pain point and focused on that first. We went with Bill.com as a solution.

After we adopted that one, we started to look at other apps, too. I think the biggest challenge for us is making sure we know the product well enough to offer it with confidence to our clients. It’s really a process to identify and say, here is one that we think fits a majority of our clients.

What is your process for figuring out if an app is going to be a good fit for your firm and your clients?

It’s really about getting to know the vendors. Getting to know a connection here at QuickBooks, QuickBooks Connect or working with a representative that they assign to us has helped greatly. We can talk to them about the product, get a demo, see how it works and test it out all before making a decision. For example, right now we are looking into using Tallie. It works really well with Bill.com, and all of our clients have expense reimbursements. We actually have a few clients who are currently using it and that’s proven to be a really great solution for them.

What’s it like working with startups?

They are really excited about their businesses. They want to be able to grow as quickly as possible, and they recognize that they are not good at accounting. These are the best start-up clients we can work with! Startups grow so quickly and they’re really fun to help. They’ve got lots of questions. Our connection to them isn’t just about accounting. It’s an opportunity for us to get them connected with the right resources in Denver.

How do you find new clients?

We have the great fortune of being a large firm, so a lot of our clients come to us through our partners, whether they are a board member on a nonprofit or part of an association in the Denver area. We also started a QuickBooks user group in Denver and have had different prospects and clients come in through that. We’re able to demonstrate our QuickBooks knowledge and also connect them with other QuickBooks users.

We also teach some QuickBooks classes. New and upcoming businesses — and even some established businesses — are coming to learn more about QuickBooks.

What advice would you give a firm trying to transition from old ways and becoming a Firm of the Future?

Talk to your clients and find out what’s most important to them. Then focus on one or two of those things. Start there.