James Prater Embraces the Cloud With the 5 for $5 Each QBO Offer
Welcome to another Firm of the Future profile, spotlighting forward-thinking firms that are embracing QuickBooks® Online, the cloud and much more to take their practices to the next level. This time, we are featuring James Prater of Best Solutions Place. Stay tuned for more Firm of the Future profiles and continue visiting our blog often.
FOTF Team: Hi James! Tell us about yourself and your practice.
James: I started doing taxes for my family when I was 16 years old. I learned from two books that the government used to put out called Your Federal Income Tax and Tax Guide for Small Business. I was in the Navy quite a while, and when I got out, I ended up going to college later in life. Since I knew taxes and accounting, I did eight years of military pay in accounting. I decided to go ahead and become an accountant, but mostly, I wanted to learn taxes. With two years of preparation work to go in the accounting class, and what books did they teach me out of? Your Federal Income Taxes and Tax Guide for Small Business. Hilarious!
I've had an accounting business my whole life, in one place or another. I was in Las Vegas almost 20 years. I had an accounting business there, too, and that was a very large practice because I was working full time back then. Then, I got away from it when I had to go back and help my parents for three years in Ohio. Then, five years ago we moved to Pahrump, Nevada, where I decided to help the local guys with their taxes and state licensing. It’s working out very well.
FOTF Team: That’s certainly a journey! Shifting gears, when did you move to QuickBooks Online? Were you initially on QuickBooks Desktop?
James: I've only been on QuickBooks Online a very short period of time. I've been exposed to QuickBooks most of my life in one phase or another, but all desktop versions, of course. I even remember going to this high school down the street before I started my business. I wanted to be a substitute teacher and teach math. I went to the school, was in there 30 minutes, and the next thing you know, I'm behind the desk helping the lady at the school with her QuickBooks. The same thing happened at my lawyer’s office, and before I knew it, QuickBooks kept coming back at me.
I hadn't actually done QuickBooks since around 2000 on the desktop version. Until early last year, I was still using a free program called Wave. All I can really say about it is that it’s free. It does do balance sheets and income statements, but it doesn’t have some of the specifications QuickBooks Online has, and the bank connection wasn’t too reliable.
Then, all of a sudden, I picked up a client who was on QuickBooks Online, and then you guys gave me a free account, free tax stuff and a self-employed account. I started getting exposed to QuickBooks more and more. Then, what happened? You came out with your promotion for the $4 deal on QuickBooks Self-Employed. I had a couple clients who fit that beautifully, so I just had them sign up. Of course, now, I'm doing it on a wholesale basis where I'm setting people up. I'm probably going to set quite a few up on that one before it's all over with. Then, I took advantage of your 5 for $5 each deal.
FOTF Team: Tell us about your experience with the 5 for $5 QuickBooks Online each offer, and how it has impacted your practice.
James: I had a client that I knew could use the QuickBooks Online Plus edition, which would have cost me $20 on wholesale ... So I thought why not give the $5 for $5 each offer a try and see what happens. And sure enough, I'm now working with a trucking company out of Ohio for the second Plus subscription and have more than covered the $25 offer cost. That still leaves me with three more. With plans to expand my client base into Las Vegas, I’m not too worried about it.
QuickBooks Online definitely saves me time. The way it works is great. It provides accessibility to whatever kind of report I want to take and generate, the ability to adjust a transaction at ease, and bank reconciliation that helps me take care of the mistakes my clients make, helping clean up my bank statements or bank entries.
The biggest think I like about QuickBooks Online dates back to my experience with QuickBooks Desktop. If there was a problem with a client – and I can tell you there often were problems – it was hard to resolve the issue. But, with the client I converted to QuickBooks Online in the 5 for $5 each deal, I’m able to see what they see in QuickBooks Online Accountant and talk them through fixing it, or fix it on my end and let them see the fix. That lets me do what I want to do, which is expand my horizons outside of this small town I’m in. In my town, I have maybe 20 clients, and that’s stretching it. Expanding to Vegas allows me to get at least 200 a month, and I’m able to do that by handling things virtually in QuickBooks Online.