Trials and Triumphs of a QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Starting a business is not for the faint of heart. All businesses start out small and, on average, 30% of small businesses fail within the first two years, 50% fail within the first five and 66% of all small businesses will close their doors within 10 years. So, when people look at my QuickBooks ProAdvisor® accounting practice and say “How did you do it?,” not only am I flattered, but I also understand why they are asking. When I began my business, I not did expect to become the leading authority in real estate and property management QuickBooks® consulting and a well-respected author of the “Manage Properties with QuickBooks” series.

It is important to understand the challenges of those who came before us. A successful entrepreneur is always learning, looking for new information and listening to unique perspectives. To be a successful Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, it is imperative that you apply these skills to your work to better serve your clients.

Before I became an accountant, a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and a QuickBooks Real Estate Consultant, I was a stay-at-home mom recovering from medical issues. Starting my own practice was ideal because it gave the chance to set my own hours and allowed me to work around my health constraints. My previous experience as an assistant controller for a manufacturer and my educational background drew me to the accounting field because I enjoy helping others accomplish their financial goals.

Starting my practice from scratch definitely posed a number of challenges. At the end of the day, every aspect of the business is your responsibility. Even if you are passionate about working with clients, you have to define your own business plan, and implement marketing and sales strategies to stay afloat. I learned about my strengths and weaknesses through trial and error, using all of the resources I could find to become a better business person. The QuickBooks ProAdvisor program provided access to numerous learning materials that helped me understand QuickBooks beyond a casual user’s knowledge.

In addition to the challenges of starting a business, I had to explore my interests to find my niche. Before starting your own QuickBooks practice, you need to put in perspective that you have to sell your skills and define yourself as a product or brand, asking yourself a few questions: Who are you? What can you offer? Why should a company hire you as their trainer, consultant or accountant?

You must keep your eyes and ears open because your clients will tell you exactly what they need. One of my clients challenged me to create a real estate and property management system to streamline its business and highlighted that there was no QuickBooks specialist in the real estate industry. The ProAdvisor program helped me develop my business strategy and training materials to take my interest in the real estate industry to the next level. Find the passion and drive to push beyond your comfort zone to become the “expert.”

Once you discover your niche, find out who else is providing similar services. The key is to distinguish yourself from the competition in some way. Even if you do not find someone in your specific niche, observe who has been successful in a similar industry and attempt to replicate their efforts, playing on your strengths. Getting in touch with the right people can bring you knowledge, understanding and even new business prospects. It is important to stay connected with other people in your field so you can always stay ahead of the curve and keep getting new clients.

Through the ProAdvisor program, I found a host of resources and a network of truly helpful individuals who were happy to point me in the right direction. Despite the competition among ProAdvisors, we are a close-knit community sharing our special tricks for our respective niche industries.

In addition to developing a niche, you must continue to expand your knowledge, not only about QuickBooks, but also about marketing, technology and third-party integrated solutions. I worked to develop a total solution for the real estate and property management client taking into consideration existing business practices and future business goals to integrate QuickBooks seamlessly. The resources and certifications I found in the ProAdvisor program made my business a success and allowed me to offer similar solutions to my clients for their business. This allowed to immerse myself in my clients’ successes and gain the trust from my clients.

The most important thing in starting any new business, especially an accounting practice, is the dedication and passion you bring to your craft. If you take this advice to heart, I believe that you too can do well. I wish you the best of luck.

To Learn More about the QuickBooks ProAdvisor Program, visit www.proadvisor.intuit.com.