Peter Cullen Builds Core Performance with QuickBooks Online
Our customers are one in a million – and now that Intuit has surpassed a major milestone, 1 million QuickBooks® Online subscribers – we’re highlighting customers who have been on the journey to the cloud with us. Whether they started in 2001 with the first version of QuickBooks Online (QBO) or recently started using the offering, here are the faces, stories and lives of our customers. Thanks for being #ThanksAMillion.
Today, we talked with Peter Cullen, a partner at Core Performance, about how using QBO has created stronger relationships with his clients.
Q: Tell us about Core Performance.
Peter: We are a 100% cloud accounting firm and only work with customers who are committed to using cloud-based products, such as QBO and Intuit® Online Payroll, for accounting and financial management. The firm is 10 years old and has seven people on staff. When we started the company, we used to focus more on the desktop world, but shifted over time to the cloud.
Q: When did you start using QBO?
Peter: We started on QBO in 2005-2006, but only for a select amount of clients. As Intuit built out the product and added more features, we started moving more and more clients to the cloud.
Q: How many clients do you have in the cloud and what are the biggest benefits?
Peter: We have 26 customers on QBO, and all of them are on the latest version. By having our customers on QBO, we are able to work with them side by side. Our customers are all over the world, because with the cloud, there are no boundaries. We have clients in the United Kingdom, India and Australia who are looking for a U.S.-based accounting firm that can advise them on U.S. law, tax returns, compliance, tax planning and other areas.
Another sweet spot of the cloud is working alongside the customers as they do things in QBO. Our goal is to make them feel as if they aren’t working with an accounting firm or contractor, but rather, with a team member. For example, a lot of our clients still want to do their own billing; working with QuickBooks Online allows them to process billing while we tackle other functions. This integration makes them part of our team and makes us more like members of their company.
Q: Tell us more about the tax side of your business.
Peter: We were one of the first firms to move everything from ProSeries® to Intuit ProConnect™ Tax Online (ITO), and have been cloud-only on ITO for the last three years. We want everything to be on the browser, so that when we get new employees, we give them PCs. They don’t get a hard drive because we don’t want them storing information locally.
Q: Do you still have desktop clients?
Peter: Yes, absolutely. Desktop was the legacy of our firm years ago, and we still service some of those customers. We try and encourage them to move to the cloud, but we don’t force the issue. The cloud is not for everyone, so we work with our clients to service their needs and provide the solutions that are the best fit for them.
Q: What about new clients? Are you starting them off with QBO?
Peter: When we work with a new customer, it is part of the onboarding process to add them to QBO. They invite us as their external accountant and we add them into our QuickBooks Online Accountant (QBOA). Working in the cloud is so seamless; we even migrated our own firm’s QuickBooks file over to QuickBooks Online Accountant.
Q: How has using QBO changed how you work?
Peter: The biggest change is that you get closer to the companies you work with. When you access their data and work in their file in real time, you communicate regularly, and are well informed and better prepared to provide advice right away. The relationship becomes more day by day rather than periodic, which is what most accounting firms have.
Q: Do you use QBO Mobile and iPad applications as well?
Peter: We’re beginning to, but are latecomers to those tools. We work in a lot of different applications, and because we are accountants, we are often entering data, so the laptop is the best for that. I foresee a day in the near future when the iPad will replace the laptop.
Q: Are you certified in QBO?
Peter: I’m working on the advanced QBO certification now, and two of my colleagues are working on it as well.
Q: What makes you excited about work?
Peter: The thing that excites me is taking away my clients’ financial pain points. People who are running companies are dealing with a lot of pain points, and our goal is to help them make the cash flow smoother so that they have one less thing to worry about. When customers call us for accounting, they are frustrated and need help, and we strive to help them.
Q: Tell us about the roadshow you’re going on.
Peter: I’m going on the road with Intuit to help form bonds with people using QBOA. We’re talking with about 30 firms about how we use QuickBooks and QBOA, explaining the value of working more closely with clients on the cloud. We feel like an extension of the Intuit team; we love the company and do what we can to support their mission.