ProAdvisor Profile of the Month: Cathy Iconis, CPA
This month, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Cathy Iconis, CPA, in Atlanta, Georgia. Cathy has a number of notable accomplishments under her belt; she is a seven-time 40 under 40 award winner, Managing Partner Elite by Accounting Today, and founder of both Iconis Group and #QBOChat. We were captivated early on by Cathy’s passion for QuickBooks® Online, and the sense of community she drives among accounting professionals.
Jessica McCracken: Thanks for sitting down with me, Cathy! Tell me a little about your practice.
Cathy Iconis :I run a practice of one, here in Atlanta. We’re an outsourced bookkeeping firm, with a passion for connecting small business to their numbers so they can better understand their business and reach their goals.
Jessica: We know that accounting isn’t the most popular major anymore. What made you choose accounting?
Cathy: I took my first accounting course knowing that I had a strong foundation in mathematics. That shot me onto the path that I am now, and I haven’t looked back. Accounting is a guaranteed career path, we’ll always need accountants. I love being on my own, but I know that I could step back into the corporate world if I ever decided to in the future.
Jessica: What did you do before starting your own practice?
Cathy:After getting my CPA credential, I did a few years in public accounting and a few years in private corporate accounting. My two big focus areas were audit and forensic accounting. Working in these areas exposed me to a multitude of experiences, but I had a ton of passion around diversifying. I liked stepping into marketing, growth, and diversity. I wanted the freedom to use my own creativity.
Jessica: How did you get started on your own?
Cathy: I started in 2009, after I had my first daughter while still on maternity leave. She was two months old, and I needed something that let me stay close to her. It was in the early days of Twitter and Atlanta was one of the highest usage areas. I actually met my first clients on Twitter!
Jessica: The origins of QBOChat! Details we’ve all been looking forward to! Why did you create QBOChat?
Cathy: I saw other Twitter chats happening, and I was so passionate about QBO. This was the early days of QuickBooks Online, and I wanted to connect with other people who loved it as much as I do. Originally, I planned on making the chat for small business owners, but today, it’s a wonderful mix of bookkeepers, accountants and our app partners.
You can join QBO Chat live every Thursday at 3 pm, ET, for a fun and engaging conversation with other QuickBooks Online users!
Jessica: What’s next for QBO chat?
Cathy: I have a group on Facebook, Build Your Best QBO Practice, that is to help accountants and bookkeepers build THEIR best practice based on their own talents and passions I also offer Master Courses, month-long educational classes that help accountants and bookkeepers develop their skills and business. Through the courses, you get educational materials, Facebook Lives, access to ask me anything and a ton of material.
In a world of virtual everything, I love giving people a place to go to grow within a community. People keep QBOChat on their calendars every Thursday and they bring so much of themselves to the chat. I look at that and I ask how I can help people be the best they can be. It only helps the industry, both for accountants and small business owners.
Jessica: Tell me about being a ProAdvisor®. How did it help you get started, and what are your favorite things in the program?
Cathy: Training is SO important, and it was key for me when I started my business. I read Michelle Long’s book on building a successful practice, which prompted me to get started on my certification. I struggled at first with the certification – and this was after I passed the CPA exam! The ProAdvisor training material helps me stay up to date with the program and be more efficient. The more efficient I am with the program, the better I can serve my clients.
Jessica: Now that you’re a QuickBooks pro, how does the ProAdvisor Program support your firm?
Cathy: The support is amazing. I don’t have to contact them often, but when I do, I know I’ll get a response. I also love that I can chat with them on days I don’t want to pick up the phone. I listen to the In the Know Webinar to stay up on the latest from product. I also utilize the Firm of the Future page for updates on how new features work and how we should position them to our clients.
Jessica: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone just getting started?
Cathy: Training is how you become an expert, and ProAdvisor is the way to get that foundation. You miss a lot if you don’t have that training.
Jessica: Thanks for spending so much time with us. Before I let you go, can you share your favorite story that’s come from the ProAdvisor Program?
Cathy: I was invited to join the Accountant Council, which completely changed my path. I was the first person on the council with a QBO only practice and the first to use social media to find clients. It was so exciting to watch our sessions change over the course of a couple years from primarily desktop to so centric to QuickBooks Online!