#QBBetterTogether: Executive Focus Connections

#QBBetterTogether: Executive Focus Connections

Today, we’re talking to Sandra Seiler of Executive Focus Connections. Sandra is one of the accounting professionals who won the #QBBetterTogether contest, along with her client Dawn Burke of Dawn of Designs, whose profile is posted on the QuickBooks Online blog.

Shauna Maher: Welcome, Sandra, and congratulations on winning the #QBBetterTogether contest. Can you share a little bit about your accounting firm?

Sandra Seiler: Executive Focus Connections has been in business for six years. We provide remote and onsite support for small businesses, including consultations for setting up and managing QuickBooks®. Other services include bookkeeping, project management and event planning. My background is from Wall Street in office operations, so I have a great depth of knowledge of financial management and project management, and I enjoy using this experience to help small business owners.

SM: How did you start working with Dawn of Designs? How did you find each other?

SS: Dawn and I were introduced by a business coach we were both working with at the time. She had already started using QuickBooks Desktop, but she didn’t really know how to use it, and because she wasn’t using it correctly, it wasn’t giving her what she needed.

SM: What are the keys to having a successful working relationship with Dawn of Designs?

SS: Initially, Dawn was hesitant about working with someone. Over time, and through open communication and trust, our relationship developed into a great one that has been mutually beneficial. I use her services as well, and we refer one another. She’s a great person to brainstorm and collaborate with.

SM: What’s one of the biggest challenges you’ve helped Dawn with?

SS: When I met Dawn, she was mingling her personal and business finances. It took a good six months to get her up and running because she had such a large backlog going back several years of financials that we needed to go through and reconcile. There was a lot of training, getting her transitioned from Desktop to QuickBooks Online, and ramped up on QuickBooks Payments. Ultimately her cash flow improved significantly through the work we did together.

SM: What is your favorite part about working with Dawn?

SS: It’s turned into a really great friendship! Now, we’re golf buddies, we both happen to have sons named Hunter, and are both from the same town in the Northeast. The more we get to know each other, the more we have in common. It’s nice to have someone who is likeminded to network and collaborate with. 

SM: What advice do you have for other accounting pros working with this type of small business client?

SS: I think open communication and flexibility are key. When you’re working with a small business, flexibility is so important. For example, I work around her schedule and will use the type of communication – text, email or phone – that’s  best for her. I also think it’s important to understand the business owner’s industry and speak their language. Showing that you know and understand the terms used in their industry gives you credibility with the business owner and shows that you’ve invested time.