The QuickBooks ProAdvisor® Program equips accounting professionals with the tools they need to fuel small business success. Jody Jordan, CPA, transitioned from her career in accounting firms to opening her own practice in Olive Branch, Miss., attributing much of her success to the ProAdvisor Program. Jody was also a runner-up in the 2016 Firm of the Future Contest and has served on Intuit’s® Accountant Council.
Michelle Berg: Hi Jody. Let’s get started with some background information on your practice.
Jody Jordan: My practice is cloud-based, specializing in small businesses. My mission is to help streamline my clients’ accounting processes to make them more efficient, and through my virtual practice, I can do so in my home office!
MB: Can you tell me about why you decided to start your own practice?
JJ: I took the leap of faith and started my own business in June 2014. I had many years of public accounting experience with regional and local firms, but wanted more work/life balance. As the years went by, people were jumping on cloud accounting and showing me that paperless accounting was possible. This gave me the confidence I needed to start my own accounting practice, working from a home office. I didn’t need an IT person, secretary or receptionist. I am very self-motivated and knew that a normal work day start time of 8 a.m. would not be a challenge. I am the type of person who will be at my desk regardless whether I’m in an employer’s office or a home office.
MB: What were some of the first things you did when getting started?
JJ: I needed marketing help, and so one of the first things I did was to become a ProAdvisor by taking the QuickBooks® Online Certification exam. The listing on Find-a-ProAdvisor offers a free opportunity to market your services, but I also knew I needed to do some work to be taken seriously. I took the time to complete my ProAdvisor profile and also hired a web developer to help me to build a professional website.
My goal was to help potential clients understand what I can do for their business, not to think that all I do is crunch numbers. I want to convey that because of the work I do, they get the peace of mind that their books are clean and know they’re good at tax time.
MB: How has being listed on Find-a-ProAdvisor helped you to grow your practice?
JJ: Outside of client referrals, Find-a-ProAdvisor has been my number 1 source of new business. I’ve tried other things, such as working with our local chamber of commerce, but Find-a-ProAdvisor is what’s really helped me to find new clients. A lot of people start using QuickBooks, but get to the point that they need help. Right there in the product is the icon showing you how to find someone like me to help your business succeed. I also have relationships with other ProAdvisors who might not do the work I do, so they’ll refer business my way and vice-versa. We help each other out; we’re not competing with one another.
MB: What tips do you have for other ProAdvisors to get more leads from Find-a-ProAdvisor?
JJ: Ask for referrals and reviews – that helps a lot. One time, I put together an email to my clients to thank them for their business. I let them know that my practice is in a growth phase and I was looking for more clients. It helps to let them know that I’m a small business, just like they are, and I need more clients to also meet my business goals. I pasted the link to my profile to make it really easy for them to go write a review, and had a good response. Now, things are busy!
MB: How else does being a ProAdvisor help you?
JJ: One of the biggest things for tax season is getting those free tax returns from Intuit ProConnect™ Tax Online, which I’ve been using since I started my own practice. I’m a bookkeeper at heart, so I avoid doing tax, but I’ll also do tax for clients if I’m doing their books.
Another big advantage of being a ProAdvisor is the free QuickBooks Online (QBO) subscription for my own books. I tell my clients that I have to do my own bank reconciliations and look at my own numbers, so I understand what it’s like for them. QBO Plus is my favorite accounting software ever, so having it for free is great.
MB: What has been your most interesting experience as a ProAdvisor?
JJ: One of my clients, Shawn (see video below), found me through Find-a-ProAdvisor. I was doing his books for about a year, but had never met him in person. One day, I was at church and I saw Shawn there. My husband pushed me to go say hello, and it was such a fun coincidence! It also goes to show that even though a potential client was right there in front of me, he never would have found me without my ProAdvisor listing.
MB: How do you create value for your clients?
JJ: I pride myself on my customer service and excellent response time. I also help them be more efficient by finding and recommending new apps. For example, if I notice that someone is doing a lot of time tracking, I will recommend that they use QuickBooks Time as a way to make their payroll processing easier. Also, there are a lot of QuickBooks features that clients don’t know about. For example, many banks and credit card companies can be set up to directly feed transactions into QBO. I make sure to let them know about these things that can make them more efficient.
MB: You mentioned your strong relationships with other ProAdvisors. Who is a ProAdvisor you admire?
JJ: Cathy Iconis. She is an advocate for QBO and wants other ProAdvisors to be knowledgeable about the product, updates and apps, and spearheads the work to help others take their practice into the cloud.
MB: Looking at the year ahead, what challenges are you tackling, and what goals do you have for your practice?
JJ: The hardest thing is just being a small business, from getting new clients to learning how to scale my practice. My goal is to find a niche. I want to find an industry that can really benefit from cloud accounting, and then start to specialize in helping those businesses to streamline their processes.
Editor’s Note: Click on the video below to see how Jody helps her clients succeed: