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Firm of the Future Profile: Spark Accounting Solutions PLLC

Welcome back to our Firm of the Future profile series about thriving firms who are benefitting from the cloud and QuickBooks® Online Accountant (QBOA) to better serve clients and find new revenue opportunities. In this new article, we spotlight Julie Babcock-Hyde of Spark Accounting Solutions PLLC

Mindy King: Tell us about your accounting and/or tax practice.

Julie Babcock-Hyde: In fall 2015, I rebranded my business, Spark Accounting Solutions PLLC, to represent a renewed focus on small business services and financial success. We serve small businesses by helping them create solid financial and business plans, designed to meet their business and personal financial goals. We help our clients focus on profitability using different consulting methods, but underneath it all, we support and provide quality accounting data using cloud-based accounting tools.

MK: How long have you been using QuickBooks Online?

JBH: I have been QuickBooks Online certified since 2013.

MK: What convinced you to make the move to QuickBooks Online Accountant?

JBH: When I started my practice, I knew I wanted to be able to work with clients remotely and quickly saw that cloud-based tools were the best way to do that. It enabled me to support my clients wherever I was, and enabled them to get the data they needed wherever they are. Many of my clients would be categorized as field service clients, so they are mobile and need to be able to invoice and collect funds on the go, gather receipt images electronically, and have their customer data at their fingertips. QuickBooks Online enables my clients to get the data they need, and QuickBooks Online Accountant helps my team efficiently service their accounts and provide timely information to help them run more profitable businesses.

MK: What are your goals for your practice this year?

JBH: In the next year, we hope to continue to serve more clients from all over the country, but want to focus our growth on providing increased value to our clients by providing even more support around profitability, coaching and strategic planning to improve their profitability and cash flow.

MK: What’s your favorite away-from-the-office place to get work done?

JBH: This question is hard! There are so many options. I’m going to have to say anywhere I have 4G cell coverage with at least three bars and a lake view. 

MK: Where’s the craziest place you’ve done work for a client? 

JBH: This is a toss up – either running payroll from my phone on the lanai at the hotel in Hawaii or hiking around a lake in Idaho to find the best cell service so I could send a tax return copy through our secure filing sharing system to a client trying to get financed for a loan.

MK: What’s your number one time savings tip?

JBH: I think as accountants, we often get stuck doing things the way we’ve always done them. Everyone has heard this old accounting joke:

Q: “Why did the auditor cross the road?”

A: “Because that was what the file said they did last year.”

As a new generation of accountants with all new automation tools, I think my best tip for timesavings is to really look at what you are doing and ask yourself two questions:

  1. Do I really need to still do this?
  2. If I do need to continue to do this, can I automate this? Is there an easier way?

From bank feeds, to bank rules, to new apps, there are easier ways to do almost every task accountants have traditionally done. Identify where your time is being wasted and explore the new tools at to make your life easier.

MK: When you’re not working, what’s your favorite way to spend your time?

JBH: I love to get outside and go camping, hiking and riding ATVs.

MK: What advice do you have for peers that are still on desktop?

JBH: Come over the dark – oops – I mean to the easier side. Unchain yourself from your desk! There are still a few situations where your clients may be best served working on desktop, but once you experience the freedom that comes with being in the cloud, you’ll love it. Having the freedom to deliver what your clients need from whereever you are at makes it that much easier to experience life outside the office, while still running your business. 

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