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 Megan Genest Tarnow, principal of The Mobius Group, a firm in Saint Paul, Minn.
Mindy Kind: Megan, tell us about your accounting and/or tax practice.
Megan Genest Tarnow: The Mobius Group is a QuickBooks-centric consulting practice focused on nonprofits. We used to say "focused exclusively on nonprofits," but a few of our clients are now spinning off Social Benefit Corporations (B-Corps) so we are working with a few of those as well. I also run a QuickBooks for Nonprofits Meetup, with the goal of raising the level of expertise of local end users and consultants.
MK: How long have you been using QBOA?
MGT: I think I had my first client on QuickBooks Online (QBO) back in 2006 or so, but I’ve only actively been using QBOA for maybe the last three years.
MK: What convinced you to make the move to QBOA?
MGT: I didn’t want to get too far behind the learning curve. We’d already moved all of our desktop clients to a hosted environment, so that we could access their data from anywhere and stop driving all over town. But, I’ve got a lot of years left in my career and I could see the way the winds are blowing. QBOA is the future, even though I know Intuit® is not abandoning the desktop. Honestly, the more time I spend in QBOA, the more hosted desktop feels like an irritating, expensive and transitional technology. The data is still not particularly accessible or transparent. I am excited by the possibilities of QBO to give my clients much closer to real-time access to their data. My team loves being able to log in once and rapidly move between client files.
MK: What are your goals for your practice this year?
MGT: We are actively working to move existing clients to QBO and recommending it to new clients. It would take a lot for us to accept a new client that will not use QBO. We are working to develop and refine a new process to really utilize all the fields in QBO. I’m especially excited about using Locations to track unrestricted and restricted activity, and helping our nonprofit clients be absolutely clear on where their restricted funds are.
MK: What’s your favorite away-from-the-office place to get work done?
MGT: I inherited my mother’s home in Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, and I LOVE being able to work there, looking out over the UNESCO World Heritage site of Paquimé and the Sierra Madres. It’s amazing.
MK: Where’s the craziest place you’ve done work for a client?
MGT: I try to set boundaries. Just because we CAN work anywhere doesn’t mean we SHOULD. That said, when a client contacted me in a panic while I was in a session at QuickBooks Connect, with the help of ShareFile and Office365 I was able to pull up and make changes to some board reports on my iPhone without leaving the room. Because there is nothing crazy about coffee shops, airports and hotel rooms, right?
MK: What’s your number one time-savings tip?
MGT: Keep everything on the cloud, so you are not tied down to any location or device. And, delegate.
MK: When you’re not working, what’s your favorite way to spend your time?
MGT: I read. I knit. I love walking my dogs. I’ve got a Wheaten Terrier and her mini-me, a little Mexican street dog that was my mother’s. No matter how my workday has gone, they are just so HAPPY to get out that it makes my day.
MK: What advice do you have for peers that are still on desktop?
MGT: Make a list of the issues you think you have with QBO, and check back often. QBO changes every single month, so those issues go away faster than you might imagine. Dip a toe in. Use it for your own business. Try it with a small client, unless you are planning to retire within the next year or two. Technology is changing rapidly, and we need to understand it and harness it for our clients. Personally, I can’t wait for AI to take over more of the bookkeeping, so I can spend my time helping my clients figure out what it all means. I know we are often called "bean-counters," but it has never really been about the beans.