Today, we’re talking to Linda Connely, EA, owner of Fiscally Fit Tax & Accounting Services, LLC, and one of the accounting professionals who won the #QBBetterTogether contest, along with her client, Lon Spooner, at Great River Sportsman. #QBBetterTogether focuses on the relationship between an accounting professional and one of their small business clients, highlighting the impact that relationship can have for both small businesses.
Shauna Maher: Welcome Linda, and congratulations on winning the #QBBetterTogether contest! Share with us a little bit about your accounting firm.
Linda Connely: Fiscally Fit’s niche is point of sale and construction contractors. I am passionate about these two client groups and am certified in QuickBooks Point of Sale Desktop, Revel Systems (iPad based) and Knowify (SAAS construction app that integrates with QuickBooks Online). I am an Advanced ProAdvisor and Intuit® Authorized Reseller, certified in all QuickBooks products. I am also a degreed accountant, an MBA and an Enrolled Agent.
Fiscally Fit fully embraces Intuit’s “Firm of the Future” concept. I work completely remotely, though I still visit clients just for fun and to maintain that close, trusted advisor relationship that I enjoy so much.
SM: How did you start working with Great River Sportsman? How did you find each other?
LC: They found me! The owner of Great River Sportsman, Lon Spooner, researched and purchased QuickBooks POS and the related hardware on his own. When the implementation of the POS system rose to the top of the punch list, they had a very difficult time finding specific POS expertise. Thankfully, with just one month before their planned store opening, someone found the “Find a ProAdvisor” site. There I was, a mere 25 miles away in the same rural county, fully certified, qualified and experienced in the product/system they had already purchased. Meant to be!
SM: What are the keys to having a successful working relationship with Great River Sportsman?
LC: Be accessible. Working with a retail store whose busiest times are weekends during the tourist season, I am always accessible via phone, text or our secure client portal. I have taken support calls from soccer fields 100 miles away, even once in church! Support calls are almost non-existent now, but when a retail store has an issue with their POS, they can’t wait until Monday morning.
Be more than the numbers person – pay attention to what will help make the business successful, and tweak workflows and systems to foster that success.
Have fun and keep a sense of humor! I try to bring balance and levity to the sometimes stress-filled realities of a retail business. There is a myriad of little things that can snowball into stressful situations, but it’s important to not let that happen. Remember to take one thing at a time and laugh a lot.
SM: What’s one of the biggest challenges you’ve helped Great River Sportsman with?
LC: It was a pretty wild ride in the beginning due to the POS software, hardware and related services being purchased, without the benefit of a POS ProAdvisor helping with those decisions. There was so much to do, and very little time to do it before the store opened. Not to mention a summer storm that knocked the power out for a whole day. But, we plowed through and the store opened as planned. I continued to import inventory item masters and receive in merchandise behind the scenes. I was there from 5 a.m. until 8 p.m. for several days in a row, but it was important to me that the business started on the right note.
Fast forward and the store just began its third season last month. Workflows are in place and the store operates smoothly and efficiently. I still work closely with Lon on the operational and financial management needs of the store, but I can do that totally remotely. I visit just for fun now!
SM: Do you use any apps with this client? Which ones?
LC: We use QBO payroll with direct deposit and bank feeds – all the automation we can get our hands on!
Hubdoc is a must-have for any client, and Lon loves it, too. We touch very little paper, but if we have to, we make sure we only touch it once. All payables are pushed to QBO from Hubdoc. Great River Sportsman does not even have a paper checkbook! SmartVault gives us peace of mind that sensitive files are secure. I use Transaction Pro Importer to import Z-tape/End of Day data to QBO.
SM: What is your favorite part about working with Great River Sportsman?
LC: I greatly enjoy the people – the owner, the staff and the customers (some even know me by name!). Lon is very dedicated to giving back to the community and revitalizing this small river community. I also love the way Lon has embraced the use of modern technology. He has allowed me to build a beautiful, functional system that serves his business well. QuickBooks POS gives him detailed data from which he can make informed buying and pricing decisions, as well as tracking the demographics of his customer base.
SM: What advice do you have for other accounting pros working with this type of small business client?
LC: Becoming a trusted advisor to your clients is an especially critical element for small business clients. And, with an entrepreneurial retail-type start-up, that trusted relationship is everything. We need to wear so many hats and change gears quickly. What started out as a short-term project implementing and training staff on POS has turned into a close, trusted advisor relationship and friendship with a company I am proud to be part of.
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