We had the pleasure of writing for Firm of the Future discussing how we have used technology to streamline our tax preparation process and deliver better services.
Published on Mar 11 @ 10:23 AM CDT
Having started the firm, initially it was named Baker & Company, but internally, we referred to ourselves as BaCo, the name kind of stuck and we moved to the BaCo Group because the identifiable word there is “group” – we developed a team...
Having started the firm, initially it was named Baker & Company, but internally, we referred to ourselves as BaCo, the name kind of stuck and we moved to the BaCo Group because the identifiable word there is “group” – we developed a team approach to client service, it isn’t just my firm but their career and their job is an integral part of everyone’s life that works here. That team approach sends the message to our clients and each other, that this is a group and we work together.
Recently, I had an opportunity to meet with a CPA who had sold his practice and stayed on after the sale to help with the transition. I mentioned in that conversation that in 2014 I had taken off in July and rode my bicycle from Canada to Mexico, I was out all month long. He asked how I could take off that much time and I replied our goal is that the group will cover for me while I am out, just like I will cover for them when they are out. He said something that really hit home, he said “I can’t take off that long and I sold my practice.”
Adapting that culture was not an automatic process but over time it formed based on what our firm vauled. Helping you be all you were created to be is really limiting that if it is just work, we were created to be a son, a daughter, a spouse, a parent, a friend, an advocate that does more than put debits on the left and credits on the right. It’s important that we provide excellent service to our clients when we are here so they appreciate and understand the need for us to take off when we aren’t. Once our clients become part of this culture, they are really excited about our trips, they know we plan for this to happen and they enjoy being part of a culture that thinks ahead and protects everyone’s downtime.
The world has adapted a 24x7 mentality, and I have had clients state they kind of expect that from us and I simply respond, no matter the size or the consequence, “that will never happen.” Our cell phone numbers are not on our business cards. We are not a call center, we also are a business where every single person and most businesses have the same deadlines, so there are times where we work a lot more, especially around those deadlines. The nice thing about that is that everyone in the world and most every business also has times where we don’t have to meet those deadlines, so we can plan ahead and take advantage of those down times but only if we plan ahead.
Work as a team, disconnect, reconnect and come back refreshed, that’s why BaCo. It not only works for me; it works for the Group.
Published on Feb 17 @ 3:17 PM CDT
14 years ago I started off my career at BaCo Group while I was attending a master's program full time. At the time I didn’t really see a future for myself at the firm. I didn’t mind the work, and I really liked the people, but I was young and I wanted more than what BaCo could offer me at the time. After my third year...
14 years ago I started off my career at BaCo Group while I was attending a master's program full time. At the time I didn’t really see a future for myself at the firm. I didn’t mind the work, and I really liked the people, but I was young and I wanted more than what BaCo could offer me at the time. After my third year there, I started navel-gazing other larger more reputable firms and was blinded by what other CPA firms were doing, like company-paid shopping sprees and fancy holiday parties, etc. When I graduated from my master's program, I had the opportunity to pursue my newly found affection for bigger firms.
I moved back to California where I grew up and I knew I wanted to work my way up the public accounting ladder for the purpose of gaining the respectful title of partner. Little did I know that when I actually got there, it really wasn't what I was expecting.
I initially became a CPA because it allows me to be part of the most important and intimate part of a person’s life, which is their finances. I became a CPA because I care. Someone once said, “Once healthcare became about making profits, it no longer became about care.” And I feel the same is true with the accounting firms of my past (and hopefully your past).
In fact, I had my future partners telling me the sweet spot of being a partner is not the 30 years that you are a partner struggling to service clients. The sweet spot of being a partner is when you build up this big asset (or what we call a book of business), and then sell it off to somebody else who will pay you out over the next five to 10 years for your retirement. It didn’t take me too long to realize that I was being groomed to be a non-equity partner to handle the partnership liability of a retiring partner (and the equity partners who remained).
And that got me thinking, is this what I really want to do? Sure with a bigger firm, I was able to travel and experience some pretty awesome company parties, but I never felt so empty and disgruntled. When I looked back at all the companies I've worked at, the most genuine place I have ever worked was the place I started. There wasn’t glitz or glamour to BaCo Group. We weren’t notorious like the firms of my past, but BaCo Group was genuine. We don’t treat clients like a number or a means to our own selfish profit. We treat customers like people who see the value in partnering with a CPA who cares.
I left BaCo Group because I wanted to chase my pride. I came back to BaCo Group because I needed that humble reminder that I became a CPA because I care and I wanted to continue that same culture of care not only for the customers we served but for our employees who help create those experiences.
So if you are a client of another CPA firm and you continually feel like you have been treated like a number year after year, know that BaCo Group exists to transform your perspective of what a customer-CPA relationship should look like. Or if you are a disgruntled accountant who is tired of being a means to someone else’s end, know that BaCo Group is looking to transform the industry’s perspective on what your career path can look like either here, or we can help empower/mentor you to venture out on your own. Regardless of where you are at in your business or career, we at the BaCo Group are here to help.
Published on Jan 11 @ 5:35 PM CDT
20/20 vision for 2020. It's not just catchy, it's the kind of vision every CPA firm needs and what their clients crave and it all starts with taking control ...
A CPA Dream Team of New Year's Resolutions
Its that time of the year where everyone resolves to do something they have been meaning to do. The new year is a fresh start, a new attitude and what better reason exist besides those to shed a few pounds or make some changes in your business that will have a positive impact on you and your customers.
For the first time ever, however, there is a CPA firm excited about those kinds of things for their lives and their firm. That firm is our firm, the BaCo Group. In fact, my New Year’s Resolutions look like this:
- In February, my firm will start and complete 10 x more 2019 state and federal tax returns than we did for 2018.
- In March and April, we will complete the majority of our remaining business and individual 2019 income tax returns without extension and deliver quarterly estimates at that time.
- We will do that while working on 2020 tax returns and deliver up to date tax projections during the 2020 tax season.
- We are going to do it while working less than we did last year as we make improvements to our workflow that will reduce overtime going forward.
- To enter an international competition that kicks off on February 28, 2020.
- I am going to lose the weight I put on after I hurt my back last summer.
The squeaky wheel that never got the grease
If you are one of the brave souls reading this article that does not work in public accounting (and let's face it, there aren't any people that will read this far into an article about income taxes and accounting that aren't accountants) most of that seems like what you would think any business and business owner should do. But for every other CPA in every other CPA firm, that isn’t even close to what your resolutions look like and this is exactly what we have to change because our industry is broken.
This is really important, it is time for CPAs to take control. This year in and year out trap we live with is built by us utilizing one of our greatest strengths, consistency. If we used our strength to build our problem, then we should expect it to be the incredibly strong problem it is.
Here is the problem we built, it's simple. We consistently use the same first two steps for every client we work with.
- The very consistent first step is to wait for the client to stop working on last year. Stopping takes the flow out of workflow. Taking control of the workflow will help every business close more efficiently.
- Once clients stop working on last year, the next step is to look at what we did last year for that client. More often than not, there are essential elements that are different for each client.
Wow, that's a mess. Let me try and sum it up. Wait until they stop to start and then look at what you did last time Think about it, if we can’t control the start and we don’t control what we do until we are ready to start, why would we expect anything other than a mess?
Shampoo Bottle Workflow
Our workflow solution looks like something you would print on a shampoo bottle, wait, look, repeat. I know this because the first question I used to teach my staff to ask when new work pops up on their desk is to ask “what did we do last year” and then I would tell them to do that. We all do that because that's what our bosses told us when we got started. We hire the best and the brightest students from the best accounting schools and we wonder why we have such a high turnover rate. When they look at what we did last year, and they do, they see they worked hundreds of hours of overtime, they spent no time with their family and they answered emails from clients 24 x 7 because they are always up against a deadline. Yet that is the exact plan we will take to them this year.
Most people have heard the saying, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.” Unfortunately for most CPA firms that have employees, their staff is not insane, they see we are going to do the same thing we did last year knowing we will get the exact same results and they are going to decide to do something different rather than expect to be happy doing what we did before. What’s worse, if your staff came to you with this article where a CPA said he was going to do the things they said because of some new technology, you would laugh and tell them, “I’ve been doing this for years, it’s never going to happen. It's been tried hundreds of times and it never works.” You might even point out that numbers 1 through 6 are mutually exclusive, you can’t do more by working less.
Truth Be Told
But here is the truth, at least as it comes to what you think and about my resolutions, those aren’t my resolutions. My resolutions are a much shorter list. That long list above is the things I know will happen because we follow through on my actual resolutions. We resolve to consistently implement two changes for every return. Because we hired accountants, we expect the resolutions to work because our CPAs are using their greatest strength, consistency. We resolve to
- TAKE CONTROL by
- starting now, not when our clients stop and
- ignoring what we did last year by implementing a standard procedure for every client
Guess what, we’ve already kept our resolution. That’s why this will work You are absolutely correct in stating this can’t be done as long as you don’t take control of the workflow for your business. Your clients want you to, your family wants you to, your staff wants you to and we found the tool that made it possible, its called BaCo Tech. It allows us to take control of our workflow, now, in real-time, we worked on some 2019 tax returns in 2019 and now we will work on all of our 2020 tax returns in 2020. We call it 20/20 vision for 2020.
If 20/20 vision in 2020 sounds like somebody figured it out and found the tool you've been looking for orif taking control of your workflow sounds like a plan you can get behind, click on the contact us link and hear about this amazing new technology. You can also sign up for our newsletter, where we will document these results for you.
If you want to see what this looks like for a client of the firm because you would be interested in a firm that delivered those kinds of results, the side effects of 1) and 2) for you are even better, just click here to see what BaCo Tech delivers for the clients of The BaCo Group.
Published on Jan 01 @ 1:43 PM CDT