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Hi. My name is Terry, and I'm the President of Quicksilver Accounting & Consulting,  Wilmington NC.

I created this blog to offer little hints, ideas, strategies and sometimes just silly excerpts from life to help other entrepreneurs gain insight.

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Written in Wilmington, NC

Thursday
Mar072019

Lunch anyone? It only takes an hour to show your appreciation.

I like to take our team out for lunch a few times a year.  We all have to eat, and spending time together instead of grabbing something at our desk is so much better.   There is no agenda, just good food and time away from the office.   Catching up on how each employee's family is doing, what kind of vacation plans they are making this year, and what they have been doing for fun are some of the topice we covered on our last lunch.

Showing a little appreciation for their hard work goes a long way, and it gives me time to renew our relationship and celebrate how our group interacts.   I highly recommend spending this time together.  Everyone comes away with a refreshed view of what is important to each of you outside the office.

Sunday
Feb172019

Sometimes smaller is just better

Plans for my firm have changed dramatically this past year.  Instead of constantly growing which means increasing staff in tandem, I’ve come to the realization (unfortunately not of my own doing)  that I like the lower level of staff needed to run my practice today and I don’t want to grow in both directions any more.  For someone who loves the skill sets used to accomplish larger growth, that is quite a discovery.

Recently a few clients have moved on as their circumstances changed, and I haven’t rushed to fill their spots.  They were high transaction clients with ever changing payrolls.   I’ve taken a step back and decided that I want to have more control of the kind of clients we work with and ultimately I want to keep my boutique firm agile, more efficient and simple.  There are certainly other benefits, like lower overhead, no office politics, tighter control of office procedures, and more time for each client.

I’m limiting our growth to clients who are only in the niches I want to pursue where we have the most knowledge.     We all have better life/work balance because I’m choosing not to take clients that don’t fit this model.   Taking in the best clients in our niches gives us the revenue to be successful. And by limiting the quantity of new clients outside those areas there will be no stress if something changes internally. We can adjust, be highly efficient and we can give better client service as well.

In business, there are many times that a change forces you to re-think your direction. Will you let that help or hinder you?   Are you directing your own outcome or are you falling into place with what others are demanding? These are hard questions that need answers when you are pondering your future grow pattern.

Sometimes smaller is just better for you and your clients, and that takes lots of determination to keep your business within the parameters chosen.

 

Saturday
Nov032018

How to pursue a profitable niche for your service business


In the last few years, our firm has been cultivating several niches.  It didn’t happen because we set out to look for a particular field, but as we got more experienced in those fields, people found us.  We decided each person in our firm would become knowledgable in a particular field so we could cover several specific areas.

When it came time to create a new website for Quicksilver Accounting & Consulting recently,  we knew we needed to bring these niches to the forefront and let our potential clients know we had expert knowledge in these areas.

Accounting is generally the same for most businesses, but as you start to work with certain areas like dental groups, lawyers, designers, etc.  you learn their ‘language”. You become familiar with their vendors, their client base, their marketing and their way of running a business.  Who wouldn’t want to work with a firm that already knows how their practice works?

Working in niche areas is a powerful and very profitable knowledge base for your firm and can apply to other business models outside of accounting as well.

So I’d like to give a few words of wisdom that I learned along the way-

 

  1. Set yourself apart by letting potential clients know you service this area.
  2. Make sure your website is equipped to bring in searches for these niches.
  3. Confirm your knowledge and experience. Show you know the language of their business.
  4. Seek niches your firm has high interest in and that you feel drawn to work within.
  5. Pick profitable niche categories.
  6. Charge a premium for your expertise.
  7. Ask for referrals from your clients. Let them know you would like to work with their peers as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday
May052018

Personal finances can be just as organized as business..

For as many years as I can remember I have used either Quicken, QuickBooks or now QuickBooks Online for our personal finances.   The idea of being able to see all our investment numbers, banking and credit card balances,etc all in one spot was always my goal.  

To that end,  I needed software that would bring everything in automatically, and make it fast and easy, so it didn't become a chore.  I have looked at other programs, but for me, QuickBooks Online made a lot of sense since I knew the program well.    It doesn't do investments, but the companies we have those at have very capable software- no need to bring in more than the ending numbers each month. 

Creating a personalized chart of accounts gives me very detailed information on each home, and all our personal assets and expenses.  Every six months I run a P&L and Balance Sheet (yes, I just said that!).  I've done this for years- and know exactly what our net worth is at any time.  

This might sound like overkill, but should anything happen to me, my family has the full picture at their finger tips. Every account is listed, balances, etc.  And being this organized helps us reach some personal goals I set every five years.  

Run your household like a mini business. Let the software do most of the work.  It doesn't take more than an hour each week to keep up with everything. Automate as much as possible. Set recurring items in your software, and enjoy the process of being super organized.   Intuit's Mint is a good choice if you have never done this and want to see what it might be like if you have simpler needs.

For many of my clients, their personal side of life is very complicated.  Being able to have all this information when needed, for mortgages or loans would be a big time saver in the long run.   Do you know what your personal net worth is today?  Could your family find one piece of paper with all your assets and expenses on it right now?  Come on- try it! In the end you will wonder why you didn't run your personal finances just as organized as your business.

Friday
Apr202018

Is your accounting firm becoming a dinosaur?

In the last year, I have noticed there seem to be two kinds of accounting firms emerging.  Progressive firms that have latched onto technology and current trends, and older firms who's partners are probably retiring in the next decade and don't want to make a real effort to stay relevant.

I can personally point the finger at these firms, for I am of that 'certain age' that might have been in the later group, had it not been for my innate curiosity of what's out there and my love of trade conferences which keep me abreast of all the new software and trends.   Efficiency is a driver as well, and the love of the field keeps me wanting to offer the very best available.  

There are several indicators your accounting firm has become outdated. What does a progressive accounting firm look like?

Check their website- Is it well organized and informative?  Are they staying in touch with the latest trends and offering new opportunities to their clients?  If a company hasn't updated their website in several years, its safe to say they aren't staying in touch with the world around them.  Do they have social media accounts that are being updating, like Facebook and LinkedIn?  

Have their offerings to you changed in the last several years or are they doing the 'same old stuff' and stagnating.  Are they upgrading staff, adding younger employees and adding new ways to help you?  Are they talking more about helping you grow, and less about data entry?

Do they seem to be using the latest technology or are they still working on older desktop versions, creating excels, creating massive journal entries? The quickest way to find if they are staying relevant is to notice how they operate internally and how they interface with you.  Are they hoarding your information on their 'proprietary' software so you don't have constant access and they have you at their mercy? That drives me crazy! 

Are they suggesting new ways for you to manage your business?  New apps that help you?  Can they interact with your most recent changes and make valid suggestions for improvement? Progressive accountants are finding ways to add the best service possible.  You become their number one focus, not the other way around. 

Are they a jack of all trades with no specialities? Being all to everyone doesn't help stay on top of the latest trends in certain fields.  Look for a company that has a niche in your speciality.

And last, but the most important, do you have the information you need at your fingertips?  Or are they providing financial reports a month or two later, taking longer to close out your prior month, leaving you to make decisions on old information? 

Progressive firms are finding ways to do more analyzing and consulting, using technology to help with data entry and eliminating duplication.  Don't let your financial needs come at the cost of 'we've always worked with them".  A progressive firm is client-centric and stays current with the latest technology and specialized staff.

Which is your accounting firm? Progressive or dinosaur?