Welcome to another in a series of profiles spotlighting the 2015 Firm of the Future finalists. In this new article, we feature Veronica Wasek of VM Wasek CPA, LLC. Be sure to scroll down to see her video.
Elizabeth Johnson: How is VM Wasek CPA, LLC redefining the CPA firm?
Veronica Wasek: We are redefining the CPA firm by working on our expertise, focusing on one area and being really good at it, rather than trying to be all things to all people. Our other priority is to provide services that we can turn around quickly for our clients, focusing on QuickBooks®, QuickBooks accounting, QuickBooks consulting and being able to really take care of our clients’ needs.
EJ: Tell me what makes VM Wasek a Firm of the Future?
VW: We’ve always been early adopters of technology, unafraid to test new things and open minded about change. I started the company five years ago, and we couldn’t do what we can do now, as far as technology. I choose to be cloud based because my husband’s dream was to become a farmer, so I knew one day I’d have to be able to work from a farm. It turned out that our clients love that we’re 100% cloud-based and able to work with them anytime, anywhere and whenever they need our help. When they have a question, we can just go to their QuickBooks Online account and give them an answer pretty quickly. Also, we’re able to work with clients nationwide and have expanded globally, now working with clients in the UK, Germany and Canada. The cloud has opened up the world to us.
EJ: Have you ever had any challenges convincing clients to transition to QuickBooks Online?
VW: When QuickBooks Online became more popular, I decided to try it out on my own firm because that was the only way I felt that I could recommend it to my clients. And, whenever one of them hesitated to transition to the cloud, I was able to calm their fears, convincing them to give it a try.
VW: Yes. We have been able to solve a lot of problems for our clients and some of their unique needs. For example, we had a real estate client whose agents were expecting to get paid every day. When they presented that commission check, they wanted their cut of the commission check. The client had to write checks every single day, and it was such a burden for them. We introduced them to Bill.com and explained that they could pay all their agents electronically, freeing them from all those paper checks and the administrator burden. They are just thrilled, and love the app.
EJ: How do you discover new apps?
VW: Primarily by going to the Intuit® App Center and looking at the recommended, most popular apps. Also, by going to shows such as QuickBooks Connect and talking to the vendors. I’ve learned just to focus on the apps that work for the industries that we’re serving. Once I meet the app developers and feel like there’s a good connection, I’ll test it out and make sure that it would be a good fit for our clients.
EJ: What would your advice be to those who are hesitant to adopt cloud technologies?
VW: Start with one app. Even if you’re not using QuickBooks Online, convert your firm to QuickBooks Online and make sure that you’re familiar with it and learn it. Then, start using one app and get familiar with it. Once you’re comfortable with it, recommend it to your clients, one at a time.
EJ: How do you bill your clients?
VW: I chose to charge our clients in advance and use fixed fees, primarily because when I started my company, we were in the middle of the recession and I thought it would give someone peace of mind knowing exactly how much their services would cost. This also helped me because I got paid upfront and knew I’d have the cash flow to pay my staff. We’ve continued to use value pricing and it has really helped us be successful. It’s about that the relationship with the client and partnering with them, and part of that is being transparent with our pricing.
EJ: How do you find new clients, or how do they find you?
VW: The way that we find new clients is actually a little outside the box compared to your traditional accounting firm. The majority of our clients find us online, including on our QuickBooks Find-a-ProAdvisor website. Five years ago, when I started my website, I felt that the easiest way for clients to find us was online because I didn’t have to do as much work. It takes a lot of time to network and go to events, and it has been a fabulous option for us.
EJ: You mention in your video, too, that you’re marketing is on autopilot with your website. How does that work?
VW: We’ve really focused on making our website look appealing to our prospects, in order to speak directly to their needs. The website about our clients. We use search engine optimization to find good prospects. We’re also transparent about our pricing and the benefits that we give clients. By the time potential clients actually contact me, they feel like they already know me.
EJ: Is it true that you made 0,000 from one social media post?
VW: It is! One social media post on LinkedIn got us a client that generated 0,000 in revenues over three years. This was actually very early on, when I had just become certified in QuickBooks. I was shouting it out to the world, so I posted it on LinkedIn. Someone that I met through networking liked the post, and someone who knew him thought that, “If this person took the time to like Veronica’s post, then she must be a really special person and I need to meet her.” And, then she ended up referring this client to us.
EJ: If you were stranded on a desert island with access to only ONE kind of technology, what would it be and why?
A microwave oven. I love to eat! Does anyone have a recipe for microwave coconut?
EJ: “In the future I’d like to…” Fill in the blank.
VW: In the future, I’d like to tap into my QuickBooks Online phone and be able to see what my staff is doing and the things that my clients need, look at all of my prospects, and be able to take care of that anytime, anywhere.
Editor’s Note: Click on the video below to see Veronica Wasek’s Firm of the Future video.