Integrity without Compromise and We Care and Give Back
As I rounded the corner into the home stretch of my second full year on team Intuit, it occurred to me that the two years had been filled with so many amazing opportunities working with our top accounting firm partners to build a vision & strategy for becoming a future-ready firm: moving their client base from legacy desktop systems to new, shiny QuickBooks® Online (QBO), teaching them how to sell their value instead of just their time and reminding them that we are in this together, as partners.
You’ll often hear Brad Smith and Jim McGinnis talk about Intuit’s mission to improve our customers’ financial lives so profoundly that they can’t imagine going back to the old way … and, just recently, it dawned on me that my firms’ mission is to improve their clients’ financial lives as well. I spend my days telling my partners to become their customers’ trusted advisors. So, it’s only right that I consider myself their trusted advisor at Intuit.
This past summer, my efforts partnering with firms led me right to an opportunity to serve the local Southern California community alongside one of my accountants, and participate in my first We Care and Give Back project. Each summer, Kellogg & Andelson, a Los Angeles-based firm, hosts a group of students from local Granada Hills Charter High School to intern at the firm for a week. As part of their internship, Lorene Dixon, vice president over K&A’s Bookkeeping group, provides the school with a day of QuickBooks training. Realizing that she’d spent the past year converting her entire accounting services practice to QBO, Lorene couldn’t bring herself to sit these students down at computers and show them QuickBooks Desktop. Instead, she asked Valerie Heckman, our beloved product specialist, and me, to come in and spend the afternoon showing them QBO.
Valerie and I left the firm on cloud nine, and I blogged about our experience on my personal blog: View From My Shoes. We said right then and there that we’d come back again next summer. We were not expecting to get a call from the head of Granada Hills Charter High School’s Business & Finance program a few weeks later, saying how much the students loved the time with us, and asking us if we would consider an after-school program this fall to train students more extensively on QBO.
After lots of emails, phone calls, PowerPoint reviews, prepping on weekends and even sacrificing some early-innings of Chicago Cubs playoff games, Valerie and I, along with several We Care and Give Back volunteers from Intuit’s Woodland Hills office, took 32 Juniors and Seniors through a QuickBooks Online Basic Certification training course. Valerie, who is located in Chicago, presented virtually via Google Hangout – we didn’t let geography get in our way!
In four afternoons, we went from basic accounting principles (debits on the left, credits on the right!) and QBO account setup, to creating custom invoices in QBO and dabbling in the QBO Ecosystem with add-ons and third-party apps. All the while, the students were eagerly following along, asking questions, taking notes and going home to practice for, and take, the online exam.
On one of the last days, a student came to me and thanked me for taking the time to be there. She said it had been the most interesting class she had taken and couldn’t wait for school to be over so that she could get back to learning more about QuickBooks®. Her genuine enthusiasm made me melt, but beyond that, I realized how critical this effort is.
We spend our day jobs building the firms of the future – firms that exist today, tomorrow and for years to come, but that week, Valerie and I got to invest in the true future: tomorrow’s future bookkeepers, accountants, entrepreneurs, software developers, and perhaps, even product specialists and business development managers.
What an amazing opportunity to practice Intuit’s core values in our work with these students and empower them with knowledge that could get them a summer internship now. More importantly, it may open doors to a successful career in the accounting profession or small business world in 5 years.
When Lorene first mentioned to me why she works with the GHCHS students and holds this internship each year, she said her dream is to some day hire one of the students at her firm. After spending the week with them, I think I can speak for Valerie when I say that we would love to see a few of them suited up in Intuit blue!