How to Optimize Your CPA Firm: Insights from Jackie Meyer and Julie Smith

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In a recent episode of the Concierge CPA podcast, Jackie Meyer, CPA, President and Founder of TaxPlanIQ, sat down with Julie Smith of Harper & Co CPAs. Their conversation delved into strategies for optimizing CPA firms, focusing on operational efficiency, the importance of advisory services, and the benefits of innovative software like TaxPlanIQ. Here, we summarize their discussion, highlighting key themes and insights for CPA firm owners.

You can listen to the full episode here, or on your favorite podcast platform.

 

The Journey to CPA Firm Optimization

Jackie Meyer and Julie Smith share a unique bond, both personally and professionally. Julie, who transitioned from corporate America to becoming an operations officer at Harper & Co CPAs, recounted her journey of transforming the firm's operations. Upon joining, Julie noticed a lack of processes and systems, leading to inefficiencies. Her solution? A complete overhaul, starting from ground zero.

Julie emphasized the importance of having an operations person within a CPA firm. Many firm owners try to manage everything themselves, but having a dedicated operations manager can bridge the gap between ownership and the team, leading to smoother workflows and better results.

Embracing Advisory Services for Growth

One of the significant shifts in the CPA industry is the move towards advisory services. Julie highlighted that many CPA firms are already providing advisory services but are not monetizing them effectively. Her advice is simple: if you are already offering valuable insights to your clients, you should be getting paid for it.

Julie shared a compelling story about how she identified underbilling at a firm she was consulting for. By tracking time and analyzing client interactions, she discovered the firm was underbilling by approximately half a million dollars annually. This revelation underscores the importance of evaluating the true value of the services provided and ensuring proper billing.

CPA Firm Optimization Through Technology

Technology plays a crucial role in optimizing CPA firms. Julie and Jackie discussed the benefits of using software like TaxPlanIQ. This tool allows accountants to upload a client's 1040, access curated tax strategies, and create custom-branded tax plans. The software simplifies the process of tax planning, making it a scalable and high-value service for firms.

Julie also shared her experience with implementing technology at Harper & Co. By leveraging new tools and continuously improving systems, the firm was able to double its revenue without adding more employees. This success story illustrates the potential of technology to drive efficiency and growth in CPA firms.

Building a Strong Team for CPA Firm Optimization

Hiring the right people is crucial for CPA firm optimization. Julie stressed the importance of looking beyond traditional qualifications and focusing on intangible qualities such as communication skills, teamwork, and cultural fit. She shared a success story of hiring an assistant with a non-traditional background who eventually became a key player in the firm after receiving additional training and support.

Julie’s approach to hiring highlights the need to create a supportive environment where employees can grow and thrive. By identifying and nurturing talent within the firm, CPA firms can build a strong, cohesive team capable of driving the business forward.

The Importance of Continuous Improvement

A recurring theme in the conversation was the need for continuous improvement. Julie advised firm owners to constantly evaluate and refine their processes, even if something worked well the previous year. This mindset of always seeking better ways to operate is essential for staying competitive and delivering the best service to clients.

Jackie echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the value of trying new approaches and learning from both successes and failures. This proactive approach can help firms adapt to changing industry dynamics and client needs, ensuring long-term success.

Forward-Looking Strategies for CPA Firm Optimization

As the conversation drew to a close, Jackie and Julie reflected on the importance of gratitude and a positive mindset in driving personal and professional growth. They shared their commitment to focusing on their strengths and passions while delegating other tasks to team members better suited for them.

Jackie and Julie's insights offer valuable lessons for CPA firm owners looking to optimize their operations. By embracing advisory services, leveraging technology, building strong teams, and continuously seeking improvement, firms can achieve significant growth and efficiency.

How TaxPlanIQ Can Help Your Firm Grow

For CPA firms aiming to enhance their tax planning services, TaxPlanIQ offers a powerful solution. This software enables accountants to easily create custom-branded tax plans, showcasing potential tax savings for clients. With implementation steps, IRS court case references, and potential partners for each strategy, TaxPlanIQ simplifies the process of offering high-value advisory services. To see how TaxPlanIQ can help your firm grow, sign up for a free demo today and start transforming your tax planning services.

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