Hooray!! The Growing Your Firm Podcast has officially recorded 250 episodes! To celebrate, we asked Jackie Meyer, an industry thought-leader, firm owner, and now a four-time guest on the show, to interview Jetpack Workflows CEO and Founder, David Cristello. 

In this episode, Jackie asks David about everything from his favorite books, to his idea of a perfect accounting firm, and the direction he sees Jetpack Workflow heading.  


Jackie’s Previous Interviews 

Q & A with David

Q: What is your story? 

A: I am an ex-social worker turned software entrepreneur. Through interviewing firm owners, I learned about their recurring problems and wanted to find a way to provide them with a solution.

Q: What is your favorite book?

A: I’m a huge fan of reading. Currently, I’ve been thinking a lot about The Everything Store by Brad Stone. It covers the early days of Amazon and how it approached its problems and decision making.. A quote that stands out is “how do we invent our way out of this problem.”

On a more personal level, I think a lot about Letters from a Stoic by Seneca. It’s one of the classic pieces that articulates some of the foundational questions around living life well. 

Q: How does being a father change your perspective on life?

A: It really turns down the work dial. Instead of spending long hours focused on work, I now try to shut off work around 5:00 or 6:00 to spend time with my family. It has balanced life out, in a way, as I don’t want the stress of running a company to carry into my son’s life. 

Q: What are you most proud of to date?

A: Getting Jetpack off the ground against all logic. There were a lot of reasons for it to not work out but it did. 

Q: Who are you drawing inspiration from and why?

A: The answer to this depends on the season of life I’m in but right now I am a fan of Jeff Bezos from a business perspective (his shareholder letters are amazing).. Howard Shultz, the founder of Starbucks has also come out with some really insightful business advice. His book, Onward, really tells a story of transition as the company entered a new season during the 08-10’ financial crisis.. 

Q: What drew you to this industry and what makes you stay?

A: Accountants have an impactful and humbling profession. They can really make an impact. I stay in the industry because people logistics and recurring client management are challenging. The tech landscape is always changing and it’s a huge logistics puzzle, of which technology can play  a vital role.

Q: What is something you will never forget from the Growing Your Firm Podcast?

A: The objective truth that everybody sells their firm at some point, whether it was planned or unplanned. The podcasts about preparing your firm for selling by creating an exit strategy and session plans are standouts. 

Q: Which interview has been a stand-out?

A: There isn’t a specific one but I really enjoy the interviews where the guests have gone through something and they are candid about their experiences. The best ones are the ones that provide practical examples. 

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A: Accountants have a lot of potential and impact, and they can run a great business if they aren’t afraid to get away from the same old, same old. Firms are much more successful when they are okay with changing things to better their business. This can be from pricing to market positioning, to remote team management and more.  It’s so important for a firm to meet its clients in the future. 

Q: What would your perfect accounting firm look like? What would your tech apps be?

A: 100%, I would niche down and choose a familiar market. My prices would be around the mid to premium end of the market and I would make sure I knew all of the lingo and popular terms. My services would be crafted to match the needs of the market and I would add in an extra layer that caters to specific KPIs. I would avoid one-off services and focus on value-based pricing. For my tech apps, I’d use Jetpack Workflow (obviously) and Hubspot. They have great CRM, sales, and marketing channels and you can follow the journey from end to end. I would also be sure to automate payments/invoices. 

Q: How much time is involved in being a podcaster? Have there been any big lessons learned?

A: Time commitment is actually less than anticipate. It’s the one hour for the interview, and then everything is handed off pre and post show. . Thankfully for us, finding guests is easy because of our niche, so the bulk of the time is spent actually doing the interview. One of the biggest lessons is to make sure you are getting some value. We get website traffic and it gives a pulse on what is happening within the industry. It should be a win-win across the board.

Q: What is the next big trend you see coming in the industry?

A: Special thanks to our former guest, Greg O’Brien, for this question. I see three big trends. 

  1. Everything as a service
  2. Predictive analytics (for things like capacity planning)
  3. Automation (we currently have a lot of level one integrations, I see that progressing)
  4. Client collaboration 2.0 

Q: Share how you prioritize initiatives in your life and company and what is the decision-making strategy you follow?

A: On the first business day of each month I sit down and review the previous months’ performance to see how we did and if we reached our goals. Then I spend the rest of the day planning out the current months’ goals and updating our team through meetings or memos. This process has helped refine our planning mechanisms. 

Q: What is your best advice for a newbie SaaS developer?

A: The more clear you are on your ideal customer, the better. Knowing this will reduce the risk of going in too many different directions. If you run into issues, you’ll be able to identify if it’s a market problem or a product problem. I suggest picking a market and then refining your services. 

Q: What excites you right now about Jetpack Workflow?

A: We are at a stage where people development is a big investment we want to make, as well working on sizable product investments. It’s exciting to be building and innovating. 

Q: What is your competitive advantage over your competition? Any plans to become a full-blown CRM?

A: The speed and ease of setup for our software are what sets us apart. It’s super easy to onboard clients and the automation is great. Right now we are less interested in a CRM sales tool but we do think a customer and client collaboration tool is important. 

The Growing Your Firm Podcast is so thankful to all of the people in Jackie’s online community, Accounting Firm Influencers, who submitted questions for today’s show! David answered each of these questions, and more in the podcast, which you can listen to above!

Keep the podcast momentum going!

It’s been an honor to work on this podcast over these 250 episodes, and we have no plans to slow down! So, we want to hear from you. Do you like the podcast? Leave us a review and let us know what you think! Just head here to follow, subscribe and leave a review!

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