Heather Satterley, owner of Satterley Training & Consulting, works with accounting professionals to implement new accounting applications.
For many firms, they get hung up on the what, which, why of the technology movement. Frankly, you could waste lots of time and money. Heather came on the show to help us go through what steps to take.
On this episode of the Growing Your Firm Podcast, David Cristello and Heather Satterley, dive into:
- When you should start looking into new technology solutions
- Steps to actually implement new accounting applications
- Tips to uncover the absolute best apps to use right now (and more)
- Heather’s firm (Satterley Training & Consulting)
- One quick trick to stop hackers for good (interview)
- The profitable way to onboard new clients
The Struggle Most Accounting Firms Have With New Technology
Heather Satterley, founder of Satterley Training & Consulting, recently opened her practice in 2017. Her specialty is working with accounting professionals and even small business owners on implementing applications with Quickbooks. Heather herself has been a Quickbooks ProAdvisor for almost 20 years.
What she does sounds simple enough, but when you need an entire ecosystem running on auto-pilot, the non-techies can get tangled up quickly.
Here at Jetpack, we believe every company is a technology firm in this day-and-age because technology has never developed faster. Every business should be exploring how to better themselves, save time, and maintain higher profits.
Heather normally sees the same problems at the firms she runs into.
One issue she sees regularly is that the team doesn’t understand the tech they currently have. For example, they subscribe to GSuite but ask Heather for functions that already exist in GSuite. That’s a sign they need training on their applications.
She recommends doing an ‘app inventory.’ Go over every app you’re using and paying for to uncover all the features they provide. Make sure if you need any of those features, but aren’t currently using them, you add that first to the list before spending more money.
The most common issue she sees owners getting overwhelmed with the tech. They look at the big picture and only view a mountain of changes. As we know, change is difficult.
At Jetpack, we did the opposite…we wanted to do 70 new things in 6 weeks. We underestimated how long it takes for new changes to take place. Heather is the referee and project manager for everything, that’s why she’s important.
Instead of looking at the big picture, Heather recommends “chunking.” That means breaking everything up into little pieces. And that’s her first step when she goes to implement new accounting applications.
Steps to Actually Implement New Accounting Applications:
The important point Heather stresses is to study one piece at a time. This avoids overwhelm and stress.
To start ‘chunking’ new applications, think about which application would be easiest to start with and get up and running fastest. Here you’re looking for the biggest bang for your buck in the shortest amount of time. The reason for this is because you’re still selling the software solution to your team and other partners. They need to see progress right away. Nothing is worse than a new project dragging on for months even years.
Where are the quick wins?
Doing this makes the bigger pieces easier to swallow down the line. Heather did this recently with a client when she got the first app up and going for their bookkeeper because it was a quick win and the bookkeeper was the most skeptical team member of new tech. The most skeptical team member was then an advocate for Heather to the others on the client’s team. That’s a big win.
Before even getting your hands dirty, you need to figure out how to uncover the best apps to use now.
Tips to Uncover the Best Apps to Use Right Now:
There are a few ways to know what apps you should use.
First, define the pain points. Look at your workflow and see where the hiccups are. Sit down with team members in a casual atmosphere and go through their day. Ask the questions like “what is the least fun part of your day?” For Heather, she hated time tracking. The software would freeze up and delete her data. That’s the type of info to extract. These conversations will put you in your employee’s shoes to know the first step to take and what apps to look for.
DAVID’S TIP: If you’re not clear on what the pain is…every new app will be a solution for you. Because you don’t know what you’re looking for…everything looks good! Bad trap to fall in.
Second, after getting pain points, evaluate the solutions. Study which applications in the marketplace can talk to each other. Which can work with the software you have now? Start with the ‘must haves’ before you start catering to ‘nice to haves.’
Ways to know which applications to start with...look for those that provide ease of use, ease of implementation, how responsive is the app’s tech team, the reviews out there about the product.
To start your search for the next app in your firm, here’s the steps Heather takes:
- Start at Apps.com (Intuit’s vault of applications)
- Read blogs looking for apps (can Google for these)
- Read Zapier’s advice sections for recommendations
- Read CPA Practice Advisor
- Read the Insightful Accountant
- Join a networking group for accountants and ask around
I mentioned Zapier above. Zapier is Heather’s go-to resource for connecting applications.
DAVID’S TIP: Using an app like Zapier might cost a few dollars, but how much time and effort are you saving using this tool? That’s the mark of a firm of the future.
The Magic Power of Zapier:
Zapier is a tool that connects other cloud-based apps to each and allows you to build custom integrations between them. Most apps have open APIs meaning developers can connect into them and send info back and forth.
The dashboard is very straightforward and easy. Make sure you check it out.
How it works is that each action is called a ‘zap.’ A zap is a trigger inside of one application that begins a chain reaction of tasks. It could be an email you send, an entry in Quickbooks, adding a new client to your CRM, etc. When this ‘zap’ happens, the information is automatically shared with the other apps. This saves you time making double-entries or repeating easy tasks.
Here’s an example: Heather has many vendors who she needs W9s from. She used to send an email to each need vendor individually. Inside the email, she’d drop a link to her sharefile where the vendor can put their completed W9. After this, she had to set up the vendor in Quickbooks.
Now, with Zapier, once she sets up a vendor in her Quickbooks, an email automatically gets sent to the new vendor without Heather touching another button.
A more complex example for your firm might be onboarding new clients. Each new client has to be set up in your contact list, your email list, and in dozens of apps. One single trigger…perhaps it’s the new client filling out a google form with their info…now auto-populates all the data in every app. This step alone with Zapier could save 30-45 minutes of admin time. That’s real results.
Zapier is the plumbing of the internet as we like to say.
These are just the first steps to take in creating an ecosystem in your firm to implement new accounting applications. Feel free to reach out to Heather directly if you want to talk to her about setting up an ecosystem and Zapier.