Taking Your Firm Virtual 2021: Day One Coverage


The Taking Your Firm Virtual Summit, hosted by Nayo Carter-Gray, founder of 1st Step Accounting, is back in it’s second year! The online conference began yesterday, August 3 and will run all day until Thursday, August 5. More than 20 expert presenters over 3 days will teach you strategies you can use to take your firm virtual or improve the processes you already have in place!

“This summit was designed specifically for those in the bookkeeping, accounting, and tax fields. This isn’t general advice for any business out there. Every single presentation is specialized for our industry, making it an effective use of your time that will have a huge impact on your business!” said Carter-Gray.

On the first day, Nayo Carter-Gray and Coach G from Live Now Fitness, opened up with health tips for the summit. The first point brought up was how much we will be sitting… and how “sitting is the new smoking” because of the damage it does to our bodies. It is important to sit up straight (no slouching), look at your monitor straight ahead without straining your neck, and to eat healthy foods and stay hydrated to keep your energy up! Coach G showed us how something as simple as a tennis ball can help stretch out our feet and hands while sitting at our desk. Also, how standing instead of sitting works our muscles and to do some stretching of your neck, back, and entire body!

Next, Brian Clare, Partner and CEO of Blueprint Accounting, presented Tech it up a Notch: Top Tech Tools for a Virtual Firm. In this session, Clare discussed what you need to have to successfully work virtually with your team. He started with Hardware: laptop, monitors, dongles, headset, keyboard, mouse, and lighting. Then he discussed the different software types such as Collaboration Tools, Project Management, and Service Delivery including receipts, payroll, reporting, and tax/tax review. Also, some not-so-obvious software that saves time when implemented correctly, including SOPs, Automation, Databases, RPA, building apps, email marketing, CRM, analytics, and proposals. There are tons of options out there for each of these areas… it’s so important to do your research and find the right tech tools you need to succeed.

Jamie Engelhardt, Client Marketing Manager for The Profitable Firm followed with Branding Builds Buzz. This session was especially interesting to me because of my Communication/Marketing background. Englehardt said, good branding and good marketing are divisive… and it’s a good thing because it brings in the right-fit for customers/clients. The biggest takeaway from this session was that your brand is not for you, it’s for them. This means your brand should communicate your company values and the values of your clients. Your brand is what other people say it is- so show how you work, how you communicate, and how you make decisions in your branding.

Next up, Misty Megia, CEO and Creative Director of The Theater Marketing, presented How to Show up Virtually. In a virtual setting, it’s about connecting with the community and “YOU are the secret ingredient.” This means when you are showing up virtually, you should still be intentional to align who you are and what you provide. Channel who you are in what you are wearing and even the background you are showing. Show your personality, be authentic, be confident, show up and show out!

The Lunch and Learn session was a Meet with sponsor Melio, hosted by Nayo Carter-Gray, presented by David Leary. Then, the afternoon was full of Data and Security! First, we had Creating a Data Security Plan by John Sheeley, EA the Founder of Tax Practice Pro Inc., then Protect the Data in Your Firm (replay) By Nayo Carter-Gray, Founder of 1st Step Accounting. Bernadette L. Harris, Forensic Accountant at By The Book Accounting presented Data Collection Best Practices. And Using Online Forms to Collect Data Easily by Nayo Carter-Gray.

The first day of the Taking Your Firm Virtual Summit gave a fundamental understanding of the necessary steps in getting your virtual firm off the ground, how to confidently present yourself and your business, and how to efficiently and securely capture and store data. We’re looking forward to Day Two and we’ll have another summary tomorrow! It’s not too late to register, we hope to see you there!

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Emily Hedrick is the Media Director for Insightful Accountant. She handles webinar set up and facilitation, ad and content creation, customized social media, graphics, online marketing, and evaluating analytical results and more. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from Auburn University. When not working, Emily loves to listen to bluegrass music and play outside with her dog, Banjo. Emily always dreamt of going away to a big college, and landed in Auburn, Alabama in August of 2011. Building on her interests of communication and business, she found the public relations major as well as a passion for female education, leadership, and sustainability. In December 2016, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and was ready for another adventure. Emily began working as The Communicator for Best Gurl, inc. in January 2017. She has collaborated in strategic planning to promote Best Gurl products and services; created an editorial calendar, reinvigorated the social media platforms, planned marketing campaigns, and reworked and published a new company website. In March 2019, Emily began working as a project and communications consultant. She currently works with companies and organizations like Best Gurl inc., The National Association of Branch Campus Administrators, Wanda's Clocks and Trophies/ B&M Engraving LLC, and the annual Women Empowering Women Symposium hosted by the American Business Women's Association, Emerald Coast Chapter. When not working, Emily loves to listen to bluegrass music. Every Memorial Day weekend you can catch her back in her hometown, volunteering at DelFest, a bluegrass festival hosted by Del McCoury and family.