Taking Your Firm Virtual 2021: Day Three Coverage


The third and final day of The Taking Your Firm Virtual Summit, hosted by Nayo Carter-Gray, was another fun-filled and interesting experience with topics on workflow, company culture, running a business as an entrepreneur and more.

The day started with two tracks; The Corporate Come-up: Leaving Your Job to Run a Successful Business by Shanita S. Jones, CPA CEO, Jones Taxes & Financial Services and The Corporate Come-up: Managing a Job and a Successful Business by Kesha JonTae Income Tax Strategist for The Millennial Taxpert. JonTae guided us through the main points to consider when working a full-time job and working on building your business. She said you have to first read your contract and understand the rules and regulations of promoting, or even talking about your new business venture. Next, determine your capacity for extra work. You are already working a 40 hour + job, so be sure you have the ability to do that 9-5, as well as working on your own projects outside of your company hours. You want to establish a reasonable routine, then figure out your workflow, and create efficient systems and processes. Lastly, KEEP IT SIMPLE! “All you need to get started is to get started!” so whenever you’re ready, go ahead and start. Remember, don’t quit your day job… until you’re ready!

Next, Kevin Smoot, CEO of AccountAbility Tax Services LLC, presented Making That First Hire, then Tyrone Gregory, Owner of The Self-Employed Tax Company gave us The One Man Band: How to Efficiently Run a Solo Practice, afterwards it was time for the Lunch and Learn: Explore Rewind.

Lynda Artesani, Founder of Artesani Management Services, Inc. explained How to Delegate Effectively. If you are working long days, every single day, sacrificing sleep, constantly thinking about work, and/or feeling frustrated and unorganized… you NEED to delegate some of your work. Well, easier said than done, right? Determine what you can delegate by listing your daily tasks, then look at the simple/mundane tasks you do. Remember, not everything needs delegated, but you could be more productive by giving up time-sucking, ordinary tasks. Emails, calendaring, phone calls, organizing files, social media, and content creation are great examples of tasks that could easily be delegated. Then you must think about the pros and cons of outsourcing vs. hiring for your company. No matter what option you choose, you have to train your staff person, delegate the objective (not the procedure), make sure they have the resources they need to be successful, communicate, be patient, have a backup plan, and say THANK YOU!!

Following Artesani, Sherrell T. Martin, Chief Financial Solutions Officer for Nitram Financial Solutions brought us Managing PPP (Policies, Processes and Procedures). First, she defined each of the key terms:

  • Policies– guidelines of what is being done and why (based on core values/beliefs)
  • Processes– the complete workflow for policies, a high-level overview
  • Procedures– a series of actions for each process, the step-by-step for daily tasks.

It is so important to think about and have each of these three items in your business documented. She explained the most common reasons why they fail… lack of accountability, lack of training, and/or lack of communication. Martin then explained how to “rock them out”; assess each of the areas, identify what’s working and what’s not, and the underlying issues. Then define your ideal situation, create the plan, and implement. In order to have an efficient accounting or bookkeeping practice, you must have defined and reasonable policies, processes, and procedures.

The last session before the closing ceremonies was a panel discussion From Mistakes to Millions hosted by Joel Lacayo, Lead Channel Account Executive + Founder at Rippling + Contabi Alliance. The panelists included Kenji Kuramoto, Founder + CEO of Acuity, Liz Mason, CPA, Founder + CEO of High Rock Accounting (and Editor of Tax Practice News), and Jeff Wilson II CPA/PFS, Principal of The W2 Group, LLC. They discussed experiences that lead them to owning their own business, unique challenges they faced while building their businesses, common landmines for beginners, hiring red flags, and what’s next for them. It was a great session to hear “how it started vs how it’s going” and to be in the presence of these incredibly successful entrepreneurs.

Finally, Nayo Carter-Gray & DJ Scene closed out the summit. Being a first-time attendee at this conference, I can genuinely say how well put-together, interesting, and inclusive this event was. The session lengths made sessions fascinating and fast-moving, the speakers were diverse in so many ways and brought expert advice and ideas, the replays made it easy to go back and watch a session when it was convenient, documents were attached to the presentations, closed captioning was available, there was interactive chat within the platform and on social media, and it was an overall FEEL GOOD experience. Congratulations to Nayo Carter-Gray on an excellent event, we can’t wait till #TakingYourFirmVirtual2022!

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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.