The Taking Your Firm Virtual Summit began yesterday, August 4. Hosted by Nayo Carter-Gray, founder of 1st Step Accounting, this event has been designed to teach attendees how to take their firm to a totally virtual place or improve the processes they already had in place. “I created this summit to help you confidently and securely take your firm to the cloud. The goal is for your practice to become more profitable, automated, and stress-free,” event host Carter-Gray said.
On the first day, Andrew Wall, Managing Partner of CPA4IT Professional Corporation, opened up the summit discussing different technology tools you’ll need to consider to be successful. Next, event host Nayo Carter-Gray took the (metaphorical) stage to discuss the importance of data security and setting up the right processes in your virtual firm to catch cybersecurity threats and be able to recognize what a data breach looks like. Jeff Wilson, Principal of The W2 Group, LLC followed Carter-Gray’s presentation nicely with thoughts and tips on how to train your clients in good data security measures as well; communicating with them why you have these security measures in place and the importance of making sure your clients understand that.
Some other interesting presentations on the first day came from Kelly Gonsalves and Richard Roppa-Roberts, Co-Founders of Totally SEO, explaining why accountants and bookkeepers should care about SEO, as well as giving actionable tips on how to improve your own. LuSundra Everett, The Home Biz Tax Lady of Everett Tax Solutions, discussed how to use video, live video specifically, to build your credibility and trust to both potential and current clients. The summit also included James Ashford of GoProposal, discussing how to build an ongoing relationship with clients using a transparent and honest communication plan in your proposal. Danielle Palmer, Integrator at Fusion CPA was the final single-presenter session on day one, giving attendees things to consider when onboarding new clients totally virtually. She emphasized the significance of being consistent and detailed in your processes, as well as regularly identifying the pain points and reviewing older processes for improvement.
The final presentation of the first day was a panel on offering add-on services in your practice with event host Nayo Carter-Gray, Amber Gray-Fenner, Owner of Tax Therapy, LLC; Sherrell Martin, Owner of Nitram Financial Solutions; and Kevin Smoot, CEO of AccountAbility Tax Services, LLC. They spoke about how adding add-on services is the perfect way to solidify your advisor relationship with your clients as their businesses continue to grow. As Martin said in the discussion, “At every level, there’s a new devil.” Meaning, you are able to help your clients as they discover new issues in their businesses and help them grow it in a sustainable way.
Every single one of these sessions emphasized the importance of training your client into understanding your expectations and why that’s important. Whether it’s the importance of using a secure file upload tool to pass sensitive documents or using a calendar scheduling tool to make communication convenient, or even using video to add that face-to-face interaction. When your clients understand your expectations of them, and they have realistic expectations for you, it builds a mutually beneficial relationship and implementation of the virtual practice becomes much more manageable.
The first day of the Taking Your Firm Virtual Summit gave you a fundamental understanding of the necessary steps in getting your virtual firm off the ground and how to get your clients on board to take the ride with you. I thought all of the speakers brought up great points from a variety of different perspectives. Working virtually only works if you’re consistent and hold yourself, your team and your clients accountable. Day one of the summit demonstrated why that is so crucial for success and how to get started picking the tools you need to implement.
We’ll have our summary of day two tomorrow!