Taking Your Firm Virtual Day Two: Firm Culture, Hiring & Implementation

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Day two of the Taking Your Firm Virtual Summit was another information-filled day full of speakers with a wide range of expertise, skills and types of firms. If you want to read about day one, check out our article here. Otherwise, let’s jump into it.

To view the recordings from the summit, you will need to purchase the All Access Pass, and the cart closes at midnight on Friday, August 7th. With this purchase, you will get lifetime access to the sessions & recordings. You also get access to pre-written notes, four bonus sessions, a five-day live video challenge, discounts from our presenters, and there will be a prize drawing (for pass holders only), for two Blue Yetti mics, one SideTrak monitor, one ScanSnap iX100 Wireless Mobile Scanner for Mac and PC with case, and one Epson WorkForce ES-400 Color Duplex Document Scanner for PC and Mac.

Kesha JonTae, Income Tax Coach at the Millennial Taxpert started the day off strong with a session on ‘Putting Paperless into Practice.’ This presentation was a fantastic start to the day because it surrounded a lot of the nuts and bolts of actually transitioning your practice into a virtual place. JonTae was both positive and realistic, which was helpful for attendees to be able to wrap their heads around the massive project that is going paperless; while also emphasizing the need for efficient processes with a focus on organization.

Jackie Meyer, CEO of Meyer Tax Consulting and The Concierge CPA recommended several apps for several different purposes and explained how she uses them to be successful in her virtual practice. Nayo Carter-Gray then hosted a panel on handling an IRS audit virtually, featuring Kesha Harris, Tax Resolution Manager at Anthem Tax Services; Ellie Nava-Jones, Tax Fellow at BQ Tax & Accounting; and Ericka Williams, Founder + CEO of Trinity Global Financial Group PLLC. I found this session to be extremely helpful because it emphasized a lot of the reality of handling difficult situations virtually and how they are able to do it effectively. From the beginning to end of the audit process, including the client experience through it all.

When it came to managing due diligence, Desmond Hudson, Owner of Hudson Tax Services, had a great presentation packed full of recommendations on how to handle some of the more difficult elements in a virtual environment. Hudson stressed the importance of his clients’ experience while doing his due diligence, which I found extremely impressive. He showed his client portal and how he lets his personality shine through even in an area that is this serious and detailed. Hudson stated that working virtually doesn’t have to take away from the client experience if you can get the right tools in place.

Next in this stellar line-up we had Kenji Kuramoto, Founder + CEO at Acuity, discussing how to CFO in the cloud. What I found very helpful about this presentation was the emphasis on the ‘soft skills’ necessary to be a successful CFO. His ending summary said it perfectly: Soft skills build confidence, technical skills build credibility, your tools show that you’re modern.

Our Editor here at Tax Practice News, Liz Mason, who is also the Founder + CEO of High Rock Accounting, took the (metaphorical) stage discussing how to find and hire the best remote talent – another crucial action item in taking your firm virtual. Mason discussed the significance of being honest in your firm values because your values will attract the right type of talent. Mason also emphasized that ultimately, her hiring philosophy came down to one major thing, treating your people like people in an environment that allows them to flourish. “This is how you can tell exceptional remote workers and mediocre remote workers by how they’re able to manage their own time and projects, if given the right tools and documentation to be successful,” she said. Mason’s presentation was a great lead into Michael Ly, CEO of Reconciled, and his presentation on building company culture in a virtual work environment. He explained it’s important in a virtual environment more than an in-person environment, to be consistent and have non-negotiable rules and guidelines. This consistency helps build trust in the virtual environment as a whole.

Ending day two was a panel discussion from Nicole Butler-Davis, Founder + CEO of Butler-Davis Tax + Accounting; Dan Luthi, COO of Ignite Spot Accountin; Madeline Pratt, Founder + CEO of Fearless in Training; and Jacob Schroeder, Founder + CEO of Ascend Consulting, LLC about niche practices. Topics included understanding what a niche is, what working in a niche means for your firm and the level of advisory that comes with working in a niche. When you work within a niche, you become more dialed-in to those types of businesses’ needs, making your advisory that much more needed (and that much more profitable!).

What I found the most helpful from day two was the immense amount of action items the presenters gave to attendees. Day one spoke a lot about the client expectations of you, as well as your expectations of the client; setting the groundwork for the transition into a virtual environment. While day two really focused in on the actionable things you can start implementing today to get this process going. None of the speakers said it would be easy, in fact, many said it can be a massive project. However, they all gave real-life advice, processes and guidelines to help manage the transition easier.

I would also be amiss to not acknowledge the diversity and inclusivity of the Taking Your Firm Virtual Summit. Event host Nayo Carter-Gray did an outstanding job creating an environment that fosters growth and education in a way that spoke volumes to her dedication to making accounting and bookkeeping a space for everyone to flourish.

Here is what some other attendees had to say:

“I really LOVED this summit today and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. SO many great speakers with amazing talent and entrepreneurship. I feel inspired and I won’t lie – a little overwhelmed!! The biggest key is to think through what is necessary and like Nayo and the panel talked about in the last session, being careful your choices provide a great ROI! I am thankful I invested in the all access pass to review these sessions again.”

“I am LOVING how you scheduled out your conference. THANK YOU for the breathing room between sessions. Other virtual conf’s have been so exhausting bc we’re trying to pack it in and qualify for CPE. I’m a work-from-home dad with a wife, a 1-month-old, and a 2-year-old. This pace is letting me stay sane and somewhat plugged in to family today when they really need Dad’s help from time to time. Tears in my eyes as I’m typing this. Thanks friend, this has been an awesome conference so far.”

“This summit was amazing! Completely changed how I do several things in my firm.”

“I will be rewatching several. So glad I bought the all-access pass because some sessions will be beneficial to listen to again a few months down the road too. I can’t decide which was my favorite. There were so many really great ones!”