Dan Luthi: Technology is essential for accounting and represents the crux of us being able to not only stay on top of our clients’ needs, but also have a competitive advantage. With transactional volumes increasing dramatically, we must stay current on technology in order to maintain and process transactions more efficiently, accurately and in a timelier manner. Our clients expect us to do everything cheaper and faster, and outsourced automation enables us to meet those expectations.
DL: Right now, the biggest thing I see is creating more consistency. Historically, doing a good job with bookkeeping was fine; you were able to get by with just being “really good” with data entry and getting everything to clients in a timely manner. Now, however, the accounting profession is requiring everyone to go far beyond that. Clients are expecting more. They want things done faster and more efficiently, but they also expect to get more value out of you. Whether it’s from a coaching discussion or CFO services, clients expect you to provide higher value-added functions. If you can’t deliver, you won’t stay relevant as a practice or firm.
DL: Absolutely! We have to think like our clients. We must be able to understand what’s going on in their industries, as well as what tools they need to be able to be more efficient and effective. It’s becoming more and more important to give clients recommendations that ease the processes, efficiencies and systems they’re running. If we fail, they're going to go elsewhere.
DL: The biggest thing for us is providing value-added services where we look at our clients’ needs and goals, and then ensure we meet them. When it comes to marketing, we feel we have a savvy team that focuses on developing our website, growing in the marketing space, writing good content and utilizing all of our ad space to remain competitive.
DL: For us, success means our clients are satisfied and we are able to stay with them for a long period of time. First and foremost, clients must be happy. Then, as a firm, we must grow and exceed our expectations. Finally, we must make sure our employees are satisfied. Happy employees help ensure we have happy clients. When our employees are happy and satisfied, we know we're all working to achieve the same thing.
DL: We live in a day and age where you’re not required to hire people who live within a 50-60 mile radius of your office, so you must be willing to open your doors to a widespread view to find talent. That’s been really beneficial for us – attracting really good talent outside Utah.
DL: The biggest thing for us is that they’re always hungry and willing to learn. We often find that when new people come in, perhaps fresh out of college, their expectations are very different from reality. They expect to be a CFO within 24 hours or 24 months. That’s just not how accounting works. Accounting requires time and efficiency, and you have to stay on top of your game. Education is just the stepping-stone for you to be able to get where you need to be.
DL: Luckily for me, when I started my career eight years ago, I was very blessed with a CEO who personally cared about me. The ability to be able to connect, understand and learn from him was essential. He took an interest in me from an accounting acumen standpoint and from the core values we shared, including hard work and dedication, focus, learning, and growth. He became a mentor who helped me learn how to be a better accountant, manager, person and even father.