Richard Roppa-Roberts joins Andrew on this episode of the Tech Talk for Accountants Show and they discuss the Intuit ecosystem. You can listen to the show on your favorite podcast channel, on YouTube or listen and read below. The following article is based on their conversation.
Who is Richard Roppa-Roberts?
Richard helps accountants and consults within the Intuit ecosystem. Worked in tech and “many people don’t know this about me. I’m not an accountants. I’m not a CPA. But I work with nothing by accounting firms,” he said. “Typically on a one-on-one basis. Sometimes it’s about making a firm grow. Sometimes it’s about taking a day off – about taking a vacation and sometimes it’s about hiring an employee. And wrapping your head around all of that. That’s what I help people do.”
Read this to learn more about delegation: Accounting Podcast: Grow quicker with Profit First
The sense of community
In addition, Richard started a community – Not the only One Roundtable Community – about six years ago with five people and have grown to over 50 people now and we talk about issues going on at their firms.
“Humans always look for that sense of community and sense of belonging,” Andrew added. “It’s the ‘you are not alone’ piece of it. It can be lonely in entrepreneurship.”
Most questions have been asked and solved already by others. That’s why it’s so important and helpful to be part of a community. And not just any community. Different people have different experiences and even use different “languages.” Accountant problems are different from other industries, for example.
Remote tech support for accountants
Talking about specific needs for accountants, accountants can face steep fines by the IRS without a written information security plan. If a data breach happens the consequences are strong. Contact us now to make sure it won’t happen to your accounting firm.
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Richard realized the importance of having a peer network to rely and lean on.
“When the pandemic started, I was a little bit of a mess, my roundtable helped me get through it,” he said. “We helped each other get through it.”
Richard stopped staying “how are you” to people because people didn’t really want to answer that in this crazy times and now says “how do you do” which is often answered by saying “how do you do” back.
Richard’s involvement with QuickBooks
About 15 years, Richard was working for a small advisor firm. He was doing sales. The firm became the Intuit reseller of the year.
“I loved it,” he said, remembering how it was mostly about desktops then, before cloud accountancy became a thing. “Somebody said that you should be working in the cloud and I was like ‘what are they talking about?’ But it makes total sense. I went totally paperless.”
Everything is electronics and then he moved into QuickBooks by accident. “The firms I was working with they started moving to the cloud – it became a natural thing,” he said. He has joined the QBO Show as a host.
Publishing the show as a podcast helps its reach. “People can turn it on, work and just listen.”
What attracted you to the Intuit ecosystem?
When I was contemplating the firm I was with I just said: “I’ll just go do something else, but I didn’t really want to.” The Intuit ecosystem seemed like a community, he said. “People were there to help each other. I’ve not seen anything like this in any other industry. So I decided to stay.”
“I think there’s that piece of community. We are in this together. I help you and you help me. The tide rises all the boats,” Andrew added. “There’s a lot of community.”
Richard’s round table group even has a rule around community. “Give more than you take,” he said. “Everybody in there is helpful.We have an active Slack community where people are chatting every days.”
Channels are broken down by:
- I need help
- Specific questions
“It’s great to see how fast people jump on those channels when somebody needs help,” he said.
Many met at QuickBooks Connect, which was great. Reach out to Richard if you want to be involved. He’ll talk to you and see if it’s a mutual fit. “I’ve had maybe two people who weren’t a fit,” he said.
“Turning people down seems to be a recurring topic on the podcast,” Andrew said. “But isn’t more better?”
Michelle Weinstein discussed that concept on her episode as well. Not every client is a good client!
“More doesn’t equal better,” Richard chimed in. “I want quality over quantity always.”
There have been countless times where you get into onboarding clients and on Day 1 you can tell that they will be a nightmare, Andrew said. That’s not a good situation for anyone involved.
Cleanup is the cornerstone for some accounting practices
Not everyone is ready to hire a bookkeeper or accountant but then needs one in an emergency – or when things need to get cleaned up, said Richard. We see the same when it comes to remote tech support. Some firms don’t focus on tech support to the right degree until something happened like:
“I didn’t hire my bookkeeper until Month 9 because I couldn’t afford it,” Richard said. “And I knew I had to do a cleanup and they charge a lot for that.”
Doing the books on a monthly basis is so much better versus doing them just once a year, Richard said.
What does your perfect client look like?
“I’m looking for people that are looking for community,” Richard said. “People who want to be surrounded by other people. People who have been working for themselves for years and don’t have that community and see it they reach back out” and love it.
Seventy-five percent of customers come through referrals, he said, and are located all over the country and even some international.
“I have Australian clients and work with an app there,” he said. “Australia is also the home of Xero. There are some big companies that have started there.”
Read next: Things to know about accounting apps
Consider that buying habits in the UK and other countries can be different from the US, Richard shares around the 19-minute mark of the show.
“That’s the beauty of the industry,” Richard said. “People work with people they trust.”
Of course, results need to follow as well. Are the books clean, for example.
“Bookkeepers are like the nurses,” Richard said. “The nurses do the day to day in a hospital. They know what’s going on. When CPAs and bookkeepers work together they are much better results.”
“We are all main characters in our own story,” said Andrew, quoting Donald Miller of StoryBrand. “But we are also extras in everyone else’s.”
Find a balance of work and life
“When I worked a W2 job I never got up at 5 am,” Richard said. Out on its own that became the norm. Late nights. Now he shuts work computers off and even has two cell phones. One for work and one for outside of work.
“I turned off all notifications,” Andrew said, adding his tips to be more productive around the 32-minute mark in the show.
Finding a balance also comes back to not multitasking. Multitasking takes time. When people disagree with that, he gives them this challenge:
- Count to 10. (That usually takes seconds)
- Say the alphabet to L. (Also usually takes seconds)
- Now alternate. A1, B2, etc. (That takes a lot longer and is not nearly as efficient as focusing on one task at a time.)
Richard also mentioned to streamline and prioritize communications. “Who can keep up with all these emails?” he said.
Streamline your communications and time spent on busy tasks.
“The final straw was when a client said ‘I sent you an email. Have you read it?'” Richard said. “I said ‘No. I haven’t. Do you know how many emails I get? Don’t you?”
To-the-point communications helps, too, Andrew said. “Some people text ‘What’s up?’ without a follow up,” Andrew said. “Just get to the point.”
“If we are not focusing on the big things we will just get stuck in the minutiae,” Andrew said.
Richard mentioned to block off time, including visionary time. “My visionary time happens at 10 a.m. Not first thing in the morning and not last. It’s important for you to work like your brain works.”
Put tasks and even thinking time on your calendar!