“See you tomorrow daddy…” I was in a rush, not paying attention and it did not even sink in for a minute. I had to get out the door to get to work. I was running late as usual. When I got in the car it hit me like a rock. My 4-year-old son had just said I will see you tomorrow and it’s 7:45am. I was working long hours and had a long commute. I was never home for dinner or bedtime and to him, it was normal that we only saw each other in the morning. I realized it was time to make a change.
Over the past year, many have asked why I would go back to public accounting after leaving to work in corporate (especially leaving a professional sports team). That conversation is why I changed. I needed to find a better way to integrate life and work.
I left public accounting! Most people leave and never come back…which was my plan as well. Long days, a relentless obsession with chargeable hours and constant travel on someone else’s terms are not my idea of fun or balanced. The funny part: I actually loved the work. Getting to work with multiple clients and really add value is an incredible feeling.
So why not figure out a way to do the work I enjoy but make the experience better? I dug into the research and new product offerings and realized it is entirely possible. I found products such as Xero and Bill.com that can give small business owners better data and more reliable processes than many medium and large businesses.
I also realized that the business has to be structured differently. I spoke with Harry, my potential business partner multiple times to ensure we were on the same page. We both agreed the business had to evolve. We could build on the great history of the firm and the strong team to develop a business model that was stronger and more modern. Leveraging Xero as the backbone and the awesome add-on marketplace including tools like Bill.com, we can build a financial infrastructure for small business to help them thrive. The technology is there to ensure business owners don’t have to go with no support. We have the tools to help automate the bookkeeping process and provide more proactive business service. With that strong foundation, we have been able to transition to more value-add proactive consulting and coaching. No longer do business owners have the fear of coming in with their shoebox in March, we already know the numbers and have been talking about them for months.
Just as important we can build the firm we want. We are moving a large majority of our clients to value-based billing with the goal to be 90% by the end of 2017 (we are about half way there). Timesheets are far less important and may be phased out soon with some limited exceptions. We moved to a new office with a more open and collaborative environment and invested heavily in things like desks that can be raised and lowered and an energy efficient heating and cooling system that brings in large amounts of outside air. We are still tweaking the setup to get it right as the open office space is a huge change but it has come a long way.
The industry is changing and although change is not always comfortable our company and industry needs to be on the cutting edge. Outsourced accounting, business coaching, fractional CFO services and more proactive advice are all things that we can offer now.
We still do the traditional accounting such as tax, audits, reviews and compilations which we are strong in and developing this new practice area and changing the business model will help to further strengthen that portion of the business as well.
From a personal standpoint, I can now drop my sons off at the bus and preschool. I can attend things like parent-teacher conferences (we used to do conference calls) and bring the kids to swim lessons. The office is now less than 15 minutes from home. I still need to travel and can’t make every event as we all work to better integrate life and work but I can consistently make it home for dinner and bedtime, which is hard to value.
As a firm we are expanding our ability to work remotely, have moved to eliminate mandatory extra hours during tax season (we still work a lot but it’s a more flexible approach to when and where we work),
We will continue to evolve Bond Andiola and are excited about other potential things to consider in the future. For example, we have many clients in multiple industries, why not have a way to connect our clients? Why can’t we be a platform for helping our clients to grow? We would love to hear from you about what other ways Bond Andiola may be able to help you to achieve your business and personal goals.