The first step is defining ‘success,’ says Nerd Enterprises’ Seth David, before diving into how modern accounting firms can thrive.
Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio for the authoritative record.
Dan Hood (00:02):
Welcome to On the Air with Accounting. Today I’m editor-in-chief Dan Hood. What makes an accounting firm successful? It seems like a simple question until you ask it and then you realize that there is no simple single answer that comes to mind, at least not to my mind. So here to talk about that, talk about what makes a firm work and the principles that underlie a successful practice is Seth David. He’s an accountant himself, but he’s also, and this is official, the chief nerd at Nerd Enterprises, where he’s a consultant and educator to accountants and others on all sorts of accounting related topics from bookkeeping and QuickBooks to process and workflow design. Seth, thanks for joining us.
Seth David (00:33):
Thank you for having me, Daniel. I’m honored to be here.
Dan Hood (00:36):
I’m glad to have you with us. And this is a great topic because it really is the sort of thing I think for a lot of firms that’s unexamined. They don’t really know what makes them successful or what are the rules behind it. So I want to start by asking you, how do you define a successful firm?
Seth David (00:49):
Yeah, I mean, I think like you said, it can go a lot of ways and frankly, even for my own part, what I define as a successful firm today is probably very different than how I might’ve defined it 20 years ago because I’ve evolved and of course the whole landscape has evolved and I think if you ask five different people and assuming you’re getting honest answers, you might get five different answers. I think a lot of how we define a successful firm has a lot to do with our value system. And I think you’re right. I think a lot of people don’t give it any thought. We go and start a CPA firm because we decide that we’re just going to go do taxes or do audits or compilations or reviews, or we’re going to do financial account. We just go into it assuming people need people to do the work.
And sure enough, that’s true. There’s demand and we can provide part of the supply. And so we don’t really think much about it beyond just that, just, okay, there’s a demand for this, I can do it. I can get paid for it. Great, I’ll do it. We don’t think about the bigger picture around why are we doing this? Who are we doing this for? I can speak to why I started my own company after having worked in several jobs and eventually at a CPA firm where I was frankly miserable working at the last CPA firm that I worked for. I hated it. And it’s not that I hated the work, I hated the environment, and it’s what kind of forced me to go out on my own was the fact that after that experience, and that was after two other experiences working for companies in their accounting departments where I consistently had a miserable experience and eventually I had to say, what’s the common denominator here?
Well, it’s me. So ultimately that led me to conclude that I was going to be better off on my own eventually. And so that was the original impetus of why, here’s the other thing you get the classic example of somebody coming out of college with an accounting degree and working at a CPA firm is that you’re going to get stuck auditing cash for six months somewhere. In other words, you’re going to get pigeonholed into doing the same boring thing over and over again, and especially if you prove to be good at it, they’re going to keep you there. So that was another thing that I was worried about frankly, because I said, I know I have a diverse range of skills. Even at that last EPA firm, what came out of it after I was there for just a couple months was that my Excel skills were frankly much better than anybody else there.
The managing partner used to call me into his office to help him with some of his spreadsheets, and in a way it was job security and it definitely proved to be. But on the other side, it was an example of a skill that I had that was being leveraged sort of internally but not so much externally. And I wasn’t going to get to really exploit that for myself in ways that would really stretch myself, stretch my thinking, make me really expand my skills even further. The thing that I think keeps us engaged and interested in our work is when we’re challenged. If I’m doing the same old boring thing, especially once I’ve mastered something, then it gets boring. And if you keep me doing that, I’m not excited. I’m not going to be excited to come to work every day. And I think that’s a bigger sort of culture picture that maybe I’m being bold in saying this, but I think CPA firms are missing. When you think of culture at a company, you think of a company like Google and their culture, but why shouldn’t CPA firms embrace this better or at all? Right?
Dan Hood (04:08):
I mean, this is a fascinating question, which is a whole other set of that the culture issue at accounting firms and what they think of as culture. You say Google is culture because it’s a million different exciting, fun things that make you want to come to work. And accounting firms sort of look at culture as we’re a family, I think, and you can work remotely if you have a serious emergency. The accounting firm’s notion of culture is a whole other thing. But I think you touched on one of the things. Clearly, one of the things that would make a successful firm is one that provides engaging, interesting work for its employees, and at the very least hopefully for its owners. So many firms we hear particularly smaller ones are people like you who’ve left because they were having a terrible experience at another workplace. So they go to make a workplace that’s good for them and hopefully good for other people as well.
Seth David (04:56):
Yeah, and I remember a few years into when I had started Nerd Enterprises, I had a conversation with my brother where he asked me, so what exactly do you do? And I described it to him and he reflected back to me the perfect expression of what I had hoped to accomplish, which was he said, it sounds like you’ve created the perfect environment of doing all the things you love to do. So that I was able to address that diverse range of skills. I mean, on the one hand, I love diving into something that required deep focus, like developing spreadsheets, writing complicated formulas in order to get a job done more efficiently, let’s say. At the same time, and this is something I think a lot of people think would not often go together in the same person, but at the same time, I loved the people part of it, the sales aspect, talking to potential clients and understanding what their problems were and how I could solve them or if I could solve them.
So I had that diverse range of liking both the solitude and focus of deep work. And at the same time, like I said, what I think often we would think of as the opposite end of that spectrum, which is that I love the sort of social aspect of working with others and developing relationships, nurturing those relationships and really working together. And I think a big part of what CPA firms may be missing, you kind of described, oh, we think of ourselves as a family and once in a while maybe we’ll let you work remotely. And I think that if CPA firms embrace culture in more of the way that companies like Google do where you’re providing an environment that I’m excited to come to every day, I think it can make a big difference in productivity,
Dan Hood (06:38):
At the very least retention, which is at this point we don’t need to be productive, we just need to show up. We need warm bodies. But I think we’re outlining your outlining some super important points for a successful firm that I think aren’t the ones that most people would normally think of. And obviously I’m sure you would agree, part of being a successful firm is being profitable, you got to make money, but we just assume that that’s sort of a baseline sort of thing. But this element of it’s got to be a place where hopefully the largest number of possible people at the firm are engaged doing work that they’re interested in enjoying coming to work every day while also again being productive and being profitable. And then also, and you’ve talked about this solving problems for people delivering useful services to people that they want to buy. Is that a fair, I think I counted three points or four points in there, a fair sort of outline of what a successful form you may decide what is engaging work to you is going to be engaging work is not going to be engaging for somebody else, but the notion being that whatever the work is, it works for the people who are there and whatever the solutions are, they work for the clients that there and whatever the form of profit or the form of billing is or whatever, that it’s heals everybody a good living,
Seth David (07:48):
Living. And in fact, what I would say is what I’m describing really is a way of reverse engineering into a profitable firm. Because if I have happy and engaged employees, they are by design going to make the clients very happy. That’s going to lead to client retention and referrals, which is going to make a firm profitable.
Dan Hood (08:04):
There you go. Brilliant. Alright, well, so now we have a working definition. I like that reverse engineering coming at the profit from the other side. But what are some of the core principles behind that running a firm like that? What are the underlying structure of it?
Seth David (08:22):
Again, under the heading of what I’ve mentioned already, I think it’s about the value system. Why are we doing this? What are we not willing to do or accept? Right? Bottom line, like I said, happy employees, make for happy clients. And then it’s down to customer service really going above and beyond in the customer service area because let me share an experience with you. I literally just had this past Friday as of this recording, every Friday my wife and I have a ritual where I pick up food from this local restaurant here in Burbank that we love and it’s well known for having great customer service. You go in there and you can tell the employees the energy as soon as you walk into the place is just very obvious and everybody’s very happy. And I went in there to order the same thing. I order pretty much every week and it’s a certain salad, but my wife wants certain things removed from the salad that she doesn’t like.
And so I go in there with notion in my mobile to make sure I have the checklist to make sure I don’t forget what things need to be removed. And the young lady who’s helping me says, Hey, I’m sorry we’re out of that salad. And I’m like, oh man, I was stumped. I was like, I don’t know what else I’m going to have to call my wife to see what to get instead. And I think she could see that I was sort of not frustrated but just struggling. So she says to me, and here’s what I’m talking about as an example of amazing customer service, she says, hold on a second. She said, considering what you’re asking to have removed from the salad, let me go see what ingredients were actually missing from that particular salad. And it may be that I can put this together for you based on another salad that we have and just mixing and matching a couple of the ingredients.
And she did that. She didn’t worry. And the places packed you, so a lot of places the employees would be really stressed and not willing to take that kind of time with you. But the fact that she did when such a long way, it was a kind of experience where I thought about it and it was funny, she was apologetic. She’s like, by the way, because the salad we’re substituting doesn’t come with avocado. And that’s one of the things she wants. Do you mind if we have to charge you extra for that? I’m like, of course. I wouldn’t even think twice. So the point being she went so far out of her way to help me get what I came there for. And obviously accounting firms aren’t serving food, but I think we can come up with our own version of that. How can we go way out of our way, way beyond way?
I would’ve been totally fine if she said, look, I’m so sorry we’re out of it. And if she was just apologetic and said, what can I get you instead? I would’ve accepted that. But in other words, she didn’t nearly have to do what she did. So if we can find our own versions of that in our accounting firms, I think again, it goes back to client retention, which goes back to profitability from client retention. And when we blow customers away that way, that makes me can’t wait to come back there next week and go order again because I know they’ve got my back. I mean really have my back. So imagine if accounting firms can come up with their own versions of that instead of thinking of client’s requests for things as annoying, which I know we often do. I’ve been guilty of that, right?
Instead of thinking of them as annoying, rather thinking, Hey, this client should be thought of as like family. They’re paying our bills, they’re paying our salaries. Instead of being annoyed by their requests, let’s see how we can go out of our way to understand where they’re coming from and help them get what they need, what they expect, first of all at a bare minimum, but then way beyond that so that they have the same kind of experience after having a conversation with us that I just had after going into this place called Porto’s Bakery in Burbank, which is kind of famous by the way,
Dan Hood (11:48):
Next time I get to Burbank, I’m going to go there. But that raises the interesting point, as you say, is that she knew what S salad you wanted. She knew what you were looking at, you knew what specifically you wanted in the salad, and they’re in the business of eating, you don’t get me wrong. She did a spectacular job and she said, as you said, went above and beyond. I think that can be a little difficult for accounting firms because one clients really don’t know what they want, often don’t know. They often don’t understand what they can get, what they can’t get, what they need, what’s valuable to them. And on the accountant side, accountants often for better or worse, tend to think of things in terms of the compliance deliverables. I got to get a tax return, I got to close the books, I got to do these things. So while it’s a great model, I tend, it’s sometimes difficult for firms to wrap their heads around what would that look like at an accounting firm? What would that sort of going above and beyond. But Jack, I can think of a couple examples, but I don’t know if you can think of any examples of where a firm would do that around a tax return or around a business request. Can you think of a good example of that?
Seth David (12:48):
Yeah, I mean, first of all, let’s pick right on what you just mentioned around a tax return. So what typically happens a couple of things. First of all from what I’ve seen is that the tax preparers, whether you’re talking about a solo practitioner or a major CPA firm, there’s a lot that I think the accounting firms assume is implied and it’s probably in the engagement letter, but we have to recognize that not every client’s going to read every letter of the engagement letter. They’re going to assume, okay, this is a standard stuff, sign it here. And so what happens right there from the beginning is whether we know it or not and justify or not, we’ve had a major fail in setting the right expectations. And here’s where I’m going with this. So you do their tax return, it takes all this time, they get all this billing from you for all the hours that you spent.
If you’re still billing by the hour, heaven forbid if even if flat rate bottom line, at the end of it, they’re going to get the tax return for them to sign the e-file authorization to sign and some vouchers telling them what estimated payments to make over the next year. And of course what’s due now. And then they’re going to say, okay, thank you. We’ll see you next year. And meanwhile, the client often feels sort of like they got the wind knocked out of them between all the money they have to pay. But more importantly, I think what a lot of clients are hoping for that they never get, and they’re kind of assuming it’s just included, even though I have an explanation for the other side of this, but bottom line, the client is feeling unsatisfied because they’re like, you just had a deep look under the hood of my business.
How about a little advice? How about some insights based on what you see? And the bottom line is what’s not made clear right at the inception of the engagement is that the tax preparing firm doesn’t make it clear, Hey, by the way, these fees are only for preparing your tax returns and in some correctly worded legal way expressing, hey, we’ve got a pile of tax returns this high off our desks. That’s all we have time for and that’s all we’re charging you for. However, if you would like an analysis, if you would like insights based on what we’ve seen, and we can go even deeper, here’s what that will cost. My contention is that if more accounting firms did this, they could lose half their clients and probably double their revenues at the same time. Yeah,
Dan Hood (14:58):
Absolutely. Absolutely. And Philip, the rest of the year, I mean tax seasons seems to have expanded now too. It fills almost the entire year anyways. But I mean it’s work beyond just tax compliance and as you say, meet me on May 1st or May 15th and we’ll talk about your business. As you said, I’ve seen a lot about it, but that’s a great example. I want to talk to you a little about client needs and maybe how client needs are changing. But first you’d mentioned notion, you were talking about notion using the Notion app. Can you just briefly, for people who don’t know what it is,
Seth David (15:29):
So notion is what I would put under the heading of a knowledge management tool. On the surface it might look like a simple digital notebook, but as you dive in and learn more and more, it’s much, much deeper than that. It’s much, much more powerful than that. Originally, I discovered it years ago as an alternative to Evernote and I didn’t really get it. I was like, this is Evernote, but it looked terrible to me. Funny enough, then a couple of years ago I came back to it because I had never really found what I felt was a satisfactory replacement for Evernote. And I hated Evernote, I abandoned Evernote, tried OneNote a number of times, tried to love it, couldn’t bring myself too. And so I had other kind of workarounds using a lot of Google Docs and things, but I never felt I had a good solution for this.
So I dove back into Notion. And at this point, of course it had been years. So Notion obviously evolved a bit. And so I started diving into it and at first I said, I’m just going to use this for taking notes at meetings and other kinds of things, but more and more I learned how customizable it is and how it really is something that when you learn how to use it can become a neural network of information that you need to keep track of and make different connections to. So most of our apps are very linear folders and sub folders, tasks and sub tasks, that kind of thing. This is truly something where you can create something that’s much more neural with multiple inputs, multiple outputs. You get what I mean? So I eventually left clickup, which was the project management app I had been using for a few years and went all in with Notion, just transferred all of my processes over to Notion and now arguably I keep my whole life in there. Like I said, even personal things like going to Portos every week to make sure I don’t forget which things need to be taken out of the salad for my wife. Everything my whole life is in Notion.
Dan Hood (17:11):
Awesome, very cool. As you mentioned, I want to make sure people understood what you were talking about. I want to talk more about how client needs are, if kind needs are changing and how you’ve seen that, but then also what makes a firm successful has changed over time, if it has changed over time and what you expect it to look like in the future. But we need to take a quick break, so we’re going to step away for just a few seconds. Alright. And we’re back with Seth David of Nerd Enterprises and we’re talking about what makes a firm successful and what makes the sort of thinking that people need to do about what they want their firm to look like and then the ways they need to make the work engaging, keep clients satisfied, and maybe expand your idea of what client service looks like.
And so we’ve been talking about, like I said, the client relationship specifically before the break and I just wanted to come back to that for a little bit. Do you see client needs changing? Are clients getting better? We talk a little bit. I mentioned it. I sometimes think clients don’t know, don’t know what they could get out of their accountant. They don’t know. You described a certain notion of yeah, you look under the hood, I’d like good advice, but they don’t know much more than that. They can’t be like, give me good advice on X. In many cases. Do you see clients changing in terms of how they approach their accounting firms and what their needs are?
Seth David (18:24):
Yeah, definitely. I mean, like you said, I think a lot of times the clients don’t realize what they need, but we’re in the perfect place to identify those needs. And I think sometimes that might even need to be approached from a more generic place than we’re thinking in order to extract from the client what they think they need. In other words, it might more generically be that if we first of all ask them, right? Another great tip, and by the way, this is a solid marketing tip for any accounting firms out there that I learned from one of the top marketers in the world, his name is Jay Abraham. You can Google him. And I was on one of his webinars and he shared this tip. He said, if you’re looking for great information for how to market your services, he said, go look at reviews of your competition and you’re looking for the negative reviews, not to gloat, but rather to find out what it was that those people were looking for and didn’t get from, in this case, those other accounting firms.
Now that tells you exactly the answers to the question we’re talking about that tells you exactly what they need and what needs they’ve identified that aren’t being met by your competition. Now you can go out there and start creating messaging around the fact that you can do and will offer whatever it is that you’ve identified in that research. And so it’s a great tip. And then of course, one of the best tips I ever received from somebody you’ve probably heard of Gary Vaynerchuk. I once had the opportunity to interview him and I asked him where he gets his inspiration from and he said his own customers, his own clients. And so simply ask them, what do you need that you’re not getting? What is it you would like for me? What can I do for you? What more can I help you with? Is there anything screwing around in the back of your mind?
And invite them to be frustrated even because that shows that you have a lot of confidence in yourself and your own ability to deliver their needs. And it also shows humility, which I think is so important and so refreshing. I think that’s where a lot of the needs are changing is clients want their accountants to be humble and human and not this image of this perfect person who never makes a mistake. Face it. We all make mistakes. And so I think that identifies a big sort of need that’s changing for clients is they want us to be more humble, to be willing in that humility, to approach them and say, what am I not delivering for you that you’re expecting or that you would like? And by the way, that often will translate to an opportunity for you to increase your fees in exchange for whatever it is they identify they need, because it may well be something that they clearly acknowledge is not included in what you’re already charging them for, but that they would want, but they don’t even know that you’re able or willing to do it.
And then along other lines, I think the elephant in the room under a question, this is the impact of AI on everything we’re doing. I think the more that develops and it’s developing at an incredible pace. So I think it’s a mistake at first, when it first launched, I said, it’s a mistake to ignore this. This will disrupt our whole landscape and it already is, and it’s going to do so at an increasing pace as we go on. I’m very excited. By the way, my wife for the holidays ordered me a humane AI pin. I’m dying to get my office.
Dan Hood (21:26):
Seth David (21:27):
Play with it. I can’t wait. But yeah, so as AI develops at this incredible pace, our clients need for more of our attention on the analytical side and less on the compliance side, I think is right there at the core of what we need to be thinking about. We’ve been saying for years already that accountants and bookkeepers need to move away from compliance and more in the direction of advisory, which to me means analytics analysis, but now I think everybody’s going to be forced to do that in the next five years because of ai, if not other factors as well. So if you just look at every major disruption in the past and how needs have evolved based on those disruptions, you can get a lot of clues about what we’re looking at in the very near future, next five years kind of future. And like I said, now it’s happening much faster and with much greater impact.
Dan Hood (22:15):
Well, this leads sort of directly into and answers part of my next question, which is what makes a firm successful? And we talked about that. Is that changing? Is that going to change? And obviously you talking about the move to advisory services even without or towards more of an advisory focus even without the pressure from ai, that’s something that people have been talking about for a little bit now. Are there other things where you see that what makes a firm as successful might be changing or might change over the next five years or so?
Seth David (22:42):
So I think on this, I want to actually go back to turning it inward and looking at the culture again. And really, because the thing I remember when I was working at the last CPA firm, actually this is after I left my job at the last CPA firm, now as a consultant, I went back to work with a different CPA firm with a guy that I had come to really love. He was very much a mentor to me. And so I consulted with his firm and went out to do basically cleanup work for all of his clients, all the new clients that came in the door and needed cleanup work. I was the one who showed up at their office and got to work, rolled up my sleeves and did that work. And I remember I went to him, it was probably around this time of year that we’re recording, it was in January, and I was like, Hey, I want to go see my parents. They live in Florida. I want to make a plan a trip in March to go see them for a week. And he looked at me like, are you crazy? He’s like, you can’t take off during tax season. He’s like, anytime the rest of the year take off whenever you, and I remember having a reaction to that internally, of course thinking, okay, this isn’t going to work for me long term. Anybody who knows me knows if you tell me what I can’t do, I’m going to do everything in my power to do it
Anyway. And what this points to, I think going back to the question is that for a long time, I think in the accounting industry, we’ve had this badge of honor that we’d wear in terms of the crazy hours that we’d put in during tax season. And I think what’s evolved now is that especially in the younger generations, we’re talking our millennials and Gen Z who are coming up in the workplaces, they don’t see that as a badge of honor. They see it as abuse. And I think we’re seeing the effects of that. And I think it always was abuse, but we’re finally sick and tired of it. And so going back to what a successful firm or how it will change over time and how I think it’s changing now. I think what you’re seeing happening in the accounting industry, I mean, everything I read points to the fact that fewer and fewer people are entering our industry and many are leaving right now.
And I think this is a big part of why you even mentioned Daniel, that the tax season has really extended is there’s no break. It’s all year round now. It’s not just January to March. It used to be January to March, you got most of it done, you had some extensions, you get those done by August, September, you had plenty of time and in the meantime you could really take your summers off. Now everybody that I know, especially those who prepare taxes for a living, they’re just exhausted and they’re just completely overrun. So I think we’re seeing a forced change as a result of that. And I think it goes back to that culture where, and I have a theory which I’ve tested on myself and found it working, which is that rather than working an 80 hour a week, my theory is that if CPA firms sent their employees home, forced them to go home at 6:00 PM scratch that, make it 5:00 PM and at the same time somehow incentivized balance, don’t go home and go out partying all night, that’s going to defeat the purpose, but go home, relax, spend time with your family.
I bet if we could accomplish this somehow, and I realize there’s a lot of logistics in here that would come into play. You have no control over what somebody does when they leave the office, but if we can incentivize them somehow to get plenty of rest to focus on their health, to exercise more and come back to work every morning completely well rested and refreshed, I bet you’d see a much more productive labor force than what you ever get out of people at 80 hours a week.
Dan Hood (25:59):
Right? Because they’re exhausted all the time. How good can your work be when you start it? As you say, you start the day exhausted, you’re not going to get better over the course. That’s the best you’re going to feel all and you don’t feel that good. So yeah, how good is your work going to be? That’s an excellent point. Do you think firms are getting it? Do you think firms are, I mean, is it going to be discretion if they have to or they’re not going to be able to find the staff they need?
Seth David (26:26):
I think, yeah, I think some will be forced to. I think some of the bigger firms, I mean, I saw something from one of the bigger accounting firms. I saw it posted somewhere in social media. It was like a notice. And I’m assuming it’s true, it may not be, but bottom line, it said something about the consequences. If you’re not at work by 8:00 AM and if you’ve left work before 11:00 PM and it’s really this day and age, you’re still pushing that kind of, I mean, that’s culture, but it’s terrible.
Dan Hood (26:55):
It’s not a good culture. Yeah, yeah. It’s a culture of abuse.
Seth David (26:59):
Yeah, exactly. And it goes back to what’s your value system? What are you willing to accept? What are you not willing to accept? I would much rather have well-rested employees who come to work, first of all, who are excited to come to work because they’re not exhausted because as we discussed earlier, they’re engaged with the work they’re doing because it’s challenging them and all the things that kind of stem from that. So I think some firms are starting to see the light here and making those changes. My guess is the biggest firms are going to be the slowest to adopt because they tend to be, they’re behemoths and they have whatever bureaucratic red tape they have to deal with before they can make any kind of change like this, even though it might seem like it should be easy and obvious. So some of those may be forced to make the change because they’ll find themselves hard pressed to find anybody who wants to work at those firms.
Dan Hood (27:48):
We talked a little bit about technology or just thinking about the difficulties finding staff, getting staff, particularly if your culture is not what it should be. But we mentioned AI earlier, we talked a little bit about that, and I’m wondering if we could just briefly talk about the role of technology in a successful firm. Is there a special place for technology in a successful firm, particularly going forward there a special attitude that a successful firm brings to technology or that they should bring to technology?
Seth David (28:21):
Definitely without a doubt. I think a few things that are very important here that I’m going to guess, CPA firms probably need help in this area, although it’s been a while since I’ve worked at one. But here’s the thing. Here’s what I see. As someone who consults with a lot of accountants and bookkeepers and mostly smaller firms, I don’t consult with any big firms, although I’d be open to that. I think it would be fascinating to get an opportunity to work with a big firm, especially in this area of technology and how to choose and then implement things. Here’s what I see is a lot of people are struggling trying to find the right app to use to manage projects. And something I learned and adopted recently was based on a book I read that’s called Come Up for Air, and it’s not for accounting specifically, it’s for any business.
But one of the things he talks about is this principle of not thinking of it as project management, but rather work management a lot that we do. That’s not a project and we really need something to manage all of our work in, and it may be that the project management tool we’re using can be used and thought of that way, but I think there’s an important difference. It’s not just semantics in terms of mindset and the way we think about this stuff when we broaden it to all of our work management. And the thing that I see now that I’m convinced about without a doubt in my mind that’s related or causing most the struggles that firms are having is we see the app that we’re choosing to use as the system and the two are completely separate. In fact, I’d argue before you even touch an app, you need to be able to have a well-defined system, which means probably writing up a lot of SOPs for the different processes that you use.
That should be a system that could be accomplished with pen and paper if need be. Then you introduce the app and along those lines, if you do it that way, in other words, most people are doing it backwards. If you do it that way, then probably any of these apps that you’ve heard about can be used effectively. I fell in love with Notion because it’s so customizable and because it doesn’t center itself on a task, it centers itself on a page which can be used to host any, any volume of information. Like a page can be a simple task or it can be a whole world project. All kinds of information that you can create structure for. And that’s why I love Notion more than anything else. So I think if we employ the sort of construction of our systems and the apps we use to execute those systems, that’s the key right there is we need a separate system. And then the app is just the tool for executing that system.
Dan Hood (30:50):
Right. That’s a fascinating point because it’s absolutely true that right, and way too many situations, and not just in accounting, but sort of in business in general, you see that people adopt a software solution, and so everything becomes about the software solution. Everything gets bent to fit the software solution as opposed to saying, I just want this tool to do this part of the real process that I want to do. And yeah, that’s a fascinating point. Well worth bearing in mind. We could talk for a lot more. There’s a lot more to talk about in all these subjects and we’ve opened up a whole lot of other subjects that we’ll have to have you back for six or seven more podcasts to fully dive into. We’ve got ai, we’ve got technology, three or four other culture, but unfortunately we’re running short on time. So I want to say Seth David of Nerd Enterprises, it was fascinating. It was great to talk to you and we’ll have to have you back. Thank you.
Seth David (31:36):
Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure.
Dan Hood (31:38):
And thank you all for listening. This episode of On the Air was produced by Accounting Today with audio production by Adnan Khan. Ready to review us on your favorite podcast platform and see the rest of our content on accounting today.com. Thanks again to our guest, and thank you for listening.
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