How do you grow a tax and accounting firm by 20 percent in just 18 months? Practice. Literally.
Western Sage CPAs attributes much of its recent growth to Practice CS. The Worland, Wyoming-based firm increased its revenue from just under $900,000 to $1.2 million in that time period-without adding clients or staff.
“We actually had Practice CS but just weren’t using it to its full potential,” says Managing Partner KayLynn Dalebout, CPA. “We still had everything on index cards, like a library card catalog, so keeping track of projects was slow and cumbersome. If a card got misplaced we’d spend hours looking for it.”
As Dalebout puts it, “The old Apple computers we played Oregon Trail on in middle school had better technology than that card file box.”
Fortunately, Practice CS is a far cry from card file boxes and 1980s computer technology. Now that all the firm’s client data, projects, and due dates are entered into the software, efficiency and accuracy are no longer a problem.
“The project tracking in it is amazing,” says Dalebout. “Even with the card file we didn’t miss many deadlines, but we once missed two trust extensions and it cost us more than $7,000 in IRS fees. You can’t miss too many of those and stay in business.”
Western Sage CPAs uses Practice CS to track corporate tax return projects, too. The software automatically knows the due date for each corporation’s filing.
They also use Practice CS for the consulting and bookkeeping work they do for clients, including many farmers and ranchers. With those clients, estate planning for second- and third-generation family owners can provide another profitable business line. According to Dalebout, the questionnaire built into Practice CS really helps the firm target its clients’ needs in all those areas. Knowing what services to provide at a given time can generate more income. Tracking employee hours is another benefit of Practice CS. Accurate information allows the firm to better measure productivity and make changes that boost profitability.
“To me,” says Dalebout, “Practice CS is the all-encompassing thing that keeps everything running smoothly.”
For more information on Practice CS, visit CS.ThomsonReuters.com/Practice.
To read more from KayLynn Dalebout, including her philosophy of billing what you’re worth, check out Issue 3/2013 of Solutions Magazine, which will be available in print and online on December 3, 2013.